Finding the perfect dress for your wedding day is something many little girls dream about. From a young age, potential brides know that finding the dress of their dreams is only slightly less important than finding the right groom.
But wedding dresses can be one of the most costly items of your wedding. Even if you have your heart set on a particular dress or style, you can still save money on a wedding dress using a few simple tips.
You can save money on a wedding dress by shopping around for the best deals. These can be found at sample sales, wedding dress rental companies, shorter or simpler gowns and dresses, or even a hand-me-down dress from a thrift shop or family member.
As you search for the perfect dress, you can also think about details that will save on alterations, such as reducing the complicated beading and layers or choosing a corset-style dress.
How To Save Money On A Wedding Dress?
Whether your style is haute couture or off-the-rack, there are great ways to save on a wedding dress without sacrificing style.
Renting A Wedding Dress
You will likely only wear your wedding dress on the day of your actual wedding so why spend a fortune on a dress that will just sit in your closet? Many brides opt to rent their wedding dresses from a company that specializes in this service. Some companies to check out include:
Many of these companies also offer stunning options for your bridal party, which can also help keep costs down.
You can find designer dresses for rent at a much lower price point than it would be to buy the dress. Plus, you don’t need to devote extra money and space to store the dress for years.
Wearing An Heirloom Dress
One of the most economical ways to find a wedding dress is to “shop” in the closets of your family members. Sentimental brides may choose to wear their mother’s wedding dress or grandmother’s wedding dress.
Even if it isn’t exactly your style or size, you can have amazing alterations made for much less than it would cost to purchase a brand-new wedding dress. It is also a touching way to honor important women in your life.
Many people keep their wedding dresses in specially-prepared packaging for years before parting with it for good. You can find a perfect wedding dress secondhand and give it another wear. Look for used wedding dresses through online retailers that specialize in secondhand dresses.
You can also hunt for used dresses at thrift stores and consignment shops for a fun experience and a great dress for just a few dollars. Spending money on alterations can make your secondhand dress a truly custom piece.
Check out OnceWed, StillWhite, and Borrowing Magnolia for pre-owned bridal gown options.
Wear A Mini, Knee-Length, Or Midi Dress
Typically thought of as less formal, shorter dresses can still pack a ton of glamour, sophistication, and style. They are often cheaper than floor-length gowns (although not always) and can help you save money on a wedding dress.
A detailed dress with hand-sewn lace, intricate beading, or other special touches takes a lot more time and work to get right. These dresses often come with a higher price tag to account for everything that goes into them. A simple, elegant dress can be just as stunning and much less expensive.
Dresses with a lot of fabric are almost always more expensive than simpler ones. This is especially true of those made with high-end materials or with a long train. If you find a dress that you love, you can always ask your dress consultant if they have any options that are similar but simpler.
If you choose a simple dress, make sure that it fits you like a glove and spend money on alterations if needed. You can also go a bit bolder with accessories, hair, makeup, and flowers to keep the “wow” factor.
Buy A Sample Sale Dress
This trick takes some know-how since many brides try to find a sample sale dress that works for the budget and wedding dreams. The reason that so many look for good sample sales are because they can find wedding dresses for a great price.
Dress shops hold sample sales to sell the floor samples that they carry in the store. These are the dresses that brides try on in the shop before ordering a new dress. Buying a sample sale dress is a great way to save money on the exact dress that you would have purchased new.
Tip: Follow your local dress shops on social media to find out when they hold sample sales. Dresses tend to go quickly so make sure to pay close attention to any announcements.
Know Before You Shop
Having a good idea of the style of wedding dress that you want before you start shopping can save time and money. It helps dress shops select dresses for you to try. If you purchase your dress on the day of your appointment, you might be able to get a discount.
Attending trunk shows can also result in discounts if you purchase a dress from the designer on that day. It helps to go into the show knowing that the designer suits your taste and style. This will allow you to really envision yourself in each gown and may even allow you to try one on and make your decision on the spot.
Wedding Dress Discounts
You might not think that wedding dresses are items that typically have coupons but you can find discount codes and specials, especially when you work with a large chain. David’s Bridal offers coupons for everything from up to $400 off a wedding dress to clearance bridal and bridesmaid dresses.
