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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.