Budget dresses

The perfect gown IS out there! Photo by Susanne Michelle Photography.

It’s occurred to me that I have spent a lot of time talking about ways to save on your wedding.  But one thing I have not talked about is ways to save on your wedding dress.  And while you may find some of the ways listed below obvious, maybe I’ll have a new idea or two for you…

Shop the Big Box stores.  I know they have a stigma attached but you don’t have to go to a specialty boutique to find your dream wedding dress.  For starters, any place with Boutique in the name is probably going to be pricier.  And yes, they may have more unique gowns – but places like David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo have gorgeous gowns too.  Don’t rule them out because they are a chain.

Shop Clearance.  This is my own tried and true shopping method – I always hit the clearance racks first.  In fact, I found my wedding dress on a clearance rack at David’s Bridal.  Just because it is on clearance doesn’t make it bad – maybe they only have one or two sizes left in a certain style – and what if it is one you love?

Shop Bridesmaids and Mother of the Bride.  There are some bridesmaids dresses that are available in white or ivory – and sometimes they are mini-versions of more elaborate gowns.  And for much less.  As for MoB?  Remember that wedding dress I bought on clearance?  It was also intended as a MoB dress – not that you can tell by looking at it.

Shop Sample Sales.  They can be crazy hectic but there are deals to be found.  Just be ready to make a quick decision.  Contact the stores you are interested in and find out when their sample sale is.

Shop Department Stores.  I’ve had more than one bride that bought her gown at a department store in the formal department.  Formal gowns come in all shapes, styles, and colors too – and are usually still cheaper than a traditional wedding gown.

Shop online.  I’ve noticed before that David’s Bridal has some gowns that are only available online – maybe others do too.  And online only usually equates to savings for you as well.

Shop Consignment.  Bridal specific resale shops are a great place to find a gently used (inexpensive) gown.  Don’t have one near you?  Try looking for online resources.  And don’t forget, there’s always eBay.

Don’t buy – rent.  If you aren’t the type to save your wedding gown, why not rent one?  Resale value on gowns are depressingly low (remember selling back your college textbooks?  It’s a little like that.).  So if you aren’t saving your gown anyway, and you can only sell it for a fraction of it’s worth, why not?

As always, be realistic in your expectations.  If you are shopping on a budget have an open mind.  Your perfect dress is out there.

Be Carefree,



About bethecarefreebride

I am passionate that everyone should enjoy your wedding day - stress free! Read on to learn how to be the Carefree Bride.
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