The Perfect Wedding: Why It’s OK To Spend Money On Your Wedding Day!

Who read the papers last weekend?  And which of you stumbled upon this feature by columnist India Knight in the Sunday Times? Knight made a case for the new £60 H&M wedding dress; ‘spectacularly expensive wedding dresses can look very cheap’ she said, ‘so there’s no reason why a cheap dress shouldn’t look expensive’. 

Knight says she loves weddings, but went on to lambaste British weddings in general, which from her perspective she says have become expensive, ostentatious, competitive events, full of vulgarity, faux poshness, superficial detail and people playing pretend and being silly.

I’ve a few things to say about this.

Firstly, I don’t have an issue with a dress costing £60 – some of the most beautiful weddings we’ve featured on Love My Dress have involved amazing charity find wedding dresses which cost next to nothing.  Knight is right when she says that some expensive dresses can look pretty naff and I can’t disagree with her statement that there should be no reason why an inexpensive dress shouldn’t look expensive.

But here’s the rub; I dislike the idea that a hugely successful high-street fashion brand has decided to wade in to the wedding market and use the high-volume mass production resources at it’s disposal to churn out cheap gowns for the masses.  Call me a dreamer, but for me it destroys any idea of romance, magic and excitement associated with finding ‘the dress’.  I love H&M – many of mine and my children’s clothes hail from this high street hot house of fashion, but wedding dresses?

 

Hm-wedding-dressThe £60 H&M Wedding Dress

The H&M dress itself is an inoffensive design that has been produced that way in order to keep production costs low. I’ve admittedly not seen the dress close-up in real life, but I’d hazard a guess that if it takes circa £20 to create (average retail markup in fashion is around 3 times the amount it costs to produce), then the dress isn’t going to particularly ooze that ‘specialness’ that a well designed, beautifully cut and elegantly fitting bespoke or designer dress will invoke.  And it does leave me scratching my head about the provenance of such a design and level of wages paid to the person/people who crafted the dress in to something wearable.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m absolutely not saying you need an expensive wedding dress.  But in general, you do get what you pay for. I guess it’s all about what’s important to you.  Personally, I don’t believe you should be ashamed for wanting to spend money on a wedding dress that makes you feel beautiful, whatever it looks like and however much it costs. Taste is subjective – as long as you feel fabulous and ready to meet your groom and say yes in that dress, that’s really all that matters.

The problem I do have with a £60 H&M wedding dress is that it basically gives a big finger corporate salute to talented dress makers and artisans all over the UK.  I’m talking about highly skilled people who design and hand-craft gowns from scratch based on years of experience in the art of dress making. Creatively talented people who have an innate understanding of how fabric can be used to create shape and flatter the female form.  Designers who have access to the best silk and lace suppliers in the world, and more importantly, people who are genuinely passionate about creating utterly beautiful, breathtaking dresses that don’t just look beautiful but make their wearer feel amazing.  I’d pay £60 for a mere consultation fee with such a dress maker or designer, never mind for the actual dress itself, but then I value good craftsmanship and fine production – these are the things that are important to me.

‘To me, America’s worst recent export is the mad fetishisation of your “special day” with its weird, fraudulent emphasis on virginity and princess-ness, as though all brides were 12 and had travelled by unicorn from Rainbow Land. Given that none of these things is true, they need to be created at vast expense and vast loss of marbles by the bride who has, by this point, turned into such a monster that everybody wishes her stupid wedding would go and take a hike.’ (India Knight – The Sunday Times)

Another point I’d like to make; it’s so easy to point a finger at weddings and accuse brides of being self-obsessed lunatics who are literally prepared to sell their left leg to get the wedding of their dreams.  I loathe this media portrayal of women during what should be an exciting, fun time in their lives, and wish India Knight and unimaginative TV producers would give us all a damn break.  Because here’s the thing – everyone knows that weddings, on the whole, cost money but in most cases my friends, there’s an actual reason for that! Wedding cakes don’t make themselves – it takes hours and hours of skilled craftsmanship to bake and decorate a beautiful wedding cake.  Same for the dress – many of our sponsors produce their gowns entirely in house, right here in Blighty – it takes time to come up with a design, technical skill and training to produce a dress pattern, hours of producing toiles to refine the shape and fit, more hours, time and money to find the right fabric and embellishment and then of course – the dress maker has to pay their pattern cutters and seamstresses, receptionists, marketing people and earn a living too!

