Getting Married: The High Cost of a Wedding Dress

Getting Married: The High Cost of a Wedding Dress
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Weddings are expensive and costs pile up fast. From booking the venue to buying your wedding dress, it can seem as if your credit card is on fire or your bank account empties out faster than you can fill it. This leaves many brides (and maybe even grooms) wondering, is it appropriate to negotiate the cost of a wedding dress? Brides tend to have a better chance of negotiating the price in smaller boutiques or owner-run dress shops over retail or big chain dress shops (but it is still possible to give it a try).

The truth of the matter is that there is always room for negotiation. It doesn’t hurt to ask if the cashier or storekeeper will accept less than what shows on the price tag. The worse that they can say is no, and the best thing that can happen is that they come back with a number less than the price tag but more than your offer. There are also specific situations when it improves your chances that you can open up the door for negotiations.

Sample Dresses

Small boutiques and dress shops tend to stock dress samples. Sample dresses are simply that—dresses that display the styles that are available. Brides try them on no matter what size they are. If the bride wants to buy the dress, then the store orders the dress from the manufacturer in the bride’s size. When it is time to move these samples out to make room for the new dress styles, this is the perfect time to negotiate a deal. Even if the sample dress is not your size, you can have the dress altered. Even if the dress is a bit worn, you can have it cleaned. You should be able to get the dress for 50% off or more from the retail price.

Off the Rack Dress

Even dress shops that stock racks of dresses may offer a negotiation opportunity. This may be a chance when it is appropriate to negotiate the cost of a wedding dress even more so than the boutiques that simply stock one dress per style. One of the reazsons for this is that stores that sell off the rack really need to make more room for new styles that are available. This also helps keep their stock updates and ready for excited new brides.

Flaws and Stains

If the dress you want has some kind of a flaw in the material, threading or embellishments, this is another time when it is appropriate to ask for a discount. Simply point out the flaw to the shopkeeper and see if it is possible to get the dress for less money. Some shops knock off a standard 10% to 20% off for these types of design flaws. In a similar fashion, if the dress has a stain, such as lipstick or makeup on it, you may also benefit from a discount.



  1. Author’s own experience as a former certified event planner.

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