When is the Best Time to Buy a Wedding Dress?

Purchasing a wedding dress on a smaller budget can be stressful. We've broken down where you can expect to find the best prices and the widest variety.

Woman in a wedding dress with her back to the camera, she is looking at a selection of wedding dresses on hangers
(Image credit: Getty)

So, the question has finally been popped and you’ve jumped head first into wedding planning. The most exciting part for any bride-to-be is finding that special dress. But buying a wedding dress can incur quite a cost. If you’re smart about when you purchase, your dream dress may just be within budget. So, when is the best time to buy your wedding dress?

The Average Cost of a Wedding Dress

A woman picking a wedding dress

(Image credit: Getty)

If we look at the average cost of a wedding dress throughout the last few years, it’s clear that the average price has been rising consistently. The Average Wedding Dress Cost - UK Price Run-Down For Brides, written by Louise Baltruschat Hollis, states that, in the Bridebook’s January 2023 survey of nearly 4,000 couples, the average cost of a wedding dress in 2022 was in the region of £1,273. In Hitched's 2023 wedding survey of nearly 2,400 couples across the UK, the average wedding dress cost is £1,350 in 2022. 

What is the Most Expensive Kind of Wedding Dress?

There are a huge number of different styles when it comes to wedding dresses. From ball gowns, mermaid dresses to A-Line wedding dresses and more, which is the most expensive? 

It’s not necessarily the style you choose that hikes up the price. It has everything to do with the designer you choose and where you decide to purchase your wedding dress. For example, if you opt to go down the designer route, you’ll see names like Augusta Jones, Novia D’Art, Jesus Peiro and so many more. These stunning designs vary in price in bridal boutiques from £700 to over £4000, whereas online high street retailers have prices that range from as low as £30 to £2000+ dependant on your taste. 

Couture bridal designers average at around £1,500+ in the UK. They offer the highest quality fabric and some beautifully intricate designs and it's because of this that couture bridal dress prices can soar to over £100,000 occasionally. Some extremely popular names in the couture world will raise the price by name alone. Jenny Peckham has an average cost of £1,800+ whilst Temperley’s average is £3,000+. We need to talk about Vera Wang here because it’s the most popular name in the wedding dress industry. For a Vera Wang dress, you are looking at a price between £4,000 to £18,000. Although, you can find Vera dresses more expensive than this and sometimes cheaper than this too. 

Where can I find the Most Affordable Wedding Dresses?

A shorter dress is ideal for a wedding in a warmer climate or a last-minute elopement. According to The Bridebook’s ‘Wedding Prices - The Dress’ article, the average price starts at around £400 for a simpler design.  Although it’s understandable to think that you’re more likely to get your hands on a stunning short wedding dress closer to the summer months, this might not be the friendliest option on your budget. Buying a shorter dress during the off-season period (specifically in January to make the most of their sample sales). 

If a full-length dress is a key part of your perfect wedding, The Wedding Dress Price Guide on onefabday.com is a great place to start. They have a breakdown of the kind of prices you could expect to find depending on where you shop. 

A vintage dress can provide some unique style as well as a lower price point of around £300+. There are dedicated vintage bridal stores dotted around the UK or you may be able to strike gold in a general vintage shop. This may take a little more hunting but it can be well worth the extra effort.

A graph showing the price of wedding dresses. It compares second hand, high street and designer dresses.

(Image credit: NimbleFins)

Vintage isn’t for everyone but you can still find a beautiful, modern dress at a budget-friendly price. The high street is your best friend! Whether you’re looking for something traditional or more alternative dress for your big day, brands like Monsoon, Ghost, John Lewis, Phase Eight offer a number of looks and could house the dress of your dreams. When you utilise what the high street has to offer, you can find a dress from £80 up to £800. Even on the more expensive side, you’re still looking at an average of £500 less on the high street. 

Online-only retailers like ASOS, Net-A-Porter, eBay and PreLoved have stunning dresses for as little as £50, occasionally offering a sale throughout the year. For example, as of August 2023, ASOS offered up to 65% off the wedding dresses in their sales section. It is worth noting that there are limited tailoring options for dresses purchased from sites like ASOS. This naturally leads to a more difficult time finding the right size. 

Charity shops are another affordable option. While there’s a good chance it’s pre-loved, you can find designer wedding dresses for as little as £50. Dedicated bridal charity shops are a fantastic place for dress hunting if you’ve got a small budget. Many may be hesitant to opt for a secondhand dress but the quality has drastically improved over the years. It's now a highly suggested option for a lower-priced dress. 

When is the Best Time to Buy a Wedding Dress?

Just like many things, there are times of the year that are better for a wedding dress budget. During the summer and winter seasons, designers are getting ready to release their new lines. Retailers want to omit the bulk of their older stock and sample stock quickly resulting in some huge savings. A huge number of new dresses can be purchased at a reduced cost, sometimes with discounts of up to 80%. 

A great example of these yearly savings comes from Selfridges. They have offered deals some great deals during May and June each year. From 50% off at their wedding shop to wedding dresses from just £85. They are a great demonstration of beautiful dresses for budget-friendly brides. 

A sample dress is a dress that is specifically for customers to try on. Twice a year, you will find sample sales just before the new lines are due to arrive. For most bridal boutiques, this happens once in January and once in the summer. You can find the specific dates of these sales either on their social media or by visiting the store in person. 

During spring and autumn, wedding dress prices are relatively stable and there will be very few bridal boutique sales. If you want to stick to a smaller budget when you’re looking for your wedding dress, make sure you take advantage of the industry wides sales that are found in January and the summer. 

Sales of wedding dresses are more common when it comes to online retailers. Brands such as ASOS, Coast and Ghost have been known to include their wedding dress collections in their Black Friday sales. For example, Coast began their Black Friday sale on 30th November 2022 offering 80% off their remarkable collection of wedding dresses until 14th December 2022. 

Buying your dress online tends to lead to a smaller bill. The addition of huge discounts of up to 80% is an easy way to stick to your dress budget. Unfortunately, finding Black Friday sales in a bridal boutique is rather hard to come by as they tend to stick to their bi-yearly sample sales.

A Dream Dress for a Dream Budget

Overall, finding the perfect wedding dress can be a huge endeavour and becomes even more difficult when a lower budget is included. However, now, we can confirm that there is a better time to make your purchase. 

A great way to keep your wedding dress within your budget is by opting for something shorter than the traditional gown. The easiest way to find a wide variety of shorter dresses is online. When bridal shopping online, the best prices are available online during the infamous Black Friday and occasionally the January Sales. 

If you fantasize about walking through bridal boutiques surrounded by countless potentials but your budget is holding you back, try searching during January or June when boutiques host their sample sales. These sales are the perfect place to find a huge number of options at a reasonable price. 

Think a beautiful dress is out of your reach due to your smaller budget? Think again - there are loads of budget-friendly options prime for the picking!

Shona Moreland
Fashion Editor

Hi there! My name is Shona and I’m the Fashion Editor here at MyVoucherCodes. I’ve been writing for 5 years, and now I’ve been focusing on fashion, and I’m loving every minute of it! From the freshest releases to the hottest trends and movements that keep the industry buzzing.

I have a number of interests, ranging from playing the drums, drawing, reading and writing to enjoying nature with my puppy! And let’s not forget about the all-important interest … Fashion!