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A Wedding for Cheap – Part 1: The Dress

Let’s find Wedding Dresses for Cheap!

I’m on a quest. A quest to make your wedding cheaper. I refuse to believe that weddings have to be so expensive – it’s a myth, and one that I want to take down, piece by piece. Today, we start with the most important part: the wedding dress!

Wedding dress prices are unfortunately, extremely hiked up. With an industry that provides such extreme demand for one particular type of dress, stores and designers have the ability to mark up their prices. But buying a wedding dress should not break your bank. After all, you’re only using that wedding dress once anyway, and for a few hours at that!

There are better, more frugal -but just as beautiful- choices for us ladies. And below, are some great options that I found and you should consider!

1) Rent the dress

Did you know that there are actual wedding dress rental stores? Sure, you won’t be the first person to wear that dress, but does it really matter? It will look like new, they will tailor it to fit you perfectly, and you may even be getting a stunning designer model. It doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s your special day day of romantic commitment to your partner.

When the wedding is over, you just return it to the store and they will handle the dry-cleaning. Forget about leaving that poor dress in storage or in your closet eternally. You don’t have to worry about it!

The cost: between $250-600
Time it took me to find it: 2 minutes of Googling

Possible options:

Wedding Dress Rental
This stunning dress is ONLY $198.99? I’ll take it!

2) Buy a PreOwned Wedding Dress

Why not shop around for a used wedding dress? There are entire websites and stores that only focus on selling them, and at an extremely affordable rate, at that. Most have only been used once or twice and are usually in perfect, beautiful shape. The benefit is that if you own it, you can alter it however you want. (My aunt added gigantic 80s style shoulder pads and a massive bow to hers – please don’t do that.)

You can get designer dresses for cheap this way, too, if that’s what you fancy.

The cost: between $100-1000
Time it took me to find it: 2 minutes of Googling

Possible options:
http://www.tradesy.com & http://www.preownedweddingdresses.com & http://www.oncewed.com

Pre owned wedding dress
David’s Bridal is selling this bride’s dress for only $329. And she looked stunning in it, don’t you think?

3) By any chance, are you going on a trip abroad?

If your answer is yes, and it happens to be to a developing country – you are set! You will find far cheaper, but beautiful wedding dresses abroad in countries like China or Thailand. Jessica did just that and discussed it on her wedding post. She saved tons of money and looked stunning on her wedding night!

Jessica models her beautiful wedding dress from Vietnam
Jessica models her beautiful wedding dress from Vietnam

4) Hand-me-downs from family and friends

If your mom, your grandma or your best friend happened to wear the most stunning wedding dress on their special day – why not wear it yourself? If it fits you right and they are happy to lend it, there is nothing wrong with option for this choice. What better way is there to show them what they mean to you, then by wearing their dress down the altar? It’s a deep feeling of connection, love and appreciation, not to mention a huge lift of your pocket.

Plus, it covers your something old and something borrowed!

Four beautiful brides, one hand-me-down
Four beautiful brides, one hand-me-down (Source)

5) Hello, mass retail!

Turns out, there are mass retail stores producing beautiful wedding dresses, too. JCrew has started selling them, and others are quickly following on their tail.

Mass retail wedding dresses
$650, it’s more expensive, but new and classy.

6) Looking for wedding dresses under $100?

Marilisa wrote a great article on how to find even cheaper options for wedding dresses. (she takes frugality a step further than me!) I’m not one to advocate heading to a ballet supply store and wearing a tutu as a wedding dress, but heck, there are all types of people out there and each bride has her unique fashion sense. Check out her article to get more very frugal ideas on how to find a great wedding dress.

Do you know of any other great way to find a cheaper wedding dress? Tell us below, we want to know!

About Ronnie E.

Ronnie is the frugal Latina of the group. Hailing from the beautiful Andes Mountains in Bolivia, she lives and breathes frugality. She loves to figure out how to spend less money and takes on the challenge of finding great deals and cheaper options every day.

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  • Krista B

    I bought my dress online for just $98! Then sold it on EBay for $250!! Bonus!

    • Damn!! You even profited. YOU should be handling the frugal ladies website. 🙂

  • Brooklyn Dutson

    really great article!! I love these ideas! I saved $ on my dress shopping at davids bridal $100 sale! but love these ideas too!

  • Autumn~Bloggin Momma

    Wonderful tips! I’ve always heard that the weeding dress is often where most of the money goes when planning a wedding…. I’ve never been married so I wouldn’t know but I’ll keep these idea’s in mind for the future

  • Great tips! I was going to mention David’s Bridal like Brooklyn mentioned. I know A LOT of people that have saved on their $100 sale!

  • Helene Cohen Bludman

    These are all great ideas. Personally, I love the idea of a hand-me-down, but that doesn’t always work out. I never thought of going to another country for a dress, but that is a fantastic idea (and you get a trip out of it).

    • Jessica J.

      Getting your dress while traveling abroad is incredible. Not only is it less expensive, it will be completely custom and made within just a few days!

  • Jenny

    I’ve seen something like this before. I think on the news. It’s a pretty great idea but my wedding is … long gone xD Go figure it would happen now~

  • These are great tips. I bought my dress from J. Crew, and I also bought it during a huge sale. I got a beautiful silk dress for less than $400, and I received so many compliments on it on my wedding day. 🙂

  • I had my wedding dress rented after I used it and then eventually sold it. I’d love to keep it, but I don’t think my daughter will like to use it because it may be out-of-style already when it’s her time. It really saves you money either by renting or sell it. Anyway, It’s the occasion that matters and the memories to last forever.

  • These are some great tips. I will keep them in mind if that day ever arrives for me.

  • Amy Desrosiers

    My wedding dress was $1500 which was such a splurge for me!

  • natalie nichols

    These are all wonderful ideas! Love it!

  • mindy

    I love these tips they will be very helpful when I renew my vows

  • veronicalee

    I rented mine! I don’t have daughters to hand down a custom-made wedding dress to. Besides, I would rather save the money and splurge it on my honeymoon!

    Terrific ideas, BTW.