Your wedding day is an exciting prospect, beyond (probably) anything you have experienced previously.

However, marrying your beloved is only half the story: 50% of the anticipation is for the opportunity to live the fantasy of being a princess for one day only (any woman that says different is lying).

And you have to make it count. Many brides have a romantic notion of buying a very beautiful (read expensive) dress, and keeping it forever. Lovely though the idea, for several reasons it is fairly impractical.

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3 Reasons to Flout Tradition

  • Cost

With most clothes, even your most formal attire, you’ll get more than one wear out of each piece. Therefore, with every outing, the cost per wear decreases and a garment becomes better value. With your wedding gown, the only feasible situation in which you may choose to wear your wedding finery on a second occasion is if you marry abroad and have a party on your return: ergo you’re never going to improve its value.

  • Space

Wedding dresses are often quite large. They are awkward to store and take up a lot of room, whether hanging in your wardrobe or stowed in a bespoke box.

  • Waste

Due to the practicalities of storage, wedding gowns will usually be kept in the loft, just in case you ever need it in the future. Despite never being able to wear it again because there is no appropriate occasion that calls for it. Despite the fact that even if you go on to have a daughter (or already have one), there are no guarantees that she’ll have the same tastes as you (or that the dress will be classic rather than dated. And that it will not be moth-eaten). Basically, despite the fact it is highly unlikely to ever again see the light of day. But at least you know it’s up there right? Just. In. Case.

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The Perfect Dress will mean something a little different to every bride, but without fail what it does mean is years of imaginings becoming a reality. And each and every one of those dreams will have one consistent theme: looking your best and drawing gasps of admiration from friends and family. To bring this vision into being, it is therefore essential to wear the right dress. But does that, by its very definition, equal bankruptcy?

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5 Options for Buying an Affordable Wedding Gown You’ll Adore

  1. Hire

There are some fabulous options available for hire, including dresses that perhaps you would be unable to otherwise afford. Check out these websites:

Looking Good Dresses

House of Couture

New Beginnings London

  1. Opt for Second-Hand or Vintage

If you are determined to keep your dress but want to buy it at a discounted price, consider going second-hand. If you’re a lover of vintage, this is a total no-brainer. Try the following for inspiration:

Charlie Brear

Elizabeth Avey

Fur Coat No Knickers

  1. Buy, Then Sell

If you have to have the exact dress you want and it absolutely must be new, read through the three reasons I gave above for considering doing things differently – and consider selling after your wedding.

  1. Purchase Off-The-Peg at a Department Store

I like to think I was pretty far from the understood expression of a ‘Bridezilla’. I thought I would be easy to please in terms of a dress as I knew what I did not want. The problem I faced was that essentially, everything incorporated at least one element of what I didn’t want.

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As it transpires, I was incredibly fussy. I tried so many different dresses, in so many different shops, that I lost count and reached the point where I thought I would never find The Dress. I finally found it online, in a department store for a fraction of the (admittedly, in the end, pretty open-ended) budget I had set myself. Moral: bigger expense does not necessarily equal bigger wow-factor; be open-minded, you may surprise yourself.

  1. Go Bespoke

Finally, if you have a clear idea of what you want but can’t afford the designer price tag, find yourself a really awesome dressmaker and have your perfect gown made for you. Try the following:

Butterfly Vintage Brides

Adrienne Brides

The Upshot

Despite these compelling arguments, some brides will have the resolute intention of both buying new and keeping their fairy-tale dress. And that’s fine: if you have considered your options and are making an informed decision, then more power to you.

No matter your final choice, keep in mind that however imperative the right gown is to your day being perfect, the other 50% of the anticipation should be about your marriage.

After all, in the grand scheme of things your big entrance on the day is but a fleeting moment; it’s your marriage that will endure. (And also sometimes be endured. But that’s another blog post!)



An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is an experienced breastfeeding advocate, and expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.

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