By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
I see you, looking at how much a wedding dress costs in the UK. Are you about to start wedding dress shopping? Allow me to congratulate you and also revel in the excitement as this is such a special moment in your wedding planning.
But, I know exactly what you are worried about. Weddings can be really expensive and you want to know if you can actually afford your wedding dress of dreams?
Stop the fretting immediately, I am here to the rescue. As I am about to share the average wedding dress pricing in the UK, as well as words of wisdom and advice on how to find your dream dress, in your budget.
The golden question is, how much does a wedding dress actually cost? Well, quite simply it’s totally up to you. A wedding dress could cost £0-£10,000+, prices vary wildly.
But, realistically, not many of us want to go down the route of finding a free wedding dress or going to a high-end designer and spending tens (or hundreds) of thousands of pounds. We want to feel incredible and look drop-dead-gorgeous. All while keeping to a sensible price point.
This is why I am going to share my own dress cost, the UK average prices and breakdown cost by wedding dress type to fully allow you to budget accordingly.
According to Bridebook’s December 2020 survey of over 4500 couples, the average wedding dress cost was £1002. Bridebook’s January 2022 survey of nearly 5,500 UK couples found that the average wedding dress cost in 2021 was £1250.
Hitched’s 2021 wedding survey of 2,000 British couples found that the average wedding dress cost was £1,300. The two surveys came out pretty similar. However its always vital to take survey results with a pinch of salt. Take into account the number of respondents surveyed and the fact that some brides may have spent very little and others significantly more.
There is really no wrong or right answer on what you should spend on your wedding dress, you do you and what’s right for your finances.
If your dress budget is different from these averages, don’t sweat it. You can find your wedding dress of dreams, pinky promise!
I want to be totally transparent and share my own wedding costs. Money may be a taboo subject still in the UK despite us being in the 21st century, but I feel that being honest and open is integral to helping you.
I married my husband back in 2015, but, I actually bought my dress in 2010 when I started this blog. A whopping 12 years ago now! I bought my dress from a lovely high street boutique, by a designer label and I then needed fairly extensive alterations five years on.
Annoyingly, I didn’t record how much my dress cost, but I believe it was around £1000. The dress alterations came to £320. So amazingly, my wedding dress cost was bang on the current UK average price!
Me in my wedding dress photo by Alexa Loy
When I went dress shopping, there were no appointment fees, this is something that has become the norm, do be sure to budget this in.
Let’s take a look at wedding dress pricing by retailer type and break down the prices a little more. I’ve researched pricing online, as well as used some common sense and experience from my 12+ years in the wedding industry. These figures are estimated and will vary when you go real-life dress shopping but this guide should allow you to manage your dress budget goals.
Please note these figures may change and may vary depending on external factors so do take them as a rough guide only. The wedding dresses featured in the images are for illustrative purposes and are not related to the costs outlined.
|Wedding Dress By Type/Retailer||Minimum Spend||Could Cost You|
|Bridal Boutique Appointments (each)||£15||£35+|
|Online High-Street Retailers||£30||£2000+|
|Bespoke Wedding Dress||£1500||£3000+|
|Couture Wedding Dress||£10,000||£100,000+|
|Vintage Wedding Dress||£150||£800+|
|Charity Shop Wedding Dress||£20||£1000+|
|Rental Wedding Dress||£25||£700+|
|DIY Wedding Dress||£200||£800+|
|Second Hand Wedding Dress||£50||£4000+|
|Wedding Dress Alterations||£60||£300+|
If you are looking for a full-on wedding dress shopping experience, it’s likely you are hoping to head to a wedding dress boutique on the high street. These independent boutiques often stock big-name wedding dress designers.
Every boutique will have a different selection of designers, which will impact the price range in their store. As a rule of thumb, a dress in a bridal boutique is going to cost in the region of £700-£4000+.
