A bride-to-be with a love of all things economical may want to avert their eyes! According to an online wedding statistical website, the average amount women spend on the wedding dress has increased over the past couple of years. In fact, it has become one of the largest expenses of the entire day. And that is only the price of the dress. Then add on the cost of alterations, undergarments, accessories, cleaning and preservation for even more wedding budget woes.
If these prices have you more than a little hot under the collar, take a nice deep breath. I’m here to talk you through how you can get your hands on that dream dress and still afford to pay your mortgage after the ceremony.
Tips to Snag a Cheap Wedding Dress
When the time comes to purchase your wedding gown, handing over way more money than you can afford can seem like an inevitability. We think that finding the perfect (cheap) wedding dress is totally possible.
Don’t believe me? Let me explain.
1. White Gowns Not Bridal Gowns
Just because something isn’t labelled as a “wedding dress”, it definitely doesn’t mean you should rule it out. The main goal for your wedding gown is to find something that makes you feel like the best version of yourself and if that dress comes from somewhere other than a wedding store, don’t let it stop you from falling in love with it and saying I do wearing it!
There are so many fantastic alternative white dress options out there from department stores and online sellers that you may not even need to step foot in a bridal boutique to find the one.
2. Think Outside Of The Color Box
If you’ve always dreamed of a crisp white or ivory gown, this tip may not be for you. If however, you’re open to something new and like the idea of standing out for your big day then read on!
Just like with our day to day clothing choices, some colours are not for everybody. With white/ivory gowns it could be that you feel they aren’t complementary to your skin tone, maybe it’s not the best fit with your wedding’s colour scheme or perhaps, you just don’t like it and that’s no problem! In this modern age, there are no rules when it comes to your wedding attire so if you’re pining for a bold shade of red, a fabulous regal blue or an autumnal forest green, go for it!
Can’t decide? Ask yourself, what’s your favourite colour and take a look inside your wardrobe at your go-to pieces. It’s a great place to start when considering a wedding gown in a shade other than white or ivory.
3. Is Off The Rack Always Cheaper?
The term off the rack may sound un-inviting, but the concept itself can be a great one and will likely prove to be a bonus for your bank balance!
Off-the-rack gowns are usually a great deal cheaper than couture options. Although you do need to consider the alteration costs you’ll encounter. If you’re lucky enough to find a gown that needs minimal work, this is a winning option.
4. Consider Renting a Gown
I know renting a wedding dress doesn’t sound all that romantic. Yet for many brides the knowledge that they will never wear the dress again is enough to convince them NOT to splurge on a brand new dress. Looking back at yourself in the most glorious gown you can imagine and feeling particularly incredible on that one day may be more important to you than taking your dress home afterwards. It’s all about weighing up your must-haves but if a rental is something you’re considering scroll on and find out how to go about it!
One of my favourite recommendations has to be RentTheRunway.com. As well as their monthly memberships, they also offer a one-time rental service. Additionally, their rental period is offered between 4-8 days so you won’t need to worry about getting your dress immediately returned the day after the wedding. They will also send a backup size, and handle the return by sending a prepaid shipping label! Simply pop it back in the garment bag when you’re done. This is not only a stress saver meaning you can try on the dress more than 24 hours before the wedding, but it’s also an earth-conscious way to shop for your gown which I absolutely recommend!
I might also mention that this dream site offers amazing luxury styling packages with access to thousands of designer dresses and accessories, a dedicated concierge, personal styling consultations, at-home fittings and other exclusive perks!
How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Wedding Dress?
Like all things wedding related, it’s near on impossible to give an exact figure for wedding dress rentals. For example, a designer gown will cost more than a dress by a lesser known designer or boutique brand. That being said, brides looking to rent can expect to pay anything from $100 – $2000 on average (plus a possible damages fee in the case of a particularly spirited cheers or cake cutting!)
There really are options to suit all budgets. Decide on a comfortable cost for you before you start looking. It’s likely that by renting you’ll be surprised at just how fabulous of a gown you can afford to walk down the aisle in!
Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses
Another fantastic option is to opt for a pre-owned gown for your big day. In my honest opinion, this option as opposed to renting has many long term and on the day benefits.
1. You get to keep the dress
A rental means you’ll often have to ensure your gown is returned after one day. If you’re not ready to say goodbye to your gown after 24 hours (or you just want the option of pulling it out of the closet to re-live the memories over the years) renting may not be the best option for you. If however, you’re a minimalist and you just want that one special day in a gown you couldn’t otherwise stretch your budget to afford, renting is the answer!