If you want or need to arrange a low cost wedding, there are a myriad of ways of doing it cheaper whilst still ensuring everything looks, feels, *is* amazing.  Wedding blogs are full to bursting with money saving suggestions and a perfect wedding isn’t about how much money you spend on the day itself.  But I want to challenge Knight and ask, why the bloody hell shouldn’t you be able to spend money on your wedding day without feeling like you’re somehow invalidating the experience of getting married?

Nobody cares about the room. As long as it’s not derelict and as long as the flowers aren’t dead, nobody minds. Nobody cares about the cost of the dress or the ponciness of the canapés or the vintage of the wine. People just like jolly weddings, which are to do with atmosphere and jokes and celebration. Given that everybody knows this — I bet there isn’t a single person reading this going “no, she’s wrong, I love a Versailles-like display of wealth” — it is very odd that we ignore what we know to be true and keep on coughing up lunatic sums. (India Knight – The Sunday Times)

Why shouldn’t you pay a talented cake designer to produce a splendid 7-tier deliciously baked and skillfully iced masterpiece?  Why should you not splash out on the most spectacular floral arrangements, because flowers are one of natures most beautiful creations, and you want to fill your day with beautiful things and elegant scent? Why should you not be allowed to treat your guests to a day full of amazing experiences so that whenever your loved ones recall their memory of your wedding day, their mind swims with visions of how out of this world fantastic it all was?  Why should a stately home not charge for the privilege of hiring it’s beautiful historical venue – putting it’s treasured space at risk of wear, tear and damage? Why is a wedding photographer not worth £2-£3k and more when they have to spend a whole day artistically and skillfully capturing precious moments that will create invaluable treasured memories for a lifetime?  Why shouldn’t a bride and groom spend money on all these things without being accused of being vulgar and competitive and overlooking what’s really important?

‘I am having, because my partner and I are saving like maniacs, what would be seen as a large wedding that will cost us quite a lot of money and I do resent the tone of some brides and blogs sometimes that there is an added virtue in a homespun, low budget wedding that somehow means that couple are more genuine and in love than those amongst us having the full kit and caboodle church and reception for 130 people. I think what is important is that your wedding day is a celebration of you as a couple, your love and your family and friends. Your marriage is then a commitment that springs from that celebration and will, through ups and downs, last your whole life.’ (Reader comment in response to our feature, ‘Fairy tale weddings versus real life marriage‘)

I was happy to spend £2.5k on a Jenny Packham dress (in 2008, when I purchased it for my 2009 wedding) because I wanted to feel the amazingness that the Jenny Packham brand bestows upon all who wear one of Jenny’s gowns – and I knew an exquisite bias cut dress would deliver a confidence boost on a day I’d be feeling emotional and nervous.  I wanted to save up money to hire a beautiful country house that would provide a comfortable setting for guests who had travelled far and wide, and elegant backdrop for our once-in-a-lifetime celebration.  And yes, I wanted fancy canapés. Did I feel guilty for spending as much as I did on our wedding? No way! This was a celebration and I wanted to make it a memorable and wonderful one.

Knight says that weddings ought not be expensive – of course they ought not be – if you want a naff disco (we did!), iffy food and a 60-quid bridal gown, go do your thang and celebrate with pride!  But, spending money on your wedding day does not make you a bad person – it does not mean you are ‘playing pretend and being silly’.  It simply means you’re being a bride planning your own unique, amazing, one-off celebration of love.  Embrace it, spend what you can afford * and bloody well enjoy it to the max.

Time for you to share your thoughts below readers.  Have weddings become too expensive, competitive and vulgar?

Love Annabel

 

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A note on ‘affordability’ – please consider things very carefully before entering in to any debt to pay for your wedding. Short term debt might be perfectly manageable in your circumstances, but debt that’s going to take months, years to pay off once your wedding has been and gone is something I’d very strongly discourage.

