So you’ve found the man of your dreams, now it’s time to find the dress. Dress prices vary from as little as $500 to the price of a family sedan. Common wisdom is that it should correlate directly with your overall budget for the event; the rule of thumb ranges from anywhere between 5 and 10 percent. But before you start shopping, here are some things to consider:
It’s a good idea to approach the dress search deliberately and calmly. Remember, dresses are NOT like men: there’s a very good chance that there will be more than one that you love, and if you’re patient, one of those will certainly be within your budget. If you go in with the thought that there’s only for you, then you may shell out more than you anticipated for a gown that’s very similar to one at the next store for half the cost.
Do your research
If you do find a dress or a maker that you love, go to all of the stores in your area and also hop online. You might be able to find the same exact dress at a discount retailer on the Web; do make sure, however, to check out the retailer before you purchase, and definitely make the purchase with a credit card in case you want to dispute the charge.
Remember the add-ons
Don’t forget to include the cost of alterations, the veil, shoes, a bra, gloves, and everything else that you’ll need. I’ve heard horror stories from friends who forgot to think of these things and chose a gown with very few options for the accoutrements, which all ended up costing a fortune. Be careful, and be sure to ask about these things as you’re trying dresses on, not after you’ve signed the dotted line.
If you have your heart set on a dress that is a bit of a financial stretch, ask what they’re payment options are. You may be able to pay for the dress in installments, allowing you to afford a more expensive gown even if you don’t have the cash at present.
Get more bang for the buck
If you are ready to make the purchase and you’ve decided to go with a traditional bridal shop or a high-end department store, consider what method of payment to use. My sister purchased her dress at a department store that only took their own credit card but gave points for purchases; the salesperson was kind enough to let her know that a triple points day was coming up. My sister purchased the gown on that day and earned enough points to pay for her shoes and veil. Remember: even in the highest-end retailers, there’s a deal to be made!