Wedding Guide: How to Finance and Budget For Your Dream Day Chapter 7: The Wedding Dress

Its the day you have been waiting for and you want your wedding dress to stun your friends, family and spouse. But how do you do it so that it doesn’t break your budget? Personal Loans Now explores how.

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Learning Highlights
  • A white wedding dress is a relatively modern phenomenon since brides used to wear their best dress to the ceremony.
  • You can rent Bridal gowns for a 10th of their retail price.
  • Make savings on your bridal bouquet by choosing flowers which are locally grown (The UK imports 15% of fresh flowers) or choose seasonal blooms.
  • You can make savings of up to 50% if you choose a bouquet of artificial or dried flowers.

In this chapter, Personal Loans Now offering flexible personal loans, will be looking at the bride and how to reduce the money spent on the dress as well as on the bouquet. From the traditional white gown to more modern alternatives, you can make substantial savings. This means you can have the dress of your dreams at a fraction of the price.

Which Wedding Dress To Choose?

As far as bridal gowns are concerned, the sky is the limit when it comes to how much you pay and the price of the dress for your special day can run to thousands of pounds. Some girls dream of getting married in the traditional white dress. Others prefer something more contemporary. The first question you have to ask yourself is whether you would like to marry in a bridal gown specifically. You can perfectly happy wearing a cocktail dress, evening gown or even a well-tailored suit. Maybe you already have something in your wardrobe and do not mind wearing it to your wedding. It is entirely up to you.

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There are no longer any hard and fast rules about what you should wear to your wedding. The brides marrying in a church ceremony tend to opt for the traditional style of gown while those marrying in a civil ceremony tend to have more freedom of choice.

White Wedding Dress – Buying New

Although a wedding dress are expensive, you should take into consideration the prices of the materials used and the working hours taken to stitch them, sometimes by hand. Despite this, there are ways to find cheaper gowns. One of these is to wait for the sales when prices can reduce by as much as 70%. If you are buying months before the wedding, do not forget to take into account the season in which you are marrying. A strapless gown is stunning for a summer wedding but not very practical for a winter wedding even with a heated venue. Do not forget that old stone churches tend to be quite chilly even with the heating on.

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If you wish to buy a gown and then have it adapted to fit your vision, then it is always better to choose a winter gown as the extra yards of material gives you more leeway when it comes to tailoring it to suit and/or fit you. Some department stores are starting to branch out into bridal wear. Prices can start from as low as £150, so it is worth having a look at them to see what is available. Personal Loans Now offers wedding loans so you are able to pay for the dress of your dreams.

Having Your Wedding Dress Made

Buying the material and having a seamstress make your dress for you will always be cheaper. This even cheaper than buying a dress at cost price from a bridal shop. Making a complicated gown can be a challenge for even a professional. Think carefully before you have a dress made for you and perhaps ask about their experience. Has the seamstress any photos of dresses they have made in the past or could they put you in touch with previous customers? You might want to consider a personal loan to help you pay for the dress.

Choosing to have a dress made can be perfect for you as you can end up with something unique. However, do not forget to make your arrangements at least 6-9 months before the wedding. Take into account the extra time for fitting sessions and adjustments in the build-up to the wedding.

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  • You should first decide whether you wish to wear a traditional white bridal gown or whether you would prefer something more modern.
  • For religious ceremonies, brides often wear a white gown. While for civil ceremonies, they have more choice.
  • You can save money on the price of your wedding gown by buying it in the sales, from department stores or having it made for you.

Cheaper Wedding Dresses – Buying Second-Hand

Some brides can find stunning bargains for their wedding attire by buying second-hand. If you think about it, the chances are that it has only been worn once and after being dry-cleaned, it can be as good as new. Only you and your family will know the truth.

You can find second-hand wedding dresses in a number of different ways. Certain branches of some charity shops in the UK have a Bridal Section with a selection of dresses for both brides and bridesmaids. Prices start at £70 but can go up to £250 depending on the design. Alternatively, you could check the small ads columns, especially in local newspapers or try an auction site like eBay. You will be amazed by how much cheaper the dresses are. Even if you do not find exactly what you are looking for, a dressmaker could make any necessary adjustments to transform it into the dress of your dreams.

