Buying a ready made wedding gown off the rack, that needs a few alterations, rather than have a wedding dress designed from scratch can be a less costly alternative. It's also very convenient.  

Many couture designers offer a Ready To Wear bridal range, such as Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang and Johanna Johnson.

We share some advice from the experts on how to choose wisely to avoid a wedding budget blowout and disappointment.

buying wedding dresses

Byron Loves Fawn

Getting The Right Fit

Women today are rarely a standard size, so having your wedding gown altered to fit your figure correctly by a dressmaker is often a necessity if buying your wedding dress off-the-rack.

Before you purchase the gown, ask if the alterations are included in the price of the wedding dress. If not get a reliable estimate before you agree to buy the wedding dress.

To kep alterations to a minimum, choose a wedding gown that fits your figure as best as possible. Don't underestimate the price of alterations. Multiple alterations can bring the price of your wedding gown way up.

Alterations such as hems, taking in hips, taking in a waistline on a bodice or adding bust cups are common enough, but garments with beading or intricate lace work may require more detailed alterations and therefore will cost more.

Be aware your size may change in the months leading up to your wedding day. Make sure the dress maker will be available to make last minute alterations. You don't want your beautifully fitting wedding dress slipping below your bustline as you walk down the aisle, all eyes on the bride!!

Quality Counts

Check that the dress you are buying off the rack is free from stains or marks. The wedding dress may have been tried on umpteen times so check for lipstick and foundation marks, deodorant stains under the arms or marks left from hangers.

Check the quality of the workmanship. Is the beading, appiques, buttons, hooks, hems, loops and zips secure. Are there any loose threads that may cause an entire hem to drop or beading to come loose. Are all the crystals secure and still on. Are the hems sewn neatly and straight.

Check the quality of the materials of the wedding dress. Is the lace and dress fabric free from holes, snags or pulled threads. Is the fabric and laces in good condition, not looking old, worn or pilling.

 If there are snags or holes and stains or marks on the wedding dress and no other dress will do, negotiate a discount to cover the cost of professionally mending and drycleaning the wedding dress.

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