Cheap Wedding Gowns: Where to Find Them
Discount bridal gowns that are chic and not cheap-looking do exist. Don't max out your credit card for something you will probably wear only once. Cheap wedding dresses can be found on many wedding websites and small manufacturers' web pages. The best thing about these sites is that you can buy affordable gowns and designer wedding dresses for 20% - 50% off the retail prices. Plus, you won't have to deal with pushy, sycophantic salespeople who praise your beauty incessantly every time you try on a dress. However, you will have to coordinate the alterations yourself. And since there is no fitting room online, you have to know what type of dress will look good on you instead of simply following the newest trend. But even so, discount gown websites are still the best option for a bride with a small budget.
Price Range: $49 - $1,200
Upside: The prices are very attractive. You can either shop online or visit your local David's Bridal Warehouse. Their large selection includes traditional, informal, petite and plus-size wedding gowns in various styles. Many elegant, embroidered dresses are sold for as low as $129. On a recent visit to this website, I noticed quite a few lovely, informal wedding dresses that cost only $49.99.
Downside: Don't expect to find unique, high-fashion gowns. The gowns at David's Bridal are beautiful and decent-quality, but not haute-couture wedding dresses. Most of them are either mass factory-made from China or low-end designer brands.
Thrift Tips for Brides
- If you're going to have an informal wedding, try shopping for your bridal gown at a local department store instead of bridal salons. You can probably buy a good-quality and fashionable evening gown at Macy's or JCPenny for just $50 - $150. Bridal salons tend to charge more just because they can. Higher prices don't always mean better quality. Some plain dresses with average materials and a poor sewing job might cost over $1,000 just because it is displayed in a bridal salon.
- Be a copycat. All you need is a skilled seamstress. If you can't afford the designer gown that you desperately want, ask your local seamstress to copy the design and custom make it for you. You might have to pay quite a bit for the materials and labor, but still, it won't cost more than a Vera Wang overpriced gown.
- If you go to a big bridal outlet sale, there will likely be a lot of bridezillas there. So bring an entourage to help you grab the dresses. Don't worry too much about the sizes. Say, if you can buy a $1500 Bianchi wedding dress for $800 but it's two sizes too big, just buy it anyway. You will have to pay $100 - $200 alteration fees later, but after all that, you still save about $500.
Price Less Bridal
Price Range: $99 - $900
Upside: Price Less Bridal sports some of the high-end designer wedding dresses such as Diamond and Scaasi, and offers discount prices that are hard to beat. Other mediocre designer brands such as Alfred Angelo, Galina and Mori Lee are also available at this online store. Moreover, the website makes your shopping experience a bit easier and more fun by categorizing the bridal gowns in different wedding themes such as "Victorian wedding", "western movies", "French collection", etc.
Downside: Because Price Less Bridal sells brand-name wedding dresses, very few gowns are under $200. The average price for most dresses runs around $350. Also, there is a $20 - $40 extra charge if you order a plus-size wedding dress.
Price Range: $170 - $400
Upside: McClintock's designs are very innovative and stylish. Her affordable gowns are perfect for modern brides who dislike things too traditional and seek informal yet well-designed wedding dresses. Delivery usually takes only 2 - 6 weeks, which is much faster than most online bridal stores.
Downside: Since McClintock is a small manufacturer, the online selection is very limited. Petite and plus size gowns are not available.
Price Range: $100 - $700
Upside: Amazon features many decent-quality wedding gowns by both obscure brands and famous bridal designers such as Alfred Angelo and Eden. Most sellers have a good return policy and are quite dependable in terms of delivery. Plus, if you have shopped on Amazon before, you should know how easy it is to find something you like within a few clicks, as you can customize your search by prices, brands, sellers and even discount rates.
Downside: Most wedding dresses on Amazon are the "been-there, done-that" type. Nothing special. And unfortunately, the discount rates on designer gowns are not very enticing.
Price Range: $10 - $5,000+
Upside: Some bridal gowns on this biggest auction site can be insanely cheap. Just type "bridal gowns" or "wedding dresses" in the search box and over 500 results will pop up. If you're lucky, you may be able to buy a used $6,000 Vera Wang dress for only $100!
Downside: Most auctioned items are used and might not be in a good condition. Not all sellers are professional. A lot of sellers on this site are individuals who just want to make some extra cash, so delivery may not be reliable. It might help quite a bit if you check the seller's profile and feedback before buying.
Romantic Headlines (Headpieces and Accessories)
Price Range: $10 - $100
Upside: This site has the biggest selection of bridal veils and headpieces on the internet. You can custom design your own veil or hat by choosing the fabrics, colors, styles, rhinestones and accents that complement your wedding dress. Delivery is fast and reliable.
Downside: The site is a bit unorganized, which doesn't mediate customers' shopping experience. For example, you cannot narrow the search results down by prices so you have to look through all the options to find one that suits your budget.