Borrowing A Wedding Dress

Some brides choose to borrow a wedding dress. You might be able to use your mum’s or even grandmother’s gown. Some brides like the idea of wearing a family gown and how it links the present to the past.

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Also, vintage gowns have been making something of a comeback in recent years so you will not have to worry about changing fashions. It is also possible that you have other relatives such as cousins who have married recently. Maybe you have friends of the same age who have a wedding dress you could borrow.

A word of caution; it is perfectly acceptable to have minor changes made to the dress so that it fits you since a skilled dressmaker can do seams and hems so that the changes are reversible. However, before you make any drastic changes to the style of the dress, it is a matter of common courtesy to ask if the person who lent it to your minds.

Hiring A Wedding Dress

Some brides do not want to buy a white wedding dress since they dislike paying so much for something you wear only once. Instead of purchasing the gown, you could hire one for the day.

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The advantage of this idea is that you could choose a fairy-tale gown with intricate lace-work and trimmings for a fraction of the price you would pay to purchase it; usually for a 1/10th of its retail price. Prices for rental gowns start as low as £150 but can go up to £800 for designer dresses. You will also be asked to pay a refundable deposit of about £80-£100, which will be given back to you when you return the dress.

Apart from making savings on the dress, it means you do not have to worry about the storage of your dress and to keep it in good condition. On the other hand, bridal rental shops buy or borrow from brides so you might have difficulties in finding the design and/or size you like.

FAQs on Wedding Dresses

Do I have to wear a white dress if I am marrying in a religious ceremony?
No. You should bear in mind that the wedding will be in a place of worship so you should not wear anything that is considered provocative or likely to offend.

How much does an average wedding dress cost from a bridal shop?
The average dress costs around £800-£1,200.

How can I go about choosing a wedding gown?
Think about how traditional you would like to be and what styles suit you and would not be too uncomfortable on the big day. Also, think about ease of movement as well as the season. Finally, be honest about your budget. If the gown is important to you, you could make savings on another aspect of the wedding to pay for the dress of your dreams.

How can I save money on the purchase of my wedding dress?
You could try looking in the sales, have a dress made for you, buy second-hand or borrow a dress from someone.

Alternative Solutions To The White Wedding Gown

Some brides are not interested in wearing a traditional white gown. If you are one of them, then there are a wealth of possibilities about what you could wear to your wedding.

Like any major outlay, you can make considerable savings if you buy your bridal attire in the sales. Despite buying either an evening gown or tailored suit. Do not overlook the possibility of buying something in the High Street. Most boutiques and chain stores have a range of formal wear which would be suitable for the bride-to-be.

The main advantage of not choosing a traditional white gown is that it can be worn again on other special occasions so you could view it as an investment.

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  • Second-hand wedding gowns can be found online, in some charity shops and by checking the small ads in local newspapers.
  • You could borrow a wedding dress from a family member or from a friend.
  • As you are wearing the wedding dress for only one day, you could hire a gown for a fraction of its retail price.
  • If you do not wish to get married in white, evening gowns and other formal attire can be found in the sales or High Street shops that you can wear again.

Shoes For The Wedding

Whatever shoes you choose for the wedding, they will need to be colour-coordinated to match your chosen outfit. Bargains can be found in the sales, so you do not have to spend a fortune, especially if you are buying white shoes to match a traditional wedding gown and do not think you will ever wear them again.

The most common mistake that brides make is choosing impractical shoes. Calculate how many hours you will be wearing these shoes on your wedding day. Go for comfort as well as how they look on you. It is a good idea to wear them around the house for a few days beforehand so you can break into them and see how comfortable they are over extended periods. Alternatively, you can take another pair along for the reception. Quite frankly, once the photos have been taken, how many people are looking at the bride’s feet?!

The Bridal Bouquet

The first question you should ask yourself is how important it is for you to carry a bouquet on your wedding day.

