Every bride wants to look stunning on her wedding day but bridal dresses and accessories usually come at a high price. Considering your wedding dress will only be worn for a few hours the cost of the bride’s outfit (which is set to average at £1,590 in 2010) is more than most people can either afford or would be willing to pay. There are ways of having a designer-looking wedding dress without the designer price tag though.
If you have seen a designer wedding dress that you have set your heart on don’t worry all is not lost! You could try searching online on sites such as www.preloved.co.uk/bridal or www.stillwhite.co.uk.
These sites sell wedding dresses which have been worn once but also sell dresses which are brand new – either dresses which brides may have bought and then changed their minds about or clearance stock from bridal houses.
You may be able to find the exact dress or one similar at a fraction of the cost of buying the wedding dress brand new. image of something blue Often these dresses have already been dry-cleaned and so may just need some alterations doing so that they fit you perfectly.
It is a good idea to buy a wedding dress one size larger than you think you will need – a larger dress can be altered to fit you a lot easier than a dress which is too small.
If you really want the designer wedding dress, you could consider buying it but then selling it after your wedding day.
This would allow you to have the dream dress you want but recoup some of the cost later. After all you are unlikely to ever wear it again! If you choose this option you will need to have the dress dry-cleaned after it has been worn and possibly pay advertising costs too (though there are some websites now which let you advertise for free or for a one-off payment of £10).
The sooner after your wedding you advertise the dress the more likely it is to sell as wedding fashions change very quickly. You need to be prepared for the fact you may have to sell your wedding dress for a lot less than you paid for it also.
Dressmaker / Ebay
Another idea is to contact a dressmaker and show them pictures of the dress you like to see if they could make you something very similar. Alternatively, there are suppliers on Ebay, (mainly in China) who have designs very similar to the main designers but at a fraction of the cost.
Could be worth a look if you are willing to buy before you try on. If you decide to have a wedding dress made by an Ebay seller or if you see a second-hand dress for sale on Ebay which you like then remember to check feedback ratings and comments and pay via Paypal for peace of mind protection.
Always ask the seller lots of questions beforehand – not just to clarify details about the dress but also to check that they respond to emails regularly and efficiently. Don’t be afraid to ask them for extra photos if you think it may help you make your decision.
If you decide to buy a second-hand dress remember that most dresses will have been altered to fit the previous wearer perfectly. It is important to ask not only what size the dress is but to find out what alterations have been made to the dress to ensure it will either fit you or will be suitable for further alterations.
High Street Stores
Many high street stores such as John Lewis, Debenhams, Monsoon, and BHS are well worth a visit. They all stock beautiful, affordable wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses and bridal accessories.
TK Maxx often have gorgeous dresses suitable for bridesmaids in which are a fraction of the original price tag and even the supermarket. Many bridesmaids dresses are also suitable for brides to wear if they want a lighter dress with less fabric.
With wedding dresses at £60 and suits at £40 (plus bridesmaids dresses from £14 for children and £28 for adults) this is a really cost effective way of dressing the whole bridal party.
Remember to check out the adult bridesmaids section for dresses which are suitable for the bride too. Many bridesmaids dresses are cream, ivory or white in colour and would suit brides who prefer a dress with less fabric and weight than the more traditional bridal gowns.
Bride’s tip: Many wedding dresses have corset style bodices. This may be partly down to fashion but also it is because dresses with a corset style bodice are much more forgiving than a dress with a zip.
A corset bodice can be fastened slightly tighter or loosened a little in the event of any fluctuations in weight whereas a dress with a zip may require expensive alterations. This is worth considering especially if you are buying your wedding dress well in advance of the big day.