Looking for an Affordable Wedding Dress

The first time I went to a little shop in my hometown to try on wedding dresses I had no idea what I wanted. I thought I wanted a super low back beachy wedding dress. Funny thing is, I didn’t even try that style of dress on. They were actually difficult to find and/or expensive for my budget.

Something a bit like this…

BHLDN Wedding Dress

Source: Elena Gown BHLDN (a whopping $3k+!!!)

So… that’s the other thing, my budget for my wedding dress was low… like, extremely low. I know that I will be playing in the sand, (possibly even the ocean) and dancing the night away, so I wanted a dress that wasn’t too expensive: less than $1,000 dollars preferably. I thought it would be very difficult to find an affordable wedding dress, but there were many different options on dresses that were being discontinued at the small shop near my house and at the sample sale in Virginia… the first two places I looked!

So I met my mom and sister and sister-in-law before work one day (not the best idea, be sure to give yourself more time) to try on my first dresses.

I didn’t like too many that I tried. Disclaimer, I was such a super awkward wedding dress try-er on-er. I would just walk out and be like, “hmm, nope.”

Or I would just awkwardly stand there not knowing what to do / if I liked it / if I hated it. Definitely nothing like what they film on Say Yes to the Dress for me. 

Then my sister-in-law handed me this poofy crazy dress that I laughed at and said, “no way!” But they asked me to try it on, just for fun. So I did…

Choosing in season flowers for your wedding

Trying On Wedding Dresses

My face doesn’t look too pleased, but it wasn’t actually as poofy as I thought. I really loved the top of it. (I still do!) but it was so heavy. It really felt like a wedding dress, but it would be tricky to bring to the beach. I forget what this one was called…

Sweetheart wedding dress

My soon-to-be sister-in-law and I! I look like a super giant, but really I’m standing on the platform. Ha!

The second time I went wedding dress shopping was when my sister and I were visiting our sister and brother-in-law in DC. We went to a sample sale in Alexandria, Virginia and it was so much fun trying on all of the fancy dresses. I obviously loved that they were more affordable because of the sample sale (a great way to snag a gorgeous dress for less!)


I really liked this Casablanca 1975. It had the lower back that I liked.

The only problem was that it was much too large and really dirty. Both of these things are pretty easily fixed, but it was already close to my budget and I knew alterations would send it over the top.

So the first two times I struck out, but it was fun!

How many times did you try on dresses before you said “Yes!” ?

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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