The cost of Wedding Dresses

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  • Posted: 1 Jul 2020 12:58

    The cost of Wedding Dresses

    Hello all.


    I just thought I would pop a post on here to gauge other people's reactions. 

    To what extent do you think chains like Wed2B have disrupted the Bridal gown market? 

    I have seen quite a few Boutique owner's comments on various wedsites saying that they have banned photography in their stores unless the Bride is actually ordering the gown that day.  They state that Brides are then using their photos to search for a copycat dress or a preloved one through the likes of Facebook Marketplace and other platforms.

    The Boutique owners are concerned that Wed2B has totally disrupted the Bridal gown market with their business model of off the peg, take it away, which after all, is how we buy the rest of our clothes!  They state that the cost of a gown from a boutique is a reflection of the materials and workmanship, the designer's fee and the time it takes to produce a gown.  Whilst I understand that people should be paid fairly for the work they do, to me it seems that the amount of steps in the supply chain is the key factor in the price point of a gown.

    I can see both sides of the argument, not everyone has a small fortune to spend on a gown they will wear once.  It's also very environmentally desctructive.  I am a bit of a bargainista myself, and had no qualms about looking for a preloved dress.  In the end I bought mine at Wed2B, although I still thought £600 for one day was a bit steep!

    What should the wedding industry do?  Is there room for more than one chain?  I remember Pronuptia in the 80s and 90s, but they have gone bust now.  They were more like an upmarket chain of Bridal stores.

    Berketex Brides was another chain which went to the wall.  My first 1991 wedding dress came from an end of line sale at a Berketex Brides concession in TJ Hughes in Birkenhead.  It cost £125 and after the wedding spent 15 years in it's box before it went to the charity shop.

    Sorry for the long post, but I would be interested to hear other Bride's opinions on chain vs boutique.



  • Posted: 1 Jul 2020 23:27

    Re: The cost of Wedding Dresses

    In future, I would like to see less emphasis on 'single wear' dresses and more on sustainability, either recycling dresses (through second hand bridal boutiques) or restyling them to wear again.  

    Many years ago, brides wore their 'best' dress to get married in - they might get a new one for the wedding, but once the day was over, it would be reworn.  It's only recently that it's become normal to spend ££££s on a dress that will be worn for just a few hours.

    When I was shopping for a dress, I looked specifically for dresses that were either second hand or sustainably made.  I also looked with a view to reusing the dress after the day.  I couldn't find anything I liked secondhand, but I did find a dress that can be dyed and reworn as a 'posh frock'.

    I've seen a few boutiques and designers that are concentrating on sustainably made, reusable dresses, and I would love to see this kind of bridal business increase.

  • Posted: 2 Jul 2020 10:52

    Re: The cost of Wedding Dresses

    In the past I have had brides that have rented their dress, Not sure if that is available anymore.

  • Posted: 3 Jul 2020 18:03

    Re: The cost of Wedding Dresses

    Yes, you can still rent dresses.  I looked into this option, but they only tend to rent the higher end dresses.  As my budget was small in the first place, it didn't really save me any money, as I'd be paying just as much to rent a dress as to buy one.  If you want a more expensive dress, then I think hiring is a good option.

  • Posted: 4 Jul 2020 16:31

    Re: The cost of Wedding Dresses

    Thanks to all who have taken part in the discussion so far!

    We are trying to have a more sustainable wedding, so have been scouring charity shops and second hand websites for decorations and other bits and bobs.  The environmental impact of the wedding industry is nothing short of colossal, and we didn't want to add to it if we could help it.

    I am thinking that once C19 is under better control, of returning to my wedding planning roots and starting up a sustainable wedding enterprise, particuarly concentrating on attire and decorative items as these seem to be some of the most expensive and wasteful items to keep buying new for every wedding.

    Fresh flowers are the other big environmental impacter; we are using Lush (the toiletries store) in Liverpool as they only use in season and locally available flowers. 

    I'd be interested in your thoughts on pre-loved wedding shopping - is it something you would consider?  If so, what would be your motivation, environment, budget, availability, etc?

  • Posted: 4 Jul 2020 23:34

    Re: The cost of Wedding Dresses

    I was definitely interested in pre-loved, for a mix of financial and ethical/environmental reasons.  Didn't end up going that way only because of lack of availability - e.g. when looking for dresses, I didn't find a single secondhand one I liked that was in my price range and size.

    Instead, I've chosen to support small businesses, with the emphasis on buying items I can use again.  Our invitations/orders of service are the only single-use items we've purchased!

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