Everyone is super excited to go wedding dress shopping, I have not had the pleasure to do so yet, but my day will come….someday. I am an avid reality TV watcher (if you haven’t checked it out, I made a post about my top 10 TV relationships here), and Say Yes to the Dress is not omitted from my regular viewing schedule. The thing I love best about this show is not the drama (for once!) it is being able to secretly “shop” from the comfort of my own home. While it’s obvious you need to go in and try the dress on, I have pretty much narrowed down my dress preferences and this show helps! It shows you what you like and don’t like.
Something to think about when shopping for a wedding dress: the salesperson gets commission off of your purchase; ONLY when you purchase. A good tip is to go with your gut. But stick to your budget. Depending where you go, the salesperson may or may not be professional and try to push you to spend more because it’s “a once in a lifetime purchase” or “not that much over your budget anyway”. If you went in saying you would spend $5000, and the dress is $5500, before just caving in, ask if there is any kind of specials running. Maybe you get a free veil and bridesmaids dresses included with your purchase over $5000. These are the things the salesperson may not tell you and you might not think to ask, because they are looking for a bigger paycheck. If you feel some shadiness is going on, there probably is and I would hold off on your gown purchase and think about taking your business elsewhere. Nobody should be taken advantage of when preparing for the happiest day of your life.
Let’s talk about something awesome: discounts. Discounts on your wedding dress is not unheard of. Like mentioned above, sometimes you do not see the discount right out, but it is there. If you add up a veil ($50) and let’s say 3 bridesmaid dresses ($100 each) you can save some serious cash. But what other ways can you save?
- trunk shows usually offer up to 10% off dresses!
- sample sales! Shops are cleaning out last years dresses to make room for this years dresses, (that aren’t all that different from last years dresses if you really take the time to look)! This can save you up to 25%-50%. Just don’t forget these are sample sizes (usually around an 8-which run smaller than street clothes-surprise surprise, so if you are normally a 4, go up one or two dress sizes), and make sure if you need to do alterations, it won’t cost as much as buying a brand new dress!!
- make sure you are getting what you pay for. Most designers set a price that the dress cannot be dropped (price wise) lower than that certain point, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. That being said, buying secondhand can be legit. Sometimes a bride has bought her dress and changes her mind or size, and there is no returning the dress. This happens more often than not and the bride just wants to get some money back, reselling her dress.
- or you can rent the dress. Every girl dreams of having her own wedding dress, but what are you going to do with it after that one day? Let it sit in your closet for the rest of your life while it yellows. You know it’s true. I have seen beautiful preservations of wedding dresses on pinterest but how many people really do this? If that is your thing, don’t let me tell you differently, but think logically. Do you really need to have your dress in your closet forever? If you have seen someone in your circle wear your dress, ask to borrow or rent it from them for the day. Also, check for pre-owned gowns from legit websites like this one. Try this one as well. They have major designers for serious price cuts because they have already been purchased from the designer and obviously cannot be taken back. Save yourself some money and buy used or rent.
- try to buy as early as possible to avoid having to rush the order, alterations, and give you a little wiggle room in time. Those extras really add up!
- try to buy as close to your body size as possible. When the salesperson tells you your size, please do not try to buy a dress two sizes too small to “inspire you to lose weight”. Most dresses cannot be altered to be taken out more than one dress size, wasting you a TON of money. A great tip from Mara Urshel, owner of Kleinfeld from Say Yes to the Dress (from New York): “When buying a used gown, choose according to your largest measurement (bust, waist, hip). For example, if your hip measurement is size 8 but your bust is size 6, order the size 8. It’s always easier to take in.” Alterations can usually take a dress in 4 sizes, just some added info!
- know where to shop. I bet you didn’t know Anthropologie sells wedding dresses. I have seen dresses as low as $160. And they are gorgeous. Don’t rule out non-designers if you are really looking to save but keep your shine and elegance.
- use holidays to your benefit. Remember how Macy’s always has the holiday sales during Christmas? So do many major wedding retailers!
- if you can pay in full the day of, the salesperson is more willing to give a discount.
- don’t walk out without at least asking for a discount. What does it hurt to ask?
- but don’t throw a fit if they cannot give you a discount. There is only so much the shop can do, and you don’t want to be that girl who the saleslady goes home and complains about to their family.
- know what to look for. It may seem obvious, but a more simple dress is obviously going to be less than a full beaded bodice. If that is your dream dress, be prepared to spend more than the similar non-beaded dress. Full beaded dresses are also a LOT harder to alter FYI, so be prepared to spend more there too. Just from pageant dress experience.
- try this little trick: see a bridesmaid dress that is gorgeous? Buy that instead. It’s all about the name “bridal gown” that jacks up the price. I have seen two lovely dresses and I am pretty sure are prom or pageant dresses but you seriously cannot even tell. Can you??
- try a themed wedding. It is not exactly smart to buy full ball gown for a beach wedding. It’s common knowledge that beach weddings are usually more low-key and a simpler, flowy dress as opposed to a full on gown.
- if white is the goal, ignore this tip: but shop off color! Wedding dresses are coming in more and more colors, it no longer stands for the cookie cutter white. While there is nothing wrong with white, it will probably be my color so don’t think I am throwing it casually aside, but if you buy black, red, or blush you will most likely save some serious cash by going off color.
- DIY, let’s get real. If you are good with a sewing machine or know someone who is, you are going to save a ton of money just making the dress yourself. And it will mean a lot more if you or your grandma makes it.
Let me know what you have done to save some money on your wedding dress!