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Wedding Dress Budget: What To Include & How To Make It Work For You

Bridal boutique rose gold backdrop with #PearlsGirls signage

For many brides, finding the perfect wedding dress is integral to planning the dream wedding. However, we understand it’s an emotionally fuelled journey…especially when the word “budget” is mentioned.

Thankfully, we’re not here to talk dry spreadsheets or to restrict your big day dreams. Heck no! Instead, we’re using this post to highlight all the bridal attire elements you should consider when setting your spending parameters so you know exactly what the budget needs to cover.

This way, you can decide on your ensemble priorities and make more informed choices about your purchases without compromising your vision.

How Much Does A Wedding Dress Cost?

Rail of wedding dresses in Little Pearl bridal boutique with price tags hanging on them catering to a range of wedding dress budgets

Naturally, you’d think the best place to start is by researching the average price of a wedding dress or the ideal wedding dress budget. But - spoiler alert! - there is no definitive answer for either.

Ultimately, there are impacting factors as to how much a bride has to spend on her attire - such as the overall budget and big-day priorities. Likewise, there are reasons that determine the cost of a wedding dress, including the fabric quality, detailing, designer and whether it's a bespoke design or a handmade gown.

And so, it’s less about setting an ideal budget and more about making the amount you’ve got work for YOU!

How Our North Yorkshire Bridal Boutique Can Help

Exterior shot of The Little Pearl bridal boutqiue in North Yorkshire with cream painted walls, pretty pink door and florals

Here at The Little Pearl, we believe in making your bridal look dreams come true without blowing the budget. We do so by stocking all the bridal attire you’ll need to create your desired vision - from the dress to shapewear, shoes and accessories. Having all options in one place not only makes it easier to keep track of what you’re spending, but it means we can assist with top-to-toe styling, and you can try on your entire big day look before stepping onto the aisle.

Furthermore, our gorgeous wedding dress designs cater for a wide range of budgets. The Little Pearl mainline boutique collections are priced between £1,000 and £3,500, plus we have an off-the-peg collection featuring stunning ex-sample dresses starting from just £395.

Finally, our Sample Sale events, which usually take place twice a year, provide a rare opportunity to snap up your dream dress at a heavily discounted price…and we happen to have an EXTRA SPECIAL one coming up later this month. From Friday, 20th October to Saturday, 4th November, our Pocket The Pearl Sample Sale will feature a dreamy selection of ready-to-wear designer gowns with DISCOUNTS OF UP TO 75% and prices starting from as little as £399. And that’s not all! If you’re the lucky bride who discovers our Signature Pearl inside your chosen sale dress, you’ll GET YOUR DRESS AND ACCESSORIES COMPLETELY FREE! Incredible, right?! Head to our events page for full details and to secure your spot ASAP!

What To Include In Your Wedding Dress Budget

Interior shot of The Little Pearl bridal boutique in North Yorkshire with rows of designer wedding dresses and bridal accessories on show

Right brideys, prepare to take note as we cover the elements that tend to fall into the ‘bridal attire’ budget category. While some elements, such as the dress and alteration costs, will be non-negotiables, you may wish to forgo other aspects, such as hair accessories or a second-look dress.

However your list looks at the end; it should help give you a clear picture of everything you need to include in your bridal attire budget and what proportion of the overall budget will be required to cover it. We’d also suggest ranking your bridal attire list in order of priority so you can split your spends accordingly.

Finally, we’ve included some savvy Pearls Of Wisdom, so whatever figure you decide, you can make the budget work harder for you!

The Wedding Dress

We’d expect the dress to rank at the top of most brides’ lists and, therefore, to be allocated the most significant proportion of the attire budget. This helpful blog post by Whimsical Wonderland Weddings sheds light on how much you can expect to spend on different types of wedding dresses, from pre-loved to bridal boutique collections and high-end couture gowns.

Setting out with a dress budget in mind will help you narrow down the shopping options and bridal boutiques that sit within your spending parameters and will ultimately save you the heartache of falling for a dress that’s entirely out of reach.

Most bridal boutiques charge a consultation fee for appointments ranging from £15 to £35, so be sure to find ones that align with your bridal vision and stock gowns within your price bracket to avoid unnecessary spending on multiple appointments. Take a look at our Full Guide To Wedding Dress Shopping for more advice on the dress search.

Pearl Of Wisdom: Keep your eyes peeled for off-the-peg/ready-to-wear bridal boutique collections, plus Trunk Show and Sample Sale events, which could provide an opportunity to bag your dream dress at a discounted price.

