One of the first things many brides-to-be do is start looking for their dress. If you are like many of us who grew up fantasizing about the perfect wedding you may already have an idea of what you want in mind. Some choose to look through bridal magazines for inspiration or try on as many different dresses as possible until they come across one that they like. Whatever your style may be, you may not have stopped to consider how expensive a wedding dress can be. No matter what your style is, there are some shortcuts past brides and wedding planners recommend to save you money.
1.) Find a good seamstress
Word of mouth and recommendations are your best bet here. I know you are thinking I’m crazy for listing this first but I found an amazing seamstress and talked to her prior to even trying on my dress. A skilled seamstress will be able to make miracles happen! Mine was able to tell me what fabrics to look for. She was willing to have me bring my potential dress to her home where she could evaluate it for me and tell me if she could make it work.
This woman was a godsend for me! She was able to educate me on things I never considered such as the bustle, train and veil. She also knew a quality dress from a poorly made one. Most good seamstresses can alter something up to six sizes from your size to make it work for you. A good seamstress will give you the freedom to buy a dress you may normally think won’t fit you as she can make it work. This can save you major money in the end.
2.) Think outside the box
I think it’s safe to assume that most people think of going to a store to find their wedding dress. This is certainly one way to find your dress but there are others and they can save you some big bucks. I’ll tell you a story that no one believes. I got my dress given to me. Yep. For free. From a wedding group on Facebook. Here’s the truth; I’m a sucker for Facebook yard sale pages. I find things cheap from them all the time. They’ve saved me thousands of dollars. Logically they were the first place I turned upon my engagement.
One day I saw a post from a woman named Angela who wanted to “pay it forward”. She ended up with two dresses and decided to give the extra away. She posted a photograph of the most gorgeous dress I had ever seen. It matched my style and personality to a tee. I contacted her and we hit it off. She came with me to try on the dress and cried when she saw it on me. The dress was my dream come true. The moral of the story is you have to be willing to think outside the box to see the possibilities. I plan on preserving the dress for my daughter but in the meantime I have completed countless acts of kindness to “pay it forward”.
3.) Browse consignment stores, bargain racks or even use Mom’s dress
Many of the larger wedding dress chain retailers have annual sales in which their dresses are deeply discounted. If you are willing to brave the crowds you can sometimes end up with the dress of your dreams. Most cities now boast high-end consignment stores in which people can sell their designer dresses for less. I have several friends who found designer label dresses at these stores and had a good seamstress tailor the dress for them, all while saving money.
Even better yet, sometimes a mom or grandma has saved their dress just waiting for the day when someone will want to use it. Alterations can be made to these dresses to personalize them and they carry so much emotional significance!
The bottom line is that a bride’s dress decision is a very personal one. The minute I saw my dress I just KNEW it was meant for me. I know many women who say the same thing. Regardless of where you find your dress, make it yours!