Budgeting for the Wedding Dress of Your Dreams

by | Jun 24, 2019

Congrats, bride-to-be! Are you excited about the big day?

You already know that your wedding day will be an event to remember. If getting the wedding dress of your dreams is on top of your list, the good news is that there are no shortage of choices out there.

The bad news? Wedding dresses aren’t cheap, even if it feels priceless once you find the dress — according to The Knot, the average wedding dress cost $1,631, not including accessories.

But not all hope is lost. Here are some ideas to pay for that dress so you can say “I do” without worrying about the aftermath.


Take Advantage of Layaway Plans

If you find a dress you love but don’t have the cash to pay for it all at once, many bridal stores offer payment plans. Generally, you’ll need to sign a contract and put up a “down payment” of sorts, which is around 60% of the ticket price.

Before you try on any dresses, call a few different bridal stores to see if they offer layaway plans. If the store does, ask exactly how it works so you can plan accordingly. For example, if the layaway plan requires a 10% deposit and you can pay the balance off in 18 months and you plan on spending $1,000, then you’ll need to budget for a $100 deposit and $50 each month over the next 18 months.


Find a Credit Card with a 0% APR

If you find your dream dress and don’t have a layaway plan option, don’t fret. Using a credit card to pay for it can be a good idea if you do it right. AKA try to swing a credit card that offers an introductory 0% APR period.

Here’s a quick rundown of how it works: credit cards offer a certain time period — typically a 12 months or more — where you don’t have to pay any interest your purchases. When that introductory period is over, the regular rate kicks in.

The catch is that you’ll typically need an excellent credit score to qualify for one of these cards. Some popular ones include Chase Freedom, Discover it and the Citi Double Cash Card.  


Something Borrowed, Something Old

Overextending yourself may not be the best idea, especially if you’re going to go into some major debt for it. I’m not saying that you need to go super cheap. Instead, think about all the additional costs that need to be factored into your dress budget (like jewelry, shoes, and other accessories) and how you could tap into those around you to make your dreams come true.

Do you know someone who is a great seamstress? Can you purchase fabric and have a custom-made wedding dress? In most cases, you can save money and you get exactly what you want. For example, one of my best friends purchased a simple plain wedding gown and sewed her own belt to go with it. She also borrowed shoes and didn’t wear any jewelry for the big day to cut down on costs.

It can be easy to think a bigger budget means a better wedding dress, but that’s not always the case. If you can get creative, you can find something you love without breaking the bank.


Something New

There’s nothing wrong with asking loved ones to help pay for your dream wedding dress as their wedding gift to you. But make sure to approach the conversation with tact. 

You know you’re friends and family best — use your best judgment when deciding to ask about joining the Wedding Dress Fund. If you decide to go this route, it’s best to have this conversation before you make an appointment to look at dresses so you know how much others are contributing and how much you’re contributing.

However, you approach the conversation, make sure you’re not forcing anymore to contribute. You never know what someone’s financial situation is and it’s better to make them feel like they have a choice.


Don’t Buy a Wedding Dress

Hear me out. I’m not implying you wear something shabby or wacky to your wedding. But what I am saying is that any white outfit that makes you feel beautiful on your big day, is a wedding dress. It doesn’t have to be from a traditional wedding retailer.

When I went shopping for a wedding dress, I didn’t only look at bridal stores. Instead, I went to a store that specializes in formal gowns and asked for ones in white or off-white. Lo and behold, the first dress I tried on was the one — yes, this is the stuff dreams are made of!

The best part? It only cost me $180! The only thing I had to do was simple alterations which cost me $30, and my mother gifted me jewelry and shoes to go with the dress. Even if you don’t love the first dress you try on,  looking at alternatives can help you find something that’s kind on your wallet while satisfying your desire for a dream wedding dress.


Should You Take Out a Personal Loan

Taking out a loan for our wedding is a big, personal decision and you’ll need to do your research, weigh your options, and discuss with your partner. It’s not about whether or not you’ll be approved for a loan. Rather, it’s understanding whether or not you want to add the task of paying it back once you get back from your honeymoon.

There are options such as online loan companies that let you go through a pre-approval process, meaning you can see what you could borrow (and at what interest rate) before going to an official application. Some of the most popular loan options include LendingClub, SoFi, and Lightstream.

That way you can see what your monthly payments could be and what it’ll cost you overall to take out a loan to pay for your wedding dress. Here’s a guide to get you started on considering personal loans.


Enjoy Your Big Day

Finding your dream wedding dress may take some time, but going in with a game plan on how to finance it will keep you from overspending and racking up unnecessary debt.

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