Your wedding day is one day that you have likely dreamed of since you were a little girl! While wedding dresses can certainly be incredibly expensive, there is no reason that a tight budget should keep you from walking down the aisle in a gorgeous gown if you are smart about shopping for a gown. There are several great places to purchase a wedding dress on a budget so that you can be a beautiful bride on your special day.
Once Worn, Second Hand
Because wedding dresses are only worn for one day, they are usually in excellent condition after they have been worn. Many brides don’t even wear the dress for the entire day, but change after the ceremony into a dress that is easier to dance in. Second hand wedding dresses are a great way to save money and get a fabulous gown at a fraction of the price. Let someone else take the hit on the retail price of a designer gown, and then buy it second hand and look just as good for less.
Consignment shops are a great place to find wedding gowns and accessories in great condition. Most shops have high standards for the gowns they will accept for sale, so you are guaranteed to find gowns free of stains, rips or other damage. You will also find a great selection of gowns without having to go far. It isn’t unusual to find gowns that have never even been worn, but were purchased for weddings that were later cancelled, or a different dress was selected.
Additional great sources of second hand wedding gowns are websites like craigslist and eBay, where people sell their gently used gowns for low prices. Buying direct from the seller gives more room for bargaining, and the internet offers access to the widest possible selection of dresses and accessories for sale. With eBay, you can bid on the gown you want and hopefully pick up a dress for far less than it is worth. Craigslist will help you find gowns and accessories for sale locally so that you can also try them on first before making the decision to purchase.
Popular online sources for wedding gowns are online consignment and sample sales sites. These sites let you shop online from a selection of sample dresses as well as once-worn consignment dresses.
New Gowns For A Steal
If a new dress is really what you want, there are some ways to get a brand new gown at a great low price.
Start your search at the local bridal show. Many shops bring sample dresses to the show that they will sell at a discounted price if you buy the dress that day. Although they won’t have the same selection as they do at their shop, you will find nearly every bridal shop in town represented and get a feel for what they have. Many shops also run drawings at the bridal show – you could win the dress of your dreams for free!
End of season and sample sales at bridal shops can bring incredible discounts on the most beautiful gowns available. Ask the bridal shop when they have their clearance sales – most will occur once or twice a year, generally as the wedding season comes to a close towards fall, and again when the winter wedding gowns are being cleared out. These sales are often very busy and competitive, and you will probably need to arrive early in order to get a chance at the best selection of gowns. It may be well worth it, however, as discounts can be as much as 50% or more.
The Right Fit
While shopping online can help you find great discount prices on wedding gowns, it is important to remember that you will not be able to try them on until they arrive. A good plan is to visit several bridal shops, get the name and style number of the gowns you like, and then try to find the same gown or very similar for less online. This will allow you to try on the dress before you order online to prevent having to pay costly return shipping – gowns can weigh a lot!
Hiring A Seamstress
Having a gown made can be a great way to save money if you purchase the fabric, pattern and all the required notions yourself and then take the whole package to a reputable seamstress. Unlike having a dress custom made by a bridal salon, hiring a seamstress and shopping for everything yourself will bring big savings, and allow you to pick the gown of your dreams from the many patterns available.
Accessories For A Steal
Bridal accessories like your veil and shoes can also be very pricey; these things can certainly also be found second hand however, if you purchase a gown from a bridal shop, don’t be afraid to ask them to throw in accessories for free when you purchase your gown. For these shops, the gown is usually the big ticket item, so you can often get a great deal or even pay nothing for a pair of shoes or a veil.
Making your veil yourself is another great option and not really all that difficult to do. Most sewing stores will have everything you need, and with step by step instructions, you can put together a beautiful and personal veil and headpiece that will be a true family heirloom.
Handed Down Gowns
Speaking of family heirlooms, having a gown that was worn by a parent, grandparent or other family member tailored or changed a little bit to work for you is another affordable way to get a beautiful gown with special meaning. A lot of people pay large sums for vintage wedding gowns – find out if there is one collecting dust in an attic or basement; usually a good dry cleaning and a few alterations are all that will be needed to make the dress work for you.
Your wedding gown should make you feel like a princess, but if you don’t happen to have the bank account of royalty, you can still look and feel fabulous. You are only going to wear that wedding gown for one day, so shop around and get a great deal so that you have some money left to start your new married life.