Bride-to-be asks for a costly gown

Today’s Sound Off concerns the prices of bridal gowns:

Dear Heloise: What is the average price of a bridal gown these days? My granddaughter is getting married, and I offered to pay for her dress. I expected to pay about $800 to $1,000, but my granddaughter wants a dress that cost $18,000.

The bride-to-be claims that $18,000 is the average price of a bridal gown today. I not only think that’s incorrect, but I think it’s ridiculous. I won’t squander $18,000 on a dress that a bride will wear only once. So, what are brides actually paying for their dresses nowadays? — Phyllis G., Boca Raton, Florida

Phyllis, I did some research and discovered that the average price of a wedding dress is $1,000 to $2,000. The cost, of course, depends on where you buy your dress, but according to TheKnot.com, most wedding gowns in 2024 are edging upward to the $2,000 range or a little higher. The price varies on alterations or any changes that are made to the dress. If it’s a designer dress, naturally it’s going to cost more and would easily reach upward of $10,000 to $20,000.

It’s suggested that the bride should estimate the cost of her gown to be between 7% to 10% of her total wedding budget.

Your granddaughter may have fallen in love with an $18,000 wedding dress, but there are plenty of other beautiful gowns at a lower price range. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: I’m totally confused about tipping. It seems like everyone has their hand out for a tip these days, and frankly, I refuse to tip a lot of people. My hair stylist expects a 20% to 25% tip, and I won’t tip that much. She usually gets 15%. I’m retired, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s all a haircut is worth. So, I’d like to know: What are the current rules for tipping people? — Brenda M., King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

Brenda, here are a few hints to remember for tipping:

— Restaurants: 15% to 20%

— Bars: $1 for a beer, $2 for a cocktail

— Taxis: 15% to 20%

— Hotel maids: $2 to $3 per day

— Babysitters: 10% to 15%

— Coat checks: $1 per coat, $2 for larger bags

— Food delivery services: $3 to $5

These are not hard and fast rules, and if you feel that a larger or smaller tip is appropriate, just tip what you think the service is worth. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have a list of hints that have always come in handy for me. Here they are:

— Place ice cubes on carpet dents. Allow them to air-dry, and the dents should be gone after you take your hand and brush it over the spot where the ice cubes were placed.

— Take the meat of a walnut and rub it over a light scratch in your furniture or on your wooden floor.

— For cleaning a wooden cutting board, I use half of a lemon, dip the wet side in salt and scrub it that way. Follow up with warm water and dish soap.

— You can use pennies as shims. — Amy T., Lime Ridge, Wisconsin


Dear Heloise: Our mailbox is in a large brick “surround,” so we were stuck wondering what to do when the mailbox door broke off at its hinges. We found a replacement door online that fits perfectly inside the opening and is available in different sizes! This has worked well for months now. — Kathy, in Texas

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Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.


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