[Sponsored] The cost of saying yes: How to make a wedding gown budget

Sponsored by Wedding Belles New Orleans


With engagement season in full bloom, brides prepare to say their next yes, to the dress. Hot off magical holiday proposals, they rush in to the bridal shop without any preparation. One of the first things the boutique will ask for is your gown budget. Worry not … Sophia Perlander and the Wedding Belles are here to help.

As director of marketing and events, Sophia knows the realities that can cause messy snags in an otherwise perfect wedding. “It is so important that brides sit down and make a budget before shopping,” Sophia says. “There are plenty of factors to keep in mind that many don’t usually consider.” Wedding Belles New Orleans attracts the area’s most stylish brides with personal attention and its luxury bridal shopping experience.

Before your first boutique

How do designers set their prices? Why do some dresses look the same but are priced completely differently? Why does it cost more for different sizing customizations? It’s important to inform yourself and set some baselines before you make your bridal appointments. Sophia and the Belles share some tips to help formulate a wedding gown budget.

First things first—be sure to have a date set and the venue selected so you can factor in that cost. Then you have a better idea how much you really have to work with on your quest to find your perfect dress.

Next, decide what is important to you in your gown:


Fabric factors

o   Gowns in plain and simple designs will usually be less expensive than lace and beaded gowns. However, silk fabrics will be more expensive than polyesters.
o   You may look at two crepe gowns and wonder why there is such a difference in price. It is probably because the more expensive gown is made of a silk crepe which is sourced differently than a synthetic. Also, gowns with more details like pleating will cost more because of the intricate hand-work that goes into them. The more complicated the design, the higher the price tag.

Construction counts

o   A gown with a lot of built-in structure will be more expensive than a less structured gown. Think of the boning—this is what makes some gowns’ silhouette look so good. Structure can pull your waist in, define your bust line, allow a low back, and help keep the fabric from bunching, puckering, or drooping. This type of structure requires more construction and time so it makes the dress more expensive.
o    A ball gown, dresses with a petticoat-like fit and flare mermaid shapes, A-line gowns and the like all require more fabric and more structure to keep their shape, causing them to be more expensive than a sheath or a gown without any additional underlay needed.

It’s in the details

o   More fabric, more beading, more accessories = more money! Long sleeves, hand-sewn appliqués, lace, beading, long trains, bows, toppers, belts—all of these additions to a gown increase the cost of the dress. While some gowns may look similar, their prices can vary for a number of reasons. For example, let’s say they both have a beaded bodice, but one is significantly more. Most likely the more expensive of the two is hand-beaded, reflecting in the price the cost of a person physically sewing each bead on by hand. Less expensive gowns are assembled with a pre-made beaded fabric that needs only to be cut and sewn on like any other fabrics. The same goes for certain laces and appliqués. The more hand-work the gown has, the more the price increases.

Make your size work for you

o   This is one of the most important points. Even in a simpler style, your own shape and size can affect the cost. Gowns are made from a pattern and have a set size chart that your stylist will use to determine your gown “size.” If you are like many women, you may want to consider ordering a “split size” if the option is available. For instance if you are a 4 on the top and an 8 on the bottom, this can save you from excessive work and added cost in alterations. If you are petite or very tall, you may also require additional pattern changes. Sizing customizations are extremely common and should be considered when making your gown budget.

Keeping all of these factors in mind, you can find your dream dress within your own budget. You may need to adjust your wedding wish list to make room for the dress, but it can be worth it to pull from somewhere else in your budget. At Wedding Belles New Orleans, your stylist will help you along the way and guide you in the direction that is best suited for you and for your budget. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Bridal stores are here to help you!


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