The Average Wedding Dress Cost In 2023 and 5 Ways to Save Money

Summary:

The average wedding dress costs around $1,544, though this price can vary greatly. The cost of a wedding dress depends on a variety of factors, such as where you purchase the dress, materials, and production costs.

Finding your dream wedding dress can be one of the most exciting parts of planning your wedding. Some fantasize about their wedding dress for years before the actual day, while others don’t think about it until they have to. Either way, learning about the average wedding dress cost is a good way to get some perspective about which price points align with your overall wedding budget.

According to wedding industry expert Shane McCurray at The Wedding Report, the average wedding dress cost is about $1,544. However, this cost can vary immensely depending on the fabric and materials used, whether you opt for a designer dress or not, and the amount of wedding dress alterations you need. So is there an “ideal” wedding dress budget? Is there any way to cut back on the cost of a wedding dress?

Read on for a more in-depth understanding of what people typically spend on a wedding dress in 2023, what makes up the price of a wedding dress, and where there are options to save.

How much should you spend on a wedding dress?

Before you figure out your wedding dress budget, first determine your overall budget. List your top wedding priorities and create a balance sheet to track the price of your venue, decorations, food, wedding cake, and wedding celebrant.

Once you’ve outlined your other expected costs, you’ll have a better idea of how much to spend on the wedding dress. Also, consider if you’ll wear multiple outfits throughout the ceremony, and what you anticipate to be spending on accessories, such as shoes and a veil.

Pro Tip

Mapping out your wedding budget is a very important part of the wedding planning process. To get a better idea of how much your wedding might cost, try using The Wedding Report’s budget estimator.

What makes up the cost of a wedding dress?

Along with the dress materials, a lot of time goes into the creation of the dress. Not only does a wedding gown designer spend time selecting fabric and embellishments, but they also have to create detailed patterns and tailor the dress to the bride’s figure. With this in mind, you can see how the price of a wedding gown can rack up quite a bit.

Fabric and materials

The fabric used in creating your dress heavily impacts the overall cost of the dress. Materials like chiffon, crepe, or a polyester blend are less expensive, while materials such as organza, satin, and lace will ramp up the price.

Embellishments on the wedding gown make up another element to consider, as these also play a hand in the price. Hand-embroidered lace and pearl beading are just a few examples of the unique details a designer can add to a dress, which add to the price. After all, sewing pearl beading or lace details takes a lot of time and effort to perfect. In general, keep in mind that the more detail added to the dress, the more expensive it will be.

Wedding dress alterations

Wedding dress alterations are an important part of the dress, as you want to make sure your dress fits you perfectly. No matter how much your dress costs, you should plan for alterations. Most alterations will cost between $75 to $300, though this depends on how labor-intensive the alterations are.

IMPORTANT! Remember that dresses with several layers will increase the price of alterations because the seamstress must alter every layer. So if you’re looking to save money on alterations, avoid a dress with multiple layers.

Designer wedding dress

Unsurprisingly, a designer wedding dress cost will be more expensive. The average wedding dress cost in the designer bracket can often be between $2,000 and $4,000.

That being said, many designer brands go for even more than that, with Oscar De La Renta gowns costing $14,000 on average. High-end designer dresses are often custom-made for you, which means they will be made according to your body measurements and with your personal adjustments considered in the construction.

Pro Tip

Note that a designer dress fresh off the runway will cost much more than a dress from a previous season.

5 ways to save on your wedding dress cost

Getting married doesn’t mean you have to get an expensive wedding dress. There are many places that you can opt to save on your wedding, even while still landing your dream wedding dress.

If you decide to spend a little extra on your dream dress, you might want to consider a personal loan. Take a look at some of the lenders below to get a better idea of what loan terms you qualify for.

1. Consider the season you’re shopping in

If you’re doing your wedding dress shopping during the peak wedding months, you’ll likely end up spending more on the dress. Shop during the winter months in order to find a discounted dress from a previous season.

2. Look into rental options

Look into renting your wedding dress or accessories from Rent the Runway. This website allows you to scroll through a catalog of designer dresses and rent whatever you choose for a certain amount of time.

This is also a great option for bridesmaids dresses, as you don’t have to worry about buying a dress that you’ll probably never wear again.

3. Shop secondhand

In order to buy a designer wedding dress without breaking the bank, consider looking into vintage and resale options. Look for a vintage bridal salon in your area that you can visit in person, or check online for different resale wedding dress options.

Pro Tip

If you find your dream dress, double-check to see if you can find it at a cheaper price online. Google shopping is a great and simple way to dress hunt, and your dream wedding gown might already be listed on a vintage resale site. You can get the dress dry-cleaned and tailored so that it’s basically like new while spending a fraction of the price.

4. Shop sample sales

Wedding dress sample sales are sales where designer labels attempt to sell gently used gowns that were tried on but never purchased. They are usually significantly marked down compared to what you would find in a bridal salon.

5. Think outside the box

During the pandemic, brides were faced with many challenges in planning their weddings and shopping for wedding dresses. Because of the unconventional nature of pandemic-era weddings, many brides opted for unique styles, such as a short dress rather than a long, traditional gown.

Some decided on gorgeous gowns that weren’t even white, while other brides didn’t wear a dress at all. This is your wedding, which means you can wear whatever style you’re comfortable with.

Pro Tip

If you want a dress different from the traditional style, don’t give up bridal salons just yet. Many salons are starting to offer a wider variety of wedding gowns that don’t fit the traditional norm.

FAQs

Who pays for the woman’s wedding dress?

Traditionally, the wedding dress cost usually falls to the bride and her family. The bride and her family are also usually expected to pay for the accessories, veil, and wedding wardrobe for the shower, bachelorette party, and rehearsal party.

Is it worth spending money on a wedding dress?

It all depends on what it is important to you. If you consider the wedding dress to be one of the most important parts of your wedding, then it’s worth spending a little more of your wedding budget on the perfect dress for you. However, it’s not worth spending money you don’t have or would like to spend on something else (such as a honeymoon or furniture) just because you feel it is expected.

How much does it cost to make a wedding dress?

The cost of a wedding dress largely depends on the fabric, detailing, and the amount of time needed to construct the dress. If a dress is made by a designer it costs more, as the wedding gown will have been thoughtfully crafted in relation to current trends and new, unique ideas in design. However, if you’re determined to make your own wedding dress, then your only cost would be the materials needed to make it.

Key Takeaways

  • The average wedding dress cost is about $1,544. However, the cost of a wedding dress can vary immensely and depends upon several factors.
  • What fabric make up the dress and how expensive the tailoring is can greatly affect the ultimate price of a wedding dress.
  • Designer wedding dresses are very expensive options and can often be between $2,000 and $4,000. That said, you can cut down on this price and still buy a high-quality designer dress by shopping secondhand or vintage.
  • There are many ways to not spend an exorbitant amount of money on a wedding dress. For example, you could buy a vintage dress, shop at sample sales, or rent a dress.
View Article Sources
  1. Wedding Industry Research — Library of Congress
  2. How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost? — SuperMoney
  3. Wedding Saving Accounts: What Are They and How Do They Work? — SuperMoney
  4. 5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Wedding — SuperMoney
  5. How Much Money Should You Spend On a Wedding Ring? — SuperMoney
  6. 10 Simple Ways Not To Go Broke This Wedding Season — SuperMoney
  7. The Ultimate Guide on How to Plan Your Wedding Finances Effectively — SuperMoney
  8. The Pros and Cons of a Wedding Loan — SuperMoney
  9. The Definitive Guide to Wedding Rings — SuperMoney
  10. Ultimate Guide to Wedding Loans — SuperMoney