I’m going to tell you what I wish I knew when hunting for my dress.
Granted, I got a good deal on my dress, but it could have been a great one. Now being in the industry of painting wedding dresses, well I have leaned some tricks.
Some tricks I can now share with you.
So you can find that dream dress for cheaper and get it colored in the amazing hues you dream off, while staying in budget.
For the bride looking to save on the dress
Try on dresses at a normal bridal boutique. This will help you determine what style looks best on your body. The hardest part will be walking away empty handed, but this is key to getting a good dress for half the price.
SO many brides think they know what they want from the pretty pictures online, then totally change their mind when trying on gowns. I did! That’s why you have to try them on.
Now you are ready to HUNT!!! I find this pretty fun.
Look though apps like Let Go, Offer Up, and Still White for insanely cheap dresses in a similar style to the one you liked in the dress store.
Go thrift shopping. This is best in & around bridal season, since some thrift shops will hold their wedding gowns in the back until that time of year.
Go to bridal stores to ask if they have any sample wedding dresses they are trying to clear out. I have purchased 4 full and fabulous dresses for only $40 each (that’s less than the fabric alone would cost). Although that’s rare, so I’d say for anything under $300 your doing really well.
Keep in mind the dress does not have to be perfect. You can get a dress taken in or even add corset ties to ones that won't zip up. You can also add or remove sleeves, lace, layers. You can scrub stains and patch tears. There is seriously so much you can do to take an old dress and make it brand new and beautiful.
I definitely suggest talking to an alterations person or someone with good sewing skills that can help you determine what is feasible.
If you are hoping to go really cheap on the dress, expect to pay more on alterations. Overall it will still cost less than most gowns unless you’re a perfect size - but let’s face it, most of us aren’t.
Avoid gowns that don’t have a designer tag. Ask the seller where they got the dress from. Typically no tag means it was purchased from China on a online store that rips off designers, steals their photos, and then claims to be able to make the dress for super cheap. These places have even taken my wedding pictures and pretended to sell my dress. Oh and the dress you get, won’t be the one in the photo. Often they have strange proportions and bad workmanship.
This is the BEST way to get a great deal on good quality dress. Don’t resort to the china bridal rip-off websites!
I personally do not think it is worth it and due to the low quality fabric, these are harder to color. I have gotten some that are okay, but the majority have really bad hems and other issues that make my job so much more difficult. As you can assume, that means these cost more to get colored.
— there are a few shops from china that have better quality at still a low cost. The best way to tell is if they are using their own photos or stealing. Shops doing there own photography care about the product more, one I was impressed by is Cocomelody. This price range is lower than designers but not by a huge amount, you can find a better deal thrifting.
Now for saving on coloring!
On average my custom coloring is around $1500 to $3100, I know that’s a HUGE range. If you want to know a closer estimate, first get a clear idea of the dress you want, then fill out the booking form.
BUT here are some general tips that will get you in the right direction of cost savings.
To put it simply, less fabric = less cost. Bigger the dress, bigger the cost, with a few exceptions.
Oh and if I’m losing you with my terminology, google is great.
Lace costs a bit more than the other fabric types and chiffon costs a bit less.
Avoid Satin fabric that repel water.
For poof, look to add crinoline under the lining rather than a dress that has layers upon layers of tulle.
Avoid dresses that have a horsehair hem in organza.
Avoid rosette gowns. Some I won’t even color, but all are expensive.
The layers of the gown affect the cost more than a long train.
Book early and in off-season months. The months prior to June get super busy, but November to January is less.
Don’t get the Sunset Combo or Peacock Combo! These are so popular that I had to put a high minimum on them. However, slight variations avoid the minimum, like no blue in the sunset, or a green in the peacock combo.
Lastly, to help with the cost of coloring I do give the option to break the payments up each month prior to your booking. $500 is due for booking and then the payments start the following month. Just another reason to book early!
I’ll be adding to this but for now I hope this helps you get a good deal on the dress of your dreams <3