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Expensive gown - was it worth it?

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repartee

Rough_Rock
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Sep 18, 2006
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My wedding is in June, outdoors, on my boyfriend''s, er...fiance''s family farm in SW Wisconsin. We are keeping the wedding small (<75 people) and pretty relaxed. I''ve actually already bought two v. inexpensive wedding dresses from eBay, both of which I like. Here''s the thing - I am absolutely in love with Monique Lhuillier''s lace dresses. Specifically Scarlet and Miranda. But not terribly in love with the price tags. I''m a mostly practical person and I think it would be very difficult for me to plunk down $x,000 (even for a "gently used" one) on a dress that I will wear for six hours and that will probably have grass stains on it at the end of the night.

While our wedding is on a farm, we are spending quite a bit on flowers and photography and part of me wants something worth photographing! My fiance said it''s up to me (thanks, hun!). Cost isn''t the issue as much as the value question. Is it worth it? If you bought an expensive gown, did you regret it? If you went with something less expensive, did you regret it?

Grace
 

chicagolawyer

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Messages
71
If you have any way to fit the Monique gown into your budget, I would. (ETA -- I just reread and realized budget isn't an issue.)

I tend to be a practical person too, but how many times in your life will you get to wear a wedding dress?

Practically speaking, it's probably worth the extra money to be able to think back to your wedding and have the satisfaction of knowing that you truly treated yourself to what you wanted. Happiness and peace of mind is very valuable. Each time you look at yourself in the wedding pictures, you'll think of the dress, and you want it to be a good thought...not a "I wonder what the Monique would have looked like..."

ETA I think it depends on what type of person you are, too. Do you tend to look back at decisions you made in the past and wish you'd done something different? Or do you just let things go and not look back once the decision has been made.
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
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3,689
this is a question only you can answer. you should know the answer in your gut.

as for me, i''m also a practical person, but decided i wanted my dress to be special, which meant expensive in my case. I paid for it myself so that way I felt guilt free. I also pretty much chose it without any feedback from anyone. I got it at a sample sale so that I felt like I wasn''t totally being taken for a ride--but it''ll still be almost 3 grand after all the alterations/dry cleaning.

It just something I wanted for ME, and I would have felt less than perfect if i got a dress that i just "liked". but that''s me! Another way I looked at it is I''m very conservative in my spending in my everyday life--while I see other girls splurge on $300 facials, $500+ purses, designer coats/clothes (i live in nyc, remember?
)--so if there was one time for me to splurge on me, it should be my wedding day!!!!
You could always sell it after if you feel like it..
 

So_happy

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Messages
1,084
What a great post :) I ordered an Ebay gown, too, and the whole thing cost me less than $250. It was great for me until I tried on a Maggie Sottero gown. Now, I know ML gowns are faaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrr more expensive than even expensive Maggies, but for me, the woman having a 10-12k wedding funded by FI and yours truly, it was hugely expensive for us for me to upgrade.

I also gave it some much needed thought and pondering and then I, too, went for it. I totally would have regretted wearing the other gown over the Maggie. I know this because I didn''t feel this way about my other gown and I had had it for a good 8 weeks or so. I''ve had (well, deposited anyway) my Maggie gown only a week ago and she''s on my desktop at school, I post pics of her to all my bms and other family members. I even refer to "her" as "her" lol. I am so psyched to wear her.

Especially if budget is not a concern, then yes the "you should splurge on this very special day" argument really makes its case!! Did you try it on already? Is it all lace? I know Maggie''s Grace is all lace and sparkles with S.Crystals from top to bottom and is totally devine and only about $1k I think........
 

Jas12

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2006
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2,330
I don''t have a lot of extra cash sitting around and FI and I are having a pretty costly wedding to begin with, so when i found a Maggie sottero dress that i kinda liked, I thought I was going to ''settle'' on it...that was until I tried on a Melissa Sweet gown more than 3 times as much, and had my first twinge of dress related excitement.
In the end I decided to go with the expensive one, i wanted to wear something really unique, and special...the M.Sweet made me feel that way.
I am, however, planning on selling it after, to re-claim a bit of the cost

I say go for it--Moniques are very beautiful and sought-after right now, I am sure u could sell it afterward if you wanted to.
 

