Average Cost of a Wedding Dress – Wedding Dress Cost Guide

hens party girls in front of bungalow bali

There is something extraordinary about walking through the doors of a wedding gown boutique and knowing you could find 'the one' among the racks. But how much are Australian brides willing to spend? What's the average cost of a wedding dress? Looking for the ultimate Wedding Reception Venue in Melbourne? Look no further, Vines of the Yarra Valley is here. 

That feeling when you finally find the dress of your dreams is pretty priceless—but it doesn't mean the gown is free. (But that would be nice, wouldn't it?) So, how much does a wedding dress cost? The Knot 2018 Real Weddings Study reveals the average wedding dress cost across the U.S.—and the magic number is $1,631, including alterations.

Picking a wedding dress, for some brides, is the best part of planning a wedding. But it can also be daunting. Depending on your budget, it can be a huge expense.

INSIDER Data and WeddingWire worked together to see how much brides across the U.S.. spend on their dresses. As a whole, the most expensive region was the Mid-Atlantic region, including states like New York, which topped the list, and New Jersey, which came in second. On the flip side, the least was spent on dresses in the northern Midwestern states, like North Dakota and South Dakota, which ranked 50th and 51st, respectively.

Shopping for a wedding dress is a huge highlight of planning a wedding and one that can make you feel like a princess over and over again as you check yourself out in the mirror.

Just like trying on a pair of sunglasses, or meeting the love of your life, once you have found 'the one,' you just know.

wedding dress cost

What impacts wedding dress prices?

There are a few factors that will impact your wedding dress cost. Most notably, an extremely detailed wedding dress with lots of beading and pricey fabric (silk, etc.) will cost more than a simpler wedding dress, as more intricate gowns require more labour and materials. So a grand ball gown with beading and detailed embroidery will cost more than a plainer sheath dress. Also, if you're set on wearing a wedding dress by a famous dress designer, know that it will likely cost more.

Some of the important factors that go into the price of a wedding dress include the basic cost of the materials plus the labour required to sew it together plus the transportation to get it from its origination point to the bride. For rock-bottom simplicity (and minimal expenditure), you could get a very simple, short, white jersey dress for $29.99 from a fast-fashion retailer like H&M.

About 11% of brides choose a non-traditional wedding dress—knee-length or separates or one that isn't white, but most brides are looking for something special for their big day, and they're willing to spend a lot more than $29.99.

How much does a wedding dress cost?

Buying a wedding dress is unlike purchasing a piece of everyday attire. You're going to be wearing this dress on one of the most important days of your life, and so you'll likely spend quite a bit of money on your wedding dress. While wedding dress prices do vary greatly, the average wedding dress cost in the U.S. is $1,000. It typically ranges from $280 to $1,650, but you can purchase a wedding dress for far above and below those prices.

As the materials get pricier—think silk instead of polyester—the core cost of the dress will rise. The table below shows how materials are priced by the yard, and how much more you might pay depending on what your dress is made of.

So what do we think? The new average price of a wedding dress is definitely nothing, but it's also not too crazy (especially if you're an avid Say Yes to the Dress fan and expect all brides to have a dress budget of $10,000). According to the study, brides also spend an average of $250 on accessories like the veil, shoes and lingerie—so don't forget to factor those into your budget as well. We'll add that preserving your wedding dress might also be worth budgeting for—you might as well keep the gown you shelled out for in excellent condition.

According to Easy Weddings' 2016 Annual Australian Wedding Survey, the average price of a wedding dress is $2,475.

When it comes to how much brides are willing to part with to secure the garment love of their life, the price varies from state to state.

Queensland brides spend a modest average of $1,807 on their dress. At the opposite end of the scale sits Victoria, with brides in that state spending an average of $2,745.

This is followed by Tasmania on $2,660, WA on $2,648, Northern Territory on $2,510, New South Wales on $2,414, South Australia on $1,995 and the ACT on $1,975.

In order to feel like a princess, it's going to cost you. The average bride spends $1,564 on her wedding dress. This is just the dress, though. There are still the accessories to consider, including the veil and shoes.

In 2014, the average amount spent on a wedding dress was $1,357, according to a survey of brides done by TheKnot. This cost was about 4% of the total average wedding budget of $31,213. Because these numbers are averages, they are likely pulled higher than the median by brides who spent much more than that. After all, Kim Kardashian reportedly spent $2MM on her wedding dress, while the most expensive gown currently known (adorned with 150 carats worth of diamonds) cost more than $11MM when created in 2006. Don't let these reports scare you if you're on a budget. Thrifty brides find ways to purchase gorgeous gowns for just a few hundred dollars.

Where to Get your Wedding Dress

Where you buy your wedding dress will play a part in how much you end up spending on it. Some of the costs of the business operations will be baked into the sales price. Also, different sellers are known for carrying higher, moderate or lower-priced options. Looking for Wedding Dress Shops? Look no further, Vines of the Yarra Valley

has you covered. 

