Hey girl! You’re newly engaged and the first thing you want to do is shop for wedding dresses that you’ve been pinning on pinterest! I get it—I’ve been there. For the married ladies, most of us have been there, too. There’s nothing more exciting! (Other than possibly taking that ring bling picture for social media, of course.) Sign me up. Where do I start?! You’re going to have a bunch of questions, so I’ll try to answer some from my own experience and post-wedding research.
(Both images above belong to me.)
How do I find the dress I love from Pinterest, Style Me Pretty, Carats & Cake, and The Knot?
First, you’re going to want to make an appointment at bridal boutiques. You have pictures of the kinds of dresses you want on your phone, and maybe you want to try the same exact ones from Pinterest and screen shots. Most of the pictures usually don’t say the designer name of the dress, but some do. If they do, then head on over to google to find the closest bridal shop with the designer you want. If they don’t, it may be a little hard to find the designer, but you can try and drag the original image into google to see if anything pops up. Now that you are ready to try on gowns and you have the designer names, you’ve found the bridal salon location, and are about to make an appointment, let’s go! But wait—how much does it cost?
Okay, I know the exact dress(es) I want to try on… And on a scale of “$ to $$$”, they’re $$$ to $$$$$$$!
When I first started dress shopping, I had the general idea that most wedding dresses were around $1,000. The dresses I pinned on Pinterest had no prices listed, so I blissfully assumed dresses like that were available and somewhat affordable (aka maybe slightly more than $1,500). What I didn’t know was that a lot of the wedding dresses I loved from Kleinfeld or Pinterest were easily over $4,000.
Ladies, keep in mind: THIS IS ONLY THE PRICE OF A DRESS. It doesn’t include a veil and/or headpiece, alterations and bustling, you and your fiancé’s rings, florals, venue cost, a wedding planner, alcohol, cost of food (plated food versus a buffet if it comes to that), linens, chargers, other table settings, décor, invitations and save-the-dates (if you don’t go paper friendly), chiavari chairs, DJ, MUAH (make-up and hair for you and if you choose to pay for your bridal party), bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, photographer, and videographers. Maybe even the cost of a bridal suite for the night before and day-of-the-wedding). Take a deep breath!
Here are just a few of the main designers I pinned when I was dress shopping myself and fell in love with. I’ve seen my girlfriends recently pinning the same dresses as I did, so I thought I’d post the ones I loved (and still do) along with retail prices listed from my research so you’re not caught off guard. (Many of these designers’ main lines have dresses that run well over $9,000. I was completely heartbroken when I found two dresses I had my heart set on were such dresses.) While these are only a couple pictures, I can guarantee just about any picture you click on will be one of these designers’ dresses.
Berta– $8,690. This is my personal all time dream and favorite dress by Berta. (Obviously can’t afford this! Well, I could but how smart am I being at that point?)
Inbal Dror $8,500 (a close second contender I loved! The back of this dress is just stunning.)
Monique Lhuillier – (This is the designer of my actual wedding dress. I wanted this exact dress, but the cost was $8k – $9k! The horror… this dress was tied for second.)
Hayley Paige – ($5,345.00)
Lazaro – ($5,390.00) I personally love how flattering this dress can be and the horsehair mermaid structure. While this particular designer never really caught my eye, I’ve seen lots of girlfriends posting his dresses.
Ines De Santo – (This stunning couture gown sold for $6,500. Similar dresses from her line sold for upwards of $8,000) This image is from preownedweddingdresses.com
And here are some more names of my other favorite designers (check them out future brides! Just beware of the costs):
Pronovias (This stunner sells for $6,500, but Pronovias actually has mostly affordable dresses around $1k – $2k. Do-able!)
Galia Lahav – $11,500 – $12,000
Pallas Couture – $11,000 – $15,000 (For this particular gown, I couldn’t find the price. But the range this gown lies in is at the very least $11,000. Many of the other stunning dresses from this designer are in the same price range.)
