Why Does Your Wedding Dress Cost So Much?

wedding dress price

As a bride-to-be, your wedding dress is one of the biggest decisions you face. The cost of a wedding dress depends a lot on your location, size, materials used and design. Fabric, craftsmanship and alterations are three key factors to consider as well. According to surveys completed by the Wedding Channel, the average price of a dress in 2012 was between $1,200 and $1,300. Specifically, brides in New York City paid more than other regions.

To get a better understanding of what your dress will cost, it helps to understand how a dress is priced. Here is a video done by NPR entitled, “Why Do Wedding Dresses Cost So Much”  that discusses in detail the factors that are associated with a the price of a wedding dress.


Wedding Dress Fabric

Most bridal gowns come in polyester/satin, silk or velvet. The material used to make your dress dictates a portion of the dress cost.

Silk is the most expensive option. On average, white silk costs about $18 to $30 per yard. Satin ranges between $6 and $12 per yard. Velvet is a little pricier with the average cost ranging from $13 to $35 per yard.

wedding dress fabric costs

Photo Credit: Fabric and Art

Wedding dresses usually have multiple layers. With a polyester organza, the average cost of materials is a $5 per yard. Chiffon is less than $4 per yard. Netting is about $6 per yard. Lace is very expensive and often costs upwards of $20 to $80 per yard. Dress designers who mass produce wedding dresses do get hefty discounts for buying the fabrics in bulk, so that does save them money.

With a standard dress size, the layers of fabric alone generally costs about $300 to $500. Plus-sized dresses use more fabric, and that drives up the cost.

Clearly, the type and amount of fabric you choose for your wedding dress directly influences the cost of your dress.


Craftsmanship and Decorative Touches

Many wedding dresses purchased in stores or online are manufactured in clothing factories. These machine-made gowns are less expensive to purchase, but there are still labor costs for the employees running the machines.

Some gowns have additional decorative touches, however, that are sewn or attached by hand. For each item that is attached by hand, the cost of the dress goes up. Dresses with lace appliques, beads, embroidery or rhinestones cost more. First, you have the cost of the decorations. Beaded silk is approximately $120 per yard. Embroidered satin costs around $60 per yard. Rhinestones alone cost about $12 to $18 per yard. If they are already applied to bands, they range in price from $14 to $100.

The more intricate details you have on your dress, the more expensive it will be.

wedding dress details costs

Photo Credit: Vogue Magz


Dress Alterations

It’s very rare for a dress to fit perfectly. Most brides have to take their wedding gown for alterations to ensure that the length and fit is ideal. Prices range from state to state. Expect to return to the seamstress you choose at least twice before your wedding day.

how much does a wedding dress cost

Photo Credit: Twirl

If you just need your wedding gown shortened, the cost runs between $40 and $225. Taking in the dress on the sides ranges in price from $40 to $200. Adding a bustle ranges from $25 to $100, depending on the number of layers on your dress’s skirt. These prices go up if your dress has a lot of embroidery or beading.


The Entire Wedding Cost

Beyond the dress, the total average cost for a wedding tops $26,000, and that’s before you add in the cost for a honeymoon. Saving money on your wedding gown is important, especially if you have a limited amount of money for your wedding ceremony, reception, and honeymoon. Here are some tips to help cut the cost of your wedding dress.

Check out vintage and consignment shops. With a high percentage of marriages ending in divorce, many dresses end up in used clothing stores. You may find a beautiful dress at savings of at least 50%. If you have a Goodwill store in your area, it’s not uncommon to find wedding dresses for less than $100. There are pre-owned wedding dress websites which you can save up to 90 percent off retail prices.

wedding dresses

Photo Credit: Crown Tailor

Shop for sample dresses. Wedding dress designers need room for new designs. To get this room, they put up their samples for sale at huge discounts of up to 90 percent off. As most dress samples are in size six or eight, sample sales only work if you’re the ideal industry size.

Sell your dress after the wedding. Most brides want to preserve their wedding dress to hand down to their children. If you’re not attached to your dress, sell it after your wedding for about half of what you originally paid. Another bride is thrilled to get the discounted dress, and you can quickly regain half of your money.

Finally, consider renting your dress. For years, grooms have rented their tuxedos. Stores are starting to catch on and now offer wedding dress rentals. Instead of paying thousands for a dress, you pay can rent a current style for as little as $100. There are plenty of wedding dress websites that offer good wedding dress rental options

 Wedding Album, Wedding Abums

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