How to buy a gorgeous wedding dress for less

Buying your wedding dress on a budget doesn't mean you have to pass up the dress of your dreams. Learn how to budget for your wedding here.

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Every woman dreams of her perfect wedding. Of course, one of the biggest parts of that is picturing the perfect dress as well.

Maybe you've seen your dream dress on TV, Pinterest, or in a magazine ad, wherever you first spotted that indescribably beautiful gown, there's no doubt that no other has ever been able to compare.

Unfortunately, in many cases, upcoming brides go to try on those so-called dream dresses only to find out that they're priced way above one's budget.

All those details that we love, like fine Italian lace, beading, satin material, and of course, designer name, tend to rack up the price to thousands of dollars, and that's before the accessories. Nonetheless, just because one dress, in particular, isn't within your price range, doesn't mean you have to settle for a dress you hate.

Instead of opting for a mediocre dress to satisfy your budget, consider trying these routes to finding a gorgeous wedding dress for less.

Browse big retailers

When people think of wedding dress shopping, the first places that come to mind are specialty shops and wedding specific boutiques. However, as beautiful as those shops and their inventory tend to be, they are also the ones that hold the higher-end and expensive gowns as well.

In recent years, many of your favorite retailers have also come out with their own wedding lines. The best part is that they are often a fraction of the cost. Retailers like J. Crew, Banana Republic, Free People, and Anthropologie, all have specific lines for brides and the bridal party. While you might not have quite the abundance of choices that you might elsewhere, you'll still find a beautiful wedding dress for less.

Try a sample

Sample gowns are the designer dresses brides actually get to try on when searching for their dress. Did you know, however, that you can choose to purchase a sample gown?

Boutiques will usually have a sample sale in order to create room for new inventory. Because they've been tried on, sample gowns are slightly worn. But, they'll cost you a fraction of what it would cost to purchase the dress new. You should consider the fact that you're buying a sample dress as is. So if it needs beads sewed on, dry cleaning, or alterations, you'll be responsible. Still, if you have your heart set on a designer gown, a sample can be a great way to snag one for cheap.

Consider secondhand

For some the word, secondhand might sound a little scary, especially when it comes to your wedding dress. Keep in mind, however, that wedding dresses are usually purchased brand new and worn once. This means most are still in fantastic shape. Think about it, you could find a flawless and expensive designer dress for half the cost! Try consignment stores or go online to sites like Nearly Newlywed and Still White to find an inventory of secondhand dresses.

Rent it

There are some people who choose to keep their white dress forever. For others, it's not a big deal. Plus, the thought of spending hundreds or thousands on a dress you'll wear once isn't appealing. If you're someone who doesn't mind letting your dress go once your big day is over, you might want to consider renting your dress.

Sites like Rent the Runway and Borrowing Magnolia, allow you to rent an expensive gown for however many days you'd like to keep it for half or much less of the cost of the dress itself. You're simply in charge of sending it back when you're finished with it.

Consider custom

When most people hear the word custom, they likely think that this is the more expensive option. Oddly enough, opting to have a seamstress make your dress will cost a lot less than going out and purchasing a gown. You'll pay for their time, fabric, and any embellishments, but won't have to pay for the usual markup on dresses. You'll want to check on turnaround time, however, just to ensure that the dressmaker is able and willing to get it done in time.

Buy it in pieces

In two, to be exact. Instead of purchasing a gown in one piece, consider looking for separates. Purchase a skirt and top to create the dress of your dreams. Not only is it a fashion-forward option, but it's also a great option if you're sticking to a budget. Moreover, by purchasing your pieces separate, you might have less to spend on alterations as well.

Keep it in the family

If you have a family member or friend who is similar in size or wouldn't mind you altering their dress slightly, consider borrowing one of theirs. Of course, the key to doing so is that you love and would be willing to wear their dress in the first place.

That being said, for some, their wedding dress holds significant sentimental value. So, you have to be prepared for the scenario in which they turn you down.

Go simpler

If your perfect dress includes lots of beading, embellishments, and appliques, and you're on a budget, you might be out of luck. When it comes to wedding gowns, all of those add-ons mean more and more money. If that's not your style, you'll be happy to know that you can find a simpler gown for a reasonable price. If major bling is your preference, there are other ways to accomplish that without spending a ton. Consider going all-out on jewelry, a fancy veil, a jeweled sash, or make a major statement with your heels. In fact, making a statement this way might add a more unique and personal touch.

Finding your perfect gown can be a difficult step in your wedding process, especially if your tastes and budget don't line up. Thankfully, just because your budget is tight doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your perfect dress. There are ways to get a gorgeous wedding dress for less.

Topics:
  • Getting Married
  • Saving and Spending
  • Getting Married
  • Saving and Spending
  • Getting Married
  • Saving and Spending
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Article copyright 2017 by Everything Finance. Reprinted from the April 13, 2017 issue with permission from Everything Finance.
The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. Fidelity Investments cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any statements or data.
This reprint is supplied by Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC.
The third-party provider of the reprint permission and Fidelity Investments are independent entities and are not legally affiliated.

Votes are submitted voluntarily by individuals and reflect their own opinion of the article's helpfulness. A percentage value for helpfulness will display once a sufficient number of votes have been submitted.

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917

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