Annabel

Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Annabel is the founder of Love My Dress. She has a passion for photography, walking, yoga, nature, and loves to support talented artists and creative businesses. In 2013, she became a published author. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters Eska and Leanora and menagerie of furry hounds. Annabel supports Philip in the running of the family flower farm at at Moonwind Flowers. She is also co-founder of What About Weddings.

36 thoughts on “The Perfect Wedding: Why It’s OK To Spend Money On Your Wedding Day!

  1. Hi Annabel, thank you for writing this article. This really can be quite a contentious topic, but at the end of the day I think that as long as you can afford it (and don’t go into mega debt, as this is never a good thing!) then you should do what you and your husband-to-be want on your wedding day. To hell with expectations from other people, be it that you should or shouldn’t spend x amount of cash on canapés or that stunning venue. I met with a fair bit of resistance from both my family and H2B’s family about the plans for our wedding day and the cost. By no means did we have an extravagant day, but 50 guests at a beautiful award-winning venue with lovely food, entertainment and little touches to make it special for our guests (which was one of our top priorities) doesn’t come cheap. I did hate the thought initially of spending so many thousands on one day and before I got engaged I always thought I would prefer an even smaller celebration. However, I realised getting married is probably the one time in your life that you have all of your family and friends together to celebrate a fantastic and amazing momentous event, so why not spend a bit of money to make it amazing? Not that we needed to justify it, but my now husband and I realised that as we both own a house each and if we saved hard for nearly two years we could afford the day we wanted without getting into debt then we might as well go for it. And do you know what, I’m so glad we did as we had a beautiful day filled with love. I will always remember walking into the stunning ceremony room to see the smiling faces of our family and friends in my perfect dress and just feeling so much love and happiness. Making someone feel that their love isn’t worth as much because they decided to spend some money on their wedding day is just mean.

    1. Hiya Kate,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to respond.

      ‘To hell with expectations from other people’ – yes to this! Brides, please take note!

      It wasn’t really until *after* our wedding day that I realised what an incredible one-off experience it was -when else do you get your entire family together in celebratory mode? It’s an occasion to celebrate in whoever way you see fit – budget or luxury – it should be no one elses business but the bride and groom’s how they choose to spend their money.

  2. We have never looked back at our wedding (which cost about half the national average at the time) and regretted spending the money we spent. If anything we would have been happy to have spent more in certain areas. Many people have a funny relationship with money. They allow other people’s agendas to help them make their decisions about what money means to them and how they ought to use it. Money is just a form of energy that flows through the world. It has no use to us beyond our short time on this earth and using it can benefit countless lives around us. If your wedding and relationships with loved ones are important to you and you have the money, it is so wonderful to spend it with people who are passionate about helping you to have a wonderful day from your suppliers to your friends and family. I’m not sure that saving it is the key thing here, but spending it wisely surely is. How you enjoy your day should be on your terms, not on the ideas or issues someone else has about money. Interesting read, thanks for writing this Annabel.

  3. Thanks for writing this Annabel, I wholeheartedly agree, particularly with the media portrayal of “bridezillas”. The endless round of tv shows dedicated to creating the myth of the crazed self-obsessed princess wannabe has been really grating over the last couple of years. The ‘joke’ stereotype of the 90s has morphed into a cultural phenomenon that has little or no basis in reality. Enough from the terrible lazy TV producers! I haven’t read India Knight’s piece and I won’t. With this piece, from what you describe, she joins my long list of columnists, journalists and commentators using the subject of weddings as just another way to bash other women’s choices. A wedding is a special occasion, a very personal one, and brides and grooms should feel free to spend as much or as little as they wish without judgement.

    1. I truly loathe the ‘b word’. And much respect to you for choosing not to read the Times feature. I usually like reading India Knight’s pieces – I felt a little let down when it came to this!

