How to Choose Your Wedding Dress

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How to Choose Your Wedding Dress

Imagine yourself getting married. What picture comes into your mind?

Now, imagine yourself walking down the aisle towards your soon-to-be husband and with everyone looking at you. What can you see?

If you’re like most people, what you probably saw was an image of yourself wearing your bridal dress – a gown that you will use to say your vows and your “I do’s”, and a piece of clothing that you only get to wear once… but will be immortalized through pictures and videos FOREVER. Your image together with your wedding gown will be posted on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and shared by all your friends and family. It’ll be seen by your college pals, your mother’s best friend, or your preschool teacher.

So, yes. A wedding dress is a big deal. Thus, it’s only normal that you want only the best. And, we’re here to help you do that with our little guide on how to choose a wedding dress.

Important Factors to Consider Before Choosing

When and where is your wedding taking place? See, these are important factors to consider as they will affect the fabric you have to go with. For example, if you’re getting hitched at the beach in summer, go with lightweight breezy fabrics. On the other hand, if you’re getting married during winter, we recommend going for heavier and lush fabrics such as taffeta or satin.

Another thing to think about is your engagement. Will you be having a long one or do you plan of getting married immediately?

How to Choose Your Wedding Dress

The thing with long engagements and shopping for gowns is that the one you’ve already bought may be already out of style and it’s more likely that you’ll find “the one” when you’re closer to your big day. On the contrary, short engagements could mean that you don’t have enough time to find what exactly you are looking for. And, this is because gowns usually take so long to be made. That’s why most brides order theirs 8-12 months in advance!

Now, the most important factor to consider is your budget. With it, you’ll know which stores to go to and what dresses you don’t have to put on. Remember, don’t try on wedding gowns that you know you can’t afford. Doing so will be like torture!

Where to Buy a Wedding Dress

How to Choose Your Wedding Dress

The easiest way to score a bridal gown is through a retail store. They have several dresses on display and you can simply leaf through them and browse on your own. However, it won’t be personalized or customized according to your wishes. You’ll be simply hoping that they have something that can fit you.

Your next choice is through bridal salons. Here, you can’t simply barge in and demand to try on gowns. You will need to set an appointment so a consultant can help you select gowns and try them on. A bridal consultant will work with you on your ideas, what you’re looking for, what you dream of wearing, and what matches your physique.

Also, if you’re an avid online shopper, you can also find wedding dresses online. Just make sure that you check the return policy just in case the dress you ordered doesn’t fit or it’s not as dreamy as it was in the photos.

In addition, you can go with “Couture” or “Cut to Measure” and find a professional who will personally design and create a dress just for you. If you really have the budget, you can go with Vera Wang, Jenny Packham, or Oscar De la Renta. Or, you can go local and stack up on savings. For example, if you live in Melbourne, Australia and you’re planning to wed there, you might have heard of Judith Valente. She used to have the best bridal couture shop Melbourne has to offer, creating gowns according to every bride’s wishes.

What You Like and What Fits You Best

In choosing a wedding dress, should it really be all about what you want? Say, you want a voluminous gown that is dramatic and big but you really have a petite frame. What should you do?

Well, remember that the shape of your gown is based on your style, the venue, the mood of your wedding, and what makes your body more flattering. To give you an idea, a simple sheath is recommended for tall, slim brides and fit-n-flare works on almost any body type. Mermaid style dresses show off curves similar to a pencil skirt but they’re not fitting for a formal wedding. However, if you have a more rustic or casual wedding, like a beach wedding, you can go with untraditional lengths. This can bring out your personality more during your big day. If you see yourself as a quirky person, you can go with a tea-length dress or if you’re more of a rocker-chick with a party vibe, a mini dress can also do!  

In addition to the embellishments, shape, and color, consider also choosing the right fabric for your body type. Materials such as taffeta, guipure lace, or silk shantung are heavier and more structured. Thus, it can hold its shape and enhance your figure. On the other hand, if you’re a girl with curves, unstructured silk and chiffon will make you less flattering.

Now, once you consider these technicalities, you can go on with what you truly like. Do you want a classic, vintage, or romantic feel? What’s your vision of how you see yourself on your big day? Are you looking for classic and timeless? If yes, then going lace is your top choice. But if you’re more on a modern bride who wants to take risks, you can consider including detached sleeves, short hems, and even capes!

