The Deal Miser's Gown Shopping Guide

How to find a great deal on a beautiful wedding dress

Written by Leanne on Friday, January 27th 2012

Shopping for a wedding dress can be a magical experience -- kind of like you're five years old again, playing dress-up and pretending to be a princess twirling in front of the mirror. Until, that is, you look at the price tag on that sparkly white princess gown and are brought back to the realities of adulthood.

Wait! Before you sell your car (or house... or yacht) to pay for that dress, read these tips. Here are a few suggestions to help you find a wedding dress that fits your budget.

1. Think outside the box

If overly fancy gowns aren't your style, you need not limit your search to wedding dresses alone. Many bridesmaid dresses also come in white or cream, and besides being somewhat less elaborate are often less expensive too. You could also opt for a white evening dress instead. Skip the veil and tiara too; flowers in your hair could be a simple yet beautiful alternative.

2. Buy off the rack

Instead of ordering a custom-made wedding dress in your exact size, you can save a bundle by buying one of the bridal shop's display models when they are marked down to make room for new stock. Most bridal stores have their own seamstresses who can alter the dress to fit you, but it's often cheaper to hire your own -- see #5 below.

3. Look for going-out-of-business sales

Sadly, bridal stores do sometimes go out of business. If you know of one that is closing down in your area, you may be able to get a great deal on their clearance inventory. Again, refer to #5 on finding someone to do your alterations.

4. Buy used or borrow

You can also save money by wearing someone else's dress... after she's done with it, of course. Many brides sell their wedding dresses in online classifieds like Kijiji or Craigslist. Some of the gowns haven't even been worn, for whatever reason. (Sometimes it's best not to ask.) Another possibility is to wear a dress that was previously worn by your mother, or sister, or cousin, or friend. Why not make it your "something borrowed"?

5. Find your own seamstress

Whether you're buying a discounted or used dress, chances are it will need some alteration. Look in the yellow pages or Google "sewing alterations" in your area, and get recommendations from recently married people. If you're lucky enough to have a friend or relative who sews well, even better! If possible, bring them along when shopping for a wedding dress. That way, they can tell you whether the amount of alterations required is reasonable or not, according to their expertise.




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