Your wedding day is one of the most important days in your entire life, and you want to look fabulous! At the same time, you don’t want to be one of the women who spends a fortune on a dress she will only wear once. After all, setting up the house with your new husband is going to be an expensive business, and you don’t want to be short of money as you start your life together.
The good news is that you can look incredible on the day and have a beautiful wedding dress without spending all your money, or worse still, ending up in debt.
Getting Your Dress
If you’re clever with a sewing machine or have a friend who is, you can easily embellish an off-the-peg dress that wasn’t initially intended as a wedding dress, turning it into a unique designer item with a few crafty additions like lace or tulle overskirts.
Make your own dress
Talk about a labor of love! But if you can sew your own dress, it will be even more special than something from a store. The fabric may still be quite pricey, but if you shop around, you could get lucky with end-of-line fabrics.
Hunt down a stunning second-hand dress
You can save hundreds of dollars if you don’t mind buying a pre-loved wedding dress. Shop online and check local classified ads, and don’t settle for anything less than stunning.
Hire a dress
If you hunt around, you could find a dress for hire that you really love. You may even get a much nicer dress than you could otherwise have afforded.
Borrow a dress
Ask close friends or family members if you may borrow a wedding dress. That way, you could get a designer dress absolutely free (provided you like it and it fits).
Cut down on the details
Lace and beadwork are very expensive. If you have a fondness for ornamentation, limit it to the bodice area where it will have the most impact.
Choose a sleek silhouette
The more fabric your gown has, the more it will cost, so consider a sleeker silhouette instead of a full-skirted design.
A simple wedding dress can turn into a striking statement simply by adding a few accessories. A lacy top can transform a very basic dress into something special, or put the focus on your flowers or veil. Another handy tip is to save on hemline alterations by simply choosing the right pair of heels.
Get a good fit
Alterations cost a lot of money, so when buying a ready-made dress, ensure that it fits properly and that you like it just as it is. A corset back is a wise choice for a close-fitting bodice, since it won’t matter if you gain or lose a little weight in the run-up to your wedding day.
Put it on your credit card
Just be sure you can pay it off super-fast, and you’ll get the benefit of credit card perks such as voyager miles that could help with your honeymoon costs.
Hit the sales
Most people prefer to get married in spring and summer. If you go shopping for a summer dress in autumn or winter, you could get some pretty deep discounts.
Ask for discounts
Yes, it may seem cheeky, but there’s no harm in asking. The worst that can happen is that you’re refused, but quite often, you’ll be able to negotiate a discount.
Makers of bespoke wedding gowns usually have sample dresses in store, and when they change their line, they’ll sell them at a reduced price. Most sample dresses are size 8, so if that’s your size, you could get a wonderful dress at a huge discount.
At the Wedding
Keeping your dress clean is a priority. Obviously, you don’t want to go up the aisle with a grubby train, for example, and if your dress is smirched, cleaning fees can cost a lot depending on the fabric. One way to keep your dress perfect before you arrive at the church is to stand on an old sheet and cut a hole around your feet. Now simply lift your dress up using the sheet and pin it in place.
Once the main photo opportunities at the reception are over, slip into something a little more comfortable so that you can enjoy your wedding party without having to worry about your dress.
After the Wedding
After the wedding, many brides hang up their dresses and never wear them again. Of course, it is a beautiful memento, but if you can overcome sentiment and put your dress to good use, all the better.
When choosing a dress, think about what you will do with it when the wedding is over. If you talk to your friends, you’ll probably find that at least a few of them chose dresses that can be repurposed as evening wear or even smart daywear.
If you’re clever with your sewing, you can repurpose fabric to make other clothes or décor items for your home. There are loads of fabulous ideas on Pinterest including:
- Wedding quilts
- Decorative pillows
- Beautiful bags
- Remade dresses
- Lace framed as a wall decoration
- Baby dresses or christening gowns
Sell your dress
You will recover some of the cost of your dress if you sell it. Hire companies and consignment shops won’t pay you much, so try selling direct to another bride. Apart from local advertising platforms and Craigslist, you can look into online ones such as OnceWed.com or Tradesy.com.
Donate your dress
You won’t save anything by donating your dress, but you will get the fuzzy feeling of having done something good. Brides Across America, Brides Against Breast Cancer and the Angel Gown Program are all worthy causes to support.
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