26 Tips to Afford your Dream Wedding Dress

Whether you’re walking down an aisle underneath a canopy of lush trees or stepping through extravagant chapel doors, the first thing your groom and your guests will notice is your exquisite bridal gown. At that moment the sparkling décor, gold embossed invitations, and your signature his-and-hers cocktails fade into the background and all eyes are on you. Their memories from your big day won’t be of the layered fondant cake, the four-piece string quartet, or (hopefully) not of your crazy uncle chiming in for an impromptu toast. Rather, they will be telling their friends about how dazzling the blushing bride looked in her one-of-a-kind wedding gown. You know the one: You’ve daydreamed about it for months. Your wedding-themed Pinterest board revolves around it. It’s everything you’ve looked for in a dress—the only stipulation: the price tag. Here are some helpful money-saving tips to ensure that you are stepping into your dream gown on your big day—without breaking your set-in-stone budget! How to Afford Your Dream Wedding Dress

Tandem Tree Photography

26 Ways to Afford Your Dream Wedding Dress:

1. Scout sample sales

Keep an eye out for sample sales! Many bridal shops have a selection of dresses that are put on sale, despite minimum damage. Maybe they stocked too many of the same style, or maybe the beading is lightly worn after being tried on by hopeful brides. Use this to your advantage! These gowns are generally purchased as-is off the rack, but it’s nothing a seamstress can’t fix! Plus, many designers don’t allow their gowns to be discounted, BUT the samples can be!

2. Come prepared

Bring photos and a detailed description of what you’re looking for to your appointment. Show your consultant your dream dress and ask her if its possible to find something similar at a lower price point. Be willing to sacrifice the designer name if need be. Note that heavily beaded gowns with a lot of tulle and fabric are generally more expensive, as are detailed lace looks, but your consultant will know the dresses offered at the shop and she will be able to lead you in a direction that fits both your unique personal style and your wallet. View More: http://oneone.pass.us/maggie-and-shane

One:One Photography

3. Find affordable designers

Research affordable designers and looks for a similar style at a lower price point. Mori Lee and Kennedy Blue are great options for a cost-conscious bride looking for a top-notch stylish look!

4. Money-saving apps

Those little purchases add up! Keep on top of your expenses by using a slick money-savvy app to help you calculate your costs. Applications like Wedding Budget (free in the app store) or the Wedding Budget Calculator ($2.99) will keep you in-the-know about what you’ve spent in the planning process, enabling you to know where you should cut back and where you can flex the budget! Bride and Cat Brian Bossany

Brian Bossany Photography

5. Be sale-savvy

We probably sound like a broken record when it comes to singing the praises of a good sale! Many shops have semi-annual or holiday-related sales to help you cut down on costs. If you have your eye on a particular designer, though, make sure that it can be discounted. Designers like Maggie Sottero and Casablanca can’t be ordered at a discounted price under any circumstance, in which case most sales wouldn’t apply. Keep in mind that accessory sales are something to watch, as well, since veils and beaded belts add a lot to a look with a steep price tag! Check out the Wedding Shoppe's upcoming events >>

6. Eliminate surprises

Familiarize yourself with everything that planning a wedding entails. Ensure that you aren’t surprised by any of the costs that you maybe wouldn’t have considered in order to feel confident that you’re making the right decision with your gown. Check out our blog here to make sure that you have all of your bases covered >> Tandem Tree Bride

Tandem Tree Photography

7. If you can, DIY

Since the Pinterest revolution there has been no shortage of closet Do It Yourself-ers, and with good reason! Choosing to get crafty and creative for your wedding can save loads of money and add personal flare, but be cautious of how much you’re spending on supplies. Those mason jars and string lights can add up quickly!

8. Utilize the family task force!

Trim hundreds off of your budget by skipping the professional wedding planner. Is your aunt a party-planning connoisseur? Your best friend a decorating aficionado? Eliminate the spendy wedding coordinator and assemble your own army of planning troops! My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were indispensible when it came to planning my own big day—from decorations to organizing the flow of operations to making sure everything had a cohesive look. An added bonus? It will provide endless fun bonding opportunities!

9. Don’t pay for hair and makeup

Unless your hair stylist has done your hair flawlessly since your junior prom, skip the expensive professional hair and make-up. Have a friend or aunt who always has on-point hair and a flawless cat eye? Utilize them on your big day! Because bridal up-dos can cost upwards of $100-$150, take this money and put it toward your swoon worthy dream dress! Bride in Black Lace Gown Poppy Seed

Poppy Seed Photography

10. Credit or Debit?

Okay, so technically this won’t help you save money at the get-go, but if your credit card allows you to earn rewards towards airline tickets then we’ll go ahead and count it as a honeymooning bonus!

11. Do your own invites

Gold-embossed letterpress invites are as expensive as they are beautiful. Veer toward pre-made invitations for a cheaper option that looks just as elegant. Try Wedding Paper Divas or Etsy for a put-together look that will still amaze your guests!

