Wedding Dress Prices: How Much Do Wedding Dresses Cost?
As well as swooning over wedding dress inspiration and gushing over celebrity wedding dresses, knowing how much wedding dresses cost should also be pretty high on the priority list.
Before you go wedding dress shopping https://wedd-dresses.mystrikingly.com/, it's useful to know the average wedding dress cost to give you an idea of what you can afford for your budget. But it's not an entirely simple question to answer.
While we do know the average cost of a wedding dress, (you'll have to scroll down for that!), it's important to remember that bridalwear is one of the hardest to average. Because there are so many wedding dress options nowadays, from high street retailers and charity shops, to bridal boutiques and couture gowns, determining how much a wedding dress costs can be tricky.
To help you understand how this industry prices its garments, we have a complete guide to wedding dress prices that cover all bases. We delve deep into the average UK wedding dress cost across each type of retailer and explain what impacts the average price of a wedding dress.
Average Wedding Dress Costs: Your Ultimate Guide to Wedding Dress Prices
With the help of wedding boutique co-directors Shan and Steph, we explain why wedding dresses cost what they do, what features impact the price and how much you can expect to pay. Whilst the average wedding dress cost in the UK may be difficult to pinpoint, we guarantee that by the time you've read this, you'll have an excellent understanding of what your wedding budget will get you.
And to help you out even further, we've also detailed the average cost of wedding dress alterations and appointments, ensuring there's no hidden wedding costs when it comes to your outfit!
How Much is the Average Wedding Dress Cost in the UK?
Much like with styles of wedding dresses, the cost of a wedding dress in the UK varies wildly. From charity shop wedding dresses under £50, to couture wedding gowns costing more than £100,000, pinpointing one singular cost of a wedding dress is near impossible.
However, what we can pinpoint, is an average wedding dress price based on what couples spent last year. According to the results of our National Wedding Survey, the average cost of a wedding dress in 2022 was £1,350.
The style and many other things will impact the price of a wedding dress, and this average will take into consideration brides who opted for high street wedding dresses and those who made their own, www.camedu.org to ones who had bespoke gowns made or wore expensive designs like Berta wedding dresses.
What Impacts the Cost of a Wedding Dress?
Deciding how much a wedding dress should cost takes into consideration so many factors. Shan and Steph, Directors of Little London Brides explain, "The cost of a wedding dress is determined by the designer, and impacted by the design and quality of the fabrics, as well as the time taken to produce a dress."
Delving into this topic further, here are just some of the things that impact the cost of a wedding dress and its sale price.
Fabric & Detail
The fabric and embellishments on a wedding dress are also going to very much determine the price, especially when heading away from larger design houses. Fabrics like silk, French leavers lace and needled lace can cost hundreds by the square metre because of the quality and intricacy of their design.
Wedding dresses made out of satin, taffeta or lace that isn't handmade won't cost as much to make, and therefore will likely be less expensive to buy.
As with fabric, detailing can also have a huge impact on price. Sparkly wedding dresses and ones covered in gorgeous embellishments can cost more due to the cost of the materials, as well as the hours of craftsmanship required to make them.
Adding some context here, the team at Little London Brides explain, "Dresses with intricate beading and/or lace detail, which are sewn by hand, will often take a lot more time and precision to produce than a dress made of crepe, satin or mikado fabric without detailed design or embellishments."
Brands & Labels
As like in any fashion space, brands and labels will determine the price of a garment. A pair of jeans or a trench coat may look similar to one found on the high street, but if bought from a fashion house or big label brand, it's going to come at a premium. This is often because of a number of things, such as brand recognition, the quality of materials, exclusivity in their lines and key detailing.
It's similar in bridal. If you're going to opt for a bespoke Ralph Lauren wedding dress, or buy from a luxury designer like Elie Saab, your wedding dress is going to cost more than one you buy at a local boutique. That's not to say it's not worth the money – in fact, if there were ever a time to splash out on a big label wedding dress and perhaps some designer wedding heels to match, it's now!
Explaining how brides know they are getting value for their money with bespoke and designer gowns, wedding dress designer Savannah Miller explains, "You can see the quality of the garments up close when you try them on. Has it been stitched properly? Is the fabric luxurious? Ultimately if it doesn’t look how you would expect a dress of that price to look, it probably isn’t priced fairly."
Expertise & Craftsmanship
When pricing a wedding dress, the designer expertise and craftsmanship of who made it absolutely impacts the final cost. Wedding dresses that are factory made will cost less than hand-crafted gowns that seamstresses spent days, weeks and sometimes months creating.
