From pinning your favorite looks, to trying on different options at salons, to saying 'yes' to The One, wedding dress shopping is a very exciting experience. The less fun (but inevitable) part about it? Paying for it.
In addition to shopping sample sales, considering off-the-rack designs, and browsing our dresses under $1,500 feature, there are some other ways to save on your gown. We asked custom wedding dress designer Monica Byrne, formerly senior designer at Vera Wang, to share three things to consider that could lower the cost of your dream gown.
Know your fabrics
One of the biggest factors that go into the cost of your wedding dress is what it's made of. Luckily, textile technology is so advanced now that brides have a myriad of options at any price point to choose from. "100 percent silk will be the most expensive fiber," says Byrne. "But if you want the same look of silk without the cost, there are many synthetic and silk-polyester blends that are also very nice." Like silk, lace also comes at a price. "Something that is very intricate like Chantilly lace is going to be expensive to make," explains Byrne. "The more budget-friendly options are plain-woven fabrics like chiffon, charmeuse, and taffeta, which are pretty reasonably priced even in silk."
Choose your embellishments wisely
Embellishments such as beading can quickly drive up the cost of a dress (not to mention, also make it more expensive to alter). Instead, Byrne recommends design accents that are created through fabric manipulation rather than through intricate handwork. "Things like pleating, tucking, ruching, ruffling, and stitching can all elevate the design of a dress and give great detailing, but are much cheaper to do than say, hand sewing in crystals and pearls."
Buy accent pieces off the rack
Many brides like the look of having a sash, but creating a custom, sewn-in belt can add upwards of a thousand dollars to the cost of your gown. So, Byrne suggests buying a detached sash off the rack and tying it to your dress. "A lot of places have been able to recreate the high-end look through machine work so you can find beautiful crystal, feather, or other textured and embellished sashes for very reasonable prices," she says.