12 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding Dress and Alterations

One of the largest line items in your wedding budget will be the wedding dress.  For some women it’s the most important part of the whole day, and they’ve dreamt of it since they were a little girls.  Personally, I was not one of those women.  I recognized that I would be wearing this dress for less than 24 hours and I just couldn’t wrap my head around spending as much on a wedding dress as I did for my current car.  No matter which side of the spectrum you are on, there are ways to save money on the wedding dress.

  1. Buy a sample dress. This is the route that I took.  Luckily the dress that looked best on me just happened to be a sample dress, but if you tell the shop up front that you are trying to save as much as possible they can show you discontinued dresses that they are ready to sell and get rid of for a huge discount.  I got my dress for $600 which was over 50% off.
  2. Shop on Amazon.  I was so ready to buy a cheap dress off of Amazon, you have no idea!  I was pretty surprised at how highly the dresses were rated and how accommodating the sellers were.  Just make sure that you are buying a dress from a seller with LOTS of great reviews so you don’t end up on a BuzzFeed article like this one.  But, even if the dress is completely terrible, you’re probably only going to be out $300 or so.
  3. Shop on Etsy.  Etsy is amazing for lots of wedding related items, but the best part is that you can get connected with great quality seamstresses through their shop and totally customize a wedding dress for about half the cost of buying one at a bridal boutique!  Sellers are SO helpful and willing to make changes so you’ll end up with the exact dress that you want and totally within budget.  Just follow the same caution that you would when buying from Amazon – find someone trustworthy with great reviews!
  4. Check out second hand websites. I looked at StillWhite.com, and PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com while I was shopping for my wedding dress.  Both had a lot of great options to choose from and I also nearly purchased a dress from StillWhite.com.  However, I would recommend that you try on dresses in person first to get a sense of what looks good on YOU.  Every wedding dress looks good on the model, so figure out the style you want before buying online.
  5. Rent your wedding dress.  Sites like RentTheRunway.com have tons of stylish dresses to choose from, especially if you’re willing to look a little non-traditional and trendy for your wedding day.
  6. Sell your dress after the wedding.  Okay, this option might be a bit dramatic for some people, but if you are really trying to save money then selling your dress will help offset quite a bit of the cost!  Don’t expect to sell your dress for the same amount you bought it for, but you can earn some money and clear out some room in your closet at the same time!
  7. Be clear about your budget when you go dress shopping. If you’re serious about your budget then don’t even try on a dress that’s outside of your budget.  You know you don’t want to spend that money, so just keep asking yourself: would I rather have this dress, or stay within budget?  That’s really what it comes down to.
  8. Reach out to family and friends. I recently heard someone tell me that they wore their sister’s dress at their wedding, and I thought, “What a great idea!” For most of us in today’s society that might seem like a dramatic option, but what could be better than a FREE borrowed dress?  Ask your friends and people in your family who have similar body types if they are willing to let you borrow their wedding dress.  They’ll probably be very flattered!
  9. Ask for a discount. When you find the wedding dress of your dreams don’t forget to ask for a discount.  Are you guaranteed to get a discount?  No.  But it never hurt anyone to ask, and the worst they can say is no! You especially have some bargaining power if you’re buying a sample dress, since stores need to get rid of discontinued dresses.
  10. Look for local small shop retailers. Find a shop in your area that has been in business awhile.  It’s usually easier to deal with local shop owners who are connected and involved in their business and community vs. a chain store.
  11. Shop around for alterations. Don’t just pick the first place that you find on Google, or go through the bridal shop.  There are lots of great alteration options so call around and shop around, compare quotes, and go with the cheapest quality option.
  12. Buy a style that requires less alterations. If you buy a dress with tons of material that needs sleeves added and twelve bustles, expect a larger alteration bill than if you just need a little hem work.  Choose a dress that has less material and needs fewer changes for a smaller alteration bill.

Did you save money on your dress or go all out?  Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!

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