Your wedding dress is one of the most important and memorable aspects of your big day. But it can also be one of the most expensive. According to The Knot Real Weddings Study, which surveyed more than 15,000 couples who were married in 2023, the average cost of a wedding dress last year was $1,800. That’s a lot of money to spend on a gown that you’ll only wear once.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to break the bank or compromise on your style to find your dream wedding dress. There are many ways to save money on your wedding dress without sacrificing quality or beauty. Here are six simple steps to help you shop smart and get the best deal on your gown.
1. Start shopping for your wedding dress early.
The sooner you start looking for your wedding dress, the better. Ideally, you should start shopping at least nine months before your wedding date, if not longer. This will give you more time and options to find the perfect dress for you. You’ll also avoid rush fees and last-minute alterations that can add up to hundreds of dollars.
Shopping early also means that you can take advantage of discounts and special offers that may come up at local bridal salons. For example, you can look for trunk shows, sample sales, first-time appointment incentives, or seasonal sales that can help you save money on your wedding dress. Do some research online or ask for recommendations from friends or family who have recently gotten married or hired similar services.
2. Choose a more simplistic wedding dress.
One of the easiest ways to save money on your wedding dress is to choose a more simplistic style. The more embellishments, fabric, and details your dress has, the more expensive it will be. For example, lace, beading, embroidery, sequins, appliques, and ruffles can all increase the price of your gown significantly. Likewise, ball gowns, mermaid dresses, and dresses with long trains or multiple layers require more material and labor than simpler silhouettes.
To save money on your wedding dress, look for gowns that have minimal adornments and are made of less expensive fabrics, such as chiffon, tulle, organza, or crepe. You can also opt for shorter or tea-length dresses instead of floor-length ones. If you want some sparkle or flair on your dress, you can always add accessories later, such as a belt, a brooch, a veil, or a jacket.
Read more: How Much to Save Per Month for Your Wedding?
3. Visit sample sales and trunk shows.
If you’re wondering how to save money on a wedding dress from a designer or a bridal salon, you should definitely check out sample sales and trunk shows. These are events where you can find discounted gowns that are either from previous seasons or have been tried on by other brides.
Sample sales are usually held by bridal salons to clear out their inventory and make room for new collections. You can find gowns that are marked down up to 75% off in some cases. However, be prepared to shop fast and make quick decisions, as sample sales tend to be crowded and competitive. You may also have to pay for alterations or repairs if the gown is damaged or doesn’t fit you perfectly.
Trunk shows are events where designers showcase their latest collections at bridal salons for a limited time. You can find exclusive gowns that are not available in stores and get a chance to meet the designer or their representative. Many salons also offer discounts (usually around 10%) on the designer’s gowns during the trunk show.
4. Consider renting or buying a second-hand wedding dress.
If you’re not attached to the idea of owning your wedding dress forever, you can consider renting or buying a second-hand wedding dress. This can help you save up to 90% off the original price of a designer gown.
Renting a wedding dress is a convenient and affordable option for brides who want to wear a high-end gown without paying a high-end price. You can rent a wedding dress from online platforms such as Rent the Runway, Borrowing Magnolia, or Happily Ever Borrowed. These sites offer a wide range of styles and sizes from various designers and allow you to try on the dresses before renting them. You can also rent accessories such as veils, jewelry, or belts to complete your look. The rental fee usually includes shipping, cleaning, and insurance costs.
Buying a second-hand wedding dress is another way to save money on your wedding dress and still get a quality gown. You can buy a pre-owned wedding dress from online marketplaces such as Nearly Newlywed, Stillwhite, or PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com. These sites connect brides who are selling their gently used wedding dresses with brides who are looking for them. You can browse thousands of listings and filter by designer, size, price, style, and more. You can also communicate with the sellers directly and ask questions or request more photos. Some sites also offer authentication, inspection, or return services for extra peace of mind.
5. Shop at mass market retailers rather than boutiques.
If you’re looking for a more affordable wedding dress option, you can skip the traditional bridal boutiques and shop at mass-market retailers instead. Many popular brands and stores offer wedding dresses that are stylish, trendy, and budget-friendly. For example, you can find wedding dresses at ASOS, Lulus, H&M, Anthropologie, or Nordstrom for under $500. You can also shop at department stores or outlets that carry designer gowns at discounted prices.
Shopping at mass market retailers has some advantages over shopping at bridal salons. You can shop online and have your dress delivered to your door without having to make an appointment or deal with salespeople. You can also enjoy more flexibility and convenience when it comes to returns or exchanges if you change your mind or need a different size.
6. DIY your accessories instead of buying brand new ones.
Accessories are an important part of your wedding look, but they can also add up to your wedding dress cost. If you want to save money on your accessories, you can try making them yourself instead of buying them brand-new. This can help you add some personal touch and creativity to your outfit and save some cash at the same time.
For example, you can make your own veil by buying some tulle fabric and attaching it to a comb or clip. You can also embellish it with lace, pearls, crystals, or flowers if you want some extra sparkle. You can find tutorials online or watch videos on YouTube to learn how to make your own veil.
You can also make your own jewelry by using beads, wire, chains, or charms that match your style and color scheme. You can make earrings, necklaces, bracelets, or rings that complement your wedding dress and personality. You can find supplies and instructions online or at craft stores.
Another option is to make your own belt or sash by using ribbon, fabric, or leather and adding some embellishments such as brooches, buckles, or flowers. You can use this accessory to cinch your waist and add some flair to your wedding dress.
By following these six simple steps, you can save money on your wedding dress without sacrificing quality or beauty. You can find your dream wedding dress that fits your style and budget and enjoy your big day without any regrets.