12. Marriage counseling

Happily ever after starts with good preparation! Consider doing pre-marital counseling. Not only is this good for your impending nuptials, but doing so can get you a monetary break on the cost of a marriage license, bringing it down from $120 to $40! Bridal Gown Beaded Back Lauren B Photo

Lauren B Photography

13. Functional centerpieces

Table centerpieces don’t have to break the bank! Instead of flowers, use your dessert as both a tasty treat and decorative piece. Put small cakes or cupcakes at the center of each table, or stack cupcakes on a cake plate for an elegant and functional look! If you are set on floral centerpieces, try eliminating some of the height or using more filler greens for a dazzling look that won’t thin your wallet.

14. Invite fewer people

No, you don’t need to invite the boyfriend of your mom’s second cousin twice removed to your wedding, and your dad’s college roommate probably won’t be devastated if he doesn’t get an invite. Cutting back on how many people you invite is a sure-fire way to reduce food and alcohol costs. Bride in Beaded Cape Tandem Tree

Tandem Tree Photography

15. Cut back on favors

Understandably, you want to commemorate your big day by sending your guests home with a gifted reminder. While candles, lotions, and succulents are a beautiful gesture, something less expensive will do the trick, as well. Try homemade candied almonds or a serve-yourself candy bar for a cost-friendly way to thank your guests!

16. Don’t hire a professional MC

Did you know that hiring an experienced Master of Ceremonies can cost over $500? Instead, utilize your charismatic uncle or spunky college roommate to keep your reception rolling. Just make sure they know which subjects are off limits!

17. Don’t get married on a Saturday

Opting for a Friday evening or Sunday morning or afternoon can honestly save you thousands with little inconvenience to your bridal party or guests. Switching it up allows for more flexible dining options, as well! (Did someone say brunch?!) Bridal Gown Train Tandem Tree

Tandem Tree Photography

18. Wait on the Honeymoon

Many couples are choosing to hold off on the extended honeymoon and instead opt for a “mini-moon” at a local destination. You will feel a load off your shoulders by splitting up two large financial splurges.

19. Be flexible with your date

One of the best ways to save money on a wedding is to look into getting married during the off-season. Most couples elect to get married during summer and fall months, skyrocketing the prices for those in-demand dates. Consider choosing a day from December to March to cut back on venue costs. Just throw a cozy fur shawl on over your dream dress to create a romantic and whimsical winter look! Bride and Groom One One Photo

One:One Photography

20. Skip the sit-down supper

With the average cost for a catered sit-down dinner ringing in at around $70 a plate, serving a buffet style supper is the cost-friendly way to go. Or just serve hors d’oeuvres and cake!

21. Be your own DJ

Okay, before you start freaking out, consider that the average wedding band costs over $,3000 and a DJ can have you shelling out upwards of $1,000. Eliminate this cost by creating an iTunes playlist of your favorite songs to use during your dance! 15 Modern Wedding Songs: Covers of Classics >>

22. Don’t do a full open bar

The average cost for a full open bar at a wedding reception is $2,800, ranging from $15-$90 per person. Rather than having a full open bar, consider offering your guests select wine, champagne, and beer. This small change would bring down your beverage costs significantly. Tell your specialty drink friends to fear not; premium liquors and cocktails could be ordered on a cash bar basis! Bride in Lace Bridal Gown Tandem Tree

Tandem Tree Photography

23. Let them eat (cheaper) cake!

Carrot cake may be your favorite dessert, but choosing a more common cake flavor will cut back on costs. Choose chocolate or vanilla over red velvet or German chocolate to save big bucks! If you’re going the traditional route and you want a large decorative cake, ask your baker to make only the top layer and to use foam tiers to mimic the look of a grandiose cake. Cut the top for yourselves and feed your guests sheet cake instead!

24. Skip the trendy diet

Calories in < calories out. It’s that simple. Don’t waste money on trendy and expensive diets to get you in shape for the big day! Buy the dress for your body; don’t make your body fit your dress! Tandem Tree Afford Wedding Dress

Tandem Tree Photography

25. Stretch your flowers

Flowers are one of the most expensive parts of a big day. Stretch them by using bridal party bouquets at the head table. If you are set on peonies during the off-season, consider mixing fake flowers in with real ones for an elegant look that won’t break the bank!

26. Do your homework!

The options are truly endless when it comes to planning a wedding. With so much to choose from, it’s crucial to have an understanding of what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend on it. So hone your college exam skills and study up! Research by spending your weekends at bridal fairs and hitting the web.  By doing you, you will see that there are areas that you can allocate less money to and things that deserve more—like that sparkling dream dress! Shop Bridal Gowns Blog Button After all, the old adage says that you are what you wear, and on your wedding day you should be only one thing: flawless. Years down the road you won’t be showing your granddaughter photos of the 5-star food served or the off-the-charts DJ—you will be taking your preserved gown out of its box to have her try it on for her own wedding, showing off photos of how beautiful you looked on your special day! You may also like... How-to-be-Sure-You-Found-the-Dress (1) Brides-and-Body-Shaming Biggest-Wedding-Day-Regrets

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