Wedding dresses can be one of the most expensive parts of planning a wedding. But a few simple tips can help you find your dream wedding dress within your budget.
According to the Association of Wedding Professionals International, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is between $21,000 and $24,000. The rapidly rising cost of wedding-related expenses has many brides and grooms looking for ways to have the wedding of their dreams within the budget of their reality.
One of the most significant wedding planning expenses is the wedding dress. While it isn’t every bride’s dream to wear a designer or couture wedding dress, even bridal gowns at discount wedding department stores can cost $500 or more. But with a little creativity, brides can find the perfect wedding dress without spending a fortune.
Look Beyond Traditional Bridal Stores and Wedding Shops
While bridal stores and department stores that specialize in wedding dresses are a tempting and convenient option, brides seeking to save money on their wedding dresses will have better luck thinking outside the box.
Some brides, hoping to recoup the money spent on their wedding dress, will sell their once-worn wedding gown through a consignment shop. Brides-to-be can save hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars by shopping wedding consignment boutiques for their dream dress.
Some charities, such as Brides Against Breast Cancer, take wedding dress donations and then resell them at a fraction of the price. These events not only raise money for a good cause, but they help brides-to-be find dresses at a fraction of their original cost.
Brides who are looking for a truly unique wedding dress should consider looking through antique stores. Many antique stores have clothing sections with vintage wedding dresses in good condition, just waiting to be worn again.
Shop For A Wedding Dress Online
Once a bride has an idea of what styles and sizes work best for her, shopping online for a wedding dress is an option. Online sellers often do not have the expensive overhead of traditional wedding boutiques, allowing them to undercut the brick and mortar competition.
Online wedding shopping is also an option for brides looking for a specific style of wedding dress, such as a modest wedding gown or one that is designed for a tall bride.
As with any online shopping, there are some questions a bride should ask before making a wedding dress purchase:
Is this wedding dress company reputable? Have they had any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau? What is the bridal gown return policy? If the wedding gown size is incorrect, can it be exchanged for another size? If the online wedding retailer sells name-brand gowns, do they guarantee the authenticity of the gown?
Bargaining With Bridal Boutiques
A bride who has done her research can use that information to bargain with a wedding gown store for the best possible price. Asking the store to match an online wedding gown price may get the store to lower their price.
If the retailer doesn’t meet the price, a savvy bride can also try bargaining for other items instead. For instance, the store may be willing to give the bride a complimentary veil or complimentary in-house bridal alterations.
Consider Bridal Gown Alternatives
When shopping for a wedding dress on a budget, it is important to consider all of the wedding dress alternatives. Department stores often carry white or ivory gowns in their special occasion department. These gowns typically carry a price tag that’s 50-60% less than the cost of a wedding dress.
Another way to save money on a wedding dress is to buy a bridesmaid dress in white or ivory. Many bridesmaid dress manufacturers now offer many of their most popular styles in bride-friendly colors at a considerably lower price.
Shopping for a wedding dress on a budget takes time, patience, and willpower. Several shopping trips, a willingness to compromise or look into ways of alternative shopping can take more time and effort but save a significant amount of money in the wedding budget.