When it comes to buying a wedding dress, the first thing that comes to mind is the staggering price! Wedding dresses can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars. When you begin looking for your perfect wedding dress that no one will ever forget, remember these 9 tips for finding the gorgeous, yet affordable, wedding dress of your dreams.
1) Consignment Shops
Some people call it thrifting, others call it hand-me-downs, I call it smart! Many women realize that they will only wear their wedding dress once in their lives. So, they sell it to a consignment shop who then resells it at a lower price. It could be used, but it will most likely be in pristine condition. I know many brides who not only have found a bargain at a consignment shop, but the dress of their dreams as well!
2) Bridal Section of the Department Store
Most department stores have a bridal section that offer gowns, veils, gloves, shoes, and many other things essential to your wedding. They also offer these things at much lower prices. Department stores can carry some of the top bridal gown brands at a lower and much more reasonable price point. Try stores such as Dillards, JCPenney, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman.
It may sound a bit out of the norm, but search Craigslist for wedding dresses! I have done this in the past for clients and you would be surprised at the quality you may find. The seller is also near the area you live in, so it is much easier to stop by and check out the dress in person before making the purchase.
Along the lines of Craigslist, sellers post their bridal gowns, some used and some new, for anyone to buy. On eBay, they range from the most affordable brands to designer brands, so there is a great variety to choose from. With eBay, you can search for exactly what you want, usually at a much lower price.
5) Sample Sales
Wedding designers and bridal shops often have sample sales a few times a year of their wedding dresses. At these sample sales, the choices and sizes may be a bit limited, but most brides have to have their wedding dress altered regardless. It is smart to attend a designer wedding dress sample sale to find a designer gown at a much lower cost but with the highest quality.
6) Retail Shops
Most people don’t realize that many retail stores you see every day in the mall sell wedding dresses and gowns. Stores such as Ann Taylor, J. Crew, and soon Anthropologie all showcase their own line of affordable wedding and bridesmaids dresses. These dresses are sometimes more toned down and simple, tailored to the bride who wants something affordable, high quality, and from a brand she trusts.
7) Make Your Own Dress
For the women out there who are handy with their hands and sewing equipment, consider making your own wedding dress! This way, you can either design exactly want you want or follow a pattern, make the changes you need, and alter the dress to fit your body exactly. Buying your own materials directly from fabric shops and adding in your own self-bought accessories will shove your cost way down!
8) Off-Season Shopping
During peak wedding season, searching for a dress can mean hitting the highest price point there is while gown shopping. Designers and stores know that during the peak season time, the most brides are shopping for their dresses a year out, so the markup on the garments can be extreme. Try searching for a dress during the late fall/winter months when weddings are fewer. This way, the dresses will be priced lower and a previous season’s gowns may be marked down as well.
9) Bridal Chain Store
Last but not least, you can’t forget the tried and true bridal chain stores. These include your David’s Bridal, Alfred Angelo, Maggie Sottero, among other stores that may be local to you. Find a bridal boutique and take your time looking through the store. Find something that may be similar to a designer dress that you are in love with. Don’t hesitate to ask the boutique for similar options if they don’t have your size. Another store may actually have the dress you are looking for!
The number one thing I hear from brides is that they want to save, save, save. It is a smart thing to keep in mind a bridal budget when planning for your wedding. Rather than splurge on the most expensive designer dress you can find, search for some alternatives or look at some avenues that may be off the map of normal places to look for a wedding dress. In the long run, you may find the affordable wedding dress of your dreams at the cost you were dreaming of as well!