This Is the Average Cost of a Wedding Dress Today

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Bride in wedding dress with bridesmaids
Elkin Cardona Photography
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
by
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Associate Editor
  • Sarah is an Associate Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses in fashion, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Feb 28, 2022
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Your wedding dress is one of the defining details of your big day—but it can be an expensive purchase. The average wedding dress cost depends on a variety of factors, and prices vary. If you're wondering how much the average wedding dress costs, remember that individual customizations can affect the price. The dress style, designer, alterations and addition of "extras" to make it uniquely yours all impact the final price tag. While the average price of a wedding dress oscillates, there is a general cost to keep in mind when shopping for your dream gown. So, how much does a wedding dress cost today? We've got the answer.

According to The Knot Real Weddings Study, which surveyed over 15,000 couples who got married last year, the average wedding dress cost in 2021 was $1,800. Gowns continue to be a staple of wedding fashion, as 99% of our survey respondents who identify as female wore a dress for their nuptials. Buying a new dress remains the most popular option for to-be-weds, with 93% purchasing a new design.

If you're an avid Say Yes to the Dress fan, you'll notice that the average price for a wedding dress is vastly different from brides who shop with a large (or even limitless) budget. Keep in mind that alterations and custom additions will increase the cost of a wedding dress. Just under 20% of those surveyed got a custom-made dress, which will be more expensive than a wedding gown purchased as-is.

This number is also not representative of additional dresses or wedding outfits. More brides are opting to wear a second reception outfit or a third look for the after party, meaning their spend on wedding attire will increase accordingly. Not only is this a great way to change up your look throughout your wedding day (à la Hailey Baldwin), you can show off multiple dress styles if you don't want to commit to just one (like Hilary Duff).

The average wedding dress cost also varies by region. Spend in the Mid-Atlantic was over $2,000, while the average wedding dress cost in the Midwest was about $1,600. Wedding venues also contribute to the average cost of a wedding dress. Our data indicates that individuals tend to spend less on a dress for a hometown wedding, while those who hosted an international destination celebration spent over $2,000 on their look.

There are many other factors that affect the wedding dress' price point. "As a general rule, handmade gowns are pricier than manufactured ones," says Shelley Brown, Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor at The Knot. "The overall craftsmanship that goes into creating a gown also affects its price. For instance, styles with certain embellishments (think: lots of beading, appliqués, crystals or embroidery) tend to be more expensive than simpler designs, due to the amount of time and labor it takes to make them. Some high-end fabrics may also be rarer and more difficult to source than others, which can also impact the price of a gown."

However, there are definitely ways to save money on your wedding dress budget. According to Brown, "Opt for a more streamlined style without extensive embellishments. If you have your heart set on a heavily embellished gown, shop designer trunk shows or sample sales, look into purchasing a floor sample from a bridal boutique, or check out used wedding dress sites. You may have less flexibility where sizing is concerned with these options (and dress samples can show signs of wear and tear), but you can usually snag a designer dress for a fraction of the cost."

As you try on dresses, remember that any customizations, such as changing a gown's neckline or adding sleeves can increase the cost. The more extensive the wedding dress alterations, more money you'll spend. Work with a trusted wedding dress retailer to ensure you've found the perfect dress at the best price.

Some wedding dress shopping services make costs more manageable. Sites like Wedding Dress Preservation by The Knot help brides clean and store their gown safely for years to come, whether for sentimental reasons or to potentially repurpose in the future. Brides can also sell their wedding dress to sites like Nearly Newlywed to earn money back after the wedding. Those who want to save on a wedding dress can shop the site for second-hand dresses if they aren't interested in buying a brand new gown. Etsy also offers great vintage wedding dresses from reputable vendors for brides who want to shop pre-owned styles.

Generally, the average cost of a wedding dress hasn't changed drastically over the years. The price of a wedding dress was $1,600 in 2019 and $1,700 for a few years before that. Individual spend, though, depends on the consumer. With many to-be weds opting for custom details, wedding dress costs can fluctuate based on personal style. What matters most, though, is that you love the look you pick—because finding your dream wedding dress is priceless.

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