Why millennials are spending less on the dress
Say yes to the more affordable dress.
H&M recently launched a bridal line ahead of wedding season with lacy, full-length gowns, floral cocktail frocks, accessories and elegant pieces fit for the bride, bridesmaids and wedding guests. The best part: Wedding dresses range from just $129 to $299.
Aptly named “The Wedding Shop,” the H&M bridal collection features wedding gowns like a $299 white lace long-sleeved dress with a scalloped neck and airy skirt in woven fabric — similar to the $434,000 Alexander McQueen gown that Kate Middleton wore on her big day. One $199 look features a sleeveless, deep V-neck with a bodice draped in several layers of tulle and cinched with a pleated band. There’s also a selection of shoe styles, including pumps and ballet flats in creamy neutral tones like ivory, starting at $24.99.
Designers creating cheaper bridal lines are likely nodding to the millennial trend of minimalism, and their tendency to spend more money on experiences than on tangible items. The average cost of a bridal gown is $1,509, and the average bridesmaid gown cost $145, according to a study from The Knot. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. hit $35,329 in 2016, an all-time high.
And with big-day expenses like floral arrangements, party favors and family travel adding up fast, cutting costs on dresses could be a way to afford more interactive experiences, like photo booths, Shelley Brown, a fashion and beauty editor at wedding website The Knot, told Moneyish. And it seems like millennials are doing just that, spending an average of $1,357 on a wedding dress, a few hundred dollars cheaper than the national average.
“If you’re looking to save some serious cash — or if you need a dress fast — consider buying the floor sample you tried on at the salon or boutique rather than ordering a new version of the same gown,” added Brown. “Depending on how long the dress has been on the floor and the condition it’s in, as well as how good your negotiating skills are, you may be able to snag a sample gown for up to 50% off the retail price.”
H&M is the latest retailer to offer cheaper wedding wear, joining brands like Topshop, ASOS and BHLDN. Last year, David’s Bridal introduced a line of more affordable dresses ranging from $39 to $400, following current bridal style trends like ruffles, sequins, cold shoulders, wrap dresses and jumpsuits. Similarly, eco-friendly fashion brand Reformation debuted its bridal collection in 2014 with ivory silk wedding gowns ranging from $518 to $588, and bridesmaid dresses priced between $198 and $368. And even renowned wedding designer Monique Lhuillier, whose couture gowns can cost upwards of $7,000, put out a Bliss by Monique collection of dresses ranging from $2,500 to $4,500 last year.
But buying bridal attire on a budget doesn’t mean missing out on the on-trend styles you see on the runway.
“Though bridal fashion was previously going in a super sexy, body-conscious direction, in recent seasons we’ve seen a return to more classic styles like ball gowns and A-like silhouettes with timeless details like sleeves, high collars, all over lace and bows,” Brown told Moneyish. “This season we’ll continue to see those more traditional styles with romantic touches, as well as a mix of super-clean, architectural designs that appeal to the more modern bride.”
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