If you’ve been following along with Wedding Wednesday, you know I said yes to the dress not too long ago. I’m proud to say my dress was far less expensive than many options out there, but I did go a little over budget.  Now that the thrill has passed and I’ve thought back onto the experience, I’ve noticed some ways I could have come much more under budget with my dress.  There’s no reason to break the bank on a wedding dress, yes it’s when you want to look your most beautiful, but don’t forget it’s a single day of your life.

Great tips on how to get the dress you want without blowing your budget

1.  Know what you want.  You may not know what you want at first, and that’s ok.  However, take the time to try things on and decide what you’re looking for before you seriously consider purchasing.  I had no idea what I wanted so when I did find what I wanted it became the dress we had to buy.

2.  Know your budget and stick to it.  I tried on a dress that was not in my budget.  I then fell in love with said dress not in my budget.  We all know that is what will happen yet we still do it.  Sigh.

3.  Buy a dress that is exactly what you want.  They will tell you that you can make alterations to your dress.  Don’t like some beading?  You can request them order it without.  If you love the dress you’re wearing minus a few things, ask to try on (cheaper) ones that are minus the feature.  The more alterations you do, the more added cost to the dress.  I am changing beading and a hemline on my dress, I could have looked harder for one that didn’t need those changes.

4.  Buy a dress that needs a few changes.  I know, I know, not what I just said.  BUT if you find a dress that is well under budget but it’s missing something you want, see if it’s something they can add.  Just be mindful that alterations add on big bucks, so price check the alteration first.

5.  Be open to dresses from past seasons.  One store I went to had dresses that for 50% off or more because they were the last ones left.  Stores where they pull dresses for you may not mention these sales so be sure to ask.  You wont have as many options, but you never know.

6.  Be open to sample sale dresses.  Some dresses may not be available to order anymore so you might be able to buy the sample dress off the floor.  Again, this isn’t going to be an option for a lot of dresses, but worth a try.

7.  Give secondhand dresses a try.  Do a google search and see what vintage/secondhand consignment places are around.  If you aren’t afraid of bad joo-joo, you might find a fabulous vintage dress.

8.  Search for sales.  Every store has sales.  Be sure to keep up with what sales are going on and jump on the opportunity.  I was lucky enough to be shopping on a day where they were giving 10% off dress purchases.

9.  Rent a dress.  I know, you want to be able to keep your dress for forever.  I mean, what if your daughter wants to wear it?  Honestly, your daughter most likely wont want to wear your dress.  Think about how much dresses have changed since your mom got married.  Who knows what they’ll be doing 20-30 years from now. If you aren’t the sentimental type, renting a dress might be an option for you.

10.  Don’t let the whole experience get to you.  Shows like Say Yes to the Dress have turned wedding dress shopping into a huge production.  It doesn’t have to be.  While it is a wonderful experience, don’t let the idea of shopping push you into any decisions.   Do a bunch of trying on at one or two stores, then really buckle down and stick to budget, whatever that means to you.  It’s your dress and your day, so do what you want. Take all the time you need because the dress that’s perfect for you and in your price range exists.

I hope these tips will help you stay in budget with your dress shopping.  While you want (and will) look your most beautiful, there’s no reason to break the bank on one day of dress wearing.  I hope this has been helpful!

Did you stay within budget for your dress?




  • Great tips!

    Also, if you’re not sentimental and it’s a ‘this season’ dress, you can sell it right afterwards and recoup at least 1/3 of your money (that cash went towards my honeymoon)! 😉

  • I was living in SE Asia when I got engaged and bought my wedding dress over there for about $150….so for the vast majority of people, that’s not really a practical option, but shopping in countries where prices are cheaper can work, too! 😛 Also, I know a lot of people who have rented the wedding dress. I’m glad I own mine, but I also wanted a small dress, that stores easily. Storing the big fluffy type of dress is no joke!