Cashback credit cards are another great way to help with your wedding budget. When you get cash back on your purchases (everything from flowers to favors), you can apply it to the cost of your wedding dress.
Saying Yes To The Dress
Wedding dress shopping can be one of the most enjoyable experiences of planning your wedding, especially if you go into it with a budget in mind. The last thing you want after finding the perfect dress is realizing that it is out of your price range or buying it anyway and experiencing buyer’s remorse. Take a few steps to prepare to say yes to the wedding dress of your dreams.
How Much Should You Save For A Wedding Dress?
The specific amount of money that you should plan to spend on your wedding dress will depend on the style that you like, how long you have to save, and any other financial goals that you want to prioritize. The average bride spent $1,600 on their dress in 2019, according to the wedding website The Knot.
Weddings can get very expensive. One of the best ways to save money on your wedding is to plan everything in advance. Knowing your budget for everything from your dress to flowers will help you stay within your spending limits while still planning a stunning, memorable day.
Some women spent a lot more while others opted for a cheaper or free dress. When thinking about your wedding budget, ask yourself these questions to decide how much to save for a wedding dress.
- What is my overall wedding budget?
- What style of dress do I like?
- Do any of the details that I like to increase the cost? (i.e. beading, luxury fabrics, long train)
- What are my “must-haves” and what are my “nice-to-haves?”
- How do I plan to pay for my wedding dress?
It also helps to share these details with your wedding dress consultant when you visit a bridal shop. They want to spend time showing you dresses that work with your wants and needs, rather than wasting time trying on wedding dresses that are out of your budget or that don’t fit your style.
Tip: Look for dress styles that spark your interest in bridal magazines and online. Bring them to the dress shop to help your stylist get an idea of your overall style. They might be able to point you to a few different dresses at various price points that still achieve your overall look.
How To Save Money On Wedding Dress Alterations?
Wedding dresses can be very complicated, with layers and layers of tulle, silk, and other fabrics. When you add in details like lace and beading, it can get very tricky (and costly) to get alterations done. Here are a few ways to cut down on the cost of wedding dress alterations.
Try A Corset-Laced Gown
Instead of selecting a dress with complicated buttons or zippers, consider one that laces up either in front or back. This makes it easy to “alter” the dress on the fly. All you need to do is tighten or loosen the laces on your wedding day and voila!
You may still need to have other alterations and fittings done, like the hem, neckline, or sleeves. But saving money on the bodice fitting can really help your wedding budget.
Buy A Bigger Dress And Alter It Down
If you find the perfect dress for a dream price but it is just a tad too big, ask the dress shop if they think it can be altered to fit. It may increase the cost of alterations but will keep the overall cost down. Having your dress custom-tailored will also help it fit perfectly, which is always the most flattering look regardless of the style you choose.
Bridal Shop Discounts
Bridal shops that offer on-site alterations can often provide them at a discount for customers who purchase a gown. Even if this isn’t advertised, it’s always a good idea to ask if this service can be included in the price of the gown.
Small independent bridal shops often have partnerships with local tailors and can offer discounts when you use their preferred vendor. Larger shops, such as David’s Bridal, might have tailors on-site that can provide tailoring that fits into your budget.
Wedding dresses can be a significant expense when planning your wedding but finding ways to save money on a wedding dress doesn’t have to mean wearing a frumpy, ill-fitting dress on your big day. Shop for the best deals at sample sales, secondhand shops, or your relatives’ closets.
You can also rent a dress to keep costs down, opt for a simple and elegant silhouette, or even buck tradition and go with something shorter. No matter what you choose, the most important look for a bride on her wedding day is true love. A great, budget-conscious wedding dress just adds extra sparkle.
Katie is an experienced writer, who wrote for big magazines like The Spruce. She is also a mom of three (Sebastian, Lincoln, and Hannah). In her spare time, she likes to read, day hike, and explore hidden gems around her home in North Carolina. You can connect with Katie on Instagram @katiebwriter or her website, www.katiemelynnbegley.com.