And the bride wore...Target: The growth of budget wedding dresses


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    A glimpse at Target's budget wedding collection.

    - Courtesy Target

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    Target's budget wedding line includes wedding dresses as well as bridesmaid's dresses.

    - Courtesy Target

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    A bridesmaid's dress from the Target wedding collection.

    - Courtesy Target

  • Photo 4 of 4

    A bridesmaid's dress from the Target wedding collection.

    - Courtesy Target

Wedding season is kicking off and this year the bride may be wearing Tarjay. Target has entered the bridal business with a collection, online only, of low-priced wedding and bridesmaids dresses called TEVOLIO.

Prices start at $70. A good deal? Yes. But who’s gonna buy them?

Getting married is wonderful -- if only it weren’t so expensive. The average tab for the gown alone clocks in at $1,200. Enter Target. Rachel Leonard, fashion director at Brides Magazine, says the retailer’s bridal collection is in keeping with the brand’s discount prices.

“This is the least expensive wedding dress that I know of,“ she says.

Target’s dresses, says Leonard, look good online. Brides can choose from cap sleeves, strapless, cowl neck, ruched -- all while staying under $130. This kind of price tag promises to free up a bride’s budget.

“You could spend more money on a pair of shoes, or your hair or your flowers,” she says.

Attracting budget- conscious brides is one reason big retailers like J.Crew and Anthropologie are getting into the wedding business. But even though Target, says Leonard, has offered wedding dresses in the past, like during a collaboration with designer Isaac Mizrahi, the idea still strikes some as odd.

“It is funny that you can go to a store where you buy your toothpaste and also buy a wedding dress,” Leonard says.

Marissa Gluck, a director at Huge advertising, says Target, thanks to it its collaborations with designers like Jason Wu and Missoni, has distanced itself from competitors such as Walmart and Kmart. “They have a little more street cred than some other mass retailers.”

And though this may sound like heresy, Target’s new bridal collection may not even be about the bride. Jen Drexler, a brand consultant with Insight Strategy Group, says it’s the bridal party, which may hold more interest for Target.“Frankly one of the bigger smarts of this decision is the bridesmaids dresses.”

While Target is carrying four wedding dresses, Drexler notes there are ten options for bridesmaids.

“It tends to be a disposable dress, something you’re never going to wear again, even though they promised you could. And now you have an opportunity to give your bridesmaids a dress that they wouldn’t be mad at you for making them buy,” she says.

Remember, says Drexler, Target invented designer cheap chic. And millions of women have raced down the aisles to buy it.

About the author

Sally Herships is a regular contributor to Marketplace.

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