Profitt Report: Saving money on your wedding gown

Your wedding gown might be the most importation gown you every purchase, but you don't need to spend a fortune. Photo credit: MGN

It’s that time of year: wedding season! Planning a wedding can be stressful and keeping your budget from getting out of control is no easy task.

If you’re in the market for a wedding dress, forget all those wedding dress shopping shows you see on TV. Finding the perfect gown on a budget in real life takes a solid plan and an even temper.

“When you're petit it's hard to find the dress in the store and feel good in it because they all sit different on you,” said Alicia Gotham of Saginaw County.

Gotham and her husband were married in Bay City this past January. She eventually found the dress of her dreams, but it took about three months of searching and a little help from an expert seamstress.

“When I left the store with my dress I thought this couldn't fit any more perfect. When I came here, Alicia pointed out, ‘it looks good but is this driving you nuts?’ Yup it is,” Gotham said.

Alicia Gotham the bride is talking about Alicia Darga, owner of Alicia’s Bridal and Formal Alterations in Clio. With a fashion degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and decades of experience in the bridal alterations world, she’s got an eye for the right fit.

For Gotham, a few stitches here and there and adjusting the neckline was all it took. Darga said most brides should plan and budget for a few simple alterations.

“Hem, definitely, but sometimes you can actually custom order a gown to your proper length there's usually about $150 charge to do that and that's okay because some wedding gowns cost $120 to hem,” Darga said.

She said most brides want a bustle, an alteration that allows you to fold your dress’s train up and out of the way for the reception.

“I’d say the average alteration for just a hem and a bustle is about $200, that's my pricing, there are some places that are less, there are some that are more,” Darga said.

Next, when you go to get your dress fitted, bring the exact under garments you plan to wear the day of your wedding.

“If you're wearing spanks you have to bring something like that, it's going to affect how I take it in,” said Darga.

Also, bring the exact shoes you plan to wear the day of the wedding, centimeters matter here.

“If you have a hem with a little scalloped lace on the bottom, you don't want those scallops hanging on the ground so no one can see them. They should be right above the ground so we can see what you paid for because you paid for that lace,” Darga said.

Speaking of what you paid for, the dress you choose will have a big impact on your alterations bill.

“Here’s the rule, the rule is you really shouldn't go more than two sizes too big,” Darga said.

Here’s why you shouldn’t buy a dress more than two sizes too big: Darga would have to reshape the entire gown if it’s several sizes too big. The areas of the dress that hit your curviest areas, also known as your princess line, is what makes that tough.

“I can go in and move that princess line but you do not want to pay for that, pay for the proper size,” Darga said.

The same goes for buying a dress that’s too small, no more than two sizes from your true size.

Last, know that a plain, inexpensive dress can be jazzed up. Darga pointed out a designer gown known as a “destination dress.” It’s simple, something you would wear on the beach, and costs about $360.

Darga said using some inexpensive trim or a sparkly broach makes the gown look more formal, and you don’t need to spend more than $10-20 on the extras.

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