How To Save Money On A Wedding Dress (11 Practical Tips)

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Looking for tips on how to save money on a wedding dress?

We asked real brides in our community for their top money-saving strategies, and here’s what they shared.

*Note… I took all of the photos used in this article.

A mother of the bride zipping up the bride's wedding dress in front of a big window
This bride bought her wedding dress for $95 from a local consignment shop and told me that she was going to sell it after the wedding. So, she probably ended up paying $0 for it once she sold it.

Check Out A Prom Dress Shop

Prom dress shops aren’t just for proms.

You can find beautiful white dresses that look just as “bridal” but with a much more reasonable price tag.

Who says you can’t wear a prom dress to your wedding? It’s all about how you wear it and the confidence you bring.

“I decided to check out a local prom shop and scored a stunning white dress for $180! It was perfect for my wedding and so budget friendly.”

– Cassandra from Bucks County in PA

Shop At Regular Stores

There are so many beautiful dresses out there that aren’t marketed as wedding dresses but could be the perfect fit for your big day.

The best part? They’re usually a lot more affordable.

So, if you’re open to looking at regular clothing stores, you might find a gorgeous dress that makes you look and feel incredible without draining your bank account.

Check out stores like Macy’s and JCPenny Forever 21 is a place to check too.

“I wore a white Forever 21 dress (the ruffle halter cutout maxi dress) to my wedding and then wore it on my honeymoon. I only paid $32. I just didnt have the money to shop at a wedding dress shop. The dress looked beautiful on the wedding day and I still get to wear from time to time. Don’t sleep on Forever 21!”

– Allison

“My dress came from Lulus and only cost me around $75 after using their 15% off coupon. I looked at a few bridal shops but I did not see anything that I liked that fit my busget. I had budgeted around $400 for a dress so we put that $300 savings towards our honeymoon. I loved my dress!”

– Jess

Purchase A Used Wedding Dress

I have talked with many brides in our community who saved a lot of money by purchasing used wedding dresses.

If you think about it, previously worn dresses are pretty much brand new. Most wedding dresses have only been worn for a few hours on one single day.

A few used dress shops to check out online are:

I got my dress on StillWhite for $90! A quick tip: I tried on dresses at David’s Bridal so I could figure out my size and the perferct style. Then I only shopped for David’s Bridal dresses on StillWhite.

– Megan

“I purchased a $11,000 Berta gown on Poshmark for $900. I was not in a big rush so it gave me time to look for the perfect deal. The sellar had originally listed the dress for $5,000. I liked the listing and a week later she sent me an offer for $3,500. Then another offer for $2,500. I sent a message saying $900 was my budget and she accepted.”

Rebecca

“I was able to get a $5,000 Very Wang dress on eBay for a little over $400. I was so excited!”

– Melissa

A bonus money-saving tip: List your dress for sale on one of these sites after your wedding and get back almost all of your money.

One of our readers shared these great tips to follow when buying a used dress:

“Bridal shops might not reveal the right size for a dress or its designer…and sample dresses can be off due to stretching. I would compare your measurements with the designer’s size chart and go with the larger size (it’s cheaper to make a dress smaller than it is to make it bigger). Wedding dresses typically run smaller than regular ones. For example…even though I’m normally a size 4 or 6, my wedding dress was a size 10.

– Stacy

Shop Online

There are so many online dress shoes that sell gorgeous dresses and gowns.

Many of our readers have gone this route to save money.

You can find beautiful wedding dresses in the ballpark of $75-$300 by using these stores.

A few stores to consider are:

A bride getting her dress as she looks out the window
This bride got her dress on eBay for about 80% off the original price!

Bridal Consignment Shops and Clearance Sales

Many bridal gown shops have clearance sales once or twice per year (typically in summer and again in early winter). This is when they try to make room for all those new dresses.

Consignment shops are a great opportunity to snag a designer dress for a fraction of the price.

I bought my dress at a bridal consignment shop for $750. The original price on the dress was $2,500. Make sure to ask the store how difficuly alterations on that specific dress would be (or take someone who would know to the shop with you). My friend bought a dress for $300 but ended up having to spend almost $1,000 to have it altered becasue it was too small (much easier to take in a dress).

– Jenny

Wear Your Mother’s Dress

I have photographed a few weddings where the bride wore her mother’s wedding dress.

This might not be ideal for some brides, but it could be a wonderful idea for others who might be more sentimental about family heirlooms.

Another option would be to make a few alterations to the gown to make it more your style.

Choose A More Simple Design

Wedding gowns with more lace and/or beading will cost more money. The more details the dress has, the more money you will likely pay.

To save money, choose a dress design that is minimalistic and simple.

Consider adding details and textures to other parts of your wardrobe (add a belt/sash/bow, choose a veil with lace and beading, etc.)

Wear A White Bridesmaid Dress

Who says only bridesmaids are allowed to purchase bridesmaid dresses?

I have worked with several brides who wore a bridesmaid’s dress instead of a traditional wedding gown.

As with almost anything else when it comes to weddings, this is your day, and you get to do whatever makes you feel amazing and happy!

My daughter wore an ivory bridesmaid dress and she looked absolutely beautiful! The dress was exactly what she was looking for, and she saved sooooomuch money!

– Heidi (Mother of the bride)
A bride and groom wearing white
This bride purchased a non-wedding dress from Lulus for about $50.

Don’t Wear A Wedding Dress

Who says you must wear a wedding dress when you get married? And who says it has to be white?

Consider getting married in whatever you want.

After photographing over 500 weddings, I have seen brides get married in black dresses, blue dresses, purple dresses, pantsuits, and more.

Remember, this is your wedding day. You can wear whatever makes you feel the best.

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