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If you want to hold a floral arrangement, your next question should be whether you wish to have fresh flowers or whether you would be equally happy with artificial flowers (made from materials like silk or crepe paper.) Another solution could be to have dried flowers.

Fresh Flower Bridal Bouquets

The best person to consult when it comes to choosing a bouquet is a florist. They will be able to offer you invaluable advice about which flowers work well together and most importantly which flowers are seasonal and/or grown locally. Both factors have an important effect on the price you will pay. Best personal loans rates are available to help you pay for your wedding.

Be completely upfront with your florist about the budget you have for your bouquet. Try to be open-minded to their suggestions about which flowers to include. If you insist on red roses in winter, for example, then you must be prepared to pay extra. Similarly, more intricate flower designs are more labour-intensive. You will once again find yourself paying more money for these details. It could work out cheaper to have fewer blooms and add bulk by using greenery or inexpensive flowers like Baby’s Breath.

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Making Your Own Floral Bouquet

Throughout the whole of this guide, we have emphasised how many savings you can make by making things for yourselves or requesting the help of family and friends. Unless you have some experience of working with flowers, you should be very cautious about making your own bouquet. Like anything, you can find advice and ideas online. But, bear in mind that making your own bouquet is time-consuming, hard work and you will be working with temperature-sensitive materials which can wilt and die. Unlike wedding favours, bouquets cannot be made weeks beforehand. Do you really want to spend the last day in the run-up to your wedding making a bouquet? It can add unnecessary stress to what is, for some, an already stressful experience.

If you still wish to make your own bouquet, you can find cheaper flowers in supermarkets. You can also go to flower markets, or you could even use blooms from your garden or ask for flowers from relatives.

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  • You can find shoes for the wedding in the sales; consider comfort as well as coordinating them with whatever outfit you are wearing.
  • If you plan to hold a bridal bouquet, think about if you want fresh, artificial or dried flowers.
  • Seasonal or locally-grown flowers will be much cheaper while elaborate designs are pricier as they take longer to make.
  • Think long and hard before deciding whether to make your own bouquet.
  • Artificial or dried bridal bouquets are cheaper than fresh flowers. They can be kept as a keepsake of the wedding and can be made with unseasonal flowers and in a wider range of colours.
  • There are alternatives to holding a bouquet such as parasols and muffs.

Artificial Or Dried Flower Bridal Bouquets

Many brides nowadays are choosing to carry artificial or dried flower arrangements as a cheaper alternative to fresh flowers. Other brides, do not like the idea and believe fresh flowers are more romantic. They may hold their scent can set the tone and mood of the wedding.

The benefit of these types of bouquets is that orders can be prepared and delivered well before the wedding day and that you can keep a memento of your special day. It is also possible for them to contain flowers which are not in season. Dried flower bouquets are ideal if you are planning a country- or rustic-themed wedding. Artificial arrangements can be created in colours which do not exist in nature.

Alternatives To The Bridal Bouquet

There is no reason why you have to carry a bouquet. If you do not want to carry a floral arrangement but would like to hold something in your hands, there are alternatives. These can be much cheaper and include clutch bags, lanterns, fans, parasols, muffs and even arrangements made of feathers.

FAQs on Wedding Flowers

Where can I find the right outfit for my wedding at a good price?
You could try the sales and stores from the High Street. Plenty of bargains can also be found online on auction sites like eBay.

How can I reduce the money I spend on my floral bridal bouquet?
You should ensure that the flowers in your bouquet are seasonal and/or local. Be prepared to compromise on the blooms included by choosing cheaper alternatives or by having fewer flowers and adding bulk with greenery.

How much does a floral bouquet cost on average?
Depending on the flowers used, a wired floral bouquet can cost anything from £50-£115. The more informal arrangement of flowers costs £30-£65.

How much cheaper are artificial or dried flower bridal bouquets?
They are very close in price: artificial flowers are £20-£50 while dried ones are £25-£55.

How soon should I place my order for my bouquet
Orders for fresh flowers should be placed at least 6-9 months before the wedding. You can prepare artificial or dried flower arrangements in an average of 2-3 months.

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