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Article: How Are Wedding Dresses Priced? (Custom & Off-The-Rack)

wedding dress on dress form at custom dress studio

How Are Wedding Dresses Priced? (Custom & Off-The-Rack)

Shopping for wedding dresses online or in a store can come with a range of worries, but one most brides run into is the price. Some gowns will be priced fairly, while most tend to be marked up at a considerable rate, leaving brides unsure how to spot a brand they can trust.

Today, we're here to help take you through how wedding dresses are priced so that we can equip you with all of the information you'll need before you start your shopping journey.

Important reminder: this is generally speaking throughout the industry, but won’t cover EVERY brand.

When it comes to buying a wedding gown, there will be many different factors that decide the end cost for you, the consumer. These factors include being sold directly by a store, where & how a brand made the gown, and much more.

Once you start the process of shopping around, you'll be faced with two options: you can buy a gown off-the-rack in a store, or you can opt for a custom wedding dress directly from a designer or seamstress.

How are wedding dresses priced?

Off the rack gowns

Where the dress is made: Some brands will opt to have their garments made overseas in factories where the average cost of labor is far cheaper than in Australia, which allows them to bring their price down a lot lower than a brand that makes their gowns locally. If a wedding dress takes 10 hours to sew and the labor is $2-5 an hour, it will significantly differ on the final price point compared to a brand that pays an employee in Australia $40-$60 per hour. 

How it's made: Another factor that can alter the price of a wedding dress is how it's made. If gowns are mass-manufactured overseas and ordered in bulk, the pricing will be far lower than unique gowns made individually by seamstresses. For transparency's sake, at Euphorie Studios, all of our dresses are made one by one by our seamstresses at our Brisbane studio - even if you were to order two of the same gown off our website, they'd both be made individually. However, when a brand can manufacture and 'stack cut' (cut 8x size 12 gowns, for example) then have a team sew the dress in different parts simultaneously, it'll also decrease the price. 

What do I sacrifice: While there are some fabulous quality gowns at very reasonable prices, more often than not, you'll find that these mass-manufactured gowns are lower in quality, as they're made with less precision while using cheaper fabrics. 

Going for the custom wedding dress option:

When it comes to having a custom-made dress, generally speaking, the pricing process will be different in its ways while still having some similarities to an off-the-rack gown.

Two significant parts of the process will dictate a large portion of the cost.

  • How many hours will be spent on your gown: the more elaborate a dress is*, the more time a seamstress will need to devote hand sewing it and the more fittings you may need to get it perfect. The intricacies of your gown and the hours it takes to create it can raise the cost of the dress.
  • The types of fabrics you'll be using on your custom-made wedding gown: if you're going for a fully beaded lace, for example, it'll raise the cost of your dress a lot higher than something less expensive fabric-wise. 

(*When discussing custom wedding gown ideas with a designer, be sure to ask for a total cost breakdown so you can see where you're spending money or what services you'll be charged for)

Bridal design studios will have their lace suppliers and connections. How much they pay for their fabrics/lace will ultimately be dependant on how much their suppliers charge them. 

Things To Keep In Mind:

"Designed in…." Vs. "designed and made in…."

This is a trick many brands use around the world in almost every industry. If a brand wants their products to appear 'local' when made overseas, they'll use specific wording to sneak around it. Instead of saying 'Products made AND designed in Australia,' they'll say 'Products designed in Australia' - we're often fooled into thinking that means they're locally made products when in reality, they're designed here and sent off to overseas factories, usually to keep the price down. 

Knowing the difference between ‘designed in’ & ‘made and designed in’ will be important if you’re wanting to buy an Australian-made wedding dress.

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