Do 'Say Yes to the Dress' --- But Don't Settle Because of a Small Budget

The man of your dreams finally proposed and you could not be happier! Now its time to start planning for the big day. But first you must set a budget before you spend every last penny.  Newly engaged couples' budgets tend to vary all across the U.S. surveyed over 18,000 newly weds. They found that the national average cost of a wedding increased over $1,000 from 2014 to 2015 reaching $32,641.   

Wedding dress budget tips Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal and Alterations


The average wedding budget can differ though from coast to coast.  The most expensive place to get married last year was in Manhattan ringing in at about $82,299.  Take a short 3,000 mile trip to Alaska and you will find the least expensive place to get married at roughly $17,361.  Now where does all this money go? broke it down into different categories where brides and grooms tend to spend their wedding budget.  Typically about 50 percent of the wedding budget goes toward the venue alone.  Other categories include wedding planner, florist, dj, photographer, and of course, the wedding dress. Brides, on average, spend about 5 percent of their total wedding budget on their dresses. 

While some brides would say you can not put a price on happiness; other brides would disagree. Last year, the average U.S. bride spent around $1,469 on her wedding dress. Manhattan came in first again with brides spending about $3,000 on a dress, according to  In the end though, it is not about how long your train is or how many Swarovski crystals line the bodice of your wedding dress.  Every bride just wants to feel beautiful and confident on her special day.  (And that starts with the dress!)


Wedding dress budget tips Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal and Alterations


When brides go dress shopping for the first time, it is a very exciting experience. They bring their family and friends to help pick out the most important dress they will ever wear. They also come with a budget in mind that they want to stay at or under. Let's imagine that they enter the dress shop and there it is. The most beautiful gown that they have ever seen.  They turn over the luxurious price tag to find that it is way outside their set budget.  This is a daily occurrence that the bridal consultants on TLC's Say Yes to the Dress go through.

Maybe you are reading this and wondering how this applies to you and why would you care? You and fellow brides may be in this exact situation.  Since this is a common experience, we wanted to share some helpful tips on how to stay within your wedding dress budget, but still get your dream dress. We did our research at La Belle Vie Bridal, a bridal boutique in Bettendorf, Iowa.  If you haven't visited La Belle Vie Bridal, they offer some of the most customized bridal experience topped with bubbly champagne.  (And who doesn't love some bubbly?)

La Belle Vie Bridal Wedding dress budget
La Belle Vie bridal wedding dress budget
La Belle Vie Bridal wedding dress budget

Have not scheduled a visit yet? Check out the time I went behind the scenes at La Belle Vie Bridal here.  Thank you to Betsy, owner, for letting us raid your wedding dress closet and feel like brides for the day.  

compare style and budget

Wedding dress budget tips Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal and Alterations


Lace is favorite detail among brides.  Lace can range from $20-$80 a yard according to  Per yard cost for lace can be even more when its handmade.  La Belle Vie Bridal carries an exclusive bridal designer, Olvi's, that make all their wedding dresses with handmade lace.  Do not shy away because of the price tag.  These dresses are quite exquisite and a 'must-see' in person. 


Dress Budget $$$$

Olvi's  Style 1983, $3186


Dress  Budget $$ 

Madison James  Style MJ10, $1213



One of the most popular features brides look for in a wedding dress is beading.  What girl doesn't love a little bling? However, beading can come at a price.  The more beading details on the dress, the higher the price. According to, beaded silk can cost about $120 per yard and embroidered satin can cost around $60 per yard. A little beading, though, can still have a big 'WOW' factor.  


Dress $$$

Sottero & Midgley Florinda, $1799



Dress $$$$

Madison James Style MJ15. $2563




Illusion back wedding dresses have been one of the top seen trends of 2016, and we envision it continuing to be a top trend in 2017.  The illusion back details are the perfect choice for a contemporary bride craving classic details updated by a few modern design elements.


Dress $$$$ 

Olvi's Style 1495SW, $2794



Dress $ 

Mori Lee Blu, Style 5371, $825



Fabrication can play a big role in the final price of the wedding gown. Polyester tulle and silk tulle will have varyingprice points according to There's still a way to have a dress made out of high quality material and stay within your budget.  Consider opting for a simpler design made with higher-quality materials over a flashy design made of lower-quality material according to Cosmopolitan


Dress $ 

WToo, Style 15828, $875


Dress $$$$ 

Paloma Blanca, Style 4606, $2629




Having sleeves on your wedding dress does not have to be as conservative as you think. Sleeves started making a comeback when the famous Kate Middleton walked down the aisle in 2011. There are many different types of styles, lengths and price points of wedding dresses with sleeves that can attract a bride's eye. 


Dress $$$$ 

Pronovias, Tibet, $2570


Dress $$ 

Madison James Style, $1550


If you love a designer, but you can’t afford their gowns, decide what it is about their style you like. It is highly likely that you will find another designer with similar signature features.


Thank you for following my fabulous internship adventure,