Rental dresses are usually very limited in stock meaning it’s not always possible to find your exact size, this also leads into my next point…
Your second-hand dress is a little loose? No problem! You rental dress is a little loose? Problem. If your rental isn’t a perfect fit, unfortunately, it has to stay that way as absolutely no alterations can be made to these beautiful borrowed gowns.
4. It Benefits Two Brides
Many of these so-called ‘pre-owned’ gowns have in fact never graced an aisle but you shouldn’t be scared off at the prospect of an engagement gone awry or a dress that now carries a bad omen. It’s much more common that a bride has simply changed her mind or indeed her venue, meaning her dress is no longer fitting for the setting.
Try tradesy.com for example, the buying process couldn’t be simpler plus they have many pre-owned and brand new dresses still with the tags on! Not to mention, it’s a win-win for you both when the seller gains a little money back and you get your dream dress for a fraction of the retail cost!
Buying A Wedding Dress From China
If you’ve already been researching budget friendly options for your wedding gown, you’ve likely read or thought about buying a dress from China. After all, purchasing a breathtaking yet moderately priced gown and having it conveniently shipped to your door seems like a dream, right? Then, the uncertainty begins.
Will it fit me? Will it be of terrible quality? Will it even look like the picture?!
The answers to these questions are never guaranteed with any online purchase, however, I can certainly offer some insights into my personal experience ordering a dress through eBay that may just help you decide.
When a seller advises not to take your own measurements and to have a friend or professional do it for you, it’s definitely advice worth listening to. Yes, you may get ‘sort of right’ but it’s surprising how much half an inch here or there can truly make or break the final fit and silhouette. Don’t take the risk and ask for assistance!
Reviews are always important, especially when ordering a wedding gown that you cannot try on or feel in person before purchasing. Skim reviews to read what other brides have said about a particular online store or buying experience. You’re guaranteed to find helpful hints and tips on specific sellers and most importantly, ones to avoid altogether!
What’s the Material?
Yes, it may look like 100% silk. If it’s priced at $99.99, it’s probably not.
Not every bride is looking for premium fabrics. Make sure the dress you order is made from a fabric that you actually enjoy. One that is easy to wear throughout the entire day, and won’t crinkle just by looking at it. You’re much likely to have a successful order!
Where to Buy a Cheap Wedding Dress
Now, before you start thinking your only option is a consignment or thrift store to find an affordable gown, think again. Those luxurious bridal stores you’ve been browsing for months on end may just be the place you’ll find the (cheap) dress of your dreams. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Affordable Wedding Dresses Under $300
Head over to Cocomelody for helpful and friendly online support, in house designers, and a range of expertly crafted dresses you can easily shop by price range.
You’ll be amazed at their selection under $300.
2. Afforable Wedding Dresses Under $200
From flowing gowns to knee-length dresses to jumpsuits, David’s Bridal has it all for under $200. There’s no need to compromise on luxury materials (or your honeymoon budget) when there are quality gowns like these at such reasonable prices.
3. Cheap Wedding Dresses Under $100
When you’re on a budget, there’s nothing quite like Azazie. They stock beautiful wedding dresses from as little as $36 as well as a fantastic range of shoes, accessories and options for your bridal party too! They also have a breathtaking range of gowns under $200 with many available in two or more colours.
4. Cheap Short Wedding Dress
In my humble opinion, BHLDN is definitely the place to shop for short wedding dresses. Their specially selected, Little White Dresses section has a simply gorgeous array of styles from lace appliqué overlays to statement feathered skirts.
5. Cheap Maternity Wedding Dress
It’s true, Nordstrom may not have the largest selection of maternity wedding gowns from the bridal stores I’ve so far suggested. Their maternity gowns are so incredibly beautiful for brides shopping on a budget, I just couldn’t resist!
6. Bespoke Wedding Dress
For a bespoke experience without the bespoke budget, look no further than Esty. You’ve probably found a selection of fabulous wedding pieces already, and now its time to think dresss shopping with Etsy too!
7. Cheap Dress for a Beach Wedding
For that floaty, boho beach vibe, I cannot recommend Asos wedding dresses highly enough. Their entire wedding line comes at a very reasonable price point ranging from around $150 to $600.
Finding the best wedding dress is totally possible on a budget. The real question is which option will you choose: a rental store, buy from a bridal boutique, or are you considering an overseas purchase?
Let us know in the comment section below. As always, we wish you a truly fabulous wedding!