Have you ever wondered what truly goes into buying your dream wedding dress?  It is much more than just the dress itself which I will talk more about.  I was recently married and experienced the shopping and all the wonderful things that came with the wedding dress first hand!  I want to share more on this topic with current brides because I know not everyone is aware of the extras involved!  According to brides.com, the top 10 wedding gowns for fall 2012 are from famous designers: Vera Wang, Angel Sanchez, Carolina Herrera, Hayley Paige, Jenny Packham, Reem Acra, Peter Langer, Ines Di Santo, Manuel Mota for Pronovias, and Marchesa.  And many celebrities have been seen wearing wedding dresses from these select designers.  Kim Kardashian, Ivanka Trump, and Hilary Duff, just to name a few, have worn gowns by Vera Wang.  Molly Sims wore Marchesa’s “Isadora” wedding gown.  Jenna Bush wore a custom Oscar de la Renta wedding gown. And probably the most talked about bride recently was Kate Middleton, who wore a dress designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQeen.
In 2012, the average cost of a wedding dress is between $900-$1,280.  On the low end, a wedding dress can cost a couple hundred dollars for an off the rack synthetic fabric dress, which can typically be found at department stores or chain bridal retailers.  Mid-range dresses can cost from several hundred to a thousand dollars for an off the rack or custom-made dress, that have minimal to medium detailing (beading, lace), and can be found at a chain bridal retailer or bridal boutique.  On the high end, one can expect to pay several thousands of dollars for a custom-made designer dress.  Of course, the more embellishment or detailing on a dress, the more one can expect to pay.  Brides should know that the overall cost of a wedding dress includes much more than just the cost of the gown itself.  There are many “hidden” costs a bride needs to consider when dress shopping.  These extra costs can come from alterations/fittings, a headpiece/veil, jewelry, shoes/gloves/stockings, undergarments, rush charge (if applicable), pressing of the dress, a gown bag and storage of the dress (at the bridal shop), the delivery of the dress (to the venue), and cleaning/preservation/heirlooming of the dress.  These extras can add between several hundred to a thousand dollars more to the cost of the dress.  I was surprised that one alteration shop was quoting me more to alter the dress than the cost of the dress itself.  I did go to another shop highly recommended who charged a few hundred included adding embellishment and a bustle.  A bustle normally is not included on the dress when purchased but it an extra cost added during alterations.  Adding a bustle averages about $70.  I also had the dress pressed at the hotel I was staying at because I had a destination wedding in Hawaii and obviously did not have it pressed here in San Diego!  Pressing the dress ran me $70.  After the wedding, I had to have the dressed cleaned, pressed and preserved!  Brides should ask the bridal shop if any of these costs are included in the cost of the wedding gown, and should get a written contract stating what is included in the cost of the wedding dress, as well as estimated costs of alterations, storage, and delivery of the dress.  Many shops offer packages for brides which group alterations, pressing and cleaning together for the bride.  We know that the wedding dress is one of the most important items for brides and hope this article helps prepare you to keep in mind everything involved with the wedding gown!

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