Spending less on the dress
I’ve heard many stories of people in the wedding industry putting their prices up for weddings because they can. Maybe there are opportunists around, but mostly I see weddings costing more because they, well, need more! So a make up artist will charge more for a wedding because the bride cares so, so much about getting a very specific look. That means more time spent actually applying the make up, more thought beforehand, making sure you have all the right equipment, maybe even researching and definitely practising. Because turning up and winging it won’t be tolerated with a lot of brides!
The same goes for wedding dresses. Yep, you can get a nice white dress from a chain store for a hundred dollars. If you’re planning a relaxed, casual wedding and don’t have any fixed ideas of how you want to look on the big day then that’s a good option! But for most brides, their wedding is their one chance to wear a really fairy tale dress, which usually means more complex construction, customisation and embellishments than a typical off-the-rack dress.
But there is a middle option between the Glassons’ maxi-dress and hand-beaded designer couture! At Daisy we pride ourselves on designing dream wedding dresses for less than $3,000. Here’s my insider‘s guide to finding a dress that fits you and your budget while still looking a million bucks.
Fabric and fit - not fancy extras
What separates a great dress from a… not so great one? It’s not the embellishments, number of sequins, or if it’s on trend. A great dress is one that’s made from beautiful fabric and perfectly fits you. Without those two basics, adding feathers or beads will just make cheap fabric look cheaper, and will highlight bits that don’t really fit you properly.
Those embellishments tend to cost a lot too. That’s not just the lace, beads and feathers themselves but the time it takes to sew them on, by hand, one by one. They also make things more complicated so while many of our Daisy dresses feature exquisite French or Venetian lace, we can keep our gowns below $3,000 by incorporating these details accent in applique or side panels and not all over the dress. Want to add a big shoulder ruffle? You’ll need extra boning and seams. Want hand beading? You’ll need to invest in heavier fabric to support the weight.
Second hand success
There are lots of second hand dresses out there – the embellishments might not be in style, but if the dress is made with great fabric, and is close to what you’re after, it can be quite simple for the Daisy team to tailor it to fit you. I’ve seen beautiful vintage dresses going so cheap you couldn’t buy the fabric for the same price.
It’s amazing what really well chosen, high-quality accessories can do to elevate a simple, slightly dated or second hand dress. A lace bolero or a custom headpiece or veil, for example, is a fraction of the cost of a bespoke wedding gown, but helps give you the look you want. For example, you can give any dress that Gatsby look with a diamante headband, or you can add a sweet retro feel with a birdcage veil! The trick is not to skimp on the accessories if you’re spending less on the dress - those small touches of luxury really go a long way.
Watch out for pure white
Brides in white? Actually no! For most skin tones, it’s a super hard colour to pull off, and can also mean all the little details get lost in photos. Worse, a cheaper fabric in white will look, well, even cheaper. Dreamy off-white shades - like ivory, cream, or champagne - make affordable man made fabrics like satin charmeuse or high quality taffeta look more understated and elegant because these tend to be the colours found in natural silk. You might even like to consider choosing a very pale colour for the whole dress, or for small touches – it might not feel so capital B bridal, but can add specialness to your dress without the need for lots of expensive frilly bits!
Make it matte
Shiny fabric is really unforgiving, especially in photos, so if you don’t have the money for an excellent designer (and high-quality fabric) go for a matte finish. You’ll find it won’t show up places where the fall of the fabric isn’t quite right, and won’t so noticeably pull in places where the seams are less than perfect.
It's not that high-fashion features can't look sophisticated; it's just that if you don’t have the benefit of really great tailoring, nice fabrics and expensive embellishments they can look… cheap. If you’re on a budget, go classic!
Avoid the strapless trap
Hitching up your dress five times an hour is not the way you want to spend your wedding! If you go for a strapless dress, you’re relying on the inner construction to hold you in (and up!).
When it’s on mannequin or a model, a strapless dress without that support might look fine. But in the real world, where you want to spend at least a few hours dancing, laughing, hugging, sitting and eating, you’ll definitely notice! That inner construction is the first thing to go in cheaper dresses – either it’s not there at all or executed so poorly that all it does is dig into you. So go for a simpler shape that doesn’t rely on boning – go for straps.
If you’re keen to find a less spendy dress for your big day, we can help with tailoring, beautiful accessories, and helpful advice.
Just pop in to the Daisy store or check out our range here.
From our range
Lilac top with Fay Chiffon Skirt