Tips for finding a wedding dress for less

bridalShhhhhh…can you keep a secret? I never told anyone how much I spent on my wedding dress (15 years ago) because I didn’t want them to think I was super cheap (even though I was). I had a very low budget to plan the wedding of my dreams and had to think creatively. With alterations, I only spent about $400 (not including accessories or shoes). How did I do it? Well, I went to a dress shop, known for budget dresses, and then scoured their clearance rack. I had asked my hubby what kind of dress he would like me in and he said nothing with a lot of rhinestones and bling. So, simple it was. My theme was literally Cinderella, so I knew I wanted a fluffy tulle dress with gloves. I actually found it on the clearance rack for around $300. It wasn’t until later that I realized it wasn’t a bridal gown at all but a fancy bridesmaid dress, go figure. It worked for me and I loved it!

brides against breast cancer




One organization that I support is Brides Against Breast Cancer. I have volunteered a couple of times when they have done a show here in San Antonio. The way it works is past brides donate their dress to this organization and then they travel across the nation and sell these dresses to other brides at a fraction of the cost through shows at mostly hotels. The best part is most of the proceeds go back to breast cancer research. A close friend of mine that was in my wedding, and I in hers, just won her battle with breast cancer and is in remission. I am a strong supporter of this organization.

wedding_dressSo, now that the internet is in full force there are a lot more choices than there was 15 years ago for searching for your bridal gown.  is a great website where past brides post their gown on their website and actually earn a commission if the dress sells. There are over 19,000 gowns from more than 350 different designers and nearly 30% of their listings are for new, unaltered, unworn gowns. They stated that typically a used wedding dress that’s 2.5 year or younger will sell for 50% of the retail. They also have listings for bridesmaid dresses, mother of the bride dresses, flower girl dresses and accessories.

100_3238Some other tips for purchasing an inexpensive dress are:

  • Purchase a simple dress and add accessories to it (i.e. sash, brooch, stand out jewelry, tiara, gloves, a wrap, etc.) to personalize it to your liking.
  • At any bridal shop go to the clearance rack for discontinued dresses or those dresses that have been tried on numerous times. Look for makeup marks are rips (the salesclerk might even make a better deal than what the sticker says).
  • Ask the sales clerk if they carry sample gowns at reduced prices. This might be your opportunity to actually get the exact dress you wanted from the bridal magazines.
  • Ask to see the slightly damaged dresses or the dresses that have been purchased by other brides and returned to the shop. They might agree to sell to you instead of avoiding the expense of returning it to the supplier.
  • Other locations to try – consignment shops, bridal outlet stores and even department stores (the formalwear and prom sections).
  • If worse comes to worse, think about borrowing a dress or renting it from a friend.

One last thing I want to mention is to please be careful when purchasing your dress online. There are a lot of fraud sites out there. Only buy from a reputable company. But, do keep in mind that you are purchasing a dress that you haven’t tried on and it could completely fit and look different on than in the picture.

bridal connectionThe Bridal Connection, a bridal shop currently located in Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio, Texas, will be moving to the Stone Oak area soon and I am super excited! They offer a lot of beautiful, high quality dresses and will work within your budget. Be looking for their grand opening.

If you need any other recommendations for your bridal gown purchase please call or email me at 210-595-9263 or I am a professional wedding consulting/invitation company in San Antonio. I am here to help with your wedding planning! Please go to my website for more information about my services and be sure to “like” my Facebook page to keep up with what is going on with Royalty Event Parties.

Leave a Reply