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Dress Budget

I like the open and honest feedback on here as opposed to asking family/friends so here goes another one.. I used to be very  (we'll just say dumb) about money, if I liked something I bought it and no regrets. As I have gotten older I'm much more frugal I suppose and like to get a deal. Have any of you set a budget for a dress, tried on, liked one, and then thought "why the hell am I spending this much money on a stinkin dress"? Yes, they offered the discount for buying the first day I tried on, but at full price it is still well within reach so I left to think about it some more. FI is more of a saver than me, I told him the price and his response was "if we are spending this much on a wedding get what you want, don't go bargain hunting and settle" but I still can't get myself to pull the trigger. 

Am I over thinking this? Was it easy for everyone to just set a budget and go for it or did some of you have doubts?

More info: we already have the entire budget saved with extra for savings/house improvements so cash in hand a year before, which should make this easier to do!

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Re: Dress Budget

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    I set a dress budget that I knew I could afford. Then my parents and sister said that they would be more than willing to help which added a little wiggle room.

    I didn't even try on dresses that were outside that range. I also didn't "try" to look for the cheapest or best deal. I think the one I bought was dress 3 or 4 and it was on sale below my budget so even with alterations I'm still okay.

    If you don't mind me asking, what kind of budget are you in? Sometimes even when the money is in hand, sticker shock gets to people. Get the dress that makes you happy!
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    Wedding budget is $20,000-$25,000 and I had set a $2000 dress budget.. the one I found is $1500 and comes custom fit to my measurements to no alterations needed.. It's just hard to not choke at the idea of ACTUALLY spending that much even if it is in budget! I love the dress but got hung up when it came time to actually spend the budget. I don't mean this to sound like I'm tooting my own horn but I'm also very slim with no "problem areas" to cover up so it made it worse that most everything looked good on which made me think twice that something less expensive could look just as good...

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    When we set the budget, we also set the max we can spend as a whole. From there we prioritized what was most important for us and budgeted around those. For us, the food, venue and the photography are the splurges so that meant that in every other aspect of the wedding, we cut costs and that meant the cost of the dress. 

    I couldn't bring myself to spend so much on a dress I'd only wear once so I was ok with that but it meant that my options were very limited. FI complains and says I should've spent more on the dress but it's done.

    Set your budget for your dress, it can be a range from ideal price to max price you can spend, and stick to your guns when you go dress shopping and get something you really love. I'd suggest not trying on any dresses that are over your max budget because if you fall in love with that dress, everything else would feel like you're settling. 

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    Wedding budget is $20,000-$25,000 and I had set a $2000 dress budget.. the one I found is $1500 and comes custom fit to my measurements to no alterations needed.. It's just hard to not choke at the idea of ACTUALLY spending that much even if it is in budget! I love the dress but got hung up when it came time to actually spend the budget. I don't mean this to sound like I'm tooting my own horn but I'm also very slim with no "problem areas" to cover up so it made it worse that most everything looked good on which made me think twice that something less expensive could look just as good...

    $1500 is totally reasonable. I don't think that's "splurging" by any means. If you're anything like me you probably spit out your drink watching wedding shows where they spend $25,000 on the dress alone!

    Also-if you got it, flaunt it! Toot your horn girl!
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    Honestly, some people just don't value a dress that will be worn once enough to spend a lot of money on it. If you don't care deeply about designer and craftsmanship and that kind of thing, I can see why you'd be hesitant to make such a large purchase that is really a single-use item. If you don't feel like you need this big expensive dress to be happy and you'd rather pick something that's a better deal, don't feel bad about it. This big "dream dress" thing that the wedding industry tries to sell you isn't a requirement, and I know I thought about all the other things that money could be spent on instead of a piece of clothing (hotel suite! good wine! upgraded food!), things that I personally would enjoy more than a dress.

    My mother would have been delighted to buy me an expensive wedding dress, but I just couldn't see the need and hit the $99 David's Bridal clearance. My dress was regularly priced at a few hundred dollars, it's pretty enough and fits great and it's a big white wedding dress that will please the family, and that's fine for me. I'll look nice but I also got to use that money on something that seemed way more worth it to me than a dress did.

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    I went in thinking I didn't want to spend "too much" on a dress, i mean i will only wear it once but after trying some on at Davids and then some on at a boutique shop, I knew I didn't want the "cheaper" dresses.  I ended up spending $2,000, which isn't crazy, but I still think it's so much for one dress but i have no regret. I loved it, i loved wearing it and I love looking at my pictures in it.  I look at side by side pics of a less expensive dress I considered and the one I bought, and there is no doubt in my mind that I picked the right one.   
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    Thanks everyone for the kind replies :) I was so excited to be in a place in life where we can afford to get what we want and not strap ourselves but now the "practical" side of my brain is coming out. I just needed reassurance that it's not a huge splurge, I also found some others by the same designer that I like and would like to try on that could help my decision. 

    Has anyone ordered a Casablanca dress?

    minttobemrsb: yes, I do freak when I see that! It is a freaking down payment on a house!

    jv523: I bet it is beautiful! And I do love the boutique feel for shopping and like the idea of "made to fit me" too so don't blame you there. 

    amelisha: I am thinking about checking that out as well, I'm super thrifty so might find a bargain!

