Finding a Wedding Dress on a Budget
7 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Budget Weddings
If you're a bride-to-be searching for a wedding dress on a budget, you don’t have to deal with traditional bridal shops. You can purchase a formal gown or dress from a department store or clothing chain and still look great.
Even if you want a traditional wedding gown, you have lots of options for saving money. You can make your own headpiece and veil for a fraction of what they cost in bridal shops, and you can avoid the “wedding” markup on shoes by looking for the perfect pair at discount retailers.
Saving money on a wedding dress
Frugal brides have lots of resources for finding the wedding dress of their dreams at down-to-earth prices. Aside from seeking out discount bridal shops, you can put the Internet, your family and friends, and your creativity to work.
Here are some money-saving avenues to explore:
Buy a gown online. The Internet has made finding a deal on a quality wedding gown or formal dress easier than ever. For instance, the Web is home to any number of discount bridal retailers. Check out Bridal Online Store and Lily Wedding. Similarly, you can find reasonably priced formal gowns and dresses through department store Web sites.
And there’s always eBay, where you can either bid on dresses or use the “Buy It Now” feature for a set price. Many independent and discount bridal shops have stores on eBay, so you aren’t limited to secondhand gowns.
Use caution when buying on eBay. Look at pictures carefully, and ask the seller for additional photos if you can’t make out details. Always remember to check the seller’s ratings and return policies before you place a bid or order.
Borrow a gown. Wearing a relative’s or friend’s gown adds a personal touch to your wedding ensemble. Plus, chances are that your mother, aunt, or best friend will be charmed and honored to loan it to you.
Rent a gown. Renting may be a good option if you have your heart set on a designer dress but your budget says “no way.” Check in your local phone book for shops that rent wedding gowns or formal dresses. The rental price should include the headpiece and veil, train, crinoline, and other accessories (except shoes and jewelry).
Make your own gown, or have one made. Making your own dress may be an affordable option. Most fabric shops have wedding dress patterns. You also may be able to hire a professional seamstress to make your dress; many talented seamstresses can make designer-looking dresses for far less than you’d pay at a bridal shop.
Opting for a nontraditional wedding dress
Okay, your family members may raise their eyebrows, or even a ruckus, if you inform them that you intend to wear a nontraditional dress, but it could be fun, right? You can save a lot of money by ignoring tradition. Here are some ideas for an elegant, one-of-a-kind bridal outfit:
Go for color. Choose a cocktail dress, bridesmaid dress, or evening gown in a color that matches your wedding décor. Ruby red, royal purple, and sapphire blue are popular alternatives to white. Opening yourself to a range of colors makes it easier to find a dress that fits your budget and complements your skin tone and body shape.
Shop vintage clothing stores. Retro is chic, and you can find dresses that impart a unique flair to your wedding.
Modify an heirloom dress. Maybe you have no interest in wearing your mother’s wedding gown as is, but what if you added a new skirt to the bodice or a new bodice to the skirt? By doing this, you end up with a unique dress that combines sentimentality with your own taste and style — all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional wedding dress. You can do this with vintage clothing from a secondhand shop, too.