For example, the Atelier Pronovias collection requires a huge amount of craftsmanship from a team of professionals who make each dress by hand. The designer of the collection, Alessandra Rinaudo oversees the crafting of every single dress in the collection, all of which are made using exquisite silks, soloesunalien.com lace and beading.
When this much work and craftsmanship has gone into hand making a collection, you can understand why the Pronovias gowns at Little London Brides retail between £2,500 and £5,000, and other gowns in their collection go even higher, as opposed to their bulk-produced counterparts.
Savannah explains "For us, the main costs are on fabric. We use beautiful fabrics from Italy that feel incredible and drape beautifully, but if something has more structure also, it is likely to be a little more expensive due to the expertise and hours involved in producing it."
It goes without saying that if you are having a wedding dress designed and made for you, you are not just paying for the materials used. You are also paying for the designer's expertise and one-to-one consultations to have a wedding dress custom-made for your taste.
However, it'd be wrong to assume that having a wedding dress made for you will always cost more than buying one that's an existing design. The cost will depend on the designer's experience, whether or not they are a brand, and how they value their time.
Customisation & Extras
When buying from a bridal boutique, unless you are buying an off-the-rack sample wedding dress, you don't take away the dress you try on. Usually, you choose your dream wedding gown, and the shop will then order it in direct from the supplier in your size, chosen colour and length.
Doing it like this means, more often than not, you have the option to customise your gown. Perhaps you want to change your corset back wedding dress to one that's buttoned, swap a short train for one that's elongated or want to add sleeves to a strapless design.
Additions like this can be done when ordering your wedding dress, or with a seamstress once it's been delivered – but they will obviously come with a cost. The wedding dress price usually reflects how it is when you try it on, so edits and customisation need to be considered in the wedding dress budget – this is a wedding cost couples forget to factor in.
Brexit impacted a number of wedding suppliers in the industry – we know that new rules impacted wedding florist prices massively, and that's also the case for some wedding dress boutiques, too. And it's not just Brexit – any global event that impacts countries where bridalwear designers work out of can affect the price of a wedding dress here.
Wedding Dress Costs by Category
As well as style, fabric and designer names, where you buy your dress will impact the price massively.
A bespoke boutique wedding dress will have a very different price tag to one bought at a sample sale, so here, we look how much a wedding dress costs by fashion category, giving you an idea of what you can expect to pay at each price bracket, and helping you understand what your wedding dress budget will get you.
Wedding Dress Costs at High Street Retailers
For Budgets Between £50 – £1,000
If you’re on the hunt for a budget wedding dress, the high street is a great place to start. For as little as £50 you can bag yourself a really lovely wedding dress. Will it be handmade and bespoke? No. But high street wedding dresses have had a glow up in recent years, with a number of retailers really amping up their bridalwear offering.
Brands like Pretty Lavish, Reformation and Chi Chi London have wedding dress prices go up to around £300-£400, making their ranges really affordable for those on a budget.
ASOS wedding dresses are a brilliant option for brides who want something wedding-y without having to pay over £1,000. You can get a pretty cheap wedding dress from ASOS, but their EDITION range is where the real gems are. With wedding dress prices ranging between £150 and £550, you can find yourself a gorgeous beaded gown or an off-the-shoulder satin dress for a steal.
Monsoon, Coast, Phase Eight, Ted Baker and Whistles also offer great wedding dress options, but at a slightly higher price point. For up to £1,000, https://topbride.blogspot.com/2023/11/how-to-properly-store-wedding-dress-for.html you can get a really great quality wedding dress with gorgeous detail and stunning fabric.
Wedding Dress Costs at Bridal Boutique
For Budgets Between £800 – £5,000
Most brides will head to a dedicated bridal boutique to begin their search for the perfect wedding dress. In most bridal boutiques, you will find dresses by a range of designers which vary in average cost. Some examples of designers you can expect to find in lots of bridal boutiques include Essence of Australia, Enzoani, Martina Liana and Stella York.
Bridal boutique wedding dress prices will vary hugely, depending on which designers and brands they stock. Boutiques that stock other brands will very much have their prices determined by the brands themselves, whereas standalone wedding dress designers who have their own stores for their dresses will determine their own prices.
Shan and Steph explain the price ranges at Little London Brides, "We stock dresses from some of the leading international designers, which range from £1,500 up to £7,500. The average price of a dress in our store is between £2,500 and £3,000. We are a platinum stockist for Enzoani, and stock the majority of their collections, which are at different price points.
"The LOVE collection starts at about £1,500 and goes up to £1,800, whereas the Enzoani flagship collection ranges between £2000 and £4500."
