Save Money on Your Wedding Dress

how to save money on your wedding dress

Did you know that brides spend an average of 10% of their entire wedding budget on their dress? That’s a large portion of your available cash, especially if your total wedding budget is small. For brides who don’t have thousands of dollars to spend, here is some advice on ways to save money on your wedding dress.

Brides on a budget should try to think outside of the bridal boutique box. Specialty bridal shops will cater to your every whim because they know that they will be making lots of money off of you in the end. When you buy from a boutique, you’re not only paying big bucks for the “designer” name, but also for the store’s overhead. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit a bridal store. In fact, that should be the first place you go. Try on lots of dresses and try to get a feel for which styles you prefer, different fits, and different designers you like. Once you have a good idea of what you’re looking for, you can begin shopping, but NOT at that bridal boutique.

Look around for dress sales at the bridal warehouses. There really are great deals to be had when they have one of those big designer gown liquidation sales such as the famous Filene’s Basement Running of the Brides sale. It may seem stressful to have to go and sort through racks of dresses with other brides, but if you think about the fact that you can get a $10,000 dress for under $1000, it might be worth it.

Another great option is to visit a local designer/dressmaker and have your gown custom made. A local dressmaker can create a gown that meets your vision and their prices are often much lower than you’d think. You’ll have a say in what elements end up on your dress instead of having to choose from pre-made dresses. Just be sure to bring photos of dresses you like so that the person making the dress can tell you if it’s possible. You’ll love telling your friends and family that you helped design your custom made wedding gown.

Another option is to buy used. You’d be surprised how many “used” wedding dresses have never actually been worn. Many brides buy dresses and end up calling off their wedding. Many other brides find themselves in a financial pickle and need to liquidate their gown to raise some extra funds. Either way, their loss is your gain. Not only is buying a used dress economical, it’s also a green option. You’re recycling a dress that would otherwise probably never be used again.

There are also websites that feature used wedding dresses such as,, and These website feature hundreds of designer dresses that are ready for you to wear them down the aisle. Just be sure of your size and style preference, because most online sources don’t accept returns. Keep in mind you can always have a larger dress taken in, so if you’re not sure about size, buy big.

Another great place is to check out bridal departments at stores like JCPenney. They don’t carry designer names, but the dresses are way more affordable than most other stores. You won’t find Vera Wang, but you can find a great dress for less.

Go vintage by wearing your mother’s wedding gown. Not only is this a nice way to incorporate her into the wedding, but it’s also going to cost you nothing, besides any cost for alterations. Many of today’s hottest gowns are modeled after vintage styles anyway, so ask mom to pull her old wedding dress out of the attic so you can make it work for you. It can be your “something old” AND your “something borrowed.” You might even be able to have a seamstress re-work the old style into something that suits you better.

If you’re willing to do a little work and a lot of searching, you can get your dream dress for less.

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