How does your wedding dress budget compare?

So you’re engaged – congratulations! We’re sure you have so many ideas for your big day running through your head and your Instagram inspiration ready to go. But one thing we have little doubt on is that you’ve already thought about THAT dress.

Whether you’ve pictured yourself in it, admired it in a magazine, or even tried something on already (you wouldn’t be the only one to try a wedding dress on before they’re engaged!), we want to help you pick out the perfect dress for you. And we know that comes down to not only what you have in mind, but also where it fits in your budget.

So what is the average cost of a wedding dress? And how does your budget compare?

The cost of a wedding dress is…

Drum roll please… the average cost of a wedding dress in Australia is $2,649, which has gone up 4% from 2018. It’s no surprise to us that brides are spending a little bit of extra money when it comes to their perfect wedding gown. This factors in those who are buying off the rack, as well as brides who have their dress custom made.

If you’re based in Melbourne or Sydney you’re also more likely to spend a bit more over the average national budget, with the state averages coming in a bit higher. But those further north, south or west will may save a little.

The average cost of a wedding dress per state is:

  • New South Wales – $2,837
  • Victoria – $2,806
  • Queensland – $2,179
  • South Australia – $2,569
  • Western Australia – 2,544
  • Tasmania – $2,208
  • Northern Territory – $2,650
  • Australian Capital Territory – $1,816

We’ve broken it down and discovered that the typical bride will spend around 7% of their wedding budget on the dress. If you’re still trying to work out how much you should actually budget for your dress, login to our budget calculator and input your entire wedding budget to see what you could spend.

That said, 25% of brides say that their budget doesn’t matter if they find the dress of their dreams! And we’re also totally on board with that.

If you are concerned with your budget but still want that designer dress, take a look at preloved dresses. 20% of brides will buy a preloved dress for their wedding day, and there are some gorgeous designer gowns that you can get for a discounted price.

When should you buy your dress?

Now you have a bit more of an idea about what you should spend on your dress, it’s time to start thinking about when you should actually purchase it!

We recommend thinking about your wedding dress between 12 to 18 months from the big day. You might start thinking about what style you like and trying a few things on 18 months out, but once you get to that 12 months stage it’s time to think about the purchase.

This means you’re not buying your wedding dress too far out in case circumstances change, and you’re also not leaving it too late if you need to have custom details added or need any last-minute alterations.

Typically, the wedding dress is the fifth big decision you’ll make for your big day. So after booking your venue, celebrant, photographer, and a planner if you’re having one, it’s time to get your dress inspiration out and get ready to look like a princess!

What should you consider while dress shopping?

We surveyed more than 4,100 couples last year to see what experiences they had while wedding dress shopping, to better prepare you for your walk down the dress aisle.

The best wedding dress suppliers will offer you a range of styles to suit different budgets and body shapes, without judgement. We’ve heard some horror stories when it comes to inappropriate comments on body shape, so if that happens feel free to grab your things and walk straight out of there Pretty Woman style!


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You also want to consider what accessories you’re going to be wearing with your dress, and your attendant should be able to help you. 63% of brides opt to wear a veil, and this is another item you can look at in a bridal boutique. When it comes to alterations time you should also try to wear the shoes you’re going to wear on your day, to make sure that you can resolve any issues with length. This is where having a boutique that can make alterations in house is particularly useful.

You want a bridal supplier who can give you advice when it comes to the time of year you’re getting married. It’s also important to check out reviews before purchasing, particularly looking out to make sure they’re paying proper attention to detail when it comes to finishing the dress as well as continuing to communicate properly after you’ve paid the deposit.

5% of brides have told us that the dress is the most important part of their wedding, so we want to make sure you pick the perfect one for you!

What should I do with my dress afterwards?

We know you’ve just got it and you want to actually get down the aisle in it, but once your perfect day is over you should have a think about what you want to do with your dress sooner rather than later. There are several options when it comes to this, but the most popular option is to store your dress.

67% of brides will store and save their wedding dress. If this is what you’d like to do, make sure that you invest in a specialty service like a dress box to clean and store your dress to avoid discolouration or damage in storage.

You’ve also got the option to sell your wedding dress. 21% of brides say they will sell their dress after the wedding, while another 8% will donate it.

And of course, there’s the trash the dress photoshoot which 4% of couples do after their big day!

Ready to buy your dress? Browse through wedding dress boutiques or designers in your area to find your perfect gown! 

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