The cost of renting a wedding dress

 Renting a wedding dress could save you as much as 85% of the retail price of the dress. You can find simple wedding dresses for as little as $30 to rent at Rent the Runway. If you want a more traditional wedding dress, try Borrowing Magnolia. You'll pay between $500 and $1,500 to rent a dress. However, you could save as much as 50% on designer dresses this way.

average cost of wedding dress

The Cost of a Designer Wedding Dress

Even a very simple dress can cost a pretty penny if it carries the label of a famous designer, like Vera Wang, Reem Acra or Hayley Paige. Their wares can run into the multiple thousands of dollars—$2,000, $3,000, $5,000, $8,000 or more. Other name brands you might be familiar with, like J. Crew, offer less expensive but still beautiful designs. The following table shows the median price, as well as the range of what recent brides report they paid for some of the most popular wedding dress brands.

Vera Wang is one of the most well-respected wedding designers. With respect comes a high price, though. Vera Wang puts out two collections every year. The Vera Wang Collection starts at $2,900. The Luxe Collection starts at a whopping $6,900.

 National Chain or Local Bridal Salon 

A large majority, nearly 85%, of brides get their dress from either a local bridal store or a nearby location of a national chain, like David's Bridal, which has more than 300 stores mostly in the U.S. Both kinds of stores typically carry a large array of options to fit most price points. They may also offer dresses you can buy "off-the-rack" rather than ordering them. You might get a really great deal if you buy a sample—one that's been tried on by other prospective brides. These are typically discounted by 50% or more.

Trunk Shows 

You can also seek out trunk shows, which can occur at bridal salons or other locations. At these events, designers show and sell their latest collection—many of which are not yet available at stores—sometimes offering a discount of about 20%.

 

How can you save money on a wedding dress?

 Your dream dress may be out of reach. There are ways you can lower the cost, though. This may get you closer to the dress you always wanted.

Buy during the "off" season. New designs come out in the spring. Shopping during the summer or winter could save you as much as 80% off your dream dress.  

Shop sample sales. As new designs emerge, bridal shops have to clear the floor. If you are an "average" size, you may snag a dress for a fraction of its original price. (The average wedding dress size is 10 or 12. This equates to a 6 or 8 in regular clothing).

Buy the dress, "as is." Don't ask for elaborate alterations. Unless you need changes to fix the fit, leave it. Choose a simpler version. You can still opt for your desired shape or silhouette, but keep it simple. Maybe you can find a dress with the same silhouette but less beading. Or you find an option with less lace. Find a simple wedding dress, and accessorize: As mentioned, a simple and relatively unadorned wedding gown will cost less than an extremely detailed wedding dress. If you're on a tight wedding dress budget, we recommend finding a simple gown and using a beaded sash or a brooch to give it some extra sparkle.

  • Visit trunk shows: If you're set on purchasing a gown by a specific designer, you might find a deal at a trunk show. Trunk shows are when a bridal salon features the collection of a particular dress designer—and usually offers a discount (usually about 5 or 10 percent off that designer's wedding dress prices). Research which salons in your area carry your favourite designers, and check their websites for upcoming trunk shows.

wedding dresses how much should you pay

What should additional wedding dress costs a bride plan for?

There are several additional costs that brides should factor into their wedding dress cost and budget. These include:

 Alterations: If you want to change your wedding dress drastically, your alterations may end up costing more than your actual wedding dress!

Undergarments and accessories: Be sure to factor in your accessories— bridal undergarments, shoes, and more. These accessories will significantly affect how your gown looks and fits, so don't forget to include them in your wedding dress cost. Check out our list of Wedding Dress Shops to help you choose your perfect gown.

Cleaning and preservation: Don't be surprised if you're still spending money on your wedding dress after your wedding! Whether you plan on wearing your wedding dress again, passing it on to a future generation, or none of the above, it's still a good idea to have your gown professionally cleaned and preserved. Wedding dress cleaning and preservation can cost $200 or more.

As you're planning out your wedding budget, remember to account for the costs you'll incur on top of the purchase price of the dress. You may pay sales tax, depending on your state. You might also have to cover a shipping cost. And most brides get alterations.

Mainly due to the elaborate construction of many wedding dresses, the cost for alterations can quickly rise into the hundreds of dollars, but prices will vary. Some stores, including every David's Bridal, have an on-site alterations specialist whose fee depends on the complexity of the changes you need. Other bridal salons and stores charge a flat price, reportedly as high as $695 at the famous Kleinfeld store in Manhattan; closer to $500 at independent bridal salons in other high cost-of-living parts of the country. You may be able to find an independent seamstress who can handle the fittings for less. Brides in smaller U.S cities pay between $250 and $450 for their alterations. Rural brides, and brides who don't need many changes to their gown, might get away with paying even less.

Don't forget about the undergarments, overgarments and accessories you'll want to wear with your dress. You might want to add items like a belt, a wrap or, of course, a veil. You'll also need shoes and jewelry.

Once the wedding is over, many brides pay for professional dry cleaning, which usually starts at $100. Some want preservation for the long-term. You can get a cheap option at David's Bridal, their preservation service runs $130 and includes shipping both ways. Or you can go to a high-end professional and spend $1,500 to preserve an especially complex gown.

It can be expensive to be a bride—and the dress is only the start!

 

 

 

 

 

Scroll to Top