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10 ways to find a dream wedding dress you can afford

The best things in life don’t always come cheap. Are you on the search for your dream wedding dress, but struggling with the price attached to it? Well, you aren’t alone!

Wedding dresses, especially designer wedding gowns can be very expensive. It may seem ridiculous to spend a major chunk of your wedding budget on a dress that you will wear just once in your lifetime. However, your wedding is also the most important occasion of your life, and you cannot afford to look anything but stunning on this day.

After all, how you look as a bride on this day will forever be etched in everyone’s memories. As wedding planner Ashley, of The Graceful Host mentions in this Style Me Pretty Article, all eyes are on the bride. And your guests will definitely remember “The Dress.” So, what you choose to wear on your big day is a very important decision. 

Fortunately, there are many ways to find a dress that is drop dead gorgeous without breaking your budget. Let us take a look at the various ways in which you can find such a dream wedding dress, when cost is an important constraint.

1.Sacrifice the designer tag

Top designer dresses are very costly, and the designer tag contributes to the price. However, it is likely you may find a great dress sans this tag, at an affordable price. Take pictures of the dresses you like to your dress appointment. Ask your bridal consultant to find a dress that fits your budget, but has most of the features you desire. More often than not, you should  be able to find such a dress in their collection, although it may not carry a designer tag. It is a good idea to visit stores that carry collections of varying price ranges, as well as in-house creations to improve your chances at this.

2.Keep an eye out for sample and clearance sales and trunk shows

Most wedding dress boutiques host sample sales and trunk shows at specific times during a year. Dresses at sample and clearance sales often have their prices greatly slashed. This is because during clearance sales, boutiques try to sell off existing stock to make space for new designs. At sample sales, they sell off shop floor samples at highly discounted prices. Trunk shows usually have dresses that are new to the market and are thus introduced at a much lower price. Hence both options present a good opportunity to find a wedding dress that fits your budget at a highly reduced cost.

Check out your local stores and find when their next sale is scheduled. If a sample sale falls during your engagement, plan your wedding shopping at that time. Take a look at the stock on sale and see whether it has a dress that you love. The only likely issue is that dresses at such sales are often available only in standard sizes. If you fall on either end of the size scale, this option may not work out for you.

3.Make the most of coupons and discount vouchers

Many bridal shops try to increase sales by offering coupons and discount vouchers on select designer lines. Such information is usually displayed on their websites or social media pages. If you are planning to shop in your local neighborhood, it is a good idea to browse through the wedding dress websites first. Also take a look at newspaper ads, magazines and wedding vendor listings on websites to come across current promos. If you are lucky, you may be able to snag a good discount on certain wedding dress collections and get a great dress for less.

While some boutiques offer promotional offers throughout the year, others do so at the end of a certain season or when a new dress line is introduced. Prepare yourself to shop when such a deal is available, if you must avail of such opportunities since they are usually time-bound.

4.Look for places that promote referrals

If you have friends or relatives who married recently or are currently engaged, you may be able to snag a referral discount through them. Many wedding boutiques offer special discounts on referrals. If you have friends who recently purchased a wedding gown, target the store they shopped at. If they have a referral program, you can use it to get a discount. Alternately, you may be the first to buy a wedding dress in your peer group. However, you may have friends who are soon to go wedding shopping. In this case, you can offset some of the money you spent through a referral incentive. Ask your friend to provide the shop manager with your reference, and they will either give you a discount voucher or cash back offer, once your friend makes a purchase.

At Best for Bride, we offer a $50 referral bonus on every gown that is purchased by a new bride who visits us on your recommendation. With no upper limit on the number of referrals we will pay, this is a great option for you to recoup as much of the money you spent on your gown, as is possible. Further, your friend will also enjoy a 10% off her wedding gown price, when she uses your referral. So, it is a win-win situation for both parties.

5.Find a custom dress designer

There are many benefits to custom designing your wedding dress. When you have your dress custom-made, the dress is unique and meet your specifications. No one else will have a similar dress. You can also find a compromise between the price and design features you desire. By opting for economic fabric choices, embellishments and design details, get your wedding gown made to your desired specifications. Hence it is a budget-friendly option, provided you find a good tailor for the job. Fortunately, many bridal shops have their own in-house custom dressmakers. Or they may be able to direct you to a suitable seamstress who can handle the task. Either way, with their experience in bridal dress making, these experts can easily design a beautiful dress for you.