    The venue is our big priority, we have booked a ski lodge since we both love outdoors and with FI's work schedule summer doesn't work. I get "obsessive" over things but once I pick I'm done.. we are currently remodeling two bathrooms and looking to purchase house #3 so I want to get this dress thing done so I'm not worrying about it!!!

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    As you said you're quite small, if you're thinking about checking out the clearance, do it asap - the small sizes seemed go super quickly last year. I'm a 0 in most DB dresses and I had like four to choose from when I was looking and sooo many had only 6 and up left. Most dresses at DB seem to be sized more like street sizes so the smaller sizes seemed to disappear really fast.

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    Thanks for the tip! I was thinking of going this weekend, I think seeing what I could get for a bargain will help swing me one way or another.. can't go earlier, this week is cabinet makeover week!

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    I originally wanted to spend $1000 or less, because (like others) the thought of spending so much on a dress I'd wear once seemed silly. But I quickly found that the type of dress I liked simply wasn't available in that price range, and I ended up with a dress that cost $2000. It still does sort of take me aback that we spent that much, but my parents bought it, and they could afford it. And I love my dress. 
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    Yes, I felt the same way.  I had never even spent $100 on a single dress before buying my wedding dress.  There was no way I was spending thousands on a dress for a single day that I would literally never wear again. (Well, I have put it on for an anniversary, and I even forgot to do that this year!)  That's why I only spent a little over $200 on my wedding dress.  It was still under $300 with alterations..
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    One thing to keep in mind is there are "extra" dress expenses you need to account for. My budget was $1,500, or "a little higher if I loved the dress". My dress was $1,625, so in line with my budget. Then they added 6% tax and $60 for shipping, which made it a $1,783 dress.

    Then alterations--basic and making a bustle (crucial with a dress that has a chapel length train) would be $200-$300 I was told, making my $1625 dress really cost $2,000-$2,100. I'm having them remove the dress' illusion neckline, meaning it's actually a ~$500 alteration cost...so my "in budget" dress is now $2,282, or almost $300 above budget.

    My parents are buying me the dress and veil, but I'm paying for alterations. But still...OMG! Yes, I think it's ridiculous, but I didn't see anything I liked below budget...so it is what it is. Maybe I'll re-sell or donate the dress later. 
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    If you're a frugal person and you're wanting to buy the dress in a fiscally sensitive way, consider Tradesy, Preownedweddingdresses.com, etc.  

    If I could've found my dress on those sites, that's what I'd have done.  I bought a $4,200 Lazaro of my dreams, but now I know I'll be selling it for about $2,000 (if I'm lucky).  You could find a fantastic designer dress for half or more off retail because of the people like me who were foolish enough to pay that much!  I don't regret choosing my dress--it's the one and only I tried on because I loved it that much--but I do wish I'd have been able to spend $2,000, not $4,200.  I wouldn't have been the slightest bit superstitious about the fact the dress was worn before.

    I think looking at preowned is a great compromise.  You don't have to cheap out and buy something with synthetic fabrics, poor quality beading, etc.  But you also don't have to pay the price for new.  It's sort of my same theory on cars--my last two have been ones I purchased after they came off 2-year leases because the value of a new car drops so much when you drive it off the lot.  Same idea.
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    Totally agree about the extras.. I don't want a veil and I'm short so unless I get one that is custom made to fit me I'm looking at a decent amount of alterations (the one I found comes fit to me so not issues there) so yes, I am well within budget keeping all of that in mind. I do like the idea of the used dresses, not superstitious at all about them, I will never buy a new car either because I agree with what you said! My problem is MOST of those dresses are not even close to my size, I have looked a lot and it seems that most of the smaller sizes are not the fit I want at all because of my height.. I'll just keep looking but I love all of the awesome words of encouragement and advice!

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    I was comfortable spending a few thousand on a dress. I did think it was a bit silly, but I just figured it is what it is.

    Since I wanted a more simple dress, it was easier to find styles I liked for under $1500. I bought my dress from a reseller (it's legit, just discontinued): $700 for a $2000 dress.
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    kvrunskvruns member
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its First Answer
    edited January 2015

    I didn't set a budget but I knew I really didn't want to pay much and I knew I'd either get a David's Bridal sale dress or a sample sale one.  I like a couple at DB in the $300-400 range and was going to wait for a sale.  After that I knew my max budget was $500 because I figured I wouldn't like anything that much more to go over that.  Found a dress I liked as a sample sale for $500 but couldn't pull the trigger because I didn't like it $200 more than the DB one.


     My fiancé knows I'm a sale shopper and wanted to make sure I got what I wanted and not just what was the least expensive but it ended up working out for me both ways. Ended up getting one that I'd tried on from DB on preownedweddingdresses.com for $75! Plus it had already been altered to floor length instead of sweep train which is what I wanted, so that saved me $$ in not having to pay for that part of alterations.  I do need to get shoes tht will make the length work but that will be easy, and then I need it taken in a bit but no big deal

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    Just like everything in wedding budgeting, it's all about priorities...