Rue De Seign
What can I do if I can’t afford the same exact dress I want?!
Okay, now you’re in disbelief. While it is discouraging, there is something you can do about it. Actually, there are several things you can do. FIRST: some advice from one bride to another! Tell the bridal consultant your price range so they don’t pull out dresses from a higher range that you fall in love with. (I did this, and it worked until I saw a dress that caught my eye, I tried it on, and had to have it. I gave in, and it was my downfall. Don’t be me!)
Solution #1: Go with the cheaper line of the designer if they have them or go with a dress that can be altered to look similar to your dream dress.
Some of these designers—like Hayley Paige, Lazaro, and Monique Lhullier—make another line to make their dresses a little more affordable. Hayley Paige’s other line is Jim Helm, Monique Lhuillier’s is Bliss, and Lazaro’s is Tara Keely. (The Jim Helm and Tara Keely lines run around $1k-$2k. Much better, right?) Personally, I think it’s wonderful. Heck, I said “Yes to the dress” at first to one of Hayley Paige’s cheaper dress line to make it just like the higher-end $5k-$6K Monique Lhuiller gown I ended up purchasing. To some other bride-to-be’s, they feel a little bitter because they can’t afford the exact designs they wanted. (I totally get it, girl—Pinterest, Style Me Pretty, and The Knot got your hopes up. It’s kind of unrealistic and unfair to us ladies that have no idea what a dress or wedding costs! Nothing but the OG dress will do!)
Here’s the Hayley Paige Blush dress I said yes to at first just to settle… but later changed my mind:
I planned on adding more layers to make the dress more full-looking, raising the horse-hair and adding a more mismatched layer of horsehair towards my waist line, as well as adding some pretty appliqué on the horse-hair like the Monique Lhuillier dress I loved.
Here’s my actual wedding dress, which was a Monique Lhuillier (all photos below are taken by Lin and Jirsa Photography):
(Below, dress is bustled.)
Solution #2: You don’t need to look to Pinterest for dress goals!
There, I said it. I mean it. When you go wedding shopping, you’ll have ideas of what you want but actually trying on the dresses is a whole other experience. You’ll find that some styles just truly aren’t as flattering on you as you thought. You’ll begin to develop a different taste of what you want. You might have wanted sparkles and then you’ll suddenly realize you want a simple elegant and modest front side with a sexy low-back. That being said, there are other great dresses come from sites like BHLDN, JCrew, and Grace Loves Lace (for boho brides). I absolutely love BHLDN and Grace Loves Lace. Also, sites like Revolve and Missguided now have bridal sections that look just as amazing, couture, and are affordable!
Other huge name brands such as Allure, Pronovias, Paloma Blanca, Watters, Essence of Australia and Maggie Sottero are incredibly gorgeous and affordable.
You can go to sites like www.preownedweddingdresses.com or similar sites like Still White and Tradesy to get designer dresses at a cheaper price. While they may still be a little pricey, it is certainly a better bargain and you may find some incredible steals if you take the time to look. You can buy a dress a size bigger than you and take it to someone to alter the bottom and take it in. Then begin to add or take away things on your dress. (When I bought my dress, I wanted to add a bow to my dress, and the owner of the salon from where I purchased my gown laughed in my face and said it would look ridiculous. I ended up buying my own fabric, researched on similar fabrics to match my dress material, found a great alterations seamstress, and she made my vision come alive.)
Buy your dress at full retail price and then sell it later on a pre-owned wedding dress site! Easy as that.
Go to bridal salon sample sales! Go and ask the shop when and which gowns will be on the sample sale racks! You’d be surprised to see how great the dresses are and how good the prices are. I was surprised myself. This is probably one of the best things hands down you can do!
In conclusion, be careful when you’re getting your ideas off of Pinterest. You’ll fall in love and know the dress you want, but it’s dangerous and will end up in heartbreak. Now that you know what to look for and what to think about, good luck bride-to-be’s!!! And have so much fun!