The bride’s gown can be the most expensive part of planning a wedding. A popular television show chronicles prospective brides trying to find that perfect gown at a high end retailer in New …
The bride’s gown can be the most expensive part of planning a wedding. A popular television show chronicles prospective brides trying to find that perfect gown at a high end retailer in New York. Gowns shown often run several thousand dollars, even tens of thousands.
The same gowns may take more than two months to arrive and still have to be altered to fit properly. Since the pandemic struck, that wait time may grow up to nearly a year.
There is another creative solution closer to home, available at far less expense.
Why not consider a resale wedding gown?
Tucked away in an upstairs alcove at Habitat’s Shop on Bent is a treasure trove of wedding gowns, plus much, much more.
Linda Metzer, director of stores for Habitat in Powell, opened that Aladdin’s cave to scrutiny recently.
“We’ve got lace, we’ve got sequins, we’ve got flower girls’ dresses,” she said. “We’ve got it all.” And crushed into the space, she was right.
On the racks are gowns that range from the most simple, classic lines in smooth, ecru satin to heavily beaded and sequined creations with frothy trains. There are silk gowns with designer names on the still-attached price tags from the original retailer. Some of the prices on those tags are jaw-dropping.
“We see a lot of brides going to much simpler looks,” Metzer said. “I don’t think people realize we have so much.”
There are often brides-to-be who are on a very tight timeline or a very tight budget. Metzer said the most expensive gown at Habitat is less than $300. The costs vary and are set on how elaborate a gown is and whether it will need to be cleaned before use. It also takes into account if the dress is a new style or a golden oldie.
But the items that can be purchased at Habitat — or other thrift stores — for weddings are certainly not limited to gowns.
At the Shop on Bent, there are many, options for bridesmaids or other attendants. The styles range from very modest to backless. Sizes, like those for the wedding gowns, are all over the map, from a 2 to a 16W.
The name brands include Alfred Angelo, David’s Bridal and Ralph Lauren.
But if there are alterations needed, time is of the essence. Donna Schiltz of Sitting, Sewing & Such makes custom gowns but also alters others.
“Generally they [brides] contact me. They have grandma’s dress or a resale gown. We meet before I commit to the project.”
Sometimes, Schiltz said, the gowns have been improperly stored or handled and the material isn’t salvageable.
And sometimes the size of the bride and the gown are very disparate. “You can usually change a couple of sizes, but then it gets interesting,” Schiltz said. Price can also be a factor. If the gown is an heirloom, the bride is more likely to invest in the project. Another option, Schiltz said, is to use part of the gown in other parts of the wedding, like a ringbearer’s pillow.
The time for alterations can be significant. Schiltz said she likes two to three months for simple alterations and up to a year to remake a family heirloom.
“I had so much fun with one mother’s dress from the 50s,” Schiltz said. “It didn’t start out as cream satin, but it had aged. I found a perfect satin match,” to complete the redo for the bride to use just a few years ago. “That just doesn’t happen,” she said.
The point is that for a bride who has a larger creative portfolio than bank account, shopping thrift stores can go a long way to delivering the wedding of her dreams.