Wedding on a Budget Series: Saving Money on the Dress
For most women who are getting married, the dress is one of the most important parts of the big day. There is a reason wedding dresses are so expensive. All eyes are on you, and the dress, as you walk down the aisle. The purchase can be an emotional one, with many women crying when they find the dress.
Saving Money on Your Wedding Dress
Fortunately, there are quite a few ways you can save money. First, you must remove that emotional element from the purchase. Yes, the perfect dress made you cry, but you don’t want to cry all over again when you get the bill from buying it. If you don’t trust yourself not to make an emotional purchase, appoint a trusted family member or friend to veto any impractical dresses.
Before you do anything else, make an appointment at a bridal shop that has hundreds of dresses from which to choose. Go to your appointment, try them on, take pictures and take note of the STYLE of dress you most like. Do you want the skirt poofy, mermaid style, or straight? Do you want a sweetheart neckline or something else? Sleeves or no sleeves? Empire waist? V-waist? Also, write down the info from the tag. The style number, dress designer and so on. I also like to tell brides-to-be to keep track of the cost of the dress. If you find the same dress on sale elsewhere, you will immediately know if the sale price is a good one or not.
Once you have a general idea of the overall style you like and also what you really don’t like, browsing the options below will become much easier as you can eliminate options that don’t work.
One of the best ways to save money on a wedding dress is to buy secondhand. However, your selection is going to be limited to what is available in the consignment shop or thrift store. Still, I have seen beautiful dresses at thrift stores for around $25.00.
You already have an idea of the style you want, so go quickly through the dresses and see which ones are in that style, which ones are in your size (or a size larger or so is easily altered down – harder and more expensive to alter up a size) and try them on.
Don’t settle. If you don’t really like the dress, don’t settle. This is your big day and consignment stores constantly get in new items.
When you went to your bridal appointment, you wrote down the designer and dress number. Now, hunt to see who is selling theirs. Some brides order a brand new gown, decide they don’t like it and turn around and sell it at a discount. I know! It makes the frugal heart ache to think of this wastefulness, but it happens and it can be to your benefit. Try:
Use the Heirloom Dress
Does your grandmother, mom, aunt or good friend have a dress that is an heirloom that they’d let you wear for the big day? If you’re lucky, you may not even have to alter the dress.
You could even go with the vintage theme and create beautiful lace and mason jar centerpieces or use fans for the bouquets.
Make Your Own or Go Casual
If you’re a skilled seamstress, you could always save a little by designing and making your own dress. Most of us aren’t that good with a sewing machine, though, so consider going a bit more casual instead.
For a country-themed wedding, you could choose a flowing white dress with pretty white boots and simple flowers such as daisies.
Rent Your Wedding Dress
Some bridal shops rent wedding dresses. If you don’t think you’d care to pass down the dress, then this might be a good solution for you.
Renting a wedding dress might cost you a couple hundred bucks, but buying the same dress could run into the thousands.
Watch for Sales
If you have a little time to play with, check back often to see if the dress you love is on sale. This is how I got my own wedding dress many years ago. It was originally a $3000 dress and I got it for $300 because I found it at another boutique that was going out of business. It was the right size, too.
Also, some designers host trunk sales where they sell one-of-a-kind dresses. You may have to climb over the crowd to get to the dress you want, but you can save as much as 75-80%.
The Knot reminds us that dresses often go on sale in the summer and the winter to make room for the next season’s dresses. Talk to your bridal shop about when these sales occur.
Finding a cheaper wedding dress doesn’t have to be like brain surgery. Just be flexible, pay attention, ask questions and be open to different ideas for saving money.