Wedding dress shopping is one of the most exciting wedding planning tasks for a bride. After all, the wedding dress is the focal point of your bridal look. When you get the dress selection right, you will look gorgeous on your wedding day.
Although nothing beats the thrill of discovering “the dress” from numerous available options, it isn’t always possible for every bride to buy a brand new dress. A new designer wedding dress is always expensive. Fortunately, it is possible to get married in a beautiful dress even if you must work with a small budget. All that you require is early preparation and flexibility with the best options available.
A budget wedding dress will trim your overall wedding expenses. According to this article on Project Wedding, couples should allocate no more than 10% of their total wedding budget to their outfits. This amount doesn’t include just the bridal dress. It should include the groom’s tux too. Unfortunately, not all brides can find their dream wedding dress as well as fit all related extras like accessories and alterations within this limit.
Nonetheless, it is no big deal if you are ready to go the extra mile and find a budget-friendly dress. When you do, the good thing is that you can allocate the remaining funds to bigger priorities like the menu, entertainment or venue. So, the benefits are many.
As the first step, here is what you should do so you find the dress of your dreams sans the hefty price tag.
- Start early. You cannot zero in on the right wedding dress till you know your wedding style and venue. Soon after your engagement, quickly identify your wedding venue and theme. You can then go on the search for your wedding dress as early as is possible.
- Recognize what you want in your wedding dress. Complete your wedding shopping research in advance. Identify the silhouettes you prefer and create an inspiration board with the dress styles and features you like. Shortlist this and you can recognize exactly what is right for you.
- Locate the different sources. These are places where you are most likely to find dresses that fit your expectations. Again research is necessary. Set aside few hours and track down and note likely places where you can find the best dresses.
Once you have the information we enlisted, it is time for shopping. Here is how you can find a gorgeous wedding dress for less.
Sign up for alerts on discounts at leading bridal stores
Every bridal store holds discount and clearance sales at some time of the year. The earlier you identify the dress you want to wear, the sooner you can make the most of such sales. You may not find all bridal stores advertising their sales in full swing. They usually announce such details on their website, social media pages or through email newsletters.
So, subscribe to their mailing list and visit their social media page to stay abreast of such news. Also visit the websites regularly. This will help you discover limited time offers and discounts as and when it occurs. You can also contact the store over phone and inquire when their next sale is.
Be ready to shop at the right time
Most stores hold sample sales when they need space for new collections. So, time your shopping accordingly, and you can snag the best deals. New collections enter the market just before spring and fall. So, stores clear their racks around this time. This is when they slash the prices considerably, as they have to get rid of existing stock to accommodate new ones.
Although this means you will have to choose from previous collections, you will still have plenty of choice. After all, not all people follow bridal fashion trends closely. As long as you aren’t looking for an extreme or brand-new trend off the runway, you should find what you want in these collections. Shortlist the designer collection you want to buy from and keep track of stores that carry these collections. Then, it will be easy for you to plan your shopping when there is a sale. Many shops also give huge discounts at the time of bridal shows. So, you may benefit from it if you plan your shopping at that time.
Consider buying a floor sample
When you buy a wedding dress, the normal procedure is that the boutique will place your dress order in your size with the manufacturer after you make the payment. However, the shop will also have floor samples for you to try on when you go shopping. If you are fortunate to find that the shop sample fits you closely, you can ask the shop whether they are ready to sell it to you. If they agree, you can get your dress at a significant discount.
Make sure that the sample is in relatively good condition. It should ideally be just the right size or slightly bigger, so you can have it altered to fit you perfectly. A gown that is too small or too big isn’t recommended, as it may lose it’s original impact and finish if it requires significant alterations to fit.
Consider buying a gently used dress
Many brides who initially decide to save their wedding dress may later change their minds and put it up for sale. Most of these brides take the trouble of having their dress dry-cleaned and preserved professionally after their wedding day. This means that the dress will be very well-cared for. With the considerable difference in price, this is a good option.
Many brides advertise their dresses on websites like Oncewed and Pre-owned wedding dresses. So, stay tuned to these websites and you should come across suitable advertisements. However, remember that you may not always find the exact designer dress you want in your size, when it is second-hand. Shop with an open mind and you can increase your chances of finding a dress that works. Don’t forget to ask the seller about what type of alterations they did on the dresses, to identify if they are reversible.
