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How to find an amazing wedding dress on a small budget

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.

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Destination Weddings: 9 things every couple should know

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Weddings in quaint European towns and the exotic Caribbean are no longer a novelty. Many brides and grooms are packing their bags, and getting married in attractive locations far away from home. Nevertheless, it is a fact that while these weddings are possible, they involve more long-distance and detailed planning than weddings near home.

It is not only the couple, but also the guests at the wedding who have to make allowances to attend a destination wedding. As it is far from home, there will be lot of things to consider. From paperwork to aero plane tickets and accommodation, there are many factors to consider.

Since these weddings involve travel, the rules and expectations are slightly different than in the case of a regular wedding. Let us find out what these are today!

1.Be prepared for a smaller and more intimate wedding

It is highly unlikely that all the people on your guest list can practically attend your wedding, when it is held far away from where they stay. If you have a large friend and family group, narrowing down your guest list can be difficult. However, it becomes necessary when you consider the expenses involved. Be reasonable with your expectations when you invite people. The entire scenario is different when you ask someone to travel for a wedding. Not everyone may have the time or the finances to make this long trip. So, when you decide to have a wedding far away, prepare to be satisfied with a small and intimate wedding with the people who matter most in your life. You can always host a reception once you are back, and include all your friends and family in it. This way, they get a chance to be involved in the wedding without having to travel. All the same, this is in no way compulsory. If you are satisfied with celebrating your wedding with just those who attended it, keep it that way.

2.Send out save-the-dates earlier than is usual

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Planning a destination wedding is complicated, and you may not be certain of all the details of the wedding till much later. Even so, you should inform your guests of your plans well in advance, so they can plan accordingly. Attending a destination wedding is comparable to planning a holiday—in terms of money involved and time off work. So, the earlier you provide information, the more convenient it will be for your guests to attend. Anywhere between 4 to 8 months before the wedding, is a good time to send your save-the-dates. Include all that you know at the time, particularly the date and location. Take care to highlight the date on the RSVP, so you can plan your final guest list and confirm the rest of the arrangements based on the number of attendees. If you are very particular about having certain people in your wedding, check their availability prior to planning the wedding date. This way, you can avoid disappointment if they have constraints that do not allow them to travel to your wedding. Once you finalize your plans, don’t delay sending out the invitations. Destination wedding invitations should be more detailed than the customary wedding invitation, as your guests need to know much more to plan and budget their trip.

3.Wedding websites are your best friend

When you plan a destination wedding, your guests will usually prefer to find out as much as they can to make their trip easier. Since a wedding invitation for what it can hold, then use your wedding website for the rest. Include anything and everything your guests should be aware of, on your wedding website. Provide links to places where they can find accommodation, the weather at the time of your wedding, any dress requirements that they should be aware of, what they should carry and transportation options they have. Also share all the details of the wedding program, so they can carry all that they need to attend it. You could also go further and add some information on the local attractions, as it is likely that your guests will want to tour the place. Since you will anyway be seeking all this information out for yourself, do your guests a favor by sharing it with them. Since websites allow you to organize and provide all this information in a streamlined format, your guests will have no trouble finding what they want to know. They will also appreciate your effort in helping them plan their trip so well.

4.It isn’t considerate to guilt your guests into attending

It is your wedding, and you deserve to be happy. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t be at the expense of making someone unhappy or miserable. If an important person in your friends or relative’s circle is unable to attend, don’t pressurize them too far. Remember that the case would be entirely different if you were having your wedding closer to where you stay. Consider the different logistics that they have to work out, financial constraints they may have, or how impossible it is for them to travel so far and take time off work. So, be reasonable with your expectations and life will be a lot easier for everyone. Be understanding of those who can’t attend and answer “No” to your invitation. This is why it may be a good idea to hold a reception party later, when all those who couldn’t participate in the actual wedding, get a chance to congratulate you.

5.Everyone at the engagement party and whoever receives a save-the-date receives an invitation too

Valentines day Wedding Ideas

Whether your save-the-date RSVP says Yes or No, the addressee is eligible for a formal wedding invitation. The same goes for the guests at your engagement party. This is one area where traditional wedding invitation etiquette applies. Even if your guests have confirmed that they won’t make it to your wedding, they still deserve a formal invitation. Some couples worry whether sending an invitation to someone who won’t be coming, is like they are fishing for gifts. It isn’t! The guest you send the save-the-date card to, might in fact feel ignored or slighted if they do not receive a follow-up invitation to the wedding. Things may also change along the way, and if they find a way to make it to the wedding, they may be disappointed when they do not receive an invitation. The other way you could handle it, is to send an invite to the reception you will host later, if they confirm they won’t be attending the wedding. So, if you have an engagement party, make sure that you choose the guest list properly, so that it will only have those people who will be invited to the wedding as well.

6.Your wedding dress should be low-fuss, easy to transport and manage

Wedding dresses are yards of fabric, delicately and intricately woven into splendid designs. Most of the traditional style wedding dresses are heavy, and may easily crinkle or look shabby if handled too much. If there are too many embellishments on it, over-handling can displace stones or crystals and ruin the overall look. These factors make it important to choose a wedding dress that is practical to transport. You will have to carry your wedding dress in your hand luggage when you board the aircraft. So, it should be a dress that is possible to stow away in the overheard luggage compartment or be hung above your seat. Once you are at the location, you may have to steam the dress to get rid of wrinkles and creases. So, it should also be made from fabric that can be ironed easily and not be damaged. Dresses in light, breathable fabric with just the necessary amount of embellishments are your best bet. Uncomplicated gowns without too many layers are practical to be transported and restored to its original look after the long journey to your destination. Dresses from collections such as the Mori Lee Voyage bring you plenty of options that will be perfect for a dream wedding away from home. Here is a sample.

