Planning your gown budget is hard. Here’s what to consider!
He asked. You said yes. Thus begins the most romantic year of your life….and the most financially stressful.
No one wants to think of the dollars and cents when you’re about to marry your soulmate. But here we are. You’ve clicked on this because you know you need to think about it. And we’re here to help you! Here are a few things you need to think about when planning your bridal look, so you can look your best and spend wisely.
1. The Dress: It seems obvious, but there’s a lot of temptation out there. We recommend making sure you give yourself a ceiling for the gown that you’re comfortable with and stick with it. Our best advice is, unless you’re willing to break the bank, don’t put the gown on that’s outside of your budget.
Be honest with your consultant when they ask for your budget. Your consultant isn’t asking to judge you or make you uncomfortable; they just want to make sure they are respectful of what you want to spend. We want all our brides to have butterflies when you find the right dress, but we also want you to feel comfortable with what you’re putting down.
Pro tip: Decide during the budgeting phase of your wedding planning if you are going to do an outfit change!
2. Accessories/Add-Ons: Adding a belt or sparkly strap is a great way to elevate the gown and add a little glam to your look, but it’s not free. Account for any “upgrades” or added items when you purchase the dress as though it’s already part of the gown. This way you’re not surprised at the register!
3. Veils: We LOVE a good veil. There’s no more romantic way to add a bridal finishing touch. Think about what you want to look like in your photos. If you love the dramatic way a long veil looks when it’s caught in the wind, plan for a long veil in your budget. Veils range quite a bit depending on what you want it to look like and how long you want it to be. A good rule of thumb is the longer or more embellished the veil, the higher the price tag.
4. Jewelry: Don’t leave jewelry for the last minute. Often, we find that brides forget about this very important finishing touch. They’re left running around searching for the right earrings or necklace the week of their wedding! Not only that, but jewelry is often also forgotten when planning the budget for the look, so by the time our brides remember jewelry, they feel a little tapped out.
We recommend leaving room for earrings, a necklace, a bracelet and a headpiece. You may or may not want all these things, depending on your taste and the gown you choose; but, if you plan for a whole set, you’ll be ready when it comes to that phase. It’s also best to say yes to the jewelry at least a couple months out, so you’re not left stressing at the last minute.
5. Alterations: We get asked about alterations a lot. It’s often a misunderstood or confusing part of the bridal experience. The first thing we can prepare you for is be ready for some sticker shock, no matter where you get your alterations done. Getting a wedding gown altered is not like getting a hem on a maxi dress – it’s much more complicated and it requires a lot more attention to detail. Our best advice is to plan for at least a few hundred dollars, even more if you want to make a custom change (like adding a sleeve or adjusting the neckline). This may be overkill, but don’t expect to spend under $200. That’s much rarer! Unless it comes in, fits perfectly, there are no customizations and you’re the right height, then you’re getting alterations. If you’re worried, ask for a quote for alterations before saying yes to the dress!
6. Shoes: Believe it or not, we don’t recommend going overboard with your bridal shoes, unless it’s important to you or you have a dream pair of shoes in mind (Carrie’s Manolo Blahniks, anyone?). At the end of the day, most gowns are long, and the shoe doesn’t have a lot of play in your photos. So, make sure you keep shoes in mind, but if you’re trying to be budget- or comfort-conscious, this is a good spot to do that!
We know it’s not pleasant to think about money when it comes to planning a wedding, but we also know how important it is. Our best advice to every bride is stay within your comfort zone, unless you are comfortable with breaking your budget, or making cuts in your wedding elsewhere. If you have a question about pricing or you’d like to know more, just ask! We’re here to answer your questions and help in any way we can during your wedding planning process.