I recently got engaged – the most important thing a woman can do in her life second only to childbirth. In the absence of constant travel, I’m spending a lot of my time wedding-planning. The process of finding a dress can be overwhelming, doubly so when you’re an expat in another country. But once you know where to look and what to expect, getting a wedding dress in Prague isn’t so bad. So whether you’re an expat looking for a wedding dress or you’re trying to elope in Prague, here are some tips to get you started and some shops to check out.
Renting or buying?
A good way to save on a nice wedding gown in Prague is to rent instead of buy one. Most of the major bridal boutiques you’ll find in the city offer both, with the rental price being anywhere from half to a third the cost of buying. Of course, renting may not always be a feasible option if you’re arriving in Prague with the intent to elope here during a short trip since they they sometimes have to be booked months in advance. Dresses often need some adjustment, which takes one or two fittings before the big day. If you are renting, you may want to inquire if these custom changes are included in the rental price or if they’ll be an extra fee.
If you want to own your wedding dress or you don’t want to worry about totally fucking up the one you rented, you’re in luck. Many of the same companies that rent dresses also sell them, in some cases at a deep discount. These may be former rental dresses or styles that are out of season. Some stores also sell really cheap new dresses, the kind of quality you might get if you ordered a wedding dress on Ebay from China, but at least you actually get to try them on. Another clever thing to do is look for generic women’s dress shops, which sometimes carry a couple of wedding dresses. I’ll point you in the right direction below.
Prepare for the possibility of paying to try on dresses
If you’re going to a bona fide bridal shop, there’s a chance that you’ll have to pay for the time you spend trying on dresses. This is to avoid indecisive window shopping that wastes everybody’s time – Czechs do not have time for your shit. The fee is usually around 300 czk per hour and often refundable if you end up buying a dress. Some shops have turned the fee into an experience where you can get champagne or chocolate for you and your guests along with voting cards or props. As a general rule, if the store sells dresses under 2,000 or 3,000 czk, you probably won’t be charged the fee. But if you’re looking for wedding dresses that average 10,000 czk and up, then you can probably afford the fee anyway.
Where to shop for a wedding dress in Prague
Some of the bigger bridal salons in Prague have hundreds of dresses you can try on and even more that you can order from their catalog. One such shop is Svatební Boutique Maggie where you’ll pay 300 czk to try on dresses for 1.5-2 hours. To save you a lot of time and planning, their catalog is completely online for you to pick out your favorites in advance. The prices and sizes are also listed so you won’t experience any undue disappointment at the shop. To give you an idea of their price point, their dresses on sale tend to go for at least 9,000 czk.
Another well-reviewed shop where you’ll find gowns at a similar price is Adina, with a location in Pankrac and one in Letnany. Their catalog is also online, but the price is only shown on some dresses. In addition to bridal wear, Adina also sells wedding rings, so it could be a one-stop shop. Be forewarned though, they do not accept payment cards. So when you’re picking out your dream dress, make sure you can afford to pay for it in cash.
At Studio Agnes, you can choose from some high-end or mid-range dresses, all organized on their website by style (princess, A-line, short, etc.) Though the majority of these dresses will be close to 10,000 czk, you can find select styles for sale between 3,000-6,000 czk.
If you’re looking to ball out for your wedding day, Saty Go Home offers the kind of dresses that cost six months’ worth of rent. These include popular European brands like St. Patrick and Pronovias. If your budget is anywhere between 20,000 – 50,000 czk, you’ll have the pick of the litter at Saty Go Home. The shop is three floors and also sells wedding decorations and men’s suits.
Budget wedding dresses
If you’re looking for more budget friendly options, you’ll find them at Salon Maya, where you’ll find big name brands but also some great sales on previous collections. Their deeply discounted dresses are 1900 czk, which include some past rental dresses. You can try on dresses for free but they offer packages ranging from 500-1900 czk that include champagne and chocolate so you can make a party out of it.
At Berenike, you’ll also find some discounted dresses among their standard collection. Sale dresses range in price from 1,500 czk to 5,500 czk with the possibility to buy new from the catalog. Rentals vary from 2,500 czk to 8,500 czk. They also broker consignment sales, so you can try on secondhand dresses or even sell your own after the wedding.
For equally affordable options, you can head over to EPretty.cz. This is a dress shop that specializes in proms, general formal wear, as well as bridal gowns. Their styles range in price from 1900-2600 czk, including plus size dresses, which can be hard to find elsewhere. These dresses are simple and if you choose the wrong style, definitely cheap looking. Because… well, they’re cheap. You probably won’t find elaborate beading and lacing, but it’s the perfect choice if you’re opting for a simple elopement or a civil ceremony.
Another good way to find an affordable wedding dress in Prague is to go to non-bridal shops that happen to sell wedding dresses. This includes chain department stores like Van Graaf and Peek & Cloppenburg. Or local women’s clothing shops like Studio Chic or Cool Boutique. You might even be able to snag a bridal gown for as little as 1,000 czk if there’s a sale. Sometimes they’ll even throw in a free garter.
With so many places to find a dress, you certainly have your work cut out for you. Happy fittings, ladies!