If you know what you want and you understand how important right fitting is, then you can definitely find “the ONE”. May it be a romantic blush, subtle ivory, or a surprisingly bold red, don’t be afraid. It’s your wedding and you can choose to be as unique and as fantastic as you want to be!

How Much Does a Wedding Cost?

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Average Cost of a Wedding​

Average Cost of a Wedding

Getting married isn’t as simple as saying “I do”. Planning a wedding can be pretty detailed, especially for a person who has dreamt of this day for many many years… and, it can be surprisingly expensive too. How much should you spend? How much is the right budget for a decent wedding set up? Is what you have now enough?

Well, if you’re having a hard time putting your head around how much you should shell out for your wedding, maybe we can help you! By knowing the average cost of tying the knot, you can work on your budget and finally set a cap on your spending.

In 2018, the national average of a wedding in the United States was at $33,931. This excludes application fees for your marriage license as well as your honeymoon. So, yes. It can even go higher. On the other hand, average costs differ greatly across countries. For example, in Australia, weddings can cost from $36,200 to $48,243.

Breaking Down the Costs of Throwing a Wedding

Your venue is the most expensive factor in getting hitched. If you’re looking at around 100 guests then that will cost you around $15,439 for the reception venue, $2,382 for the ceremony site, and $856 for transportation to get to these places.

Then, you will need to choose your bridal dress. Your wedding dress is, of course, the one clothing that you have the liberty to go all out. Why? Because it’s that one dress that you’ll see yourself wearing for the rest of your life. 

Average Cost of a Wedding​

So, it’s best that you go with something that you love. And, the average cost of wedding dresses is $1,631. This price is higher when you’re in Australia and you will have to spend around $2,659, depending on where you will get it from.

In connection to bridal dresses, retail stores are much cheaper compared to couture designers. So, if you’re going to buy a dress at a department store, of course, the price is lower than the average. On the contrary, if you believe you need a dress specifically designed and made for you like a Vera Wang dress on your big day, prepare to spend more than the figures we’ve listed. But, there’s actually a way to get what you want without spending too much. And, that is through local designers. One example we just can’t forget is Judith Valente. She has led the movement on bridal couture dresses in Melbourne, paving the way for many designers to follow.

Now, let’s admit it. A groom’s suit doesn’t have the same impact as a bride’s dress. This is why most couples only spend an average of $283 for the groom’s attire. On top of the dress, the bride also needs her hair and makeup done to ensure looking as fabulous as she wants to be. And, the average cost of such a service is $225. Not much difference with the groom’s attire, right?

In terms of photography and videography, prepare to shell out $2,679 for your photographer and around $2,021 for a videographer. These professionals are essential if you want to immortalize your wedding and have something to look back on for the rest of your lives together as a couple. On the other hand, you must also look for an officiant which is probably the most important vendor at your wedding. Without him or her, you won’t be legally married, meaning you are spending so much on just one big party. Prepare to pay $286 for one.

Most brides prefer getting the assistance of an event planner. And, because of the stress and frustration planning a wedding can be, it’s no wonder why! If you plan on hiring one too, it will push you back by an average of $2,002. While everything does seem to revolve around the internet nowadays, it’s not the same with weddings. You can’t just send a message invite through Facebook or Email. So, you’ll need wedding invitations. And, the cost of a basic invitation with a response card is around $386. In addition, since most venues are empty slates.

Average Cost of a Wedding​

You really need to make an effort to make it look like the wedding of your dreams. And, to do that, you will need a lot of flowers and other decorations. This will set you back by $2,411.

You will also need to party favors because it’s only natural that you want your guests to have something to remember your wedding by. Moreover, giving party favors is a way to express your gratitude to your guests who took the time to prepare, dress up, and make an effort to show up at your wedding. The average costs of such are around $245.

Another big expense to your wedding is the food. A wedding cake can cost $528 and your catering is around $70 per person. On top of that, you’ll have to shell out $1,297 for your rehearsal dinner too. Now, the last factor you have to consider is the entertainment. You need to keep the party and mood going and the best way to do that is through a live band which can cost $4,247. You will also need a DJ and pay around $1,292 and another $797 for your ceremony musicians.

A Friendly Reminder

Do take in mind that these numbers can be easily skewed. A mere $1 million budget greatly affects the average of thousands of weddings with a $10,000 budget. So, use this as a reference and not as an expectation. Also, remember not to bow to pressure from anyone. The amount you spend on your wedding should always align with your income and financial goals.  

