OSSEO, Minn. — Even though Cassidy Gerriets has a degree in apparel design and development, she says she's always hated spending money on clothing. Wedding planning was no exception.
"I feel like I can put the money toward something else," Gerriets said. "You usually only wear [the dress] once. I would rather put it towards food or the venue itself."
It's one of the reasons Gerriets, who's getting married next month, opted to shop at Budget Bridal Outlet, a shop in Osseo that sells only dresses under $500. She says other wedding costs started to creep up, due to supply chain issues and likely inflation as well.
"When I looked at my catering, they said certain items might be more expensive just because it’s harder to get, like chicken… so we had to wait later for them to get accurate pricing on things," she said.
When all was said and done, she landed on a dress that was around $500, and she was pleased with the deal and the styles.
"I’m getting really dolled up … so I’m feeling good," Gerriets said.
Owner Anette Hall says she's seeing an uptick in the number of brides on a budget. For nine years, she's owned Bridal Aisle Boutique. In 2020 she developed a plan to start an outlet where the entire inventory of dresses has a price under $500.
"The brides are definitely wanting to have a bargain and stay on a budget, looking for their wedding gown," Hall said. "I think their entire wedding they like to stay on budget, but it also makes them very excited if they have a budget for a thousand dollars and they find their dress for under $500."
But even though the price is much lower, not everyone wants to buy. Over in Minneapolis, Andrea Fischer, co-owner of Freya Wilde boutique, has her warehouse stocked full of designer dresses that are available for rental.
"We’re a sharing economy model, which is rather new to the wedding industry," Fischer said. "That means is that every one of these dresses has been loved and customized by someone."
Fischer says that immediately takes the pressure of the price point off the brides-to-be while also helping newlyweds recoup the costs of their wedding.
"So essentially if you’re the bride who is renting your dress for your day, you’re not just paying money to get your dress, you’re also helping the bride before you recoup the cost of the work they put into the dress," she said.
The original bride will still maintain ownership of the dress and take a 40% cut of the rental fee, which ranges from $350-$750. Fischer says a cleaning fee of $180 is charged as well, to keep the dresses in pristine condition.
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