Buying a Wedding Gown

Many little girls fantasize about their wedding and envision their dream gowns for years and years. Perhaps they have even have sketched exactly what they hope to wear, intricacies and all. (Whoops, guilty as charged!) But, let’s be honest, what little girl is also considering the budget for her dress? Weddings can be pricey and most brides are working within price constraints. Here are some ways to save your wallet from mass destruction and still find the gown of your dreams!

Something borrowed? I think yes! If you are planning on wearing your gown only once, borrowing a gown might be a great option. Though it may seem unconventional, it saves you money and you can spend on other areas of your wedding, such as the food or the venue. However, borrowing can sometimes be tricky. Keep in mind that you may need to dry clean the gown before you return it. This could cost up to a few hundred dollars. Also, you must check to see if the owner of the gown minds if you alter it. Most likely, the gown won’t fit both of you perfectly. You may need to take in or release the seams. The hem may also be too long or short depending on your relative heights. These are all things to consider when borrowing.

White and Purple Wedding GownsRent a gown. Most grooms rent their tuxes, so why shouldn’t you be able to rent your gown? There are stores that offer wedding rentals at reasonable prices. There may be a stigma attached to renting on your big day but if you do not see the value in keeping your gown after a one time wear, then this may be a smart route! Something to keep in mind with renting is the quality of the gown. Having been worn several times, gowns made of finer fabrics such as silk may not wear and clean well. Make sure you know what the fabric feels and looks like before you agree to rent it.


Bride with BouquetBuying a sample. If you are a bride who wants a designer name for less, buying a sample gown may be a great way to go. Sample gowns that can be bought off the rack are at least 30% off retail prices. Though you may need to have the gown altered and cleaned, you are still saving without sacrificing the designer name. Keep in mind that the average sample sizes are 8 and 10. Finding larger or smaller sizes can be difficult in sample gowns. You can buy samples at outlets or from traditional bridal boutiques who generally hold sample sizes a couple times a year.

End of the season sales. Gowns will sometimes go on sale at the end of the season before the store’s new shipment comes in. This is usually in late fall before the new spring lines. If you love a dress enough, do not hesitate to ask the store if your gown will be going on sale. You’ve got nothing to lose and you may be able to save up to 75% off the retail price!

Simplicity. If you are a bride on a strict budget, think about opening your mind to a simpler gown. Beading and sparkles can often hike the price of a gown significantly. You can still be elegant and beautiful in a gown with less embellishment. Also, ball gowns can sometimes be more expensive than sheaths or a-lines because they have more fabric. However, if you’ve always dreamed of a glitz and glam gown, I am confident you can find one at the right price!

Wedding Gowns on HangersUsed Gowns. You may be hesitant at the thought of wearing someone else’s gown. However, if you really want to save on your gown and newness isn’t your top priority, this may be something to consider. Websites such as Ebay or can be beneficial platforms to selling and buying used gowns. Sellers post a photograph of the gown and their assessment of the quality. Just remember that the seller’s gown has most likely been altered to fit them. It is difficult to essentially realter a gown to now fit your body type. Make sure you are clear on the return policy just in case it is not what you expected or cannot be altered properly.

Bride Trying on DressHave a gown made. If you are willing to take on the task of creating your dress from scratch, you should consider having your gown made. From the fabric to the beadwork, you decide exactly what you want! This option is usually cheaper than buying a a gown at full retail price but more expensive than buying a sample. It is definitely time consuming and you need to make sure your dress maker is qualified. However, beware that it is much easier to mimic a simple gown rather than one with elaborate embroidery and beadwork. This is almost impossible to duplicate cost-effectively.

Shop at a retail store. Retail stores you may not expect have now begun selling simpler wedding gowns. In addition to looking at bridal boutiques, you could check out bridal lines at BCBG or Ann Taylor. Most gowns are under $1000.

Keep alterations to a minimum. If you try to change too much of your dress with alterations, you may end up paying through the roof! When purchasing the gown of your dreams, make sure to consider the alteration process and how much you are willing to spend. This way, you won’t have any surprises!

Every bride has a different budget—what may seem like an expensive gown to one bride may be a steal to another. However, no matter what your price limitations are, these are all options to consider when on the journey to finding your dream gown! Now it is the fun part: get shopping! Good luck!