Everyone wants a wedding that becomes one of the most memorable days of his or her life. But, the current economic downturn can make planning that special day a stressful and more challenging task. While budgets may be stretched – couples are still falling in love, becoming engaged and getting married.
”We are seeing a new type of bride emerge,” says Denise Viotti, senior vice president and creative director of bridal and special occasion retailers Camille La Vie and Group USA. “We call her the Recessionista Bride. She is a fashionable young woman not willing to miss out or compromise on the wedding she has always dreamed about. She is however, making smarter financial decisions when it comes time to budgeting for the big day.”
Viotti said there are plenty of ways to make a dream wedding come true without breaking the bank. “Couples just need to know where to look and what to cut back on.” So what does a Recessionista Bride do?
1. Buy off-the-rack. It’s no secret that weddings are all about the dress. But, in a shaky economy, it’s all about the dress … for less. When the sky’s the limit, many brides chose a custom-made gown or order a hand-constructed dress from a top design-house that can take months and many fittings to make. For brides looking to cut costs but not style, shopping at a specialty bridal retailer with a large assortment of ready-to-buy, open stock bridal gowns is the way to go. First, the bride can really see how her size and shape looks in each different gown. And the fun of shopping with her mother and bridal attendants remains — but finding the perfect dress already constructed and in her own size cuts down hefty production costs associated with made-to-order gowns. The best part about shopping off the rack, other than the dollars saved? Brides can still have these gowns altered for a perfect fit.
2. Choose a simpler style. “A large part of the reason bridal gowns are so expensive is because of their complex construction, expensive fabrications, and embellishments. Looking for a simpler gown with clean lines and less beading or trim will significantly reduce the retail price,” says Viotti. Spring’s freshest trends include classic A-lines, trumpet skirts and flowing Grecian gowns — all in luxe fabrics with just a hint of embellishments for extra special nighttime glamour.
3. Have a less formal reception. Saturday night weddings aren’t a bride’s only option. Opting for day weddings or even destination weddings allows for a less formal affair and in many cases, a smaller attendee list. By choosing an off time or a unique location, couples save big on the venue and all the other inflated costs of a primetime wedding. A pared down venue also allows the bride to choose a less elaborate dress and cut down on many of the trimming including a long-train and/or veil. Many bridal retailers now offer an assortment of destination bridal gowns to fit individual style.
4. Shop online. “It used to be that shopping online for fitted fashions like bridal gowns and social occasion pieces was risky but a good website also has a customer service number where trained associates can answer questions about fit, fabrics, etc.” says Viotti. Additionally, when shopping online, look for incentives like free shipping. In case the dress arrives and the bride is still not happy, free shipping makes the cost of returning it by mail less intimidating.
5. Look for sales. Springtime is chock full of bridal events and sales to lure shoppers in – brides should take advantage of them! Scour the papers and ask sales associates for any upcoming events or additional sales. If the wedding isn’t until autumn, shopping at the end of the season may prove to be payoff big.