📌 Top tip - check out your bridal boutique FAQ or ask them for their gown price range before you visit. They will be happy to share as they want you to be able to afford their gowns and it will avoid the heartbreak of falling for a dress out of budget!
In recent years, many bridal boutiques are charging for appointments, so do bear this in mind before booking countless appointments with multiple retailers. It could set you back a tidy sum. Instead, really research the boutiques you are interested in going to and visit one at a time to reduce your outlay.
Appointment charges can vary between £15-35. Weekdays are often cheaper, as are follow-up appointments. Boutiques charge fees to protect themselves from no-shows and last-minute cancellations, which for small businesses can be crippling.
The high street has had some fantastic wedding dress options over the years. Retailers that sell them come and go, so do be sure to keep your eyes peeled for new collections in your fave clothing stores.
I’ve rounded up some top places to buy wedding dresses online, as you can see prices came in at £22-7350. So the costs can massively differ depending on the shop. Sales and special discounts will also impact the pricing, so do look out for cost-cutting times to make that purchase.
→ This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase – at no additional cost to yourself.
*Prices correct as of June 2022
If you are looking for your dress to be handmade by a local wedding dress designer you are looking to spend a minimum of £1500-£3000+.
However, if you go to a well-known and high-end catwalk dress designer, you could spend £10,000-£100,000+. You only need to look at celebrity and royal dresses to know some of them are estimated to have cost in the hundreds of thousands too.
If you are looking for an authentic original vintage wedding dress, the cost again will be different depending on what you are looking for. Vintage wedding dresses are considered to be originally designed and made in the 90s or earlier. In fact, it won’t be long until the 00s are considered ‘vintage’. Eek!
It could be the older the dress, the more expensive it is, but then again, it depends on the popularity of the style. For instance, the 40s, 50s and 70s are most in vogue in the wedding dress fashion. If the demand is higher, you know what that means, the price goes up!
The designer and quality of the dress will impact the price as will the condition of it. So depending on all these factors, expect to pay between £150-£800+. Also think about costing in costs of cleaning, repairs and alternations for vintage frocks.
If you have a loved one, whose dress you have your eye on, you may even be gifted it for free. Wearing an heirloom gown can be really special.
Charity shops are a great place to find wedding dresses and give back by supporting a great charity. You can find a real bargain with prices starting at £20 on Oxfam.
Some charity shops also sometimes get donations of samples or discontinued dresses. These are likely to cost up to £1000, depending on the designer and condition.
Ever thought about renting your wedding dress? Not only will it be kinder to your bank balance, but you may be able to bag a high-end dress you may not have been able to afford outright. PLUS it’s environmentally friendly – win-win. Renting a wedding dress will cost from £20-£700+ depending on the designer and retailer.
I’ve featured many brides who have made their own wedding dress or had a loved one do so. You may need to be a dab hand with a sewing machine, but the freedom is amazing.
Fabric and embellishments depending on the complexity of your design could set you back between £200-£800+.
There are loads of online marketplaces selling second-hand wedding dresses and some specialist boutiques. If you find a dress you love but don’t have the budget for, try searching some marketplaces.
You may just strike lucky and find the dress, in your size for a fraction of the cost. As well as being kinder to the planet for the region of £50-£4000+.
It’s key to ensure your wedding dress fits perfectly. Having the most amazing dress which doesn’t hug your figure, is too tight/long or doesn’t hang well will not make you feel great.
Even the cheapest of dresses can be transformed if well altered and fitting. As a guide budget from £60-300+ depending on the level of alterations required.
Final Thoughts On The Price of Wedding Dresses
I found researching the cost of wedding dresses really interesting and in fact, the average cost tallied up with my own poll I ran on Instagram stories. So the average cost of dress spend in the UK seems pretty accurate.
You now know the price of the average wedding dress in the UK, as well as a guide on different price points for different dress outlets. Plus, hopefully, some new ideas for finding the one.
So it's time to set your dress budget, find some places to shop and try on some gorgeous gowns. Happy shopping!
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