Search for second-hand but never worn dresses online
There are many brides who buy a dress and even have it altered, only to later realize they aren’t happy with their choice. Instead of continuing with the same dress and ending up with dress regret, they decide to buy another dress. There are also cases where the dress is never used because of the wedding being canceled.
In all these cases, the brides often sell the dress off at a discounted price to adjust for a part of the expenses they incurred. These dresses may not have their original packaging, but are usually as good as new, and have the tags still on. You can always negotiate the price and get this as-good-as-new dress for a heavy discount.
Visit trunk shows
Trunk shows are a good place to find discounted versions of designer wedding gowns. The only catch is that limited sizes are usually available for a certain design. Also, you should expect trunk shows to have a big crowd. So, it is best to attend the show with a bunch of friends. After all, what are your bridesmaids for?
Be alert so you can find out about any upcoming trunk shows. The first two days are usually the most rushed. If you are not too particular about a certain dress itself, skip the first day or two and go when the crowd will be much lesser. However, don’t expect anything like a regular dress appointment. You will have to share space with others if you have to try the gown out. Also, you can’t linger on forever to make your decision. It is best to attend a trunk show with a number of possible alternatives in mind, and be satisfied with the one you find from this list.
Look for exclusive online coupons and discount vouchers
Many bridal stores offer exclusive online offers which you may not find in-store. Make the most of such offers and get a significant reduction on your wedding dress. Since these are limited-time offers, it is a good idea to first decide which is the dress you want by shopping at a store.
Once you have made up your mind, don’t purchase the gown just yet. Wait till they have a discount or offer on the design, and you can have your overall price reduced to a great extent.
Explore good package deals
Many bridal salons give you a bulk discount when you buy accessories like shoes, jewelry, veils and sashes along with your wedding gown. Although this technically doesn’t change the price of the gown, it gives you more for the money you spend.
You will anyway have to accessorize your wedding dress. Buy all your extras from the same place where you buy your gown, if they have a good discount on it. This is often better value for money than having your gown’s price reduced. You can then divert the funds saved for your accessories to another wedding expense.
Look other than in the wedding dress section
Depending on the type of wedding you have in mind, you may not even have to search through wedding dress collections to find the right dress. For weddings based on a casual theme, like a beach wedding or a garden wedding, the requirements are often different. Rather than being weighed down in a heavy, elaborate wedding dress, a light, breathable dress would be more suitable.
Although there are bridal collections that cater to these requirements, you can also find such dresses in bridesmaids dress collections and dresses for special occasions. The difference is that the cost is less. So, you can enjoy the look for less when you choose dresses other than wedding dress.
Have an old dress re-purposed
Has your mother or grandmother lovingly preserved her wedding gown to hand down to you? If yes, we think you should take a good, close look at it. You may not find it suitable to wear as it is, unless you are looking for a vintage style. However, with the help of a talented dressmaker, you can easily transform this dress into one that satisfies your modern taste.
Most parts of a well-preserved gown are suitable for reuse in a new dress. You can also have it altered, dyed or customized to meet your specific needs. In any case, working with an existing dress will allow you to have your wedding dress for much cheaper. Also, wearing this heirloom on your special day will be a tribute to your mother or grandmother. It will be a very sentimental moment for her!
Rent your dress
The final, but very practical option to having an amazing wedding dress is to rent it. There are many bridal shops that offer rental services. The benefits of this option are many. You can find amazing designer wedding dresses that you couldn’t otherwise afford, for a fraction of a cost.
Also, with a dress rental, you needn’t worry about taking care of the gown or preserving it after the wedding. Return it to the shop and they will do the rest. With a huge chunk of your budget saved in this manner, you can allocate it to other wedding expenses.
So, tell us, which of these options do you think is best and practical in your case?
Whether it is a brand new wedding dress, rental, discount or sale, we have all the options at Best for Bride. We pride ourselves on our lowest price guarantee. So, expect only the best quality for the best prices at the Best for Bride stores. Check out our clearance and discount section for amazing deals and bargain shopping offers all-year round. And for more tips and tricks on planning your wedding on a budget, stay tuned to this page.