Saturday 13th July 2024

My search for a perfectly budget wedding dress

Wedding Dress

Getting married can be daunting enough without all the expenses looming over your head. When I decided that I wanted a fairly low key, low cost wedding, one of the questions that flooded my mind was ‘what about the dress?’. There wasn’t any way that I felt I could justify a £500+ dress – one that was only going to be worn for one day in my life – however much I loved the man that I was going to marry. So, I began to brainstorm…

I could get it made

Originally, my mother offered to make my wedding dress for me. Although this is probably cheaper than buying, handmade is still quite costly – not only because of the fabric (good quality fabric isn’t cheap, and cheap fabric certainly looks its price!), but also the time involved. Making even just the simplest of wedding dresses requires hours and hours of dedication, even from a highly experienced seamstress. After adding up all of the potential costs, my mother and I decided that it was best for us to look elsewhere for my dress.

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Everything related to weddings comes with a price tag to match. If you decide to go down the DIY route, I’d suggest looking for a nice pattern that isn’t advertised as a ‘wedding dress’.

Find one in a charity shops

We had heard great things about the bridal section of the York branch of Oxfam. One morning we went to explore, expecting to have a good old dig into some second hand dresses and hopefully find a bargain. But what we found, instead, was a mixture of dresses; some that looked nice but were the wrong size, dresses with armpit stains, and many dresses that I didn’t much care for at all. After all this, and finding one acceptable dress, I checked the price tag and it was still £250!

Get a dress made in China

Another piece of advice that I heard was to order a custom made dress from China. This would reportedly cost just a fraction of the price of a similar dress made in the UK. One of the things you need to consider, if you want to take this route, is shipping; China may be cheap, but it can take a long time (and cost a lot, too) for things to be shipped to the UK. Also, if the dress does not fit you or your expectations, returning it to China would not be easy or cheap.

Another question mark here is on the ethics of shopping this way, but I won’t go into that… (I’ll leave that to Nadia and Dan.)

What I actually did

In the end, I decided to go for this dress from the UK dress company, Chi Chi London. The dress was pretty cheap (£75, give or take that penny) and delivery was fast. It doesn’t have a fancy train or anything like that, but hey, I never wanted an expensive wedding anyway.

Maddy Sutherland

Maddy is a freelance illustrator who lives in Glasgow. She's recently graduated and is working hard to make ends meet. Self-employed? Read Maddy's experiences here.

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