How much will your wedding dress cost and where should you buy it?

Written by    Last updated: January 21, 2014

We know you want the ideal dream wedding dress for that special day. And that in a perfect world money would be no object. But in the real world brides have to be savvy about where they spend their wedding budget and dresses are no exception. Confetti asks where you should buy your wedding dress and how much will it cost?

Bride  with her wedding dress

Designer and couture

If only the best will do, and you’ve seen something on a wedding show catwalk you’ve just got to have, then you may need to prepare yourself for the price tag, though when it comes to designer and couture quality, you do get what you pay for.

You can pick up designer gowns from out of season collections at a fraction of the price but do expect to pay thousands for couture and hundreds for designer names if they are brand new. It’s a once a lifetime investment so it’s up to you whether it’s worth it to get exactly what you want.

High street designer wedding dresses from the rack

Second hand dress websites

There are plenty of sites that provide forums for wedding dress sales not least our own on the Confetti forum. You’ll find gowns galore at bargain prices. Alternatively, you could look on Gumtree or Preloved but with websites that don’t specialise you may feel like you’re searching for a needle in a haystack looking for that size 14 A line wedding dress amongst all the other products.

From Oxfam

Oxfam has a range of specialised bridal departments across the UK. There you can find hundreds of wedding dresses, from unbranded to branded, to try on. Prices range from £50 to £800 but average around £200. There’s also a website for those wishing to shop online.

From the high street: BHS, Debenhams, M&S, John Lewis et al.

Prices on the high street start around the £80 mark and go up to £700 or £800. On average expect to pay about £300 for your off-the-peg dress. Obviously you can expect the kind of service and returns and refunds policy you normally get from the high street and you won’t have to go far to find your nearest branch. The benefits of trying it on there and then are huge compared to buying blind over the internet.

Wedding dress measurements corset


Unless your dress has been specifically made to measure, you’ll have to budget for alterations. If this is a straightforward job, like a minor alteration of a simple hem to take a dress up, then expect to pay about £40 or so. If your dress is complex and requires more fundamental changes to make it fit then you can pay anything up to £200 for the work to be done. The trick is to try and get the fit as close as possible. So make sure you take accurate measurements or have several fittings. Bear in mind any fluctuations in weight you may have by booking your alterations a few weeks before the special day.

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