  4. YES! It’s amazing how women continue to judge other women so harshly on elements of their personal life isn’t it? Low budget DIY wedding vs big budget glam wedding… Who cares? As long as it is “you” that’s all that matters really. Personally I feel a wedding day is an important enough life event to invest time and/or money in to make sure it is both beautiful and memorable (beauty being in the eye of the beholder). It’s about setting priorities and compromising on less important elements if you have too. We’ve all been to a wedding that lacked style or organisation, and personally I think that affected the experience. A beautifully styled event that runs smoothly will only leave the couple and their guests with the happiest of memories, and often that carries a price tag. I’ve also planned budget weddings that were jam packed with fun and prettiness, compromises were made in the right places for that couple. I have no issue with a £60 dress whatsoever. I do have an issue with someone making a couple feel shitty about their wedding choices. I mean… Why buy a big house? Or go on expensive holidays? Or wear designer clothes in general? If you can, and it makes you feel good, then why the hell shouldn’t you?! Peace out. 😉

  5. I have no problem with people spending whatever they can afford on wedding dresses, it’s no ones business but the brides. But, as a bride-to-be my self, what has really upset me is the absolutely ridiculous cost of synthetic fabric dresses.

    I was so horrified when trying to explain to a bridal boutique a fabric that i had seen from a top end designer, she explained “Well we don’t have any fabrics like that, the dresses you are looking at are synthetic fabrics, otherwise you’d be looking at spending a lot more”, I was looking at a dress that was £1,500 and you’re telling me I’m not paying enough for REAL fabric.

    I was also naive enough to think that the reason it takes 8 months for a wedding dress was that the dress was being made to your body. Of course it isn’t, it’s being made to a standard size. So does that mean that these massive, international companies seriously make dresses to order? That just can’t be the case. It’s all part of the pomp and ceremony used to justify the ridiculous cost of factory made, mass produced dresses.

    Of course, I’m not talking about “dress makers and talented artisans”. I’m talking here about the majority of boutiques who stock these overpriced dresses, ranging (in my experience of trying on over 60 dresses in countless boutiques) from 1.2k – 1.7k.

    As much as everyone involved will try to deny it, the wedding industry is built on the notion that they can charge whatever they like, simply because it is the most “important day of a couples lives”.

    1. Agreed! I don’t mind spending on quality goods, local suppliers, hand made things etc. I laugh at the prices though of much of the complete cobblers brides are supposed to be interested in just cos it has ‘wedding’ on it.

  6. The psychology of money is fascinating isn’t it. I’ve always wondered why people (often complete strangers) have such strong opinions about what ‘you’ should or shouldn’t be paying on your own wedding. What we consider as an ‘acceptable’ amount to spend on a dress or wedding is down to our individual beliefs and values around money and what it means. Ultimately wether we choose something considered ‘extravagant’ or ‘low-key’ is irrelevant. It’s really no-one else’s business other than the couples or others contributing to it, is it? Xx Nova

  7. I hate to rise to India Knights bait, but some people do care about the vintage of the wine. My family and friends will love having some quality vino and we will enjoy sharing it with them.

    Whatever else anyone wants to spend, who cares! We are all grown ups and we can make our own decisions.

  8. As a bride-to-be who is also a wedding photographer, I definitely feel a certain amount of pressure to have this ‘perfect day’. When we first started planning it overwhelmed me quite a bit. We will be spending a lot of money (a lot to us anyway!) although our wedding is going to be pretty modest. We worked out our budget and priorities and not surprisingly an amazing photographer was top of the list! 🙂 The dress for me is not so high up. So while I do completely agree a beautifully crafted wedding dress is absolutely worth the money – I would prefer to spend more money on our photographer. We definitely don’t want to come out of our wedding day with loads of debt – that is not an option, so I’ll happily spend less on my dress.

    I’m sure lots of brides will prefer to spend more of their budget on the dress and I completely understand that and think they should, you just have to decide on what’s most important to you. Any bride who wants a handcrafted dress won’t even consider a high street option, but I think it’s good that there are options for brides who don’t want to, or can’t spend a lot. Nobody should judge you for how much you spend on any part of your day – it’s your day after all.

