Money Lessons from “Say Yes To The Dress”


Not having cable, I have opted for Netflix unlimited streaming. It suits my personality well as I love to watch entire seasons of shows in large clumps. Currently I’m going through “Say Yes To The Dress” on Netflix as there are 5 seasons available streaming on Netflix.

It occurred to me between boxes of Kleenex that there are also some pretty good lessons to be learned from this show about money (specifically about buying wedding dresses).

Know Your Budget. If you don’t know how much you want to spend it is hard to find what you want. Inevitably the girls who go in not knowing how much they want to spend end up spending WAY more than the girls who don’t – simply because they haven’t a clue what they can afford. If you can only afford so much, it keeps you from spending over.

Don’t Go Above Your Budget. If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it every episode. The girl who tries on the dress that is “just” $1,000 over her budget. Falls in love with it.  Then ends up having to buy it. This after she just had on a dress before that was in her budget that also looked fantastic on her. Wanna save $1,000? Don’t try on dresses you can’t afford. And to generalize: don’t bother shopping/looking/trying on clothes/electronics/apartments/ect that are out of your price range. You’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. There is a REASON it costs more.

Be Flexible. I’ve seen so many girls who “don’t want lace” walk out with a lace gown that I don’t even know how consultants find dresses for these girls. But the key to this point is that what we want isn’t always what we’re expecting it to look like. Sometimes the perfect situation in life doesn’t follow the straight and narrow path.

Be Patient. The first dress might bring you to tears. Or it may be the 189th. But eventually, you’ll find your dress. Generalize: Your first job, your first boyfriend, you first car, your first ect, ect, may be the best. But some of us need a few more tries. We need a couple career changes to find the right one. A series of budgets before we’ve tweaked it just right.  Don’t give up. Just be patient. It you’re persistent, it will happen!

Ask For Help. Sometimes we need other’s opinions to give us perspective. A mom’s approval. A best friend’s envy. A grandmother’s tear. Or in the world of personal finance, perhaps we just need an outside consultant to make sure we’re making the right choices with our money. Or to encourage us in our pathway to freedom. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Don’t Get Too Much Help. The appointments in this show that are doomed for failure and always the ones where the bride brings her mom, her sister, and her 18 closest friends. With that many opinions there WILL be disagreement. Everyone has their own opinion. If you do want that much help and all those people there, you need to be strong and willing to stand up for what you want – despite descent. So choose your help wisely, and make sure you trust the opinions you’re getting or be willing to stand up for what you want in the face of those who may disagree.

It’s All About You. There are a lot of people to please when purchasing a dress, but at the end of the day the bride has to feel good about it. In all ways. Same thing with our money situation. We can try to help as many people as we can. We can get advice from as many people as we want. But at the end of the day YOU are the one making the decision. You have to feel good about your budget, your goals, and how you’ll get there. Without it being what you want, you’ll never be happy with the choices that you’ve made.

(Last Lesson: Don’t show at Kleinfeld’s, you’ll end up in WAY too expensive of a dress!)


4 Responses to Money Lessons from “Say Yes To The Dress”

  1. Great post! I like the comparisons 🙂 So true!

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  3. I love this post.

    I’m a big fan of the show. I agree with the bride not trying on dresses above her price range, but it’s also so important to make sure your family is on the same page budget-wise. I saw an episode a couple of weeks ago where the bride’s sisters were pulling dresses a couple thousand over her budget. To apease them, of course she tried them on and regretted it.

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