Now before I get into the nitty gritty of this post, I’d better clarify a few things everyone has a budget and thats fine, my own budget was 5k for everything which for some people will seem a lot and others way too low, I think its important to make the most of every penny you have. That is true however much money you have. This list is from a photographers point of view and although I rate photography as a major importance you will see that its not top of my list.
- THE DRESS
Now, I’m gonna put this out there straight away, I really dislike ebay!
The reason I dislike ebay wedding dresses (or other sites online selling wedding dresses from china) Is the false advertising, I’v seen many brides crushed when their already small budget has been wasted on a dress that wasn’t worth it.
See examples here now not all the dresses are as bad as these but on a small budget, can you take the risk?
The second reason is the Experience, I believe every woman deserves to have that moment where you look at yourself in the mirror and decide “this is my dress” to feel like a princess and to be pampered. The staff in most bridal shops are highly skilled, they are not just there to sell you ANY dress, they want you to find THE dress too! They know techniques to hide your bad bits and highlight the good bits too. They will make sure your dress fits you like a glove!
And final reason, if everyone stopped buying cheap ebay copy dresses- get this the price on the real ones would go down!! The bridal shops are disappearing off our high streets because they cant compete with a £35 dress on ebay. I worry that my own daughter will never have that moment (insert sad face here)
Saying that, there are plenty of ways to stretch your budget
They offer the experience of a traditional bridal store but sell off the peg, you pick your dress and take it away the same day, no ordering in.The downside I can see to this is you would need to get a seamstress to do any alterations and if you were looking for a specific dress in a certain size you wouldn’t be guaranteed to get it in your first visit.
Now I randomly put into google wedding dress hire, the store on the link is based in london, but there will be similar stores across the country. These are real designer dresses, that you borrow then return, this can dramatically reduce the amount you pay, One of my brides told me her dress was a rental and I was so shocked, it fit her like a glove, the store had done simple alterations (check with the store) She looked amazing, was comfortable all day. she didnt have to worry about washing the dress, storing it or selling it either!
High street stores
Now I know I said I hated online but. . Missguided, Boohoo and ASOS all have bridal ranges. My fave however is lindy bop, I love the 50s style and can I just say there are some from their bridal range in the sale right now! The difference with these sites is the dress adveritised IS the dress you will get, you wont have to wait months for it to arrive most offering next day delivery, and returns!! you can normally return these free!! meaning no risk!!
More traditional stores like debenhams offer off the peg in some stores but not all.
Non- traditional route
Now I had never thought of this till I photographed my hair dressers wedding. Sue had searched high and low for dresses but just couldn’t find one she liked, Her friend (i also photographed her wedding) had her wedding dress still, sat doing nothing in her wardrobe and offered to lend it her. now being friends you would expect all their friends to notice it was the same dress, well . . . their photographer didn’t!!! haha
I had commented that Lauras dress had a lovely side broach like Sues, and was told it was the same dress my jaw dropped! Both brides looked completely different, they each made the dress their own!
So maybe ask your married friends!!