There's no way to get around it, cheap wedding dresses are a necessity for many brides. Decreasing the budget for the dress allows couples to put their money towards other wedding expenses. After all, the dress is usually worn for one day, so brides don't spend a fortune on the attire for one occasion.
Bridal Gowns on a Budget
Most brides dream of wearing an expensive designer dress on their wedding day. Their dreams are often dashed once they spy the price tag hanging from the dress. Just because a bride is confined to a budget doesn't mean she shouldn't have all the bells and whistles. Even those who don't have thousands of dollars to spend on a wedding gown deserve to look like a fairy tale princess on their wedding day.
One of the best times to purchase a wedding dress is during a sale event. Bridal boutiques do not have frequent sales, so it is important to check with the stores often to stay on top of their events.
Annual Sample Sales
Sample sales are often the best way to snag a designer dress at an affordable price. Brides-to-be often wear bathing suits under their clothes so they don't have to deal with dressing rooms and will try on dresses in the show room. It's a good idea to bring a couple of friends along to help hunt for dresses and hold them while you try the others on. At sales like these, there are no returns.
If chaos doesn't bother you, you might consider this method for purchasing cheap wedding dresses. Classic examples of this style of sale includes the Running of the Brides at Filene's Basement and Kleinfeld Bridal's Blowout Sale.
Sample sales do have their problems. The large crowds, limited sale dates and small selection of sizes keeps many brides-to-be from taking advantage of these sales. Many brides live in areas where they don't have access to these styles of sales, too. Finally, some designer dresses may still be out of the budget, even at a discounted price.
Seasonal or Clearance Sales
The best way to get a deal year-round on wedding gowns is to check out seasonal or clearance sales at local wedding shops and salons. Local and chain stores often have sales where a selection of dresses are extremely cheap and large discounts are also offered on the rest of their dresses. David's Bridal is famous for its $99 sale, where gowns are offered at sale prices, even if not all of them are priced at $99.
Shops often have clearance sales. As new yearly or seasonal collections come out, older ones are discontinued or go out of style. These sales events may be every few months, or a shop may have a rack in the back with discounted dresses. Speak with sales clerks and sign up for email lists to keep track of area sales.
If money is indeed an object and you're open to suggestions, you might try a secondhand shop. Thrift stores and consignment shops are excellent venues for purchasing cheap used wedding dresses. There are several things to be considered:
- Different neighborhoods boast a different quality of clothes. If you're shopping in a depressed neighborhood, chances are you won't find designer duds. If you're shopping at a consignment shop in an upscale neighborhood, the selection will reflect the area.
- Most consignment shops won't accept any item of clothing unless it's in perfect, or near perfect, condition. Thrift shops, on the other hand, accept all sorts of items in various states of repair. Examine a dress thoroughly and make note of any rips, stains, pulls, tears or other damage. Most secondhand shops have a no refund policy.
- If the shop does have a return policy, get it in writing. Some shop owners miraculously change their minds as soon as somebody tries to make a return.
In most cases, a secondhand wedding dress only needs minor repairs which can be handled by a dry cleaner or tailor.
Online Auction Sites
Craigslist, eBay and other online auction sites host quite the assortment of wedding dresses for sale. Some may be new, some old, some used and some damaged, but there is something for everyone in all price ranges. These gowns may have previously been altered or have minor rips or stains. Be sure to get full disclosure from the seller before purchasing a dress online, and only shop reputable sellers.
Other Cheap Gown Options
Think outside the box to find additional options for a cheap wedding gown.
Borrow a Gown
There's no shame in asking friends and family if you can borrow one of their wedding gowns. Many former brides are touched to pass on this treasured family heirloom. A mother, grandmother, sister or aunt is sure to be happy to loan you her wedding dress. A free wedding dress can be just as special as a customized dress. Make sure you check with the original owner before making alterations of any kind.
Department Store Dresses
Department stores and boutiques now carry lines of special occasion dresses, including wedding dresses, that can be purchased for less than designer prices. While these dresses are not all cheap, they are often lower priced dresses than couture gowns.
Special Occasion Dresses
Finally, consider purchasing a prom, special occasion or bridesmaid dress in white, off white or ivory. Although you won't have a train, you will still have a glamorous dress at an affordable price.
Beautiful Budget Bridal Gowns
A beautiful bridal gown does not need to bust your budget. Put savvy shopping skills to work and find a stunning gown that makes you look radiant without ravaging your pocketbook.