6.Shop in other aisles

If you are flexible with your options, it is likely you can find a cheap, but gorgeous dress that wasn’t intended as a wedding dress. Bridesmaids collections and evening dress collections usually have plenty of beautiful white dresses that can pass of as wedding dress. Take a look at this roundup on A Practical Wedding for bridesmaids dresses that work as wedding dresses.You will find various silhouettes like the sheath, A-line or even fit and flare dresses that are perfect for various wedding themes. These are splendid choices, especially if you choose a relaxed and casual wedding style. Although you may have limited choices this way, it is nevertheless a good idea to consider when you are on a tight budget. You can even add extra embellishments or dress up with suitable accessories to achieve your preferred bridal look.

7.Opt for a gently used dress

Bridal dresses that have been worn just once, but promptly preserved and put aside after the wedding are often as good as new wedding dresses. The best thing about such dresses is that they are often sold off at a fraction of the original cost. Thus, it is a great way to find a designer wedding dress for much cheaper than you would in a store. There are several websites that specialize in second-hand wedding dress sales. If you are flexible with your options and ready to invest time and effort in finding options, it is a feasible solution. If you are lucky, you may even find a second hand unboxed dress, that wasn’t used. This happens when brides decide on another wedding dress after making the purchase, and try to sell off the first one.

Nonetheless, you should be careful when searching for a gently used dress. Make sure you are sure the dress is in excellent condition before agreeing to the sale. Also, determine if the alterations are reversible and you can alter it to your exact measurements if you decide to buy it. For all that you need to know about pre-owned wedding dresses, take a look at this article on the Bride Box

8.Explore wedding dress rentals

If you cannot afford to buy a brand new dress, why not rent it? Wedding dress rentals are a practical and sensible option to look amazing on your special day. Several wedding dress boutiques offer this option. They thus give brides the chance to choose a dress they love at a fraction of the original cost. After all, you will rarely have another occasion to wear your wedding dress. Hence the money you spend on it may not always be justified.

However, every bride wants to look beautiful and wear a dress she loves on her wedding day. If you cannot afford to buy such a dress, rent it and look fabulous on the occasion. You can return the dress as soon as the wedding is over. Apart from wedding dress rentals, it is also possible to rent your accessories and complete your bridal look. This is the cheap way to be a beautiful bride, without spending a fortune.

Best for Bride has a rental option for brides. For more details on this service, take a look at this link on our website. 

9.Buy online

Nothing compares with the fun and excitement of going shopping for your wedding dress at a store. However, you may not always find as many dresses at a store, as you would online. The best place to find a wedding dress that ticks all the boxes, is online. This option allows you to compare prices, designs and even stores. You can finally zero-in on a dress that fits your budget and appeals to you.

Except for being unable to see and try the dress in person, you can find all necessary information about it on the website. There will be pictures from different angles that show the dress details clearly. It will also include the price options, comparison with other dresses and other relevant information to help you make your decision. Some dresses even have free shipping, giving you better value for the money you spend. You can also take your time to make your decision without any pressure. The only thing to remember is to pay attention to customer reviews and feedback. Always pick a reliable seller to make sure there are no nasty surprises when the dress arrives.

10.Try your luck at bridal contests

Search online and you will find several wedding competitions that give away free wedding gowns to the winner. These competitions usually require you to promote their products or company name in different ways to be eligible for the prize. Visit bridal shows, shop promotions and local boutiques to find out about such contests that you can participate in. If you are lucky, you may win a wedding dress this way without spending a penny on it.

So, you see, it isn’t necessary to always buy a brand new wedding gown. There are other options that allow you to look fantastic on your wedding day, while sticking to your wedding budget. Remember that whether you buy a brand new wedding dress or score a budget dress, what matters is you are happy with your choice. Don’t worry about what others think or say. If you are happy with your choice, the details are irrelevant.

At Best for Bride, we have many amazing deals, discounts and offers on wedding dresses all the time. We also carry wedding dresses that fit every budget, that you can view and shortlist on our website. Visit this link to our bridal collection to find all that you need for your special day. 

3 thoughts on “10 ways to find a dream wedding dress you can afford

  1. I am so afraid of not being able to afford my wedding.

  2. Shop in the “off season” if that fits into your budget and there is actually an off season where you live.

  3. I think the wedding dress is the main attribute. You just can’t save money on that. Everything should be awesome! I developed my own dress design. I also plan to ask the designer to sew it according to this. In this case, success is obvious. I will be like a star! There’s no other way to be here! Expensive and awesome!

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