The wedding dresses in the main collection at Savannah Miller cost anywhere between £1,450 and £4,000.
Sample Wedding Dress Prices
For Budgets Between £500 – £2,500
If you’re looking to bring your wedding dress price down further, you should make a beeline for the sample sales held by bridal boutiques. If your heart is set on a designer wedding dress but you want to save some pennies, they’re a great choice.
Sample sales are when bridal boutiques sell their dresses at discounted prices. This is usually because they have been overstocked, the line has been discontinued or because the boutique need to make room for new collections which have been ordered in.
There might occasionally be a small mark on the dresses, but on the whole, they’re usually in great condition. Average wedding dress prices at sample sales can be up to 70% lower than they are for full priced dresses.
Little London Brides' prices for new wedding dresses at range between £1,500 and £7,500, but they explain sample prices are different, "We stock a range of sample dresses which are in our sale collection. For a bride who wants a designer dress quickly, or for less, this is an excellent option. Our sample dresses are immaculate and start from £500 and go up to £2,500.
Bespoke & Couture Wedding Dress Prices
For Budgets Between £5,000 – £100,000+
If you’re after something a little more high-end, look towards couture bridal designers. They’re often stocked in flagship or standalone stores, https://wedd-dresses.mystrikingly.com/ and in some bridal boutiques. We love Blackburn Bridal in Blackheath for couture boho wedding dresses. Founder Russell Blackburn told us, “Our couture dresses are priced between £1,600 and £6,000."
When it comes to the difference between bespoke and existing design wedding dresses, Savannah Miller explains the difference in pricing, "Our price bracket is £1,450 – £4,000 for our main collection and our bespoke service starts from £8,500. We want to keep our collection accessible whilst using beautiful fabrics and details to bring Savannah Miller to brides worldwide."
Little London Brides stock some couture lines, with prices going up to £7,500, but couture and bespoke wedding dresses can cost even more than that. Vera Wang wedding dresses go up to £18,000 with bespoke celebrity designs costing even more, and other designers such as Ralph Lauren design bespoke gowns that can cost hundreds of thousands.
Charity Shop & Second Hand Wedding Dress Prices
For Budgets Between £50 – £1,000+
If you want a more sustainable option, or are on a really tight budget, charities like Oxfam and the British Red Cross both have a number of dedicated wedding dress shops across the UK where you can find a great range of wedding dresses.
The wedding dresses you’ll find in store are a mixture of new and second-hand, and if you visit regularly enough, you have a good chance of finding one to fall in love with for as little as £50.
We also love Brides Do Good. They sell luxury dresses that have been donated and approved by brides, with up to 70% off original prices. The money raised goes towards ending child marriage, making it an even better cause to support.
Their wedding dresses start at around £500 and go up to more than £4,000 – but that's still a huge discount on the original price, meaning you could end up with a couture or designer wedding dress for a fraction of the original price, and do good at the same time.
How Much Do Wedding Dress Appointments Cost?
When accounting for wedding dress prices, you should take added extras into consideration so that you don’t get caught out.
There is sometimes a fee for appointments at bridal boutiques, to safeguard against no-shows or last-minute cancellations, particularly in peak times. Sometimes bridal boutiques will only charge at weekends, some will charge if you want the store to yourself and others will charge every day.
You can expect to pay between £25 and £75 in bridal boutique shopping fees, but remember that this will generally be discounted from the dress price when you buy it.
Russell Blackburn of Blackburn Bridal Couture told us: “We charge £20 in the week for a one hour consultation or £30 at weekends, but the fee is redeemable if you buy a dress. Our VIP appointments with myself are £75 on weekends and £35 during the week, and they’re one and a half hours long.”
How Much Do Wedding Dress Alterations Cost?
Don’t forget the cost of wedding dress alterations! They’re really easy to miss off your budget, but they can end up costing you a fair bit. This also includes those extras we were talking about, too.
Of course, this depends on how much and what you need changing. Patricia Orelaja of plus-size wedding dress boutique Heavenly Bodies Bridal told us brides can pay as little as £60 for minor alterations, but for more extensive work (like a hemline and bodice) you can be looking at over £200.
She says, “As a guideline the most expensive part of the fitting is usually the hem, our prices for this part alone range from £70 – £125. Brides have a free consultation and are not obliged to have their fittings with us – but almost all do!”
Explaining how much prices can vary, Savannah Miller adds, "The alterations service is arranged on a case-by-case basis by brides with the stores they are buying from. It very much depends on how extreme the alteration is."