Disclosure: Budget Fashionista content contains affiliate links. Learn more.
The scariest show on TV has to be WE TV’s Brideszilla. The smokey thing that eats people on ABC’s Lost ain’t got nothing on the Brides on that show. What is scarier than the brides themselves is the money they spend on their weddings, especially their wedding dresses (in one episode one bride took out a second mortgage so she could buy a $5,000 wedding dress… what??). There’s no reason to go that crazy on a wedding dress.
How to Find a Cheap Wedding Dress on a Budget
1. Hunt for the Bargains – Many stores have annual sales on bridal gowns and several top wedding dress companies hold sample sales- although most of these sales are held in the fall. These sales can be quite ridiculous and most don’t have fitting rooms, so wear a swimsuit or catsuit so you’ll be able to try on the dress without showing your goodies to the entire store.
2. Gently Used Works Great – Some brides may cringe at the idea of a second hand dress but the reality is it makes good financial sense, especially when heading to a consignment shop. Consignment shops do not generally just accept any item unless it is in top-notch condition and since most folks only wear their wedding dress once, your likely to find a great deal on a dress. A couple of things to be aware of; know the return policy and get it in writing, compare the consignment/thrift price with the retail price of a brand new version (it should be at least 50% off the retail price), and make sure to check the garment for any strange smells, marks, stains, etc.
Wore it Once
3. Go Non-Traditional – You don’t have to have a sleevelss, white, satin wedding dress with a 5 foot train in order to get married. Brides not afraid to think outside of the box can save a bucket of cash on a dress if they shop outside “wedding” stores. Plenty of department and other types of stores offer white and ivory dresses that are suitable for any occasion, including a wedding. No one will know, nor should they care, where you found your dress.
4. Search Online– Shopping online for a wedding dress is a great option if you know the type of dress that you want AND you have plenty of time before the event (at least 6 months) to take a bit of a chance.
5. Hit Up a Relative – Why not borrow a wedding gown from your mom, sister, or cousin? Most wedding gowns are stored away and never used (or seen) again. Asking a loved one for a dress loan may start a new tradition in the family. Ask if you can alter the dress to your own specifications, saving you a ton of money.