Average Cost of a Wedding Dress

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How Much is a Wedding Dress?

How Much is a Wedding Dress

Many brides are often put in two situations when choosing the right bridal dress. For one, it’s a dress you will wear only once – just once in a lifetime. And, for something that you can’t go out with, have drinks wearing, or go to any event with, would it really be practical to spend so much on it? On the other hand, a wedding dress is clothing that you will have to wear on one of the most important days of your life. You will be photographed and recorded with it, thus, your image wearing that same dress will live on forever.

Now, no matter what side you are now, knowing the average cost of a wedding dress is important as it will allow you to gauge your budget. And the good news is, the average cost is surprisingly low! Well, okay. It’s not low-low, just okay-low. You might be thinking thousands of dollar but it’s actually not as much as you’d expect! So, what is really the average cost of a wedding dress in today’s time?

Drum roll, please.

The average cost of a bridal dress is around $280 to $1650, including the alterations.

So, what do you think? Certainly, that’s not “nothing” and it’s still a big amount. But, don’t you agree that it’s not as crazy as you’d think?

Factors that Affects the Cost of a Bridal Dress

To understand the wide gap between the prices, here are the factors that affect it:

  • Where you purchase your dress

If a dress carries the name and label of a famous designer, such as Vera Wang, Christina Wu, Jenny Packham, or Oscar De la Renta, then it would exceed our average price range – around $2,000 to $12,000 and more. However, if you really prefer couture and personally designed wedding dress, the best way to stay within your budget is by finding local wedding gown designers. For example, Judith Valente was once the best bridal shop in Melbourne. Each of her dresses has that timeless elegance and sophistication every bride would certainly love. And, if you’re in San Francisco, there’s Amy Kuschel and Krustallos for Florida. They produce quality couture dresses at affordable costs.

Note that if you’re not picky about the name brand of your dress, the price you’d have to pay drops even lower and

How Much is a Wedding Dress?

you will have more options to choose from. You can try to shop for the perfect dress in a bridal salon with pre-made gowns ranging from $500 to $1,000. Or, you can look through dresses at a retail store or online and expect to pay only $280 or less!

  • The details of the wedding dress

Naturally, a simpler dress will cost less. So, if you’re looking for a bridal dress with lots of beading and fancy fabric, expect to pay more. And, this is because intricate gowns need more materials as well as labor. Other details of a dress that affects the price are layers of tulle, crystal embellishments, corset bodices, and hand-embroidered floral appliques. To give you an idea, an elegant and grand ball gown complete with detailed embroidery will always be more expensive than a simple sheath dress.

Additional Costs to Consider

Now, there are more things you will have to spend on aside from your dress. You have to buy a veil, your lingerie, and your shoes as well. And all these can add up to about $250, considering that you ditch the branded and expensive shoe girls in “Sex in the City” wear. In addition, there’s also your accessories. What jewelries do you want with your wedding dress? You need to include all these costs to your bridal dress budget.

On top of everything else, there’s your hair and makeup. To hire a professional to do such service, you need to shell out at least $225. This is important to make sure that you will look as fabulous and breathtaking as you want to be during your big day!

Another additional cost you need to consider is dry cleaning. Of course, after paying so much for one special dress, it will be wise if you keep it in great condition. And, prices usually start at $100.

Add everything together and the total average cost of a wedding dress – along  with everything else to complete your bridal look

How Much is a Wedding Dress

except jewelry – is around $855 to $2,225. Feeling overwhelmed yet? Remember, this is just the beginning! There’s still the venue, catering, photography, videography, wedding invitations, wedding rings, flowers, party favors, and entertainment. Plus, there’s your groom’s attire, gowns for your bridesmaids and suits for your all groomsmen as well. So, stay calm and breathe. Your wedding dress is just the start of many more decisions to come.

How to Get Married for Less

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how to get married for less

How to Get Married for Less - Plan a Wedding on a Budget

So, in 2018, couples in the United States have been spending an average of $33,931 for their wedding.

In Australia, it was $36,200 and $30,717 in Canada.

But no matter where you are, it’s safe to say that you need at least $30,000 for today’s standard of a happily ever after – but do you?

Planning a wedding can be pretty frustrating, especially because of the pressures that go with it. But, it’s important that before you start planning, you think about what you and your partner would really like for your big day. Don’t think about your families and your tradition and simply lay out what you BOTH like and expect. Then, from there, cost it out and make your decisions.

