Like it or not, more or less formal attire is part of every wedding and a bridal dress is just a start. It doesn't matter if you are a member of the wedding party or a guest, there are many questions to consider and the ones related with the cost are among the most important ones. Let's try to break this situation into several smaller chunks, which should be much easier to process.
What is your role in the event?
Bride, groom and other important members of the processional should definitely stand out with their outfits. They are in the center of attention and nobody wants to loose the bride in the crowd of similarly dressed guests. But her dress is very much dependant on many factors: tradition, fashion, personal preferences, venue and weather related restrictions, ... All these factors should be thought off way before the wedding occurs, at least when the formal invitations were send.
If you are close to the bride (if not, talk to somebody who is), you need to communicate with her and find out what is expected from you. Is there a specific theme to be followed? What is the level of formality for the ceremony and the reception? It really helps if you know her well and understand how important is her wedding day to her, because you probably don't want to ruin her memories with totally wrong style.
Talking about style, we need to know everything might be important, not just colors of gowns and their lengths. You have to feel good in your outfit and you want to feel good when you put it off as well, what means you probably don't ant to spent too much for dressing, especially if you intend to put it on only once.
How to save on wedding gowns?
There are many ways to save a small fortune when the attires for weddings are in question. You can have a used one, for instance an old family treasure, which would probably need some alterations, you can rent it, you can find one in outlets or buy a second hand dress through classified adds. Possibilities of saving don't end with your wedding day - you can sell it to another bride-to-be or rework it into a more casual dress with ability to be worn on other occasions.
All these should be considered before you make the final decision for your bridal gown and the same is true for bridesmaid dresses, gowns of mothers of the brides and grooms, flower girls and all male members of the wedding.
How much a wedding dress actually cost? According to official statistics an average cost of wedding gown with accessories reached 1600 dollars in 2014. This includes bridal dress with hefty 1050 dollars share, her headpiece, veil and some accessories, but groom's tuxedo too.
We have to be honest - this is just a statistical data. On-line search stats show people look for everything between 50 and 5000 dollars for thew bridal dress as the most expensive item among the wedding gowns. Bridesmaids' dresses, for instance, rarely exceed few hundred dollars and we can get one for less than 50 bucks - with additional bonus: many of them can be worn again.
The shape of you body
This one is huge when you are buying a wedding gown. While the chosen theme and other restrictions may seriously limit your choice, you can still imply several tricks to flatter your body, no matter your size and shape might be. Here are few general rules on wedding dress silhouettes for body types and tips which might be of huge help with little or no additional investment.
For pear shaped body go for V neckline, raised or natural waistline, A shaped dress, voluminous materials and many details.
Apple shaped body would benefit from close fitting bodice, no details around your waist, high waistline, emphasized shoulders, V shaped or detailed neckline.
Banana (also: Column, Rectangle, Straight, Tube) shape is luckiest of all - almost everything suits them, so the main goal is to define a waist and add some curves on the right places with materials and details.
An hourglass shaped body is flattered by sheer, soft fabrics, vertical lines which soften the already well defined figure of ideal female curvaceous body, fitted jackets, without additional volume around hips and bust.
There is also a whole science on colors, but we'll explore everything with examples of real dresses. Just remember every related to the wedding is an unique experience and every wedding gown is something special too, so there can't be a simple general rule for everybody. Sometimes you'll have to try few gowns before you know and sometimes you should trust your gut instinct.