    Sorry Annabel, that was a bit of a long comment! 🙂

    1. You are entirely forgiven for leaving a ‘bit of a long comment’ on a ‘bit of a long blog post’ 😉 Thanks for sharing your views Amy – completely agree with you too – it’s about prioritising what’s important to you, and not being afraid to organise a wedding day you want to – providing you can afford it of course.

      Lots of love and luck planning the rest of your wedding!

  9. Great post, I really respect your opinion on this one. I think the H&M dress has it’s place though, maybe for an informal registry office wedding followed by a family dinner, or a spontaneities last minute wedding.
    I wore a stunning wedding dress which I bought for £35 on Ebay, which must have cost the original owner a fortune, I would have bought a very expensive bespoke dress if I hadn’t seen the one on Ebay first though.
    I saved a lot of money by doing a lot of wedding DIYs but spent a huge amount on the cake and photographer because those were things that I felt I should spend money on.
    At the end of the day a wedding is one of the most important days of your life, it’s a wonderful thing so you should be able to spend as little or as much as you want without judgement or criticism.
    I don’t regret one penny that I spent on my day and I’m pretty sure most other brides don’t either.

  10. I haven’t read the India Knight article but it sounds quite ridiculous from those extracts! However, I would have to say that I am in favour of high street brands like H&M making affordable dresses. I doubt that it represents a significant threat to the dress making industry as there is such a huge number of brides who will never go for anything less than high-end. The real threat to the industry comes from the mass of fake designer rip offs that seem to have become the most affordable option for many budget brides. If respectable high street brands can compete with those markets, then the whole industry will benefit! I feel very strongly about supporting creative talent, but unfortunately budget brides are practically excluded in the process. I think the solution is for more designers to collaborate with high street retailers or to offer a small range of affordable dresses; MiaMia by Alan Hannah, White by Vera Wang, Jenny Packham for Debenhams – it can be done! We need more genuine options for low budget brides.

    1. By ‘fake designer rip offs’ I’m referring to the hundreds of increasingly popular websites that use images from real designers but actually sell cheaply made imitations. I wouldn’t want to condem brides that resort to this, as until H&M came along there were very limited options for brides with budgets under £300 – even second hand dresses seem to exceed that price.

  11. Can I correct a misunderstanding with regards to wedding dress shopping yet again. All wedding dresses are made to order, occasionally there is some held stock, but the average delivery time is 12 – 16 weeks. Very much like ordering a car or a settee if you want a certain size, colour & model it gets produced to order. £1000 – £2000 isn’t a ‘rip-off’ it is fact. Also as Annabel points out most High St retailers mark up by x3 and then some. It is a struggle for wedding dress retailers to achieve anything like their margins. Kaybee should try a stint in retail. Try being on the other end of endless customers playing dress up, then complaining about the price and not buying. If Marks & Spencers made you one pair of pants in bri-nylon to order, in your choice of colour & size after you had tried on 60 pairs how much do you think that would cost? A small fortune.
    The absolute nonsense about real & unreal fabrics is pointless. Silk is hugely expensive. Ditto lace. Ditto brilliant man made fibres. Get over the snobbishness – the cut is everything & synthetic fabrics are great. Anyone fancy swimming costumes going back to being knitted? Lycra? Neoprene? Technical fabrics for sport? Stretch? The use of manmade fabrics has revolutionised wedding dresses. Fancy giving up the internal corsets? Let us not forget most surviving vintage dresses from the 50s & 60s are manmade as they don’t rot or discolour like silk. The startling disregard for any fact based comment about dresses is staggering.
    Plus the H& M dress fuels the ongoing debate that we all ‘rip you off’ which is simply not true. One’s inability to afford something or reluctance to pay is not the same thing. You want luxury for nothing? You simply can’t have it.
    India Knight is behaving in true tabloid style. Does anyone go into any other purveyor of luxury goods – Porsche garages, Michelin star restaurants, Knight Frank, Selfridges & make such a fuss? No they don’t. This is women bashing at every level for this is a virtual female industry ( certainly in bridal wear) with predominantly female clients. Are we not allowed fair wages? Decent working conditions? Should we revert to sweatshops?

