Ah…the dress. Now that you’ve picked a location and set the date, it’s time to start the shopping. You’ve heard your married friends talk about the “pretty penny” they spent on their dress, but you thought they were just exaggerating. Maybe you thought that meant $5,000? No, they must have meant more like $2,000 and you know what…they have super expensive taste, so I shouldn’t have trouble finding a dress at all… Well, I won’t say it’s easy, but it’s definitely possible.
1950’s vintage wedding dress :: $150 at whichgoose
VINTAGE & CONSIGNMENT
Check out vintage and consignmnet shops in person and online (Etsy has a nice selection from multiple sellers). Just be mindful to look out for stains, tears and other defects. Also consider the cost to have the dress altered into your budgeting. Ask the shop what their policy is on reselling it back afterwards. You might find a way to make a $600 worthwhile, if you can sell it back for $400 after the wedding.
Wtoo Bridesmaids Collection by Watters (all available in white) :: Priced under $250
They’re not just for bridesmaids. There are a lot of companies who supply formal, floor length bridesmaids dresses in white, off-white or ivory. I purchased my dress from the Watters Wtoo collection (see photos above) for $210+tax. I felt just as pretty in that as I did in the $3,000 dresses labelled for “brides” that looked remarkably similar.
Similar to the second hand notion, but not in a brick and mortar shop atmosphere. Blogs like Ruffled have sections where readers can post their new or gentle worn dresses for sale. And because you aren’t going through a consignment shop, you’ll get a dress at a much lower price.
OFF THE RACK & SALES
You’ve heard of the running of brides, correct? Well, it doesn’t need to be that crazy for you to buy off the rack or at a sale. If you really want that designer dress that you just can’t afford, this might be the way to go. But for your own sanity, I encourage you to skip the running.
Retailers such as Ann Taylor, Nordstroms, and J Crew now have wedding lines. While most range from $400-$1500, you can occassinally catch them on sale for under $250. On a side note, I’m bummed that The Limited pulled its line of “under $300” wedding dresses. They were simple, modern, elegant and right on budget.
Nope. I didn’t mistakenly segway into catering rentals. You can actually rent wedding dresses these days. Check out websites like Rent a Wedding Dress to see how it works. But be careful about buying sight unseen – do you research and see if you can find the dress or dress line in a real store first before renting.