    I'm not a fashion-focused girl. I don't give a hoot about designers. I cringed at the idea of spending thousands on a dress that will be worn once (and let's be honest - not even for a full day!). So my dress ended up being way less than we could afford on our budget. Instead, I put that money towards a great photographer and an extended open bar. On the other hand, I can also understand why some brides want to spend more on the dress and cut corners elsewhere.
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    This is my second wedding so I was definitely more frugal with my money this time around.  I did not necessarily want to skimp on having a fabulous dress, so I decided that I'd buy a designer off the rack dress on sale, I scoured the internet during the holidays for all of the great markdowns.  I wound up finding a great dress that cost me $314 after the 70% off.  I couldn't be happier and although I don't really know if I would wear my wedding dress again, I could if I wanted to.

    My first wedding dress was $2600 (although it was a gift) I regretted spending so much, not because the marriage ended.  It ended quiet amicably actually, but because as I have gotten older I too have gained a certain perspective about where I spend my money and things like a new roof and re-siding my house etc... just seem more important to me. 

    I guess it has to be a personal decision about your priorities.  I do think that you can get an amazing dress and still be frugal if that is your choice.  On the same token though, if you believe that you've found "the" dress and you can afford it, then go for it. 

    I wonder though if possibly the issue is more about you are not sure that this dress is the "one"?

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    @classicalandedgy that may be the case that it's not the "one" but I'm not sure either. It looked great on, fits the venue, and is everything I was looking for so yes, I love it. BUT when it comes down to it I'm not really a shopper, I go when I have something I need to get, I buy it and I'm done with it.. with that being said, I do want to look fabulous on my wedding day and love the dress I'm in but the "spending that much on a dress" thing is difficult.. I'm like you, there is always something more "practical" to spend the money on and that's hard thing for me to shake and just say THIS IS MY WEDDING DAMMIT.. am I comfortable spending that much money? Yes.. Can I afford it? Yes.. It's the little voice saying "that money could stay in your savings account" that is killing me!! 

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    @classicalandedgy that may be the case that it's not the "one" but I'm not sure either. It looked great on, fits the venue, and is everything I was looking for so yes, I love it. BUT when it comes down to it I'm not really a shopper, I go when I have something I need to get, I buy it and I'm done with it.. with that being said, I do want to look fabulous on my wedding day and love the dress I'm in but the "spending that much on a dress" thing is difficult.. I'm like you, there is always something more "practical" to spend the money on and that's hard thing for me to shake and just say THIS IS MY WEDDING DAMMIT.. am I comfortable spending that much money? Yes.. Can I afford it? Yes.. It's the little voice saying "that money could stay in your savings account" that is killing me!! 

    It sounds like you have an answer, tell the little voice to f-off and do what you already know you are capable and comfortable doing.  It appears that you are responsible adult and have given this much thought.  Quash the guilt and do what is going to make you happy. 

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    @classicalandedgy that may be the case that it's not the "one" but I'm not sure either. It looked great on, fits the venue, and is everything I was looking for so yes, I love it. BUT when it comes down to it I'm not really a shopper, I go when I have something I need to get, I buy it and I'm done with it.. with that being said, I do want to look fabulous on my wedding day and love the dress I'm in but the "spending that much on a dress" thing is difficult.. I'm like you, there is always something more "practical" to spend the money on and that's hard thing for me to shake and just say THIS IS MY WEDDING DAMMIT.. am I comfortable spending that much money? Yes.. Can I afford it? Yes.. It's the little voice saying "that money could stay in your savings account" that is killing me!! 

    It sounds like you have an answer, tell the little voice to f-off and do what you already know you are capable and comfortable doing.  It appears that you are responsible adult and have given this much thought.  Quash the guilt and do what is going to make you happy. 
    This advice is so good I'm marching back to that store and putting that dress back on.. I will be leaving the little voice at home! And "responsible adult".. I like it.. we'll go with it!

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    edited January 2015
    I had a general idea of spending 1000-1500 out the door, and had never intended on anything too extravagant, but also knew other areas of the budget were a little flexible so I could adjust as needed if I went a little over. My dress was $1400 plus $200 for the sash (plus taxes and alterations) and I thought it was well worth it. Site if you think of it as "just a dress" it's obscene, but the idea of dropping $40k on "one party" is pretty obscene too. Compared to that, and compared to what some people spend on a wedding dress, I think it was reasonable. I don't regret it.

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    edited January 2015
    Hi! Great question, I think we all feel guilty spending so much on a dress. I agree, it is sometimes difficult to get the dress of your dreams with certain budgets. I'm having a traditional vietnamese wedding and have to wear multiple dresses. For my western white dress (essence of Australia #D1617) $1500, custom vietnamese dress Ao dai $500 and reception dress (Jovani) $1,000. I set a Max budget of $3,000 for all 3 dresses. I did not want to spend too much on the dress because I want to splurge on other parts of the wedding (entertainment). Good luck dress shopping! If you love the dress, the price doesn't matter. You will be a beautiful bride either way :smile:
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    "If you really want something you don’t stop for anyone or anything  until you get it".
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