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Why I spent $900 on a dress I’ll wear twice: you tell me!

February 20, 2010

Two big wedding expenses, both which could have been greatly reduced, are as follows:

Dress: I wanted a “real” wedding dress.  But I didn’t think I did!  I envisioned a more beachy white dress — simple, beautiful, maybe not full length.  Certainly not a WEDDING dress.  But when I tried on dresses, the nontraditional felt wrong for me.  I didn’t like them at all.  So we got the one I wanted — no details since T reads this.  It isn’t a giant giant white dress, but it is most certainly a wedding dress.  It was $900 (no tax).

BTW – the wedding isn’t on the beach exactly, so a real dress will be v. appropriate.

Jewels: T bought me a beautiful diamond solitaire engagement ring, and it was… I don’t know, $6000 or something.  We just got a custom wedding band made, and that was another $1500.  It is gorgeous!  (FYI, the main reason it is custom is that my setting requires a very slight curve in the band to fit together nicely, and custom was cheaper than the brand name matching band.)

These are certainly things we could afford without debt.  But . . .

On many levels I think it is crazy to spend $900 on a dress I will wear TWICE (I get to wear it again in the midwest reception!!), and $7,500 on completely non functional rocks (though that has a much better cost per a wear).  But I did it anyway.  And I did it not because society forced me to, but because it is what we chose, what we wanted.  Part of me wished I didn’t want the engagement ring — but in my heart, I did want it!  In my heart, I’m glad he got it!  And I’m glad I got the dress I got, happy we got a good photographer and I’m happy the setting will be gorgeous.

But I also think it is a bit crazy.   It would be nice if this post could come to some sort of succinct conclusion — but I don’t know what that conclusion is!   So can you help me?

So far the best answer I have is:  Because it is what we wanted, and we could do it without struggling.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2010 11:01 pm

    Well you could just pull a Veruca Salt and scream “but I want it NOW!” and I’m sure everyone would clam up pretty quickly 🙂
    Other than that, I think everyone has their own reasons for their wedding choices and that should be a good enough reason in itself. If you have the money to spend and aren’t a complete bridezilla (you seem far from it), I don’t see a problem with making choices that in the end make you happy!

  2. February 20, 2010 11:37 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting something and being able to afford it 🙂 Those “non functional” rocks are worn every day for the rest of your life, so it better be something you are happy with!

    • February 21, 2010 3:03 pm

      Ha — yes it is a bit veruca salt, huh? 🙂

  3. February 21, 2010 11:56 am

    I went into our wedding planning with the same ideas — simple dress, plain wedding band. But sometimes through the course of all the planning, your ideas changes, and you want things that will make you happy. I wound up with a ‘real’ wedding dress also — not too poofy, not overdone, just some simple beading on the bodice. And I also got a sparkly wedding band that “bends” to accommodate my engagement ring.

    Why did you spend that money on a wedding dress and custom ring? Because it makes you happy. You’ll have happy memories every time you look at your wedding pictures, or at your hand every day. That’s why!

  4. February 21, 2010 2:23 pm

    You got the stuff because you want it, because you are going to be beautiful in the dress, and because you can afford the ring – nothing wrong with any of those. Don’t feel like you need to justify it just because you are a PF blogger. :-p

    I seriously considered getting a ‘real’ wedding dress as well, they are just so beautiful! But in the end I went with a bridesmaid dress that was just as pretty with beading and stitching on the side , and most importantly that could arrive in time (because I started shopping so late). I was also lucky enough to inherit a ring to wear to avoid that cost, otherwise I would be in the same ring boat as you.

    Don’t feel badly about this if you can afford it!

    Now if you spent all your emergency fund and went into credit card debt to buy a dress and honking diamond, then you would be crazy. 🙂

  5. February 21, 2010 2:55 pm

    Congrats on getting your dress! I an excited for when my finally comes in (they seem to take forever). Sure it was a lot (and I got flamed for it on my blog) but it’s an important dress and I love it.

    • February 21, 2010 3:02 pm

      I actually got the dress quite some time ago — I just was hesitating to post anything about wedding spending as the ring purchase fell this month!

      The dress has been hanging in my closet here since Christmas break — I think i’m doing a final try-on with my mom next weekend with the shoes/veil et al!

  6. February 21, 2010 5:53 pm

    I was towards the end of my ultra-frugal debt paying stage when we got engaged and so kept saying I didn’t see the point in an expensive engagement ring which I’d probably end up not wearing very much because the stone would get in the way (I’m not a huge jewelry person). I said I wanted a band with lots of little diamond chips in it. But Dave wanted to buy me a “rock”. So we went looking and we chose one (not a huge one, I hasten to add, I have small hands so anything big looked ridiculous). And I’m so glad we did. The stone is so beautiful and shiny, I feel special every time I see it. The wedding band was custom made to match, and they look perfect together.

    Believe me, you’ve done nothing wrong spending money you can afford on these beautiful things. The memory of the dress will make you happy always, and the rings will make you smile every day. It’s not like you’re draping yourself in new bling every week, these things are really important and special.

    I think you said it best: because you wanted it, and because you can do it without struggling.

  7. February 22, 2010 10:24 am

    Well, the conclusion is that the things that are popular are popular for a reason.

    I told Chad not to pay too much for my engagement ring, just to get me something plain and hopefully with a man-made diamond or some other gem in it. He convinced an aunt to give him an old diamond ring, and designed my engagement ring around the stone. Sure, the diamond ring is cliche, but it’s also sparkly! And that sparkle isn’t just from the DeBeers marketing campaign.

    Wedding dresses are so well-constructed that other cheaper dresses won’t feel the same. I have never worn another dress that made me look that good. Also, when Chad locked me out of our hotel room (and away from my strapless bra), I was able to go braless because the boning was so supportive. There’s markup, but it’s not ALL markup.

    I guess the other take-away is that cost-cutting for the sake of cost-cutting serves no real purpose. You could afford the dress, T could afford the ring, and my guess is that you won’t look at your savings account 10 years from now and say, “I wish I had the $900 from that dress,” but you will look at wedding photos and say, “Damn, I looked hot in that dress.”

    • SP permalink*
      February 22, 2010 12:20 pm

      Very well said.

      But sometimes right now, I look at my savings account and wish there was an extra 10k or so in there 🙂

  8. February 22, 2010 11:51 am

    I think the key words are “as long as you can afford it.” You can afford it so it is not an issue.

    Unfortunately most couples I know spend more on a wedding (dress, ring and event) than they can afford. I’ve known many out of work show biz or artist types who bought big engagement rings on credit. Not a good move. However it’s hard to resist societal pressure on the ring front and some brides demand it.

  9. February 22, 2010 7:40 pm

    It pained me to pay $500 for a dress I’d only wear once. But two total strangers approached me to say the dress looked great. So that sort of crumbled my last resolve. (I got lucky: It was a discontinued model, so only $500 instead of $1000.)

    We were in debt, so I felt extra guilty, but I loved the dress and then I donated it for a nice little tax write-off. (Turns out we may not be itemizing anyway this year, but just something to think about.)

  10. February 23, 2010 10:17 am

    I spent just under $2000 on my dress. It was more than I planned on spending, but after trying on a ton of dresses and like a bunch but not loving a bunch, after trying this one on I knew it was worth it.

    I still stress a little about how much I spent, but I’m completely in love with the dress and at the end of the day I’m happy with my decision.


  1. Please don’t tell me how much I’m saving on my wedding « Stacking Pennies

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