In our recent survey, 94% of all brides bought a wedding dress with an average of $2,336 spent on the wedding gown.
The following is a guest post from our contributor Sandra Lin of Emerald Bridal.
Not every bride is willing to spend thousands of dollars on a designing label wedding dress. As wage growth continues to stagnate in Australia, more and more brides are becoming financially savvy when it comes to buying their wedding gown.
The above screenshot was taken from my Google Search Console. The search queries affordable wedding dresses sydney, affordable wedding dresses, cheap wedding dresses sydney, and cheap wedding dresses are my most lucrative keywords.
What this tells you is that you’re not alone and that there is nothing wrong from wanting to save money.
So in this blog post, I am going to show you 6 ways you can make your ‘cheap’ wedding dress look more expensive.
1. Pick the right dress material
Many cheap wedding dresses are made with polyester. Manufacturers love it because it is cheap to produce. Unfortunately polyester has little to no breathability and highly flammable. This is a material you will most definitely want to avoid especially if your wedding is in the hotter months.
If possible, see if you can find a dress that is made of satin, mikado, chiffon, tulle, lace, crepe or silk.
Finding an entire dress made with lace, silk, chiffon or any of the premium fabrics for less than a $100 will be near impossible. As a workaround, look for a dress with a small amount of detailed lace as this will look far more premium than a dress made complete with a single low-quality fabric.
Similarly, when you receive your dress, don’t be afraid to remove any bulky embellishments that will make you look tacky.
2. Add minimal straps to a strapless dress
The biggest danger of wearing a strapless wedding dress is getting one that doesn’t fit you properly. The last thing you want to be doing all day is tugging up your dress every few minutes.
Most cheap strapless wedding dresses will not fit you very well. Your best bet will be to attach minimal straps to your dress to ensure that it stays in pace. These can be lace or something similar to invisible bra straps.
3. Buy a few size variations of the same dress
Unfortunately, wedding dress sizing is not universal. This is because trumpet, mermaid and ballgown styles of gowns tend to require a tight fit around certain areas of your body. However, sheath and aline silhouettes can be a bit more forgiving.
All ready-to-wear wedding gowns require some alteration and most cheap wedding dresses online have very different sizing charts.
Just watch Tina Yong try on some seriously cheap wedding dresses from Wish.
Therefore, buy at least two sizes – the size you think fits you according to the seller’s specifications as well as one size smaller. By doing this, you will have a better chance of finding one version that fits you better and then use that for alterations.
A visible metal zipper screams of cheapness. Replacing a zipper is expensive so a great and simply workaround is to cover the zipper with satin buttons. This will give the back of your wedding dress a handmade detail which will make it appear premium in quality.
You can either do this yourself or ask your alteration specialist to do this for you.
5. Sew in your own underlining
You may not know this but certain styles of wedding dresses require a lot of material (e.g., ballgowns). More material means more cost to the manufacturer. This is why polyester is popular – it helps keep the cost down whilst producing a similar effect.
Another way manufacturers save on cost is by skipping the inner construction of a dress altogether.
Underlining is a fabric added to create more body. It is a separate layer and gowns with underlining will wear better.
Cheap wedding dresses tend to have no inner construction and if you bought a design that is sheer in design, you will find that your gown is extremely see-through.
The first step to adding underlining is picking the right fabric. It should be lighter in weight and softer than the garment fabric. Be mindful when picking a colour as a fabric that is too dark or too light in colour will show through your dress.
Common underlining fabrics include muslin (inexpensive) and silk organza.
6. Wait for a wedding dress sample sale to pick up a bargain
Can I be honest?
Cheap wedding dresses tend to be cheap for a reason.
They rarely look like how they are marketed on a website. What gets delivered to you is usually very different from your expectation.
The best way to get an expensive looking wedding dress is to get an expensive wedding dress at a heavily discounted price.
Bridal boutiques regularly hold sample sales to free up showroom space. I know at Emerald Bridal, we usually have two sizes of each dress that we sell in-store for fittings (sizes 4 and 10). We make the smaller size for our models to wear for the product photo shoot and the size 10 is a pretty good all rounder for fittings.
Larger bridal boutiques may have multiple sizes available for each dress.
Try calling a few local bridal stores to see when they are having their next sample sale. If they’re not holding one soon, make sure that they add you to their mailing list. Or you can follow them on Instagram as this is where they will most likely announce any type of wedding dress sale.
You will often find sample gowns or discontinued lines at 50% to 80% off. We have a running sales page that gets updated all the time.
So if you’re not in hurry, I definitely recommend that you wait for a good deal because going into a bridal shop and being fitted in person is a whole different level of experience.
In closing, there are a few tricks that you can try to make your budget wedding dress look less like a $30 wedding dress from Wish. I hope this has helped and I wish you all the best on your big day!
Frequently Asked Questions
🐵 What’s the difference between a $50 wedding dress and a $2,500 one?
I don’t want to over-generalise but cheap wedding dresses tend to be missing a few things in order to achieve their low cost.
I’m not saying that they’re all bad but I am advocating for you to be careful.
What you see in the pictures will rarely be what you will receive in the post.
For example, high quality materials are expensive to acquire, especially finer lace. This is what contributes to the higher price tag you will often find at bridal shops and designer label wedding dresses.
Then there is the level of craftsmanship in the lining and seams.
Usually, the difference comes down to the little things that have a big impact on how a dress wears on you.
🙈 When wedding dress will suit my body shape?
In all honesty, there is no way of knowing until you try a dress on and look in the mirror.
There are all sorts of online advice on what bridal dresses suit a particular type of body shape. Ignore these!
The best wedding dress is the one that makes you feel confident and comfortable.
🙉 Do designer wedding dresses require alterations?
Yes. All wedding dresses require some form of personalisation to your body shape (essentially, this is what couture bridal design is – made to measure); even designer wedding dresses.
Off-the-rack wedding dresses (like the ones we offer) will require some form of alteration to ensure the perfect fit for you.
🙊 How much do wedding dresses cost at Emerald Bridal?
The majority of our wedding dresses are priced between $1,500 and $3,000. We have a number of sample wedding gowns that are on sale.