How Much Does a Wedding Dress Cost? What to Expect & Price Ranges

Feb 18, 2022

Wedding dress shopping is typically one of the first things that brides think about when they get engaged. It’s one of the most important parts of the wedding day, after all! But a lot of brides wonder: how much does a wedding dress cost? This is probably not something you’ve ever thought about before getting engaged!

It can be tricky to figure out how much to budget for your wedding dress. We would never dream of telling you how much to spend on your dress — it’s a personal decision! But, there are some things that we can tell you to help you understand why wedding dresses cost the amount that they do.

How Much Does a Wedding Dress Cost?

There is no magical number that we can give you to how much your wedding dress is going to cost. It varies based on the designer, aspects of the dress, and the bride. But there are some average prices and various factors that can go into the cost!

Average price of wedding dresses

Here at K&B Bridals Takoma Park, our gowns range between about $1,500 and $6,000. According to The 2020 Brides American Wedding Study, the average cost of a wedding dress in the U.S. is currently $2,439.

In 2019, Insider broke down the average cost of a wedding dress in various regions. Here are some of the local average numbers:

  • Washington, DC: $1,682
  • Maryland: $1,564
  • Virginia: $1,458

These numbers are likely a bit higher now in 2022, but you can get an idea of the differences between each area from these numbers!

Factors that affect a wedding dress price

There are a lot of different factors that will affect the price of a wedding dress.

First: fabric. Some fabrics, such as tulle, a lot of lace detail, silk, and charmeuse will generally be more expensive than others.

The structure of a dress will also affect the price. A well-made gown with high-quality structure and lining (think corseting and boning) will cost a little bit extra.

Yes, all of these things make the price of the dress higher… but it also means the overall fit, comfort, and look of the dress will be better! Some of these things are worth spending the extra money on.

A more obvious factor that affects the price of a dress is embellishments and detail. A ballgown with heavy detail is going to cost more than a sheath gown with no detail. This is especially true for a dress with beading or appliques that are hand-placed, as there is a lot more labor put into making the dress.

Finally, the designer of your dress can affect the price. A more well-known, high-end designer is going to be priced higher than more local or lesser-known ones.

How to save money on your wedding dress

If you love the way that high-end dresses feel, but you just can’t work it into your budget, look for a polyester fabric. If you love intricate beading and lace but can’t justify the cost, purchase a plain gown and have your seamstress add some embellishments! Or, add the embellishment yourself with some statement jewelry and accessories.

Another idea for saving money on your dress is to shop in the bridesmaid or formalwear sections. Most of these dresses can be ordered in colors such as champagne or ivory!

Other factors to budget for

Lastly, when you are trying to figure out your dress budget, keep in mind that there are other factors that you need to consider! This could include shoes and accessories, such as a veil, jewelry, etc.

Another thing that you will need to budget for is alterations. Pretty much every wedding dress will need alterations, whether you order it based on your measurements or purchase a gown off the rack. Unless you buy a custom wedding dress that is made to fit you perfectly, then there is a slim chance that you won’t need any alterations, even if it’s just ahem! Alterations really vary in price based on what you need and your location, so it’s best to shop around and get a price quote.

Finally, you will need to budget for cleaning and preservation after the wedding. You may choose to keep your gown in your closet, re-sell it, donate it, or wear it again… regardless of your choice, you’ll likely want to have some form of cleaning or preservation! To hear about our cleaning/preservation options, give us a call at the shop.