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Budgeting for your wedding dress without compromising on your ethics

Charlie / 11 February 2016

Minna eco-chic wedding dress // Wedding Dress Budgeting // The Natural Wedding Company

When  I was asked for write a blog post with my tips and advice on wedding dress budgeting, I pretty much dismissed the invitation immediately because budgeting is not my strong point – or to be truthful, even something I’m vaguely good at. But this year I am trying to take up some challenges, even if they might seem small like compiling advice (eek) on budgeting.

TSB have put together a guide called Saving for your Wedding with some sound advice from fellow bloggers such as Annabel at Love My Dress and other industry suppliers. I’m not sure I’ve ever really written about budgeting, because let’s face it, I’m inclined to pretend budgets don’t exist! But once I got thinking on the topic, I realised I did have some advice (and experience) to share.

Sister Organics eco-chic wedding dress // Wedding Dress Budgeting Advice // The Natural Wedding Company

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon we are reminded everywhere about falling in love, that feeling that we all find so hard to describe or put our finger on, yet so many try to put into words. For me, falling in love with *the* dress for your wedding is a pretty similar experience.

I guess this is where my first piece of advice, or perhaps even a gently warning, stems from. In starting the search for your wedding dress, you are putting yourself out there to fall in love with a dress. It goes without saying that if you venture in boutiques or shops with wedding dresses priced out of your budget, you are risking falling in love with a dress that you might not be able to afford, or you will stretch your budget for – stretch, or (if like me) completely yank apart.

Sister Organics eco-chic wedding dress // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding dress budgeting

Here I would suggest you have two options if you decide to “risk it” trying on wedding dresses that aren’t in your budget: 1) You will have to break up the love affair with *the* dress, which could break your heart; or 2) Be prepared to re-jig your budget and trim it in other areas of your wedding (and I wouldn’t suggest this means just culling your Mr-to-be’s favourite band, the cheese board of his dreams, or something else that he really wants).

If you aren’t any good with break-ups and your budget is already modest and well-thought out, my key piece of advice is to walk away from those expensive designer gowns or exquisite boutique dress shops. Not because they don’t stock wonderful, beautifully made wedding dresses (because they do), but because you are just tempting fate.

Minna eco-chic wedding dress // The Natural Wedding Company

But let’s not be dwelling on the don’t do’s, because there are so many alternatives that won’t break your heart or your bank. So what would I suggest?

Be creative! And I don’t mean literally, I mean creative in your thinking. We are often told in weddings there’s a checklist to follow or certain things you need, but I totally believe most of the time you just need to think outside the box, and without compromising your ethics.

Sister Organics eco-chic wedding dress // The Natural Wedding Company

Ethical wedding dresses

Firstly, there are a number of ethical brands who are creating affordable but beautiful dresses that have the added benefit of being eco-chic. Two that I love are Minna and Sister Organics. Their designs are modern but inspired by boho, folk, country, and vintage styles. Minna has a number of dresses under £1,000 and Sister Organics collection is under £300.

Customise a pre-loved dress. It wasn’t until I saw this wedding dress below that I’d have believed you that this was a genuinely good idea. This way you could support a charity, such as Oxfam Bridal, maintain your ethics by buying a once worn dress, but still putting your stamp on it by tweaking it a little. In the process you’ll likely also employ a local seamstress (check out Julie Dutton Designer Dressmaker if you’re anywhere near Warwickshire) to do that restyling, which of course is great to support local businesses.

Minna eco-chic wedding dress // The Natural Wedding Company

When budgeting for your wedding dress, I think it’s also really important to take into consideration the cost that goes into the different wedding dresses that you are looking at. Designer dresses will often come at a premium – is that an extra cost that you can genuinely afford? Handmade bespoke dresses are one of a kind, with hours of planning, designing, alterations and hand work – sometimes it’s easy to look at wedding dress and forget all that’s gone into it.

More than any other area of your wedding budget, I think the wedding dress is one that we, as girls, are prone to get a little irrational over, and quite frankly just throw the budget out completely. Asking yourself questions like these helps to bring you back down to earth when it’s all too easy to get carried away.

This is a sponsored post but all views and opinions expressed are independent and my own.

Featured Wedding Dresses: Minna and Sister Organics

Comments

Claire Suellentrop on 21. June, 2016

Hey Charlie, I realize this is an older post, but my husband and I just got married this spring—and now that the wedding + moving craziness has settled down, I’m reaching out to thank the amazing bloggers who helped us make it through the process. You were totally one of them!

This post, especially, resonated with me. Ever since reading “One Perfect Day: the Selling of the American Wedding” a few years ago, I knew I could never spend thousands of dollars on a dress that had come essentially from slave labor. It was incredibly frustrating trying to find something in my (low) budget that wasn’t made in a factory across the globe.

I eventually got very lucky and, shortly before you posted this, was connected with a local woman who custom-makes wedding apparel—but finding someone like that was a huge challenge. I wish I had known beforehand about some of the options you mention here!

Anyway, please keep doing what you’re doing: spreading the word about amazing, purpose-driven vendors. It’s so badly needed!

Thanks again :)
—Claire

Charlie

Charlie on 28. June, 2016

Thank you so much Claire for taking the time to write to me, it really means more than you can imagine. I have read that book too and it’s pretty eye-opening! I’m so pleased that you found blogs that helped you with your wedding planning and I hope your wedding was everything and more that you hoped it would be. If you ever fancy sending me the link to your wedding pictures I would love to see! Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to write xXx

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