Would You Wear Your Wedding Dresses More Than Once?

dress shopping

Images from various sources.

One of the reasons I’m having a wedding on a budget is because of my general thriftiness in all aspects of my life. One of the ways I’m extremely cheap is in my clothing purchasing and ownership; I buy jackets and swimwear during the off season at 75% off, and will wear T-shirts until they’re falling apart. My favorite gentleman happens to be the same way; in the decade that we’ve been friends, I can count on one hand the number of times he’s bought pants.

So when I went searching for a wedding dress right at the beginning of my engagement (April 2011), I set a firm cap at $250 or 5% of our wedding budget; I thought it was reasonable. When I watch Say Yes to the Dress or look at wedding-budget-breakdowns, I notice the 4 digit price tags, and think that I’m being super frugal.

Only, when I told my favorite gentleman in the world that I was willing to spend a quarter of $1,000 on one article of clothing, he said in disbelief

“You’re only going to wear it once!”

and since our finances are pretty much merged, and we’re almost always on the same page when it comes to finances, I really didn’t know how to respond.

So I thought about it, I thought about spending what is usually 2 years worth of clothing allowance on 1 article. I thought about how I’m wearing the same dress in my engagement photos as I wore to the last 2 weddings I went to, an $18 clearance piece that I found while vacationing in the Philippines. That’s when I realized that $250 is ridiculous, so I changed my budget. I changed it to $42, because that’s what I paid for the last dress I wore only once; the dress I wore to my senior prom.

I remembered how my now fiancé looked at me when I wore that; how he told me years later that even though we were just friends, when he saw me then, he wanted to be mine. If I could pull off that reaction with a $42 dress, then I easily wow my husband-to-be with something just as basic.

So I started dress shopping. I went to Macy’s to check their after prom clearance, David’s Bridal might have something in the highly irregular and deeply discounted department, and online in what felt like every auction site imaginable. I spent 4 months looking before finding what I wanted. I had almost given up, when while on a trip to Vegas, I stopped into a ROSS store to pick up a tank top since I definitely did not dress for the sweltering heat, and found a white strapless sundress. When I saw it, I definitely saw myself wearing it on my wedding day.

So on May 25th, when I pledge to love him for the rest of my life, I’ll be wearing a $26 sundress, an article of clothing that I’ll be able to wear for many days afterwards. Every time I put it on, it’ll be a reminder of the day I agreed to be his forever.

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 pandemic wedding resources here

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