Are designer wedding gowns worth the cost?

Image Gallery: Wedding Gowns A model wears Monique Lhuillier Bridal. See more pictures of wedding gowns.
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The call of hand-beading and vintage lace doesn't discriminate based on your budget. Some women who swear they'll never "waste" money on a designer wedding dress may find themselves sipping champagne at the pricey salons. You'll be surprised how easily you can find more room in a tight budget as your wedding date gets closer and you're still desperately searching for a dress!

Designer dress splurges happen to even the most frugal bride. Women who tend to pinch pennies on a regular basis may spend $5,000 or more for the latest Monique Lhuillier or Vera Wang gown. Many brides may try on a designer gown just for kicks, only to realize why these labels are so highly coveted. On the other hand, women who regularly break out the credit card for the latest designer handbag may be perfectly happy with an off-the-rack dress or a hand-me-down from Mom.

The real question, of course, is whether the dress is a worthwhile investment. How can you rationalize spending 10 grand on a gown when there are designs out there retailing for hundreds?