Staying Within Your Wedding Budget: Wedding Dress

Well, it’s officially been {almost} a year since our wedding day! I have decided to reflect back on our wedding day with a series titled, “How to stay within your Wedding Budget when it’s less than $20,000”! Welcome back for part two of this series!


My dad gave me a very strict budget. My sister had gotten married two and a half years before me, and he wanted me to stay within the same budget as her. My dad set a budget for each category of my wedding. He was not going to go over that budget, and it was a pretty low budget compared to other weddings in the DFW area. I was determined to stick to it though, and worked really hard to stay within the budget! My dad budgeted pretty much every category possible, but I was allowed to move money from category to category. So if I overspent in one category but underspent in another, it was ok!

When planning a wedding in the DFW area, it is very hard to stay within a budget that is under $17,000! My budget was $16,519. The average cost of a wedding in Dallas is $28,810. That means I had about $12,291 less dollars than the average bride in the DFW area. However, I was determined to stretch this money as far as it would go, and that I did! Therefore, I want to help any other brides who might appreciate the tips and tricks!

Here is a breakdown of my budget:

Category Budgeted Amount Amount Spent
 Invitations/Envelopes/Stamps 400 262.50
 Wedding Dress 1700
 Photographer 1500
 Videographer 1300
 Wedding Cake (Bride’s Cake)  575
 DJ 600
 Flowers  700
 Alterations  150
 Shoes  54
 Hotel Rooms  700
 Wedding Ring for Matthew  400
Chapel & Reception 300
 Security  210
Wedding Coordinator 375
 Venue Rental 955
Food 6000
Bar 600
Lights in Reception Not Budgeted
Grand Total Budgeted: 16519

Topics that were previously discussed will be linked in the above chart!

Today I am going to focus on the second category: Wedding Dress!

Every girl dreams of her wedding dress from the first day she ever heard of a wedding. I wasn’t always that girl though. I would randomly pin a cute dress online, but I wasn’t the kind of girl who had had her dress chosen for years! I was also very nervous about wedding dress shopping. As a plus size girl, you just never know what kinds of dresses are available for you.

My budget for my wedding dress was $1700. I had no idea if that was a high or low budget because guess what– no one puts wedding dress prices online! I was ready to go find out though! So three days after I got engaged- it was time to shop! It just so happened that my high school best friend, my twin sister, and my sister in law were ALL in town that weekend. It worked out perfectly, because they all got to join in on the fun!

I admit, this is the category that I didn’t hold back on. I found the dress and didn’t even question how much it cost! I fell in love with it right away. It was $1,595.50 after tax, which put me $104 under budget.

However, I knew I wanted to add a beaded belt to the waistline. My sister had me try the dress on and add the belt, and it added so much to the dress! The belt was $200 though. It would have put me over my budget, so I said no to the belt.

However, I have an amazing sister! I was going to leave the belt, but she knew I loved it so much. So while I was changing back into my normal clothes, she ran to the register and bought it for me! It really helped to complete the look!

Even though I didn’t try to save money on my dress, I DO have ONE BIG TIP for future brides to help them find the best price on their dream dress- and I wish I had followed this tip!

  1. SHOP AROUND. Even after you find the perfect dress- try not to get caught up in the moment! I got caught up in the moment and bought it immediately… and two days later, I realized another store in town had the exact same dress for $250 cheaper! So word to the wise– don’t get caught up in the moment! Write down the designer and style number, and look around before committing to it!

$250 when trying to stick to a budget is a lot, and I could have used it in another category! However, my dress was beautiful and it was still worth every penny! I wish I had another reason to wear it- that’s how much I love it!

I hope some of these tips help another bride save money in this category! I’ll see you next time for the next section of “How to stay within your Wedding Budget when it’s less than $20,000”!


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