The cost of the average wedding dress is $1,211 according to popular wedding website The Knot, but in some parts of the country it can be more than $2,000. Weddings are expensive, and a wedding dress is likely to cost to more than any other article of clothing you buy, but there are ways to bring costs down. Here are five ways to get a great wedding dress for less money.
Check out consignment shops
This may conjure up images of racks of puffy-sleeved dresses, but in recent years, styles have been very traditional. Buying a consigned gown can save you more than 50% off the sticker price. Most dresses have only been worn once and are kept in great shape. Consignment shops keep their collections organized neatly by size or style, much like they keep their newer inventory. Consigning a gown also could save you on tailoring costs if you find a dress worn by someone with a similar shape or height. If you don’t have a consignment shop in town, check out OnceWed.com. Another place to peek might be your local Goodwill store. These dresses may not have not been kept as nicely, but if you know a good dry cleaner and tailor, you could potentially turn a $200 dress into one that looks like it cost $2,000.
Most trunk shows are for designer gowns, so prices will still be higher than an off-the-rack dress at a bigger bridal retail store. But if you have your heart set on a certain designer gown, this is a great place to look for discounts. If you don’t see an upcoming trunk show for a designer you love, you can call a bridal store to see it it might be willing to offer you a trunk-show deal on a special-ordered gown.
People don’t typically negotiate their clothes purchases, but this isn’t just any dress. It never hurts to ask for a lower price — or to shop around. One bridal shop offered $100 off a dress that I had seen at another shop. Another shop offered $100 off tailoring costs if I purchased my dress there.
Think outside the box
If you’re getting married on the beach, or having a more casual wedding, you can look at dresses off the rack in stores. I knew a woman who bought her wedding dress at Cache for $150. Another woman bought an off-white evening gown at Neiman-Marcus for $650 — half of The Knot’s average price. Another idea is to look at bridesmaid dresses in white, cream or whatever color you like. Bridesmaid dresses are designed well and come in a variety of colors.
Remember: You can sell your dress, too
So you shopped around, found “the one” and negotiated, but still paid a little more than you wanted? You can always sell your dress back to a consignment shop, or at one of the shops online, to recoup some of your costs.