Bridal Underwear & Shapewear

Unfortunately, your everyday bra and knickers are unlikely to make the cut as your bridal underwear, so prepare to spend some budget on fitting undergarments.

We’re talking no VPL, high waist underwear and comfortable, supportive shapewear in suitable neutral tones. We’re excited to have a fabulous new range of bridal underwear at The Little Pearl so we can advise on the perfect lingerie to suit your dress choice.

Wedding Shoes

Your shoe weakness level will likely dictate where ‘footwear’ ranks on your priority list, but we all know the right shoes can make you feel fabulous and step out with confidence. Think about what heel height will work best for you in terms of comfort and helping with your posture. Your footwear also provides a great opportunity to reflect your personal style, whether it be a brightly coloured pair, pearl embellished or topped with a pretty bow!

From January, we’ll be stocking a dreamy collection of Rainbow bridal shoes, providing amazing style and comfort.

Pearl Of Wisdom: Consider choosing shoes that can be easily reworn beyond the big day to give you greater value for money. Many of the Rainbow designs we’ll be stocking can be dyed after the wedding, giving them greater adaptability for future wear.

Shelving unit at The Little Pearl bridal boutique showing bridal accessories that brides might want to factor into their wedding dress budget

Bridal Hair Accessories, Jewellery & Veil

These are the elements that can really help define and personalise your bridal look.

You might want a beautiful cathedral veil, delicate stud earrings, and a necklace for timeless elegance. Meanwhile, for a more fashion-forward look, it might be a bold bridal headband and statement earrings that take your fancy. Prices will vary from fashion pieces to handmade and bespoke creations.

Take a look at Our Guide To Choosing Bridal Accessories for accessory shopping tips and advice, plus the Accessories section of our website for an overview of the fabulous finishing touches stocked here at The Little Pearl.

Glitter tulle wedding veil and pearl headband for brides stocked at The Little Pearl bridal boutique in Pickering

Second Wedding Dress Look

There’s a growing desire among brides for a second look for their celebrations. This might be another wedding dress for multi-day nuptials or a different outfit for the evening party.

In response to such demand, we’re excited to be adding a short wedding dress collection by Wtoo to our boutique in December. Priced between £350 and £900, these super stylish dresses are perfect attire for the engagement party, evening reception or even the hen party. Look out for more details coming soon!

Meanwhile, if a second wedding dress is a budget stretch too far, we have beautiful transitional bridalwear designs by Rachel Rose and Wtoo featuring detachable overskirts and sleeves, providing multiple looks from just one dress.

And, more exciting still, our in-house seamstress can create custom, transitional pieces to fit with your gown, including overskirts, detachable sleeves, toppers and capes, to achieve an entirely unique second look.

Pearl Of Wisdom: Second wedding dress out of the question? Then consider switching your bridal accessories from day to night to change up your look. Think a gorgeous French lace trim veil for the ceremony and a glittering tulle hair bow for the evening party.

Wedding Dress Alterations

Brides often overlook the cost of wedding dress alterations when planning their budget. These will rarely be included in the wedding dress price and tend to vary between £200 and £600 depending on the required level of work.

Some will only need basic alterations to achieve the perfect fit, such as shortening the length of the gown and taking it in at the waist. However, others might require more complex work, especially if the gown is heavily detailed or if the bride wants to customise the gown by adding sleeves, for example.

Here at The Little Pearl, we have a highly experienced in-house seamstress who works with all our brides to achieve the perfect look and fit. These costs will be quoted for you at your first fitting appointment.

Wedding Dress Aftercare

Finally, there’s the little question of what to do with your dress after the wedding to consider. We’ve put together a helpful blog post to outline the options available, ranging from professional dry-cleaning and boxing to selling it on pre-loved bridal websites to recoup some of your spends.

Pearl Of Wisdom: Can’t bear the thought of parting with your dress post-wedding? Then why not have it altered by our in-house seamstress so you can wear it for future special occasions, giving your dress purchase added value.


BECOME A #PEARLSGIRL - Simply click here to book your Luxury Bridal Experience at our gorgeous North Yorkshire bridal boutique. In addition to our very own Clara Pearl bridal label, we stock stunning collections of timeless and modern wedding gowns by top bridal designers, including Evie Young, Rachel Rose, Stella York and Wtoo.

GET YOUR FREE DRESS SHOPPING GUIDE - Join our #PearlsGirls Club to get your hands on our downloadable ‘Guide To Start Your Wedding Dress Shopping’ and to be the first to hear about exciting boutique news, exclusive offers and upcoming events. Click here to sign up!


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