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The Ultimate Guide To Wedding Dress Prices

Diary of a Dress Designer by Helen Constance. All you need to know about gowns and prices.

by The Knot

prices2Image by Angela Solling Photography and dress by Helen Constance

Before you start gown shopping, have you ever wondered why gown prices differ so much in the market? Let me provide you with an inside look at what gowns cost to help you make a more informed decision on your dream gown!

Price: $200 – $1000
Brand: no brand, unknown.

Philosophy: Gowns of this price range often only exists on website businesses without physical shop fronts, run by third party agents. They may or may not provide physical addresses for business registrations.

Designs: These agents use other designers’ pictures or campaign photos, displaying them on their site claiming to be able to produce for you, an exact replica of the original designer gown at a cut price. After you have paid, they go to third-party subcontractors to sew up the dress. What they finally deliver is a mix bag of surprising wonder and shattered disappointments.

Fabric: Low grade fabrication. There are often vast difference in the grades of nylon (the dominant material used in production of tulle) and polyester (the main fabric used on your gown and lining). At this price range, it is often hard to qualify or predict what grade of fabric you will be getting.

Trims and appliqués: Beads and sequins are often plastic and metal fixtures that will fade and chip. Laces and appliqués are often applied and hand sewn in non-controlled environments.

Quality: Unqualified. At this price range you are really playing Russian roulette with the quality. You never really know what you are getting until it arrives in the post. The hand work that is applied on these gowns is often done by unqualified piece workers with minimal education on the art of garment making. Please note, if you were going to buy these gowns, take into consideration that these gowns requires additional alterations before you can wear it for your big day, and alteration costs often exceed the original gown price.

prices3Image by Angela Solling Photography and dress by Helen Constance

Price: $1000 – $3000
Brand: At this price range you can expect to get a recognizable brand, often well-known for producing quality ready-to-wear on a mass scale, often readily available in physical or web stores.
As an extension to their ready-to-wear fashion line, some fashion designers would also enter the bridal space by producing a few white dresses to capitalize on the bridal market.

Design: Designs at these prices are often on trend or one year from runway trends. The styles are often simplified versions of what you have seen on the runway. This is mass produced for all to consume.

Embroidery and Fabric: Your fabrics are often median (middle) in quality. Embroidery is machine made and dyes are done in bulk. Hand embellishments are often kept to a minimal.

Laces: Laces and beading are usually machine sewn fabric, cut into patterns and assembled into silhouettes and shapes that are well loved by the masses.

Trims and appliqués: Trims may include A to B grade glass crystals and beads. Hand work is kept at a minimal.

Price: $3000 – $4000
Brand: Designer brands are well known for specializing in particular looks and creativity in the bridal and formal ready-to-wear space. These are often large brands that have specialised in producing ready-to-wear bridal gowns or local designers.

Designs: Your designer gown is well known in the art of ready-to-wear, often with a reputation for designing on trend pieces. Most brides pay around four thousand for their wedding gowns. This signifies an excellent quality for the price you are paying.

Embroidery and Fabric: Your fabrics are often in A-grade man-made fibres. This just means the finishing of the fabrics are higher in quality, softer to touch and they last longer. This may include polyesters and nylons.

Laces: Laces used are on trend and currently available on the market.

Trims and appliqués: Trims may include A-grade glass crystals and beads. These trims are machine constructed and are hand sewn and appliquéd on the dress.

prices1Image by Angela Solling Photography and dress by Helen Constance

Price: $4000 – $6000
Brand: Often imported brands. These designer brands are well known for specializing in signature styles and originality in the ready-to-wear space. The price of the gown may also be influenced by the currency difference of their original price when sold in their home market.

Designs: Your designer gown is well known in the art of ready-to-wear. They produce original niche oriented styles that would appeal to particular lifestyle interests.

Embroidery and Fabric: Your fabric application and embroidery are indicative of the new season trends interpreted by the designer with their own signature stamp on the look. A mix of silks and high quality polyesters and nylons may be used here.

Laces: Laces used are often very new and have just hit the market.

Trims and appliqués: Trims may include AA grade glass crystals and beads. These trims are hand sewn and appliquéd individually.

Price: $5000 – $ 20000 and more
Brand: Designer brands, often specializing in made-to-measure and Couture pieces. Your designer is a leader in the field and a reputation for designing original and trend-leading art pieces with meticulous and inventive details for finishing.

Design: A made-to-measure gown is a summation of your interest, with the guidance of your designer in the creative process to create an original gown made just for you. A couture piece is an original design by the couturier, made just for you.

Embroidery and Fabric: Your fabrics are often originally designed and hand embellished just for you by the designer. This may also include hand dyed applications to create unique one-off detailing and three dimensional flowers and detailed applications. These materials are on the luxury end of the market with limited supply. High quality silks and cottons are often used here.

Laces: Laces used on these gowns are often made in France and the price of lace alone can start from $300 per metre upwards. You can expect to spend up to $3000 of your budget just on lace and fabrics.

Trims and appliqués: Trims may include high quality feathers and Swarovski branded crystals and beads or AAA grade crystals. These trims are hand sewn and appliquéd individually by experienced couture artisans often with more than 10 years experience.

Contact me today to have a chat about your dream dress!

prices4Image by Angela Solling Photography and dress by Helen Constance

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by The Knot

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