When it comes to your wedding dress, you can have your Vera and stay on budget, too! Now more than ever, top retailers and websites have made it a point to help you score your dream dress on a budget. Rather than heading to a bridal salon to "say yes to dress," consider consignment sites like Oncewed or head to — gasp — Target to find the perfect fit. With an open mind and these savvy shops, you and your bridesmaids can look like a million bucks without spending it.
- Consider Consignment: There is truth to the saying "everything old is new again," especially when it comes to your wedding dress. Rather than paying full price for your dream dress, consider consignment to find the designer dress you've been eyeing. A quick Google search will point you toward a local consignment shop, or you can head online to websites like Oncewed and Encore Bridal for previously worn designer gowns and bridesmaid dresses that are nearly half the price. Be sure to ask the resellers these questions before you purchased a used dress.
- Search Sample Sales: Consider a sample sale, the sale of all sales. This type of sale is what designers and retailers use to sell excess merchandise or "samples" used by agencies or showrooms. Many major bridal shops like Kleinfeld (aka Say Yes to the Dress) have annual sales, but you can find local deals searching Here Comes the Guide. Before you take the plunge, call ahead (many sales have a lottery system), keep an open mind (the styles are from the previous season), and leave room in your budget for your dress to be altered.
- Ditch the Bridal Shop: So long are the days of heading to a bridal salon. Retailers like J.Crew, Target, and Urban Outfitters (through BHLDN) are heading down the aisle. Not only are these dresses stylish, they are often around $100! After a little altering and the right accessories, no one will ever know you got your gown where you buy your groceries.
- Reconsider Renting: With gown rental becoming increasingly popular and tux rental common, it's no surprise the bridal industry would follow. If you don't mind giving your dress back, consider sites like Rent a Wedding Dress or Rent the Runway. Although alterations can't be done, it's often around $200 to rent, and you can borrow the necessary accessories, too. If renting a dress isn't an option, consider saving money by renting your bridesmaid dresses from those sites instead.