    1. Thought you might have an opinion to share Emma – and thank you indeed for sharing it and in no way mincing your words! 😉 Straight to the point. Just how I like it 🙂 x

  12. Great article Annabel, I think women’s spending is completely unfairly scrutinised in the media. Every time I read an article online about make up or fashion, things I feel passionately about, there are so many comments lambasting us for spending money on such ‘frivolous’ goods. It irks me that men don’t get criticised in the same way when they buy cars, gadgets, sports tickets etc (aware I’m totally stereotyping here but you get the gist!). If you spend a lot at your wedding, it’s inferred that you are a bridezilla, again, I think gender is a big issue here. As long as I live within my means I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business how I choose to spend my money, whether it’s on a wedding or a handbag. 🙂

    1. Thanks Mel. I don’t openly claim to be feminist but felt my feminist hackles rising when I read India Knight’s feature. You are absolutely spot with your last sentence too.
      Thanks for commenting Mel x

  13. One of my basic rules is to respect personal ideas of how to live own wedding day. If a woman feels good with a gown, no matter its price, 80€, 2000€, 5000€ and so on. My italian roots consider the wedding day as one of the best day to celebrate love and life. And I have never seen a couple regrets for having spend money for their wedding day… I think is better use common sense, spend money wisely; always remember that wedding day is important, to celebrate with family and friends.

  14. I actually have a different take on this article and on Knight’s view point on it…

    Firstly, with regards the H&M dress – it’s a marketing shtick to get people talking about the store; I haven’t checked the country of origin but I’d wager it’s China, co-incidentally the same place of manufacture as my own Jenny Packham wedding dress – although of course the standard of factories throughout the country varies wildly. Their dress is no more sticking it’s finger up at the bridal industry than the existence of Tesco value cheddar is at artisan cheese making – there is a different market for each product.

    In terms of what she says about ostentatiousness (and not specifically about the value of the spend) – I think wedding planning has the potential to consume people almost unhealthily, to the point they are actually stressed and unhappy in what should be an exciting time. If somehow we can turn this pressure around and make someone feel good about their wedding day, regardless of the situation then that’s got to be a good thing.

    As a wedding photographer I’m all for people having their day however they want to, spend what you like on what you love and have a truly amazing day but I’ve also seen people who have allowed their day to become consumed by ‘stuff’ and been far less happy for it.

    Fortunately, against what she says. weddings are becoming much less about ‘being fancy for a day’ and more about filling it with what you love; the best of you if you will – food that’s like your favourite foodie restaurant, an amazing cake because, well, you love cake.

    1. Hi Ellie, thanks so much for taking time to join in the debate.

      Yes indeed the provenance of many high end designer dresses leaves a lot to be questioned, I do realise that. I’m a huge fan of designers who have chosen to keep production in the UK – even if that means the have to charge more – I understand that and would be prepared to pay more.

      I completely understand that wedding planning does have the potential to consume if you’re not sensible about it, but then, so do most things in life – I just get so bored of seeing brides portrayed as (can’t even say the b word!) ‘b********s!’. It’s to tiresome and actually so inaccurate!!! Most brides aren’t like that at all! But the media focuses on a small minority and blows it all out of proportion.

      And I very much agree with your final paragraph – India Knights comments were so off the mark in terms of how I’m seeing weddings take shape – and as the founder and manager of a popular UK wedding blogger with worldwide appeal, I’d like to think I know a bit about weddings 🙂 x

  15. I bought mine on the internet, from an online store..in China and it was the best thing I did. thr dress is superb!!!!It cost me US$200

    1. Hiya Lucy,
      Not a fan of shopping for your wedding dress this way I must be honest. A lot of the time the Chinese designers are copying copyrighted designs which seems so unfair to the designer who created the original design. Shopping for your dress via cheap Chinese sellers isn’t something I encourage through Love My Dress – sorry!
      But I am glad to hear you weren’t let down and received a dress you were very happy with.

      xx

  16. Thanks for this post.
    I’m getting so fed up of people commenting on how much our wedding is costing. I know it’s only one day, but I only plan on doing it once so I just want to get exactly what I want out of the day. We’ve both been working crazy hours for almost 2 years to pay for it so I don’t see why anyone else cares!
    Dress wise I’m not a fan of the H&M dress, but I don’t have a problem with high street wedding dresses. I just feel that I can buy a high street dress anytime, and I wanted my wedding dress shopping to be special.

