Cut Your Wedding Costs – Save Money on Your Wedding Dress

September 2, 2008

The cost of planning a wedding can quickly get out of hand. After all, who doesn’t want the very best for their special day? The good news is, it’s definitely possible to have your dream wedding without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you save money on one of your biggest potential expenses, the wedding dress.

How to Save Money On Your Wedding Dress:

  1. Make use of sample sales – Sample wedding dresses normally come in sizes 6, 8, and 10. Occasionally you can find plus size samples as well, you just have to call around. Buying a “sample” dress can save you a lot of money and you can always have minor imperfections or dirt removed before your big day.
  2. Shop for your wedding dress on Ebay – Ebay features a nearly limitless train of wedding dresses both used, and new. You can even set up alerts and Ebay will email you any time a new dress is listed. Start early enough and you are sure to find your dream dress at a fraction of the price. Make sure you buy from a reputable seller though, and be aware of the return policy in case something is not exactly right.
  3. Search Craigslist – Sometimes you can find excellent deals on wedding dresses, and other wedding items on Craigslist. The sooner you start planning your wedding, the longer you have to look for that perfect dress for yourself or your bridesmaids.
  4. Check out Brides Against Breast Cancer – Brides Against Breast Cancer is a charity organization where brides donate their dresses, and new brides purchase them. The money from the sale of the dresses goes toward breast cancer research. By buying your dress through them you not only get a gorgeous dress at a discount, but you help out a great cause too. Not all the dresses are used either – many designers donate the previous season’s dresses, as do bridal warehouses.
  5. Wear Your Mom’s Dress – Wearing your mother or grandmother’s dress can really make your big day special since you are wearing part of the history of your family. If you do this make sure that you have plenty of time to take the dress out, try it on, and have it altered or repaired before your big day. Depending on how well their dress was stored, you may not have to do anything but have it cleaned, or you may have to take it to have sections that were worn or damaged by time repaired.
  6. Find a Talented Tailor or Seamstress – An expert tailor can take an ill-fitting or worn dress and turn it into something spectacular – a made to order, perfectly fitting jewel for your wedding day. I do not recommend using the tailor that your bridal salon will suggest. At least, not before you check them out! They may turn out to be a specialist, or they may turn out to be a struggling business person giving kickbacks to the salon. Don’t trust your dress alterations to just anyone. The money you spend with them is as important as your dress, because the finished product – how well your dress flatters you – is up to them.
  7. Choose a classic dress without a ton of fabric or beaded embroidery – The less fabric the dress is made from the cheaper it will be. Also, having to alter a dress with a ton of detail will make even the most experiences seamstress cringe – and it may not look as good when they are finished. A classic dress with simple lines and a minimum of beading and detail will not only make you look nice, but be cheaper at the store, and at alteration time.
  8. Before you set a wedding date, call your local bridal stores and ask them when they usually run their sales – If you can time your wedding with their sales and discounts, you (and your bridesmaids) can get much more impressive dresses, for far less money.
  9. Ask for a pre-sale preview – If you aren’t afraid to ask, then this will net you first crack at the sale and discount dresses, and most bridal stores are happy to accommodate you. After all, you can always have them place the dress on hold until the sale is official.
  10. Spend some time thinking about what you envision your dream dress to look like, and give some consideration to which type of dress will look good on your body shape – no two women are the same, and not all wedding dresses look good on everyone. If you have an idea of what you want, then you will save time, and money when you start searching for your dress.
  11. Get designer dresses at a discount – If you absolutely have your heart set on that couture wedding gown, then the internet is your best friend. Search, search, search, until you find it on sale. You can find the real designer dresses as much as 50% off, and the designer knock offs far cheaper than that.

For other ways to save money on your wedding, read how you can save money on a destination wedding and save money planning your wedding without spending a fortune.

This list of ideas to save money on a wedding dress is part of the Marriage Money Guide.

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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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7 Responses to Cut Your Wedding Costs – Save Money on Your Wedding Dress

  • Patty

    Try to find a great deal on a dress. I bought one for $400 that retails for over $1200.

  • Ben

    Thanks for the tip Desiree!

  • desiree

    You can buy the sample dresses that bridal shops have hanging in the store at deep discounts. They sometimes sell these for more than 50%off the original.

    I know a bride who purchased a sample gown made of silk by a high end designer for $700.00. The original price tag for the dress was—–$2300.00. The dress was in good condition.

    So call the bridal shops and ask them when they plan to sell some of their sample dresses. A bargain may be waiting for you!

  • neimanmarxist

    After buying my wedding dress (and this was the “old” me, I’m afraid, so I was married in couture style) I saw that stores like Target (hello, Isaac MIzerahi) have some really beautiful, simple, and classic gowns…. for a steal! I loved my wedding dress, but I wouldn’t have minded walking down the aisle in something just as elegant for a tenth of the price.


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