After doing that, look at your budget and think about what you want after getting married. Do you want to buy a home? Immediately start your family? If these are your priorities then would it make sense that you’re spending more than what you can afford on your big day?

See, you don’t need to follow everyone else and you surely don’t have to spend like other couples. You can actually get married for less and plan your wedding on a budget!

What to Do to Pay for Less?

pay for less judith valente

Let’s start with your venue. The venue is actually the biggest expense in most weddings.

And, this is because couples have a different venue for their ceremony and reception.

To cut down your expenses, choose a venue that can cater to both. Fine dining spots and country clubs are now open to hosting wedding ceremonies.

In addition, we recommend avoiding Saturday for your wedding day. Usually, reception venues cost rise during the weekend, especially Saturdays. If you push it back say on a Friday, you can save up to 30% off the total venue price!

Another option to cut down expenses with the venue is by going with the alternatives. Maybe you can have the function at home, at your parents’ country property, or at a friend’s house beside the harbor? You can even go with your favorite pub or restaurant! See, weddings don’t have to be as lavish as what you see on TV. In fact, when you go for a place that holds special meaning for you, your wedding will be more “YOU” and you and your guests will feel a lot more comfortable.

Now, let’s discuss how you can save up on buying your dress. An obvious way to pay for less is to shop online. Many brides have had great success doing so and you can save a huge fraction of what you’ll normally spend in buying at bridal salons. Just make sure that you get your measurements right to avoid unnecessary retailoring – another expense you should totally avoid.

If you don’t want to take the risk of buying a dress that might not be as dreamy as it was in the photos and you really want a dress that is made for you, you could go with couture bridal dressmakers. Of course, you don’t have to choose Vera Wang and Oscar De la Renta. Go local and find one in your area. For example, if you’re in Melbourne, Judith Valente used to make the greatest couture bridal dresses in Melbourne. Her exclusive gowns have a touch of timeless elegance and beauty almost the same with famous brands minus the price!

The amount you’ll spend on event photography []/videography can also come less if you take advantage of cheaper and digital technologies. Find a friend photographer who would gladly take over – just don’t ask to take their services for free! But, if you really prefer professionals to do the job, check their hourly rates! Day rates and flat fees often amount to a huge sum but you don’t really need photographers or videographers on hand for eight to 10 hours. See if you can get their services at an hourly rate, this will cut off a significant amount. Checking for hourly rates will also come handy for a florist, DJs, musicians, and your other entertainment needs.

In terms of food, you can actually save 25% or more if you ditch the traditional 3 or 4-course dinners. Check around your area for caterers who will be willing to do buffets or station meals. You can choose to serve roast beef, potatoes, pasta, and cheesecake, and let them beautifully lay it out in a station at your choice of venue.

Additional Ways to Cut the Cost

Other ways to cut the spending down is by ignoring everything expensive. Do you really need to arrive in an armored, hummer-style limousine? You know, you can get from point A to B without spending hundreds of dollars. Ask a friend with a nice ride and you can save that money and spend it on something more important.

Also, you don’t have to spend $1,000 on finding the right shoes that will make you look tall and glamorous. We know Jimmy Choo, Louboutins, and Louis Vuitton are tempting but they are crazy expensive! There are many alternatives that can make you feel special on your big day too!

Now, there are more ways to plan your wedding without spending so much. All we’ve given are the most basic ones and you can use them to stack up on small savings – which when added up, provides you with a surprisingly large amount! See, you don’t have to dig $30,000 out of your pockets to have the wedding of your dreams.

Guide to Planning Your Wedding

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guide to planning your wedding

Your Ultimate Guide in Planning Your Wedding

Tying the knot soon but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered! Here’s the ultimate guide in planning your wedding to help you achieve the wedding of your dreams… and how to get it together without pain and getting frustrated!

Getting Started (16 to 9 Months Before Wedding)

The first and most important part of planning your wedding is talking about your plans with your partner.

Sit down with your fiance and think about the style you like, whether you it’s at the beach, a beautiful garden ceremony, or a traditional wedding.

