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Seven Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding Dress

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If you’re looking for a beautiful wedding dress on a budget you can actually afford, these tips will help you get the best deal on the dress for your special day.

Jessica Bishop Headshot

To most brides, one of the most important parts of the wedding is definitely your dress.

You’ve spent so much time dreaming about what sort of dress you’ll wear when you finally find “the one.”

Something that doesn’t typically make its way into our dreams is the price tag associated with that dream dress!

But not to worry – there are several different ways to save money on your wedding dress! Being the budget savvy resource we are, we’ve rounded up a great list of tips to save on wedding dresses.

Most of these ideas encourage brides to stay away from expensive traditional bridal salons and think outside the box for sourcing your dress.

Not only will these ideas help you save money on your wedding, but you’ll also have a better chance of purchasing a truly unique and one-of-a-kind dress that you won’t see on anyone else.

7 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding Dress

Check out these money-saving wedding dress shopping ideas below!

1. Renew your mom’s or grandmother’s dress

Why bother buying a new dress if you can use your old mom’s dress and save tons immediately? You will get a chance to walk down the aisle wearing something full of sentimental value and precious memories from at least one woman in your family!

Of course, there’s a good chance that the vintage gown your mother wore may not be considered fashionable these days, but you can always alter it, add something contemporary or update it to make the style more modern.

corset back gown

2. Buy a lace-up, corset-style dress

Dresses with buttons are lovely and classic, but a lace-up, corset-style dress is worth considering if you want to save on your wedding dress. In fact, corset backs are not only beautiful, but they will embrace any body type perfectly, while also helping to save money on alterations! Adjusting the lacing to your desired tightness can easily custom-fit the bodice of the dress to your measurements, allowing you to enjoy a perfect fit without the need for a costly visit to a seamstress.

Moreover, if you are buying a dress well in advance of your big day, the corset style will ensure that your gown will fit you, even if you have some weight fluctuations. It is the perfect style for expecting brides as well for this reason.

3. Visit ordinary clothing stores

Forget about fancy bridal salons filled with designer gowns! Sometimes your perfect wedding dress can be found just around the corner at a simple boutique or department store. A simple, white floor-length dress can offer something unique and laid-back and will cost you much less than a traditional wedding dress with a designer label on it. Retail giants like ASOS, JCPenney, or even Target sometimes can offer you a selection of perfect white dresses that will make you feel like a bride without the expensive price tag.

And since these retailers tend to offer regular sales and discounts, you’ll likely get a chance to save even more money! JCPenney discounts and promos, in this case, are a perfect example of how much you can save. So feel free to skip overpriced bridal salons and choose to shop at your favorite clothing stores, instead. You might find something pretty amazing that’s more your style, and save a few bucks in the process.

4. Buy a floor sample dress

If you still want to visit a bridal salon and get that real bridal experience shopping there, there are still ways you can save money. Consider buying a floor sample dress instead of ordering new. Make sure to get on the mailing list for your favorite local bridal shops so you can stay in the know about upcoming sample sales to score the best deals, even on top name designer dresses. For example, one of our real brides Rebekah bought a wedding gown for $75 on clearance and then made some additions to it to make it her own!

Depending on the condition of the dress and how long it was on the rack, you may be able to negotiate the price down to over 50 percent off the initial price! You may need to have alterations or a good cleaning done on the gown, but you can still enjoy a gorgeous designer for less.

5. Go with simple styles

Generally speaking, the more embroidering or sequins a dress has, the more you are going to pay for it. Heavily beaded or delicate lace dresses are definitely gorgeous, but they are far and above some of the most expensive styles as well. If you want to be a frugal bride and wish to save money on your dress, it’s better to stick to something simple instead.

It’s also worth noting that highly embellished dresses can be hard to accessorize with necklaces and earrings since you might be taking a risk of looking overdressed. A simple white gown is like a fresh canvas – you can accessorize with anything you wish and create your own unique style without worrying about everything matching perfectly.

6. Purchase a used wedding gown

Another option to save money is to buy a used wedding dress. Since most brides usually wear their dresses just for one day, used dresses are often left in like-new condition, but they cost much less than purchasing new!

In fact, you’re looking to recover some of the cost of your big day, you can sell your wedding dress online on secondhand sites like Tradesy, StillWhite or NearlyNewlywed. Buying a used wedding dress gives you the chance to buy a designer-made, once-worn dress for much cheaper! Take advantage of other bride’s thriftiness and score a budget savvy gown for yourself — you’ll enjoy your cheaper designer dress and the savings!

Related: The Best Sites to Buy or Sell a Used Wedding Dress

7. Visit thrift or vintage stores

Finally, if you’re looking for a cheap wedding dress, you should consider paying a visit to your local thrift or vintage stores to look for unique dress options as well! If you are lucky, you can find something extraordinarily beautiful and one-of-a-kind, and you’ll likely save a bundle!

You may have to do extra searching and digging to find that special treasure, but in the end, won’t it be so worth it to have something unique and incredibly frugal that you love? It’s kind of like trying to find a unicorn, but if you get lucky, you’ll have a great story to tell, as well as a completely original dress that you love.

Hope these tips are helpful in your searching! 

Jessica Bishop Headshot

Jessica Bishop is the founder of TheBudgetSavvyBride.com, and has worked in various areas and roles within the wedding industry since 2007. She is the author of the best-selling book,The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer and also hosts The Bouquet Toss Wedding Planning Podcast. Jessica's expert wedding advice and savvy savings tips have been featured by Good Morning America, COSMOPOLITAN, Glamour, and more. You can learn more about Jessica on her personal blog and professional website.