Buying off the peg wedding dresses are a great way to save money on your wedding. Ready made wedding dresses are ideal if you’re having a beach wedding or even if you’re still looking for that fairytale wedding dress without breaking the bank. There are a number of places to shop for wedding gowns that are ready to go, without lengthy ordering times or the need for costly alterations. Don’t think that you need to fore go quality or that an off the peg wedding dress means you won’t get an amazing bridal gown for your wedding.
You don’t need to spend thousands
There are lots of wedding dress designs available that can compete with designer bridal gowns and only you will know that you didn’t spend thousands. For some idea of the prices you could pay in the UK, an off the peg wedding dress from a UK high street shop could, set you back anything up to around £400. A middle of the range designer wedding dress could cost between £300 and £1500, and haute couture and other designer dresses can cost thousands of pounds.
One important thing to bear in mind is that if you don’t tell people, nobody will know what you spent on your wedding dress, shoes or accessories – so budget for what you can afford. You will certainly be able to find something suitable in every price range, and it is best to set off with a budget in mind so you don’t accidentally try on and fall in love with a designer number that completely breaks the bank.
Looking for a high street wedding dress?
Increasingly, high street stores are producing good quality bridal outfits off the peg. These are usually considerably cheaper than the wedding dresses in bridal boutiques, but are often no less beautiful. An advantage here is that the stores often stock the dress in all sizes so you can try on the correct size for you before buying. Also, there is no waiting period for the dress to be made, unless you need to order a size that has run out, so these dresses can be bought much closer to your actual wedding date. This is handy if you are having a short engagement or are planning to change size in the months leading up to the big day. It is important to check the dress that you buy for any damage it might have sustained while being tried on in the shop. Don’t forget – at the end of each season the shops often sell the end of line samples at discounted prices – and who doesn’t love a bargain!
Top tips for buying your dress
If you choose to buy a few dresses to try on at home, be sure to thoroughly check for any damage it may have sustained while being tried on in the shop. You don’t want to find a nasty mark on the dress when you get home or not be able to get a refund if it needs to be returned. Here are some more top tips:
Haggle; you may be able to get the shop to throw in some additional wedding accessories when you buy your dress.
Remember; when trying on wedding dresses, take along shoes in a height similar to the shoes you’ll be wearing at the wedding.
For final alterations, have your actual wedding shoes with you if possible. The hem of your dress will be determined by the shoes you’ll be wearing, so it is essential to pick your heel height before the final fitting. A last minute change to shoes with lower heels could leave your gown too long.
What can I buy from high street retailers?
BHS, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and House Of Fraser all have options for brides looking for purchase a wedding dress and go. The BHS wedding collection has a beautiful range of ready made wedding dress options from skirts and top separates to full fairytale gowns. Prices start at under £100. Marks & Spencer launched their wedding dress collection in 2008 and there are a number of off the peg dresses available online. Debenhams collection of wedding dresses are available both online and in selected stores. The collection includes a number of dresses from the Designers At Debenhams fashion designers to simple understated separates for a lower budget option.
The two best high street retailers to consider for off the peg wedding dresses are Coast and Monsoon. Both have elegant ivory gowns that work amazingly well as understated bridal dresses. These are perfect for beach weddings or where the bride wants a simple ivory dress for their wedding. Prices are extremely reasonable with most dresses around the £100-£200 mark. Monsoon’s collection varies throughout the year and the styles are very appropriate for a wedding abroad. Check out Monsoon’s bridal shoe collection if you’re after a budget option for your wedding shoes! Coast has varying styles of maxi length ivory gowns that are beautiful and work extremely well as wedding dresses.
You’ll also find a stunning range of bridesmaid dresses and outfits for Mum’s at Coast – another great way to cut the cost of the wedding attire for your bridal party. Nicholas Millington is available at both Littlewoods and Very. These dresses are beautiful and are more traditionally styled in the full bridal dress style. Prices are competitive ranging from as low as £100. You can order on line. You will also find an extensive range of bridal shoes and wedding accessories in this collection making it easier to create your complete wedding day look.
Buying your dream dress
Nothing can take away the pleasure in walking into a bridal shop of beautiful wedding dresses and one (which you didn’t think you’d like) stands out from all the rest. Having chosen and tried on a sample of your dream dress in the shop, your measurements will be taken and sent to the manufacturers. At this stage it is usual to pay a non-refundable deposit of around £500 or half of the dress’s value, with the balance due on collection.
Made to order does NOT mean made to measure, you order a standard size which (unless you are lucky) will then need to be altered to fit you perfectly. It is always worth asking the shop about the cost of alterations before you order as this can substantially increase the cost of your outfit. The lead times on wedding dresses can vary dramatically, but most shops will tell you that you need to order six months ahead of your wedding day in order to allow 2-3 months for it to be made and shipped and then additional time for it to be altered to fit you – with your actual wedding shoes for the right hem measurement. Rush orders are usually possible, but only save a few weeks and typically cost an additional £50.
If you are planning to lose weight for your wedding, it is worth trying to do this before you need to order your dress as most shops will not allow you to order a size that is smaller than your current size, this is because it is usually much easier to take in a dress that is too big than let out one that is too small. It is not uncommon for brides to change their mind about the dress between ordering and collection, or to have gained too much weight to wear the dress ordered. If you have only recently ordered, you may be lucky. Some boutiques submit batches of orders to the manufacturers and your order may not have got that far yet. Once the order is with the dress manufacturer it is almost impossible to cancel or adjust it unless you are changing it for a different dress from the same manufacturer. Although you are contracted to pay for the dress in full, many boutiques will be happy to keep the dress to sell in their next sample sale, but you will not get your non-refundable deposit back. Alternatively, considering paying the balance and offering the dress on eBay – this season’s dresses in perfect condition sell easily.