You don’t have to talk about the specifics yet such as money, guests, or date. You simply have to delve into each other’s dreams.

guide in planning your wedding

Once that’s done, it’s time to prepare your planning tools. Buy a notebook / folder / binder. Then, start going through lifestyle, fashion, design, food, gardening, and bridal magazines. Put together all your wedding inspiration ideas in the binder and use them as basis in making your decisions later on.

Next, it’s time for you to set a date. If you already have that settled, then that’s great! However, if you still have no idea, it’s important that you start thinking about it now. Without a firm date, you won’t know how much time you have to organize things.

After making up your mind about when you’ll finally tie the knot, another important factor that you must decide as a couple is your budget. It is critical that you determine how much you are willing to spend and where it will come from. Will your family contribute? Will his? Or will it just be the two of you? Set your budget and put it into an a Spreadsheet.

This is just an example of how you can create your Spreadsheet. Break down your total budget into each wedding necessity and put in how much you can spend on each. This is to help you stay within your terms or adjust if necessary. You can fill up the “Actual Cost” later on when you’ve decided on a vendor.

Wedding EssentialBudgetActual Cost

If you’ve already settled your budget, it’s time for you to make your guest list. Figuring out who you want at your wedding is extremely essential. So, start deciding on who your bridesmaids, maid of honor, best man, and groomsmen are. And, to make sure you’re not forgetting anyone, you and your fiance should make your own separate lists. After, work on a master guest list by putting your lists together. Then, put this into another Spreadsheet file.

Now, choose your venue. But, before you can do that, factor in your dreams again and see how it goes with reality. Do you really want that outdoor garden setup? Have you considered the weather during the time of the year you’re planning to get married? Also, do you want separate locations for the ceremony and reception?

If yes, then think about the travel time between these places too. And, most importantly, make sure you have enough space in a venue for everyone on your list. Finally, look for an officiant that you are comfortable with and book him on your desired date.

Hiring Your Vendors (8 Months Before Wedding)

hiring your vendors judith valente

Professional and experienced photographers and videographers are usually booked several months in advance.

So, it’s important that you find one early. There’s no need to discuss the specifics yet, however, ensure that the people you’re hiring are open to doing the shots you want.

Another important wedding essential you don’t want to miss is entertainment.

A singer/performer is a must for any event. However, don’t rely on hearsays and suggestions. Attend gigs to know how they perform in front of an audience. Once you make up your mind, reserve your favorite. Also, consider hiring a DJ for additional entertainment. Usually, they charge less than live bands.

Once done, it’s time to find where to get the food you’ll be serving that is if your wedding venue doesn’t offer their own catering services. Meet multiple caterers if needed and try their menu so you have first-hand knowledge on how their dishes look and taste. Also, don’t be afraid to bargain! After you’re done, find yourself a florist who will handle your bouquet and the decorations at your venue.

Then, you can purchase your bridal dress. Remember: it’s okay to take your time in finding the perfect wedding dress. Judith Valente, a leader in bridal couture and a top Melbourne bridal dress couture designer who offered timeless beauty and elegance in her exclusive gowns said, “every bride deserves a fairytale ending with a gown they have always wanted”.

So, if you haven’t found the “the ONE” yet, then it’s fine. Never buy a dress that you are not happy about. However, do work with the things you have now to make the search for your dress less stressful. The internet’s pretty big with wedding gown designers and makers, and you can look for one near your town! Oh, and maybe it’s also best that you think about purchasing the groom’s suit along the way as well.

Cover Last Wedding Essentials (7 to 1 Month Before Wedding)

As your big day draws closer, there are more things that you need to settle. For one, you have a vendor to make your invitations. Basic invitations announce your wedding’s hosts, time, place, and reception details.

Send this to your guests and let them confirm their attendance through the response card that’s included. Another thing to think about is your hair and makeup artists. There are many who offer such services just make sure you schedule an appointment before hiring anyone to see how it will turn out.

Also, with only a couple of months before your wedding, there are a few things you have to purchase, such as wedding shoes, groom’s accessories, and your rings! You have to choose your music, assign seating arrangements, make your vows, and plan a rehearsal.

During this time, you should also be considering where to spend your honeymoon. Now, while it may be starting to sound a little stressful, don’t worry. It is also during this last weeks or days that you can enjoy your girl’s company and celebrate your bridal shower!

And then, there’s just one left to do: finalize everything. Call your vendors (florist, cake, caterer, photographer, and videographer, etc.) or meet with them if necessary and confirm their arrival times. After that, just stay calm and wait for the big day to come!