Cheap Wedding Dresses Cheapen Weddings?

Yesterday The Herald’s Rachel Wells published an article stating “Affordable wedding dresses at H&M and ASOS cheapen marriage.”

While I spent a small fortune on my dress, which many people may disagree with, the value of my wedding and the sanctity of my marriage has nothing to do with that dress, or its cost.  Now also see Cheap Suits.

ASOS and H & M will soon both have bridal collections.  Like everything else, bridal couture can will now be available as “fast fashion”, bought online or off-the-rack on the High Street.  So what?  Brides have always had the option to buy a “cheap” dress from Topshop or Forever New, rather than spending thousands on runway couture or custom-made gowns.  Topshop’s “Unique” range and Zara’s “Evening” collection have been popular with brides already.  The only difference is that now, the High Street is to manufacture dresses specifically for the women who’d rather spend their money elsewhere than on couture.

Edited: Asos now has some of the most incredible (and bargain) wedding dresses, here’s my edit of the best.

To begin with, can you even believe this is on Asos…? Princess Lace Bodice Mesh Skirt, Embroidered lace with sheer mesh panels and a sweetheart shape – this is everything you’d expect from a wedding dress except expensive.

I adore a tea-length dress, this Corsage Cami Tiered Midi Dress is wonderful and an absolute steal at $49 – yes, really!

Lazer cut lace is all the rage – this dress is an affordable take on the trend for $225.

Two-piece wedding dresses are having a moment – and best of all you can swap out the top or bottom later in the evening for something sparkly. Oh, and this is $108.50.

Personally, I think that a brilliant initiative, and an exciting announcement for brides.  The 18-piece ASOS collection has something to suit almost every bride’s shape and taste, and certainly meets almost every bride’s budget.  That some are already out-of-stock shows that the movement is popular with brides. 

Closer to home, H & M’s dresses are expected to be available in New Zealand at Sylvia Park when it opens this year – and I also expect Kiwi brides on a budget will snap them up.

My wedding dress was beautiful, and my wedding was wonderful, but the wedding dress didn’t make the wedding day, nor the marriage, and there is no need for an expensive dress to “do justice to the occasion” as Rachel Wells says, also suggesting “it is a precious and fitting symbol of the significance of the commitment I made” and “a wedding dress deserves to be treated with far more respect”.

Well, Rachel, you’ve just inspired me to put my dress on Trade me.  Does that mean I’m selling a symbol of the significance of the commitment, or disrespecting the importance of the wedding? Absolutely not.  

As celebrant Melanie Stuart (who sees enough weddings to know) stated in response to the article, “It aint about the dress!” 

Yes, I notice “the dress”. But do you know what I notice more? THE LOVE.

When the bride walks down the aisle, the most incredible thing happens. People’s faces change. Their breathing changes, they stand taller, they smile. There are tears. Hearts swell. No one speaks. It is my greatest privilege to be standing at the front next to the bride’s one-true-love when this happens. 

And you know what? The people feeling these huge emotions aren’t thinking “crikey that dress must have cost a bomb, good for her”, they are thinking “here are two people so in love that that have invited us here to see them get married”.

Buy the dress that makes you happy, and do with it after the wedding whatever makes you happy.  Use the savings, or proceeds of sale towards your honeymoon, your house, or anything else that makes you happy.  Don’t spare a thought for Rachel’s dress which has been in the wardrobe for three years, probably moth-eaten by now.

Now also see Cheap Suits.

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