Buying a Sample Wedding Dress

I am sure most of you BSB followers know what a sample dress is, but just in case you don’t, a sample dress is the dress that all of us brides try on in the store before we order our very own version.  Often, when a dress is discontinued, the sample gown is sold at a great price. Today's post is going to be about how my dress journey led me to a buying a sample wedding dress!

When I finally got myself to go dress shopping, I decided to stop by two places: David’s Bridal and a local boutique that sells designer sample gowns. After Pinteresting to my little heart’s content, I thought I wanted a dress with a vintage vibe, some sort of strap or sleeve, and buttons down the back. My inspirations were Grace Kelly and Kate Middleton’s dress. However, with a budget of $500, I was not sure I could make my dress happen.

After striking out at David’s, our next stop was a local boutique that sells designer sample gowns at a majorly discounted price. I wanted to check them out because I had $100 off coupon that I won at a bridal show. When we walked in, I was amazed by all the beautiful dresses. These were dresses that retailed in the thousands of dollars (and some still were!). I could definitely see that just by going to the $1000 price bracket, you could get real silk, beautiful beading, etc. There were only about a dozen dresses in my size and I tried on about half of them. While I couldn't find anything I liked at David's Bridal, I ended up falling in love with not one, but TWO dresses at the boutique. Of course, these dresses ended being outside my budget, one by $100, the other by $400(!).

I knew I couldn’t make up my mind right away and it is never fun to feel pressured, so my advice is to go home and sleep on it! I printed pictures of me wearing the dresses and spent the evening trying to figure out what my heart wanted.

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After mulling it over for a day, I knew that my heart lay with the more expensive dress. It was a hard decision! As you can see above, the other dress was fabulous too! You'll have to wait to see the dress that made the cut! Even though I wanted a Grace Kelly dress, I actually ended up with something pretty different, but I think sometimes you don't know what you want until you see it. 🙂

With my $100 off, plus another 10% taken off by the lovely shop owner, the dress was still $799. But I was getting a couture Maggie Sottero that retailed at $1310.  As a Budget Savvy Bride, I knew that I needed to stick to a tight budget and not go over in areas. However, my mantra is that all I really need is my man and the dress for a perfect wedding. I decided that I would get creative in other areas of the budget to make my perfect dress a reality.

There is some risk to buying a sample wedding dress. It is a final sale and there can be extra wear to the dress because so many people tried it on. With my dress, there were some missing beads, but it was nothing that would be noticed or that a tailor could not fix. It has a corset back and the laces were frayed, but the shop owner said that if I used her tailor, she would pay for new laces. On the other hand, the second dress I liked was in mint condition. If you are looking for a budget savvy dress, I would recommend looking into buying a sample gown. It is a great way to find a unique designer dress at a great price.

Favorite Wedding Dresses from BHLDN


Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here

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