WHAT DETERMINES THE PRICE OF A GOWN?
One of the most common questions we get here is what our price range is. And, something that I constantly find is that brides have a set budget in mind for their gown, and once they start shopping… the budget changes! This is completely normal, and for this reason I am writing this blog in hopes of capturing the attention of as many brides as possible BEFORE they sit down and draft their wedding budget.
So, it’s completely normal to sit down and plan out your wedding budget before you start planning. However, my advice to you would be to STOP! Slow down, and get educated on pricing before you start that budget. How?! Here’s a great way to start…
You’re probably already following a few vendors that you love on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest. I would reach out to your top 3 favourite wedding planners, photographers, florists, bridal boutiques etc., and simply ask them “Can you provide me a ballpark price range of your product/services?” and… “Great! What exactly am I paying for?” This will allow you to quickly get an idea of how much the product/service costs, and where in that range you are willing to fall.
Focusing on bridal gowns (because that’s my expertise), let me give you a rundown of what they can cost and why. Having over 10 years in the industry, I have purchased, sold, and been up close and personal with a WIDE range of designers, styles and garments of varying quality.
SO HOW MUCH ARE THEY!?
I mean if you are a princess, or heir to a small fortune, the sky is the limit with regards to how much you can spend on a bridal gown! A custom made gown can be 100’s of thousands of dollars! Or even in store, it’s not uncommon to find gowns upwards of $18 – $20,000. And I suppose, if you’re open to thrifting for your gown, you could also manage to snag one for a couple hundred bucks?! Tough to find though, as they don’t usually fair well after a down-and-dirty, dance till 3am party!
The gowns in our store range from approximately $1600 – $3800. And there’s a reason for it! The majority of brides out there want the best bang for their buck. And our experience tells us, that it is incredibly difficult to get a well-made, well-fitting, quality bridal gown for less than $1500. So… we hunt for the most beautiful, most well-made, best fitting, and highest quality gowns we can find for the least amount of $$! So far we haven’t found anything we would have pride in selling less than about $1500.
So what are you paying for within that range?!
- Fabric. The amount, quality, and accessibility of the fabric that the gown is made of is usually the biggest factor in determining the price. There’s lace and then there’s LACE. If it’s a lace gown you’re after, the quality and delicacy of said lace is going to make a big difference in how much it costs. Beyond lace, there are other factors that most brides don’t even think of (that’s why you can rely on us!). For example, you will pay a lot more for silk-based materials. You can get polyester-based or silk-based chiffon, organza, satin, crepe, etc. Most gowns are going to be polyester-based and that’s totally OK! There are many different qualities of polyester based fabrics, and that is going to have a big impact on the price.
So, quality, and the amount of tulle, satin, crepe, organza, lace, etc. is going to be the first factor in what you are going to spend.
- Quality of construction. How well a gown is made is huge. You may not think you care, until you put it on. Does it bulge in all the wrong places? Does the fabric hang just the right way? Is there a seam allowance so you can have it let out instead of going up a whole size? Are the sparkles glued on or individually beaded? I mean, I could go on forever, but in my experience, you can tell when a gown is made well. And in my opinion – high quality is worth it, because rest assured your gown is not going to stretch out or fall apart half way through your wedding!
- Amount of detail. Although this is definitely not the biggest factor in determining the price of a gown (see fabric above), the amount of detail on a gown can certainly push the pricepoint up a bit. Especially within the same designer, a heavily beaded or embroidered gown is going to cost more than a simple, sleek one. But again!… cost of fabric is still the biggest factor so don’t get too caught up on “perceived value” here. There are a lot of god-awful, heavily beaded gowns out there HA!
- Brand. This is not a huge factor in bridal unless you are looking for some big brands. I won’t name them here, but I would say when it comes to some of the really well known bridal brands today, you are not always getting what you pay for. I find you do “get what you pay for” up to about the $5,000 mark. Spend more than that and you’re often (not always, but often) paying for the tag. Something to keep in mind.
Here are a couple more things to keep in mind when you’re budgeting for your bridal gown!
- If you’re on a really tight budget, opt for purchasing a sample off-the-rack instead of sacrificing quality. Small boutiques are always looking to sell of samples as they are very frequently getting new ones in. At Ceremony, we always have incredible gowns on sale in pristine condition! Contact us to find out more.
- If you’re looking to save money by shopping online – it’s probably too good to be true. If you find a “designer” gown priced at 3 figures… STOP! It is a knock-off, they are only using the original designer’s images, and you are NOT going to get what you paid for.
Found it cheaper somewhere else? If you want to shop locally, but you think you have found your dream gown cheaper either out of country, or out of town – beware! Aside from the posted exchange rate, plus the bank’s exchange fee, importing a gown into Canada will set you back 16-18% in duty!
So that’s my “What are you paying for 101” for now! I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say about this in the future as I’m always learning and the industry is always changing.