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10 Inexpensive Wedding Dress Options for the Frugal Bride

Updated on October 7, 2019

If you are a frugal bride who is preparing for the big day, then you are probably trying to figure out how to look fabulous with out breaking the bank. The average American wedding costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000. The average wedding dress: about $1500. One important study shows (unsurprisingly) that the more money that is spent on a wedding, the greater the likelihood of divorce. The couples who had the greatest likelihood of making it for the long haul spent $1000 or less on their nuptials.

With those numbers in mind, if you and your betrothed want to give yourselves the best possible start to married life, then keeping wedding costs down is a good way to do it. Your wedding dress is a good place to start.

So what is a smart, budget-conscious bride to do?

Here are 10 budget-friendly options for finding that inexpensive wedding dress.

Something Old: Vintage Wedding Dresses

Just because a dress has been worn before does not mean that it can’t be a great fit for your big day. On the contrary, a little age can give a dress character, charm and even a history. Some of the most interesting dresses will have a story to tell.

Family Heirloom

Many women save their wedding dresses as keepsakes and with a hope that maybe one day they will have a daughter to wear it. If your mother has a vintage wedding dress (or your grandmother for that matter) that you could wear, it might be worth considering. There are a few things to keep in mind, however. Does the style suit you? Does it even fit you? Vintage wedding dresses are treasures for sure, but they are likely to require some care such as professional cleaning and probably some tailoring as well.

Thrift Store

Don’t be afraid of checking out your local thrift stores. Sometimes the best finds are in the things with which someone else is parting. People give wedding and formal dresses to thrift shops all the time. You never know when the search for cheap wedding dresses can lead you to a rack of truly unique vintage wedding dresses. Also check out e-Bay for a wide array of inexpensive wedding dresses.


Something New

If you have your sights set on a brand new dress, but can’t afford that Pnina Tornai, here are a few options to consider instead.

Wish Upon a Star

Ever hear of Wish? Or it's contemporary, Aliexpress? Lulu? These are online market places for discounted goods. You can find some really amazing deals. This includes wedding dresses. Check out YouTube for Wish wedding dress unboxing videos to see how others felt about their orders. One word of caution, though: the way it looks in the picture may not be the way it looks on you. If you order something from an online retailer, give your self plenty of time between receiving your dress and the big day so that you can have it altered or find a different alternative altogether if what you order doesn’t work for you.

Simply the Best

Your inexpensive wedding dress does not have to be an actual wedding dress. Consider finding a nice simple white dress that fits you well and bling it out. You can walk into nearly any clothing store and find dresses. Finding white ones may require visiting the store’s website. Being able to have your dress delivered to the store cuts down on delivery costs. From there you can have it altered or bling it out with accessories from shops like Icing.

Created Just for You

Let’s not forget the old-fashioned approach. If you or someone you know is a talented seamstress, you can have it made. And, you wouldn't be the first bride to take that route. You can pick out a design that you like or even create the design yourself. Sometimes the best inexpensive wedding dresses are the ones that are made with love.

Something Borrowed

What will you do with your wedding gown after the wedding is over? Will it sit in your closet until you get tired of it? Are you hoping to have someone to pass the dress on to? How long do you need to hold onto a dress that is essentially useless after only one use? You can cut down the price of your wedding attire significantly if you do not feel the need to own it.


What if you could spend a couple hundred dollars to rent the dress of your dreams rather than spending a couple thousand to own it? You can have your choice of expensive, designer wedding dresses for the price of cheap wedding dresses. Would you be willing to forego ownership in order to wear the perfect dress? Believe it or not, this is now a possibility. Just type “rent wedding gown” into your favorite search engine to find a store near you.

A Friend in Need . . .

If you have a friend that is your size and has impeccable taste, ask her if she has anything that she might be willing to let you borrow. How about a sister? There is no law saying you have to own the dress you get married in. In fact, there is no law saying you have to get married in a dress at all.

Something Blue

There is no law stating that a wedding dress must be white. In fact, there is no law stating that you even have to married in a dress. If you are willing to look a little bit outside of the box, you may find the perfect wedding attire to suit your unique style.

Does it Have to Be White?

The reason why wedding dresses are white depends on the source you consult. The most popular reason cited is that Queen Victoria started the trend when she chose a white dress for her wedding. But in India and China, for example, traditional wedding dresses are usually red. Red, in these cultures, symbolizes luck and fortune. In fact, white is a color worn to funerals. And, even many women in western culture who opt for smaller ceremonies will often forego a traditional white dress in favor of something a bit more modest and low key such as a skirt suit or Sunday dress. If you find a beautiful dress that you feel beautiful in, does it matter that it isn’t white? It’s your day. Do it your way.

Does it Have to be a Dress?

There is no law stating that your inexpensive wedding dress has to be a dress at all. You might wear a nice pant suit. You could have a blue jean wedding. If you are not a traditional sort of bride, you might even get hitched in a tux. All that matters is that you are comfortable and confident and that you and your intended are happy with the results.

Does it Have to be from This Century or Even This Universe?

If you have some really interesting hobby, you may decide to go for a themed wedding based on that hobby. Cheap wedding dresses are really cheap if they come from things you already own. Cosplay anyone? Civil War reenactors? Maybe the two of you met at Mardi Gras. You could walk down the aisle dressed as Wonder Woman or in your 1860’s style hoop skirt. Make sure to have all of your guests come in costume so that they can join in the fun as well as complete the theme.


If you are a budget-conscious bride seeking inexpensive wedding dresses, then you probably already know that you will have to go outside of the box. A bridal shop is probably not going to be your first stop. When planning an inexpensive wedding, these ideas can help you find cheap wedding dresses and hopefully lead you to the perfect dress for you.

What are your best ideas for inexpensive wedding attire?


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