AChiOAlumna

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 10, 2005
Messages
1,678
I ordered a dress from netbride.com. It''s an Alfred Angelo dress that retailed $499, and netbride.com got it to me for $251. They saved me a lot of money. Might be worth checking out.
 

E B

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
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9,488
My dress is expensive, but not $4000 expensive. Half that, actually. But to many, still pretty high.

I wanted silk, however, and this dress is beautifully made. It hugs all of my curves and the silk satin is like butter. It's going to photograph beautifully and I feel like a princess in it. Plus, I'm going to sell it after the wedding for half of what I paid for it, so if it sells...it's as if it only cost $1000.


www.preownedweddingdresses.com has Monique Lhuilliers often (there's a once-worn Monet for sale now!) and some girls sell theirs on ebay. There are also some online companies that make knockoffs, like the below:

Copy of ML Scarlett

I don't know anything about that company, but they have 100% positive feedback.
 

ammayernyc

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 23, 2004
Messages
1,268
My dress is super-expensive... $5000+. I totally didn''t mean to spend that much. But when I tried it on, the people I was with said my face just changed and I couldn''t stop smiling. They all said I looked like a bride. Who could say no to that...
 

cara

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
2,202
I would do it since you clearly know you LOVE the look and it doesn''t sound like it would put you in debt or anything. It would be a different matter if you LOVED your ebay dress and were just lamenting this other dress you also might love. You only get one chance to buy a four digit white lace dress, and there''s probably a bit of both quality and excitement difference between the ebay dresses and the ML.

Just to make you feel a little better, the ML lace is very nice and does have a different look than the lace that would come on an Alfred Angelo or a knockoff, so you are not just paying for the brand name. Not that the cheaper dresses can''t be beautiful dresses, its just not $100/yard lace so its going to look different.

ML is really expensive but you can recoup some of your costs by looking for a used dress/buying a sample/selling after your wedding. But partly I''m routing for your ML purchase because (a) a friend wore a ML lace dress and she was very beautiful! (b) I just spent more than intended and am relived to have a dress ordered that I like and fits my style and hopefully will help me feel beautiful. And hopefully nothing will happen to cause me to regret the expense in the future.
 

jcrow

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
7,395
i had a pretty pricey gown, and until this question was posted, i hadn''t thought about the cost post wedding. yes, when i was deciding on a gown, i hated that it was the price it was. but after all was said and down, i didn''t regret my decision. i did think a night or two about a gown with a $2000 veil. but, **that** i had to say no to. i loved it and it was pretty, but **i** couldn''t go through with a veil that i''d have on for 20 minutes costing $2k.

to each is own, though. you have to find what''s right for you. your balance.
 

jcrow

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
7,395
i guess too, i thought about it like this: it''s what everybody sees. they always look for the bride. and the dress is in nearly every pic taken too.
 

FireGoddess

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
12,145
My SIL bought a $3k dress expecting to be able to recoup some $$ by reselling afterwards...and hasn''t been able to sell it, even for half price. So I would look at it like this...if I never recoup any money, will I mind?

I spent $300 on my dress because I was paying for the wedding and wanted to spend $ on things that would last longer...like our rings, etc. And I haven''t regretted it once!!
 

widget

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
Messages
4,255
Interesting thread! Sounds like if you want to avoid buying an expensive gown, you''d better not try any on!


widget
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
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40,198
My gown was 3500-4000 retail. But I got a sample in GREAT condition for 1100. Totally worth it, as it is my dream gown. Would I have spent retail on it? No. I would have found SOMETHING in the 1100 range I liked and bought that. I could even have gone up to 2K... but I just couldn''t justify more than that... and I''m so happy now b/c the weddings been pushed back (again)... and I don''t have to stare at it and think : "I sunk 4 grand into that dress... and its just sitting there."
 

Officers girl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 16, 2007
Messages
218
For me its a matter of picking the dress you love! If the dress you pick is a dress that will have you walking down the aisle saying "well I look nice but gee I wish I couldve worn x dress" then it isnt the dress for you. Just make yourself happy.
 

gail013

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
335
I was married more than twenty years ago and we were broke. I remember back then trying on a diesgner raw silk gown for $1200, and I was in love with it. I thought about it day and night, butI just couldn''t do it. I ended up buying a gown for $90 on clearance at a bridal store, and embellished it with pearls and rhinestones myselrf , it was all lace and very beautiful. But I still wanted that gown. It''s funny, I think about it every once in a while, in fact I thought about it the other day. As much as everyone loved my other dress, I still felt a little cheated that I didn''t go for the one I wanted. We plan on having a 25th anniversary party, and I plan on wearing something really neat to that one.
 