  17. Annabel, I think you are spot on for many points, but there is a context to the problem. 1. One of the reasons I looked at a wedding blog in the first place was because the magazines and much of the industry is very geared towards an ‘idea of a wedding’… you rarely have that type of wedding on here. However, being sold a package of ideas was very daunting and expensive and it felt like one’s options were limited. I think that this article you referred to was a typical media article but it is not without any justification. Many people face a huge weight of expectation and a standardised package approach to weddings that is expensive and unnecessary. The sheer diversity of weddings you show on the blog is helpful to counter that.
    2. Actually many very young couples can’t afford the beautiful dresses you talk about. In fact old ones too, like me. I like the fact that some off the peg retailers have widened the choice available, as have increased numbers of vintage shops. I don’t think I would choose a 60 quid dress, but that’s because I would look terrible in it. It doesn’t undermine any of your arguments about when, why and how you should spend money on a dress, if that’s what you want to do. But I don’t see that the reverse is true, that if you don’t want to spend money on a dress then you are criticising other people’s choices/the wedding industry’… it’s not always easy to find alternatives. I found it quite hard.
    Most of all, I hate to think that there are young couples are not getting married when they want to because of fear over money. It is one day, and it should be as beautiful and expensive or cheap, or home made or packaged as you want it to be, not as any industry or media person should tell you it is. And especially not all your friends and relatives. In fact one of the best feature of modern weddings is that the bride and groom often pay for it themselves, thus getting out of the money = control problems.

    Just as an aside, I live in Bangladesh these days where many poor families go into debt for the sake of weddings and public expectation – so glad we don’t have to do that any more.
    And on the cheap clothes from retailers argument. Whilst your point is very well taken that British made dresses are and should be pricey as they are made fairly, it is not the case that a dress made in Bangladesh for a cut price high street retailer is any different from one from a higher price high street retailer. The amount of wages Bangladeshi workers get is the same from the factory. Expensive and cheap clothes cost the same to the factories, it’s the materials and marketing budgets that make the difference. I believe we should all be asking questions where our clothes come from and how they are made… so far we have fair trade clothes but not fairly made ones!
    Oh no, I made a far too long comment, sorry, just wanted to add in a few other sideways perspectives.

    1. What a wonderful and insightful reply Amelia – thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

      Essentially – this, is what I’m trying to say in the article ‘It is one day, and it should be as beautiful and expensive or cheap, or
      home made or packaged as you want it to be, not as any industry or
      media person should tell you it is.’.

      It saddens me too to think that couples might actually be putting off getting married because they can’t afford it – there are so many wonderful ways of keeping the cost down on your wedding day without having to compromise on style, taste, your wedding day vision.

      Very fair point made about how we should be more interested in the provenance of the clothes and wedding dresses we wear too.

      Thanks again x

  18. I absolutely agree that, so long as you can afford it, your wedding is a day that no one should make you feel guilty about spending money on.

    One thing I would say though is that your wedding is not the only chance you will have to support the UK artisan community. I bought my wedding dress from a chain but hope to be able to ‘treat’ myself to some pieces from some of the wonderful designers I’ve come across in the future.

    Another point I want to make is just how frustrating it can be to see things marked up past their true value. I know another commenter made a comment about £1,500 wedding dresses that felt and looked cheap (I definitely tried on a few of those!) but to give another example, one popular bridesmaids’ dress retailer sells the same dress at vastly different prices in the UK, US and Australia. There is a £100 premium per dress in the UK compared to Australia. To me, that suggests that the company has looked at the UK wedding market and thinks it can support some wildly inflated prices.

    We are happy to spend money on things that we feel represent value. Our venue is a family run country house, and there were definitely cheaper alternatives, but the services that we are getting and the experience I hope our guests will have makes it worth it. However, it can be frustrating to see prices which have no correlation to the level of service given or the cost of materials, design etc, as can also happen.

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