Finding the right wedding dress can be overwhelming, especially if you are on a budget. If you have your heart set on designer wedding dresses, you do not necessarily need to pay retail price for it. Here are some options for finding designer wedding dresses for less:
If you want the actual designer dress:
- Consider sharing the cost with another bride who shares your taste and your size. This seems like it would be difficult to find someone with your exact style and size, but with the proliferation of online wedding message boards and community websites like Craigslist, it is easier than you think. One thing to be cautious about is this: there are almost always minor alterations to be made even if you are the same size. If that is the case, it is best if the bride who needs the least alterations wears the dress first. Make sure that your wedding dates correspond accordingly.
- Go to Sample Sales. Many people hate the chaos and lack of privacy of sample sales, but if you know exactly what you want and do not mind trying on a dress in front of other people, then it is well worth the effort. It is best to do your research beforehand, though. You should already know your size and the style of dress you want, or perhaps even a top three that you would consider. That way, as soon as it turns up at a sample sale, you can get it before anyone else gets to it.
- Scour Bargain Dress Stores. Do not get disappointed if you go to a bargain dress store once and do not find anything. Most stores (like the TJ Maxx or Marshalls for bridal wedding gowns) receive up to 20 new dresses each day. Perseverance and patience will pay off. Eventually, you will likely come across the dress you want, especially if you are frequenting these types of stores a few times a week.
- Look for your dress online. Just remember that designer dresses do run small, so it may be better (if you are on the border line of two sizes) to go with the larger size, as many online retailers do not accept returns. (Remember that if your dress is in good condition after you wear it, and you do not need to keep it for sentimental reasons, you can also sell it online and potentially get a substantial amount back after the wedding.)
- If you want to emulate a certain designer’s look, consider having a professional seamstress make you a custom wedding dress. If you want the dress to look exactly like a designer dress but do not want to spend the money, you may have to use a cheaper fabric. But as long as the dress looks great, don’t worry; most people won’t even be able to notice! Remember that alterations alone often cost a lot, and if you have a dress designed exactly for your body, you may end up spending less than you would have spent on a dress plus the alterations.