UCLABelle

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
2,360
Okay, as a previous "intern" at a wedding planning firm, I will say the following:

1. This is probably the most important dress you will ever wear.
2. This is probably the most you will ever be photographed in one day.
3. ML makes the most beautiful dresses (okay, that has nothing to do with being an intern at a WP firm, but is my opinion).

If you have the money to spend on it, and realize you will only recoup about 10-20% of the price you paid on sites like EBay (if you decide to re-sell), I would go for it....
 

dani13

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
Messages
6,183
My dress was expensive- close to 4K, but to me, I will only get the chance to be a bride once, so it seemed worth it.
 

labbielove

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 28, 2006
Messages
862
As others have said, you really have to go with your gut.
Luckily for me I found a dress perfect for me that was within my budget-
but our photographer- well, that is where we did some long and hard thinking,
ended up going with what we wanted versus the cheaper.

so....i can relate to what you''re going through, and i have to say that if you can afford it, you gotta go for it!!!
 

ephemery1

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2006
Messages
1,724
Hmmm... ask me again in a few years, when I think of all the other places we could have spent that $4k!!


But in the meantime, I am a pretty frugal person... I appreciate designer stuff but I prefer to pay as little for it as possible (ie., just got a velvet Tahari jacket for $37, originally $478
). So my wedding dress was definitely a splurge... and I had some sticker-shock at first, but as my brother pointed out: "You're the only daughter, this is your wedding, and it's only happening once... get the dress you love." (He's a pretty good guy...
) My FI, who's also a pretty good guy, reminded me of all the bargain-hunting I've done over the years and how the amount I've saved just might total up to the cost of a designer gown! So I went for it... and so far, no regrets........
 

repartee

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 18, 2006
Messages
33
Ladies -

Thanks for all your advice! It sounds like most of you think I would have few regrets going with a ML gown. I will definitely check out that website and keep looking on eBay. I half-jokingly told my fiance he could''ve made all this easier if he had just put his foot down and said, "No!"... I guess I''m looking for that feeling AmandaPanda had when trying on her gown...

Anyway, I''ve made an appointment for Monday at a high-end bridal salon in NYC so we''ll see...

Grace
 

ljmorgan

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
Messages
1,037
I will say that if you have the means to buy the more expensive dress that you love, do it. As everyone has said, you should think back and remember feeling absolutely beautiful on your wedding day -- no doubts! I checked out all sorts of different priced dresses, and went with a $2600 Henry Roth. Right up until my wedding day I swore I would sell it... but now I can''t! I love that dress, and I love the memories that I have with it. My mother says some day when I am ready to "part it out" she can make pillows with the lace, which I would absolutely love.

Go with what you love, but don''t assume you''ll be able to sell it
 

fisherofmengirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 14, 2006
Messages
3,929
Like most others have said, that''s a judgment only you can make. Lots of brides choose very expensive gowns, and lots choose much less expensive gowns. The thing is, very few guests will know what the dress cost or if it''s designer or not. Everyone thinks the bride is beautiful on that day, simply because she''s fully in love and just glowing.

My dress was *very* inexpensive, but I loved it, and being that I''m just a deal finder of a person, I thought the dress rocked even more, just because of the price it was. So, the point is, different things make people feel like the dress they get is *the dress.* Find YOUR *the dress,* and don''t worry about how others perceive it.

 

ladykemma

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
2,194
I did the reverse. I bought a secondhand super expensive dress from another bride, and then turned around and sold it, after the wedding for what i paid for it.
 

ephemery1

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2006
Messages
1,724
Date: 2/11/2007 8:33:37 AM
Author: fisherofmengirly

The thing is, very few guests will know what the dress cost or if it's designer or not. Everyone thinks the bride is beautiful on that day, simply because she's fully in love and just glowing.
Very true... I'm assuming 99% of our guests will have NO idea (or care!) what my dress cost or who the designer is... name-recognition really wasn't part of the decision for me. Besides appreciating the gorgeous fabric and fit, I think the most fun part of my dress is that I'm normally super-rational about money, so I'm LOVING the opportunity to be completely no-holds-barred extravagant for once in my life. And really, what better occasion could there be than the day I get to celebrate my marriage, with all the people I love most there with me? Wearing this completely luxurious dress is just such a lovely tangible complement to the emotional impact of the whole occasion.


