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Determining the Average Wedding Dress Cost in 2022

Determining the Average Wedding Dress Cost in 2022
Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarcoUpdated August 15, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Whether you’ve always had a vision of your wedding dress or you’re just starting to gather inspiration photos, it will most likely be an expensive purchase. When it comes to the average price of a wedding gown, a lot depends on the style, designer, fabric, embellishments, and where you purchase the dress. As you start shopping, however, there are some average wedding dress costs to keep in mind, so you can avoid sticker shock and decide how much of your wedding budget will go towards your dress. Here’s a look at costs to expect, how to spend less than the average cost of a wedding dress, plus affordable financing ideas if you don’t have the cash to pay for your dress outright.

How Much Does a Wedding Dress Cost? 

According to a 2021 survey of over 15,000 couples by The Knot, the average wedding dress cost is $1,800. However, there are wedding dress options to work with every wedding budget, from a simple strapless midi at H&M for $60 to an Oscar de la Renta tulle draped ball gown for $10,000. 

Average Cost to Alter a Wedding Dress

When considering the cost of a wedding dress, you also need to factor in tailoring. Even if there is an in-house tailor, most bridal salons don't include alterations in the price of the gown. Some will charge a flat fee, while others base the price on the complexity of the changes you need. Depending on the amount of work involved in altering a dress, the cost can range anywhere from $75 to $250 for minor alterations to $500-plus for more extensive changes, such as adding sleeves, changing a neckline, or adding a bustle or embellishments.

Average Wedding Dress Cost: New Dress vs Used Dress 

The average wedding dress cost looks different if a bride is willing to consider buying a used (pre-worn) dress instead of a brand new one.

New Wedding Dress Cost

While the average wedding dress runs around $1,800, new wedding dresses generally range from $500 to $4,000. If you buy a machine-made dress at a large bridal retailer, you can spend near the lower end of that range. While these dresses tend to be on the simpler side, you may be able to elevate your look with more ornate accessories.

Used Wedding Dress Cost

The average cost of a wedding dress can drop significantly if you choose to buy a used dress. You may be able to snag a great deal on a used wedding dress at a general consignment shop or wedding-specific consignment store. You can also find used dresses online at sites like preowned wedding dresses and Poshmark.Costs vary depending on the designer, but pre-owned dresses typically sell for about 40% of the new dress price and, in some cases, the discount is considerably more. If you go the pre-owned route, keep in mind that you may need to spend more on alterations since the sizing options may be limited. 

What Affects the Cost of a Wedding Dress? 

There are a lot of different factors that can affect how much a wedding dress costs. Here are some to consider.

Material 

Certain materials, such as silk organza and silk chiffon, cost more than others, like organza or polyester. More volume (translation: more fabric) and more decoration (such as ribbons, buttons, beads, sequins and pearls) also increase the price of a dress. In other words, a ball gown with beading and detailed embroidery will cost considerably more than a simple sheath.

Designer

There are big designer names in the bridal world and some brides may find that paying extra for a designer gown is worth the cost, whereas other brides may be perfectly happy to choose a mass market designer in exchange for a much lower price tag. 

Condition 

Buying a pre-worn dress or the sample gown at the bridal salon (which others have tried on) can help you save money on a dress. How much will depend on the condition of the gown. The closer it looks to brand new, generally the higher the price tag will be. 

Location

Where you live can also affect the cost of a wedding dress — dress prices in a major city, with steep commercial rents, will typically run higher than those in small towns. Where you shop is also a major factor. Gowns in a designer-specific bridal salon generally run higher than gowns in a local bridal shop or a national bridal retail chain. Local bridal stores and chains often offer dresses you can buy “off-the-rack,” rather than ordering them. Online-only bridal retailers (which have low overhead) can often offer even better deals.

Financing a Wedding Dress 

A wedding dress is a big purchase and some brides find it helpful to spread out the costs of that purchase with financing. Here’s a look at a few wedding dress financing options. 

In-Store Financing 

Some bridal salons offer in-store financing that allows you to spread out the cost of a wedding dress over three or six months with no interest. If you take longer to pay for the dress, however, you may be subject to high interest and fees. 

Credit Cards 

One way to spread out the cost of a wedding dress purchase is to put it on your credit card. Be careful here, though, since credit card interest rates are notoriously high. That interest can add up fast, greatly increasing the overall cost of the gown. Also, if you end up having trouble making your credit card's minimum payments, you could damage your credit.If you can pay the dress off when you first get your bill, or soon thereafter, though, using a credit card can be a good way to earn points and cash back — especially if you are putting other wedding expenses on your card. If it will take you some time to pay off the dress, you might want to look into getting a card with 0% promotional APR. These deals often last 12 to 18 months. If you can pay your balance within that time, this will give you interest-free financing.

Personal Loans 

It can be hard to cover the cost of a wedding dress, on top of the average cost of a wedding. One way to take the pressure off is to get a personal loan. This type of loan can be used for virtually any type of expense (including an engagement ring), and interest rates are typically lower than a credit card, which can make this a more affordable borrowing option. Some personal loans are even advertised as “wedding loans.” Recommended: How Do Personal Loans Work?

Personal Loans for Wedding Expenses

With the average cost of wedding dresses running around $1,800, it can be helpful to finance the purchase. One way to do that is to take out a personal loanIf you have good credit, interest rates can be lower than most credit cards. This type of loan also comes with a fixed amount of money and a fixed repayment period, which means you can’t continue to run up expenses in the way you can with a credit card. However, keep in mind that personal loans do charge interest, which will make your wedding dress cost more than if you paid for it in cash.If you think using a personal loan may be a good option for you, it can be wise to shop around and compare personal loan rates to make sure you get the best possible deal. With Lantern by SoFi’s online lending tool, you can compare multiple personal loan offers all in one place. This can help you find the best fit for your wedding needs and budget.
Photo credit: iStock/jacoblund
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Frequently Asked Questions

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About the Author

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco is a personal finance writer and editor based in Southern California. While she spends the bulk of her time writing about complex financial issues, she also tackles a variety of subjects ranging from food to fashion to travel. Her work can be found across dozens of publications such as Credit Karma, LendingTree, Northwestern Mutual, The Everygirl, and Apartment Therapy.
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