As a bride-to-be who prides herself on being “pretty chill about everything”, even I find myself feeling anxious about having to make so many financial decisions in this 1 year of wedding preparation. In this swirling vortex of entropy, I thought shopping for my wedding dresses would be the silver lining.
… Alas, choosing a wedding gown in Singapore can be an absolute nightmare. First of all, you need to decide whether you want to buy or rent a gown. I’ll cover the relative pros and cons of renting vs buying a wedding dress at the bottom of the article.
If you do decide to buy your own wedding dress, you can expect to spend something like $2,000 to $3,000 for a generic wedding gown and as much as $6,000 to $12,000 for one of those designer dresses you see on Instagram. Let’s just say it’s a good thing many brides go on diets, because you probably won’t have much money left over to eat anything but grass.
But the good thing about buying your own gown is that you can hunt around online for a bargain. No, I’m not talking about Taobao. Instead, here are 5 online shops where you can buy cheap yet stunning wedding dresses.
|Cocomelody||$400 to $700||S$31 (standard) / S$37 (expedited)|
|Revolve Clothing||From $300||Free (above $100)|
|BHDLN||$330 to $3,000||Around $200 for bulky gowns|
ASOS – high street wedding dresses from $50
ASOS is one of the world’s biggest online fashion marketplaces. But it’s not just for office and casual wear – they sell wedding dresses too.
You won’t find super dramatic Kim Kardashian-style wedding dresses with ball gown skirts and super long trains here, but if your taste veers towards effortlessly chic, modern and even minimalist, ASOS has suitable wedding dresses under $100.
Most of ASOS’s best buys are the outlet items or those on sale, so it’s a bit hard to say exactly what kind of wedding gowns you’ll find. Some of the U.K. brands that do formal wear include Chi Chi London, Little Mistress and TNFC.
Personally, I like the ASOS Edition and ASOS Design collections – they’re way cheaper than the other high street brands, yet still super fashionable.
The best part about ASOS is the free delivery and free returns. Nobody expects an off-the-rack gown to fit perfectly (so be prepared for alterations), but if it’s too rabak for your seamstress to fix, you can always toss it back in the POPStation box.
Etsy – cheap handmade wedding dresses from $155
Etsy is my absolute favourite find, and I just placed an order for 2 custom-made wedding dresses. I love that the gowns are all handmade too.
Here, you’ll find gown makers from all over the world, including Israel, where many famous wedding designers hail from. There are simple gowns that are as cheap as $200+, as well as super luxe ones that go up to $3,000+. Most of the styles here are bohemian and designer-inspired, which is very trendy at the moment.
Some affordable Etsy stores that caught my eye are:
|Etsy wedding dress makers||Country of origin||Price range|
|VanillaWFG||Belarus||$155 to $1,500|
|Lace Bridal||China||$280 to $800|
|MnemosyneBridal||U.S.||$350 to $900|
|RenzBridal||U.S.||$400 to $1,000|
||Russia||$400 to $1,500|
Shipping mostly depends on which store you order from – some are free (absorbed by the seller), others range from $40 to $200.
Cocomelody – wedding dress warehouse starting from $200
Cocomelody is like a massive online gown warehouse, but of the 1,000+ designs, only a handful are worth looking at. Most of them are quite dated. The retailer has 9 boutiques worldwide, include 1 in Philippines and 4 in Japan.
The super cheap ones are $200 and up, but once you hit the S$450 mark, they start to get better. In fact, most of their wedding dresses are in the $400 to $700 range – hardly any exceed $1,200.
Shipping is surprisingly affordable at $31 (standard) / $37 (expedited). Note that all prices are stated in USD, so there may be slight differences in the SGD prices indicated at the time of writing.
Revolve Clothing – designer wedding dresses from $300
Like ASOS, fashion retailer Revolve also has a small wedding collection. Shipping is free above $100 (which you are likely to spend), but return costs will borne by you.
Revolve is more of a designer outlet marketplace with exclusive designer tie-ups and designs. How much the gowns cost will depend on the selection when you shop – who can predict outlet sales? – currently, prices are $300 and up.
Revolve mostly carries high street fashion labels as well, so don’t expect extravagant gowns here. It’s best for simple yet flattering designs, like this one-shoulder number by Jay Godfrey.
BHLDN – designer-inspired wedding dresses from $330
Before you get your tongue tied up, BHLDN is pronounced as “beholden” because that’s what it stands for. It is the bridal collection of American brand Anthropologie.
BHDLN sells modern wedding dresses, with a wide selection of simple satin pieces to lacy and embellished numbers. Many of their wedding dresses feature popular designer-inspired elements, like illusion necklines and mermaid skirts.
Prices can go from the low hundreds to $3,000. When not on sale, the simpler, less elaborate designs are around $330 to $800. However, it’s most the most worth it to get the pieces on sale because the discounts are really quite significant. I was eyeing a $1,400 gown and the next thing I knew – the price got knocked down to $410.
The only thing to note is that (as expected), the sizes are limited for sale pieces. Also, since BHLDN is based in the U.S., shipping is pricey. It was about $200 for the particular gown I added to cart (damn, those tulle skirts are heavy)!
If you don’t mind a non-white wedding dress, I recommend shopping in the general formal gown categories too. They have some really stunning designs that come in off-white, champagne, mauve and grey.
Wait a minute, what about wedding dress rental?
If you’re wondering if there’s a need to buy your own wedding gown when you can rent one as part of a bridal package… here’s my two cents.
Most of these bridal packages include wedding gown rental, groom’s suit rental, actual day photography and makeup artist services for $3,800 to $4,500. So if you look at it in absolute dollars and cents, it’s definitely cheaper than going a la carte.
Or is it?
Personally, I decided to go a la carte and buy my own wedding dress. I’ve met far too many hard-selling aunties and read too many online horror stories to trust bridal studios with something this important.
And guess what? I found that you can actually do it without breaking the bank! Here’s a rough breakdown of what I’m spending on my wedding:
|Wedding dresses x 2||$700|
|Alteration for wedding dresses||$200|
|Groom’s suits x 2 (customised in Bangkok)||$500|
|Pre-wedding shoot (half-day)||$550|
|Actual day photography||$1,800|
The price is totally reasonable – plus, I intend to sell my gowns after my wedding, and my fiancé can use his suits for future formal events. We get so much more utility for the same price.
If you’re with me on this, I hope this list helped you! Those who’ve already committed to a bridal package… I’m sorry you got suckered into spending the cash, and I wish you all the best. (J/K. I know people who’ve had excellent experiences with bridal studios, but you must admit, it takes quite a leap of faith.)
Would you prefer to buy or rent your wedding dresses? Share it with us in the comments below!
In-article images credit to ASOS, RenzBridal, Cocomelody, Revolve Clothing and BHLDN.