This beautiful Mori Lee 6784 in poetic lace is a dress perfect for a vintage style wedding in an exotic location. The slim silhouette is formed of light layers that hold their shape during handling and the minimal embellishments reduce your risk of damaging the gown.

7.Your guests and wedding party will appreciate it if you offset some of the expenses

You are in no way obligated to foot the expenses for any of the factors that are normally paid for by your guests or bridal party. So, destination wedding or not, your guests will have to arrange for accommodation, bridesmaids will pay for their dresses and the wedding guests have to find their way to the venue. Nevertheless, if you have the funds to help with some of their expenses, like the accessories for bridesmaids or transportation on the day of the wedding, it would be very helpful for them. You could consider hiring a van or arranging a cab to pick your guests up from the airport, to transport them to their hotels. Or you could sponsor a guided tour on a day they are there, and we are sure your guests will love you for the thoughtful arrangement. Another thing you could do is to sponsor breakfast on the days they are there. It will be one meal they don’t have to pay for, and also allows everyone to meet and get together ahead of the wedding.

8.You can still register for gifts

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Don’t think twice about  registering for gifts. The people at your wedding will be spending a lot of extra money to make it to your wedding venue. Nevertheless, they will still want to gift you something to remember them by. The others who are unable to attend your wedding may also like to gift you, since it is a wedding after all! So, do set up a wedding registry. The only thing to remember is that your registry should contain affordable gifts of different prices. This way, your guests will have plenty of options. It will also take the burden off them to buy an expensive gift, after they’ve spent so much money to attend your wedding.

9.Your guests will appreciate it if you help them find cheap travel and accommodation deals

Air tickets are expensive, and so are hotel bookings. While this is on the cards when your guests agree to attending your destination wedding, you can still do a little in helping them along the way. The first thing you can do is to choose off-season wedding dates, so the entire transport and stay will be much cheaper. You could also research bulk airline booking discounts and hotel stay discounts that will lighten their expenses. If you inform an airline that there will be a group of people traveling together to your wedding, it is likely that they will offer you a discount. If you do your hotel reservations in advance, you may be able to block a set of rooms for a lower price and help your guests this way too.

Destination weddings have their pros and cons, just like every other wedding. Despite all the difficulties of planning and getting people to attend it, it is a unique, one-of-a-kind wedding that you should consider if you can afford it. The memories of getting married in an exotic location with the people you love the most, is definitely worth it.

So, if you have a destination wedding in mind, come visit us on Best for Bride and check out how we can help you nail your wedding vision. From the ideal wedding dresses to vendors and everything else you need for your wedding day, we can help you make your planning a big success.

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5 Wedding planning rules you can choose to ignore

Traditional wedding planning was based on rules and even more rules. Luckily, we aren’t bound by endless customs and traditions when planning our wedding today. While it isn’t wise to toss all the rules, beliefs and wedding etiquette aside, there are few that can be ignored so we can realize our vision of the perfect wedding.

So, what are they? Let us find out.

1.It is the bride’s family that pays

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With weddings getting bigger and more expensive everyday, it is not such a good idea to place the entire financial burden on the bride’s family. The couple can sponsor their wedding themselves, rely on funds from the groom’s side or even split the expenses. What matters is that you have the wedding you desire, not who pays for it. Also remember that it is only right that the people footing the bill have a say in how the wedding ought to be. So, if you and your parents or in-laws disagree on the guest list or wedding menu, try to find a compromise that works for everyone.

2.Your wedding dress should be white

via Best for Bride

Although white is the most popular option in wedding dress colors, it isn’t necessary that you choose it. In fact, white wedding dresses became popular only in the 19th century, before which, brides wore dresses in different colours. So, if you aren’t smitten with white, pick any color that appeals to you.

3.The groom shouldn’t see the bride before the ceremony

This was believed to be bad luck. Superstitions aside, photographers today encourage couples to click a few pictures together before the ceremony. This allows them to get the best shots, when the bride’s makeup is fresh. It also allows them to effectively capture the first-reaction of the groom when he sees his bride in her wedding attire. This is a memory that the couple will often cherish, and so this is a good way to do it right.

4.You can have only one Maid of Honor

via Best for Bride

 

More and more brides are now opting to have two Co-Maids of honor, if they have two favorite girlfriends. This makes sense, as it wouldn’t be nice to choose one over the other, when both ladies are equally important to the bride. It is also more practical, as they can divide the bridesmaids duties and ensure everything sails smoothly, putting the bride’s mind at ease.

5.Weddings have to be expensive

Not necessarily. You can choose to keep the wedding small and meaningful, if you do not have the budget for a big wedding. After all, it isn’t about throwing a big party or starting your life together on a big debt. It is about celebrating your love as a couple, with the people who matter most to you. Whether you can afford a wedding party with thousands of guests, or you choose to get married with only your closest friends and family attending, you will still be pronounced man and wife. So, plan a wedding within your budget, and make sure you get the best deal you can afford.

For more wedding planning advice, tips and stories, visit us on Best for Bride.