The budget conscious Bride's guide to looking like a diva, on a dime.
The Wedding Dress....
You will never feel more beautiful than when you are in your wedding gown, but this feeling doesn't come cheap. Many brides spend 5-10% of their budget on t heir gown, shoes and accessories.
We've taken these tips from the Pro's. who will show you when to splurge and when to save. You may even end up with a better dress than you ever dreamed possible - for a lot less than you would expect.
Keep it simple.
When you shop in a bridal salon, the dress you will try on is a sample and a new one will be custom ordered just for you. While this is the best way to get exactly what you want - higher neckline, longer sleeves, these changes will all cost extra. The budget conscious bride will look for a that fits just as it is without expensive alterations. Look for a simple dress in a better fabric - such as silk satin and omit a lot of beading, lace and embroidery.
Shop the sample sales
The middle of summer and winter when the bridal salons start selling off the previous years dresses to make room for the current styles. Many stores offer floor samples at 30-90% off the retail price. Keep in mind that the floor samples are generally sizes 8-10.
Buy pre-owned dresses
Local consignment shops as well as eBay are a great place to look for gently worn treasures from top wedding dress designers. Make sure you do your homework. Ask for the history of the dress and carefully check for holes, stains or rips. If you will be buying sight unseen, as is the case on eBay - ask for photos taken from every angle and check if the dress has been altered.
The internet is a great place to shop for a dress. Many online stores sell off current styles at 20-30% off the retail price. Check out Bridesave.com, Pearlsplace.com and Angeri.
Shopping online works best if you know exactly what dress you are looking for, including the style number, and have tried it on somewhere. Check the return policy - at many sites all sales are final.
More ways to save on your dress....
- Buy one off the rack - out of a store, rather than having it made to order.
- Wear a white evening gown instead of one specifically for brides.
- Rent one, many cities have salons that offer this service.
Budgeting for the extras
Basic alterations are a must that aren't included in the cost of bridal gowns. Be sure to ask what these additional charges will be before you decide on a dress.
A dress with a long train could need a bustle which could cost up to $100.
Full skirt gowns usually look better with a crinoline or petticoat, but this item can be rented or borrowed.
Planning on having your dress cleaned and preserved? - This service could cost around $200.
More wedding planning tips.