Okay, less than 3 months to go... can you tell I'm getting excited?
 

sarie_j

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 15, 2007
Messages
130
Just a look from the other side -- I had bought a Watters gown, very expensive for me also X,000 and then while in David''s Bridal of all places jokingly tried on a tea-length gown just to see... Wound up loving it, having the tears in the eye type moment, and bought it on the spot for under 250 tax and all... LOL, am so happy with this dress that I have put it on umpteen million times and danced around the house in it -- My only fear is that it will look cheap in my pictures, but it''s got a lace overlay so I hope not, and at this point I love it so much I don''t care...

Now I just have to tell everyone what I did and get rid of the first gown...
 

mercoledi

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 20, 2006
Messages
2,822
Hiya.
I too fell hard for those dresses, though I wanted the high bateau neck from fall 05. Like Ebree said, there are some good copies if you decide you want that look, but not the price. There's one here:
http://bridaldress4u.com/main/products_descriptions.php?product_code=UOY5RS1B
That one can be done with the original plunge neckline and several designers, including Jim Hjelm have added ML- like gowns to their ranks, and several are listed here.



Have fun trying on gowns!
 

basil

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Messages
1,526
I also really love those ML designs, but I just don''t think I can justify it. And I''m too scared to buy second hand if I can''t see it first or return it. And even though I know that going with a seamstress and a custom design can save a lot of money, that too seems risky.

So I''ve been searching for a lace sheath/slim a-line/slight mermaid that''s not $5000+. Re-embroidered tulle doesn''t do it for me. I really like the Jim Hjelm posted above (though it is also pricey), and I recently found some Amy Kuschel designs (http://www.amykuschel.com/) that look to be very pretty lace with a more reasonable price tag. On her site, there are a few listed in the $2200-2800 category, which is still a LOT of money, but still softens the blow from ML''s designs. You can see the dresses better on the Brides.com under the dresses->Amy Kuschel -> Runway pictures, though I think these are her 2007 designs which aren''t on the site yet.

Anyway, if anyone knows of any more lovely lace dresses at or around the $3k mark, I would love to know about them!
 

mercoledi

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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2,822
basil- Watters'' Spring 2007 collection is almost entirely ML-esque gowns. I ended up with one of the 06''s myself. They run 1-2K retail or less through Pearl''s Place or RK, just be warned that altering lace can get pricey. I think this has become a trend and that more and more lace is flooding the market. Watters quality is OK, a lot of things are synthetic but the lace is actually really nice.
There are options out there- good luck!
 

decodelighted

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
11,534
Date: 2/12/2007 6:42:23 AM
Author: sarie_j
I had bought a Watters gown, very expensive for me also X,000 and then while in David''s Bridal of all places jokingly tried on a tea-length gown just to see... Wound up loving it, having the tears in the eye type moment, and bought it on the spot for under 250 tax and all... LOL, am so happy with this dress that I have put it on umpteen million times and danced around the house in it --
LMAO!!! Meeee tooo!!! My "splurge" Watters dress came in and looked HORRIFIC on me. After a day of tears and frantic internet searching, I made my way to the last place on earth I ever wanted to venture (David''s Bridal) and BOOM - the perfect tea-length, lace-overlay dress! I left with it that day ... no alterations required ... and got hitched a couple WEEKS later!

The store I ordered the Watters disaster from split the loss with me -- & presumably resold that dress. All in all ... I spent LESS that the total cost of the "splurge" dress - but didn''t have to resell or ebay or anything.

BTW .. my "reach" dress ... the dress I wanted but DEF couldn''t afford: I saw photos of another bride in it after the fact and
... like a silk sack. MAYBE it would have looked okay on me - but probably not! I''m still delighted the universe let me get a glimpse at what could have been ... so I don''t have any illusions of the dress that wasn''t.
 
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