Let’s face it, we all have a budget for our wedding day – even if we’re Kate Middleton. And the price of your wedding dress is probably going to take up a big part of your budget.

To help you on your way, we’ve listed various ways of buying your bridal gown – from the high street to couture – and what each route is likely to cost you. Just bear in mind that each option comes with a different waiting time – if you buy a dress in the High Street or online you could get it in a few days whereas if you’re interested in a couture gown (and who wouldn’t be) then it will take a good few months to be finished.

wedding dress shopping tobiahtayo

High street options

You might not get the same quality experience as you would if you bought a gown from a bridal boutique, but buying a dress on the high street is an option for brides on a very limited budget. Expect to pay around £295-£500 for your frock here. The pros are you’ll see what you’re getting and the cost is relatively inexpensive – you will also be able to take it home that day. Good shops to investigate are Monsoon who have a variety of different styles with a simple shift starting at £129. It’s also a good place to buy shrugs and accessories. Also try BHS and Phase 8 for fashion-forward styles. Against buying on the high street? Your dress won’t be professionally fitted and you may not find a salesperson who’s been trained to help you.

Buying online

Wedding Ideas would always warn against buying a wedding dress online. There are so many websites selling cheap fake designer dresses, it’s just not worth the heartache – no matter how cheap the dress is.  We’ve heard some heart-breaking stories from brides who’ve bought dresses that never turned up, or were poor quality, torn or not as described. It’s the usual story, if something is too good to be true then it probably is.

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The exception to this rule is Kitty & Dulcie – you can buy online with confidence from them as everything is beautifully made and you can return a dress if it’s not suitable as they are based in the UK. They offer all styles of wedding dresses from a traditional lace gown (like Duchess Dotty for £295) to a quirky 1950s style number.

Manufacturer – off the peg

An off-the-peg dress will cost from around £500 to £1,500 – depending on the manufacturer (look for well-established names like Mori Lee, Maggie Sottero, Benjamin Roberts and Veromia). It will be fitted in-house for you and you can have alterations made to it as you want to (for which you’ll have to pay). It’s a relatively inexpensive option, you can try on a variety of dresses and you’ll get good quality and value for money. This is the most popular option for most UK brides.


Here you’re going to be looking at a designer like Sassi Holford or Suzanne Neville and you can expect to pay around £1,500 to £3,000. For that you’ll get a beautifully designed dress from the latest collection made to your specification. We know that many of our brides are delighted they took this route and spent a little more for the dress of their dreams.

stewart parvin


Here the price is ramped up. Find a designer you like (for example Stewart Parvin, who also has a Royal Warrant) and you can make changes to suit you. For example, you might want to alter a neckline to suit your features better or request the dress in a different fabric. If you’re not a standard size this could be a good route for you but only if you have the budget.


This is where we get into the territory of Kate Middleton, Petra Ecclestone and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece (who had an amazing Valentino wedding gown).

Couture dresses are the most expensive option but you’ll get a one-off gown that’s unique to you, in a one-off design and you can be confident it will suit you perfectly. You’ll need the time to go to lots of fittings.  There’s no one size fits all – this dress is made to your measurements entirely. It’s a beautiful option if you’ve got the time, money and you’re a princess in waiting. You’ll end up with a work of art!