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Wedding Dress Blues: Why Wedding Gowns Are So Expensive (and How to Get Over It)

One bride struggles with the hefty price tag of her wedding gown

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Dear Hudson Valley bride: Some say the prices are high because women are willing to pay them! Attach the word “wedding” to anything and the price goes up. But “why so much?” is a good question.

A wedding gown is not just a white dress. Most are made from luxurious fabrics that, by the yard, are much more expensive than “everyday” fabrics. Silk satin, for example, is about $100 per yard. For a gown with 25 yards of fabric (not an unusual quantity), that comes to $2,500 just for the fabric alone.

There’s also far more labor and workmanship involved in creating a wedding gown. Some have hand-sewn seed pearls, extensive lacework, or stitching that is labor-intensive. Imported embroidery can cost thousands of dollars. Even the lining of the dress is special... and “special” translates to “more expensive.”

Last but not least is the fit. Most wedding gowns require several fittings, and time is money for the bridal shop owner. Alterations on a wedding gown are more time-consuming and laborious than with a party dress. Professionals who do alterations are paid well, because one wrong snip can spell disaster. If a designer label is attached to the gown, the designer’s fee also brings up the price.

That said, keep in mind that this is a once-in-a-lifetime event and, if your family is like many others, the gown may become an heirloom that’s worn time and time again. The decision of how much to spend on a gown is entirely up to you and your mom. My advice is to spend as much (or little) that makes you comfortable, and always to stay within your budget. On your wedding day, you’ll look gorgeous no matter what you wear!

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About This Blog

Tying the knot shouldn't put knots in your stomach, so whether you're the blushing bride, hubby-to-be, or even a wedding guest, The Wedding Guru Judy Lewis can answer all of your wedding-related questions.

This blog hails from, the one-stop resource for services and products, promotions and specials, a Regional Bridal Show schedule, Wed Shop, and links to money-saving and wedding-related Web sites.

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