During the time leading up to a wedding ceremony, the “to-bes,” be they bride or groom, are faced with a superabundance of choices. From the most expensive choice (usually venue) to the least (shoes perhaps?) their choices create a bricolage of what they hope to be a one time only affair.

According to Wedding Wire’s 2020 Newlywed Report and based on data from over 25,000 U.S. couples married in 2019, the overall average cost for a first marriage hovers around the $30,000 mark.

(Goodson & Francis, n.d.)

Carved from that $30,000 budget is a wedding outfit. For females the average costs comes in at $1600, a tad over five percent of the overall budget (Goodson & Francis, n.d.).

(Goodson & Francis, n.d.)

If you want to go the designer route, your price tag increases significantly.

“Even a very simple dress can cost a pretty penny if it carries the label of a famous designer, like Vera Wang, Reem Acra or Hayley Paige. Their wares can run into the multiple thousands of dollars—$2,000, $3,000, $5,000, $8,000 or more” (Price, n.d.).

This Hayley Paige dress is an ivory-colored embroidered A-line gown with a deep sweetheart neckline, scalloped cap sleeve, and cashmere lining. Price wise it’s on the lower side of the designer scale, dropping in at the cool price of $3355. That’s before alterations, of course.

(Cap Sleeve Embroidered A-Line Wedding Dress, n.d.)

Grooms can also drop a significant piece of change for their outfit. According to a 2015 article from CNBC, mens custom suits can range from $800 to about $1,800 (Federico-O’Murchu, 2015).

Photo by Снежана from Pexels

As a recent interviewee for my current project on wedding outfits shared, why spend $350 on a rental when you can spend a little more and keep it. It just makes sense.

Choosing a wedding day outfit is an emotional experience that I find fascinating and it is the driving force behind my passion project — the Choosing Your Reflection podcast.

Enclothed Cognition

According to psychologists Hago Adam and Adam Galinsky, clothes have an influence on the wearer’s psychological processes. In 2012 they conducted a study on the symbolic meaning of clothes and the physical experience of wearing them. In their Journal of Experimental Social Psychology article, the term enclothed cognition is introduced.

Enclothed cognition is the term used to describe the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes” (Adam & Galinsky, 2012).

Basically, wearing different types of clothing causes a person to embody the clothing along with its symbolic meaning. As I was reading the study I remembered one of the early Choosing Your Reflection interviewees who said the following about the moment she found her perfect wedding dress:

“It gave me confidence. I wanted to show everybody ‘Look at me in this dress! I look like I could be a bride!’ It was definitely a moment. Special moment.”

– Lindsey, Rebel Bride episode from the Choosing Your Reflection podcast

“Science says that the clothes we wear affect our behavior, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and even the way we interact with others.” (Sarda-Joshi, 2016).

Making a Statement

Although a wedding is a traditional act, many couples seek to individualize the ceremony — often through what they wear. As the expectation of a white wedding continues to fade, freedom of choice expands. Brides and grooms alike are free to express their personalities by choosing an outfit that makes a personal or joint statement.

Outfits don’t have to be dull. Something as simple as the footwear you choose can display your personality in a big way! Almost all the people interviewed for the podcast had something to say about their choice of shoes for their big day, and very often it includes sneakers!

Looking for comfort? Why not order a pair of Converse All Star sneakers personalized with the word Bride on the back?

(Converse All Star Classic Canvas Sneakers Bride Wedding Personalized Shoes – White, n.d.)

Not quite your style? No worries. Here’s a very recent list of 32 styles of wedding sneakers that was recently published in Brides magazine which includes a pair of diamond crystal-embellished suede trainers from Jimmy Choo. Just $3,995. Free delivery and returns, of course.

(Diamond Crystal-Embellished Suede Trainers | Jimmy Choo | MATCHESFASHION US, n.d.)

“The right shoe can make everything different.” – Jimmy Choo

Why It’s Important

“Certain clothes make us very happy.” – Why Clothes Matter

Choosing Your Reflection is a collection of true stories from real people. Join us as we delve into the psychology and sociology behind the choices people make as they embark on the next chapter of their life as a married person.

until nxt time …

CYR Tip: If you want to keep within your budget, here’s a tip from one of the podcast interviewees. When visiting a bridal shop check the price tag of any dress your bridal attendant suggests you try on. If it’s outside of your budget don’t try it on. That way you won’t fall in love with something you can’t afford. If you just can’t resist, the popular website The Budget Savvy Bride offers tips on where to save to offset the cost of an expensive wedding dress. Check out the article Saying ‘I do’ on a budget: Why it’s okay to splurge on a dress and save in other ways.


Adam, H., & Galinsky, A. D. (2012). Enclothed cognition. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(4), 918–925. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2012.02.008

Bricolage | Definition of Bricolage by Oxford Dictionary on Lexico.com also meaning of Bricolage. (n.d.). Lexico Dictionaries | English. https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/bricolage

Carter, J., & Duncan, S. (2017). Wedding paradoxes: individualized conformity and the ‘perfect day.’ The Sociological Review65(1), 3–20. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.12366

Cap Sleeve Embroidered A-line Wedding Dress. (n.d.). Kleinfeld Bridal. https://www.kleinfeldbridal.com/product/hayley-paige-cap-sleeve-embroidered-a-line-wedding-dress-brando/

Converse All Star Classic Canvas Sneakers Bride Wedding Personalized Shoes—White. (n.d.). Glitter Shoe Co. https://www.glittershoeco.com/products/converse-all-star-classic-canvas-sneakers-bride-wedding-personalized-shoes-white

Diamond crystal-embellished suede trainers | Jimmy Choo | MATCHESFASHION US. (n.d.). https://www.matchesfashion.com/p/1338238

Federico-O’Murchu, L. (2015, February 16). How far do men go for a custom suit? Around the world. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2015/02/13/how-far-do-men-go-for-a-bespoke-suit-around-the-world.html

Goodson, L., & Francis, K. (n.d.). 2020 Wedding Report. WeddingWire. https://go.weddingwire.com/newlywed-report

Moore, S. (n.d.). 32 Wedding Sneakers to Take You from the Aisle to the Afterparty and Beyond. Brides. https://www.brides.com/gallery/wedding-bridal-sneakers

Price, S. (n.d.). Average Cost of a Wedding Dress. ValuePenguin. https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-cost-of-wedding-dress

Sarda-Joshi, G. (2016, February 29). 7 ways your clothes change the way you think. Brain Fodder. https://brainfodder.org/psychology-clothes-enclothed-cognition/

Shoes Sayings and Shoes Quotes | Wise Old Sayings. (n.d.). Wise Old Sayings. https://www.wiseoldsayings.com/shoes-quotes/

The School of Life. (2017, March 29). Why Clothes Matter—YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8da1nXckEy4

Why it’s okay to splurge on your wedding dress. (2016, July 23). The Budget Savvy Bride. https://thebudgetsavvybride.com/saying-i-do-on-a-budget-why-its-okay-to-splurge-on-a-dress-and-save-in-other-ways/

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