How to find your perfect gown on a budget!
Your wedding gown is something you’ve been dreaming of your whole life—and you should get the dress of your dreams even if you’re on a budget! Here’s some tips to help you find that perfect one that you’ll love and cherish forever!
First and foremost, remember that your gown is not something to be compromised on. You should feel more beautiful on your wedding day than you feel on any other day. For example. If you find a dress that is $3,000 that you LOVE and you find a similar dress for $1800 that you like, but you don’t feel as good in it as you did in the expensive one—spend the extra $1200 because otherwise you are wasting $1800!! You can find other places in your budget to allow for your slightly over-budget dream dress. Your wedding gown is not something you buy to be practical. People love to tell you “you only wear it once, don’t waste too much money on it” but I am here to say YOU ONLY GET MARRIED ONCE GET THE DRESS OF YOUR DREAMS GIRL! Now again, I understand the budget thing- believe me. I was a bride on a budget! So I have some tips for finding your DREAM dress without breaking the bank.
DON’T GET HUNG UP ON THE TYPICAL “BRIDAL STORE” EXPERIENCE. Just because your older sister went to that one store nearby doesn’t mean you have to! Check out ASOS, Free People, BHLDN, Wear Your Love XO, and other online stores. Many of those do carry bridal gowns at affordable prices, but don’t miss out on gowns around the internet that aren’t labeled “bridal”. Just because it isn’t listed as a wedding gown doesn’t mean you can’t add a veil and make it your wedding gown. You might even find something at J. Crew, Forever 21, or HM! As crazy as it sounds, It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be a gown that you LOVE!
PRO TIP: All of the shops listed above are also great places for bridesmaid gowns and suiting for the Groom + groomsman!
LOOK ON ETSY There are tons of handmade gorgeous gowns that can be customized and most of them are under a thousand dollars. I always see beautiful, unique things browsing around etsy shops, and you will too!
PLAN AHEAD and watch for sample sales. Ask all your local bridal shops if they have sample sales, and then mark your calendar! Follow their social media to stay up to date. Sample sales are CRAZY good deals if you can find something that works for you. Make sure you go into the sale with a fairly good idea of what you are looking for (consider booking an appointment at the bridal shop before the sample sale so you can get an idea of what gowns they have that you love, and then cross your fingers that they show up at the sample sale) **don’t go into a sample sale a buy a dress just because it’s on sale. Go to a sample sale in search of a specific gown or style, and if they have it then great and if they don’t go back to the drawing board!**
I once had a bride that bought a gown because it was on sale and it was “fine”. And as the days grew closer to her wedding she felt more and more unhappy with it— and of course the gown she bought couldn’t be returned… so she was in the hole $1500 with a gown she didn’t want to wear on her wedding day!! Fortunately for her, someone she knew had a wedding gown that was the expensive one she had originally been hoping to get before settling for the other option. They were kind enough to let her borrow it for her big day—- but that doesn’t always happen!
FIND A LOCAL DESIGNER and have a custom gown made — be careful because not all dress makers and designers are created equal. Look at their past work, have a consultation with them and discuss your vision. You don’t have to use them after you talk to them. Go home, go visit some other options, think about it. And if they feel like they can create your dream gown and stay within your budget then go for it!
CUT OUT THE MIDDLE MAN Found a gown you can’t live without at a bridal shop? Go straight to the designer to cut out the middle man mark-ups that bridal shops add to their price tags. (Some bridal shops mark up their gowns as much as $1000 more than what you would pay directly from the designer, you can order extra fabric from the designer for alterations and find a seamstress who can make any necessary changes to your gown) Before you check out at the bridal shop, look up the designer of the gown you’re about to buy to see if there are savings to be had
PRO TIP: Be smart about accessorizing—-veils and crowns can be EXPENSIVE!! Consider buying some bridal quality tulle and making one yourself (it isn’t as hard as you think) also look into small shops and boutiques, as well as all those thrifty online sources mentioned earlier to find an amazing veil, crown, or hair piece for a reasonable price!
PRE LOVED Don’t skip the classified ads, of course the odds are honestly low that someone has the dress you want in a size that will work and is selling it used BUT YOU NEVER KNOW! Miracles do happen, and I am a big believer in wedding magic. Take some time to browse ebay, Craig’s List, KSL classifieds, and other thrifty options, the dress of your dreams may be there waiting for you and it’s worth taking a look!
At The end of the day, DO NOT SETTLE. Any money spent on a gown that you are not obsessed with is money down the drain. Get into a Gown you LOVE.