Are designer wedding gowns worth the cost?

Your Dress Cost How Much?

If you're after couture details and the finest materials, a designer label is for you.
If you're after couture details and the finest materials, a designer label is for you.

Unless you happen to be independently wealthy, a designer gown may simply be out of the question. Even if you could find a way to pay for a dress by a top designer, are you sure you really want to spend thousands of dollars on something you'll only wear once? Sure, it's got a 40-foot train and a hand-beaded Swarovski crystal bodice, but it's still just a dress.

Many brides manage to plan an entire wedding for the price of one Oscar de la Renta gown. Instead of falling for the label, you can choose a budget version of your favorite designer dress and use the money you save for a fabulous honeymoon (or even for a down payment on a house).

At its heart, a wedding should be a celebration of your love, not an opportunity to show off. And unless your friends and family happen to stay on top of the latest bridal fashions, they probably won't know the difference between a discount gown and a designer one. In fact, during an economic downturn, an outrageously expensive dress may be seen as overly extravagant -- especially if some of your guests are just struggling to stay afloat.

Modern brides have countless options for affordable dresses. With new synthetic fabrics being introduced all the time, choosing a discount dress doesn't mean you'll be stuck with scratchy polyester or puffy sleeves. Many synthetic materials look just like fine silk or satin and can cut the cost of your dress by two-thirds. One exception: If you're planning an outdoor wedding in the summer, some synthetics won't keep you cool the way natural fabrics can, so summer brides may need to splurge on the real thing.

So, what's a bride to do? Buy a sensible dress within your price range, or break the bank for a designer gown? When it comes down to it, it's your wedding, and only you can decide which dress will give you the best start to a happy and long-lasting marriage.

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  • Bourne, Leah. "The World's Most Fabulous, Most Affordable Wedding Gowns." Forbes. July 14, 2010. (July 22, 2010).
  • Lydle, Lei. "Running of the Brides." Atlanta Bridal. March 21, 2009. (July 22, 2010).
  • One Wed. "The Bespoke Bride: Budget Wisely, But Splurge For Your Dream Wedding Dress!" July 18, 2009. (July 22, 2010).
  • Smart Money Magazine. "8 Ways to Reduce the Average Cost of a Wedding." June 11, 2008. (July 22, 2010).