Happy Wedding Wednesday loves! And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY HUSBAND! Yes, today is our actual anniversary and I couldn’t be more excited! We are celebrating two years married and 4 years together. I honestly couldn’t imaging my life with anyone else but the supportive, loving, encouraging, and compassionate person that is my husband! So in honor of our anniversary, I am spilling the beans on how I spent under $1,000 on my custom cathedral train wedding dress! From combing through thrift store racks to find my dream wedding train, to putting on a dress I NEVER imagined myself in, it’s all in todays tricks on how to shop for your dream wedding dress!
You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes or their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.Shutterfly.com
Where do you start your dress shopping?!
This is a great question to start with. Ultimately though, you want to determine your body shape. Should this affect your dress buying decision? It honestly depends! If you’re an apple shape but have your heart set on a mermaid gown, girl you work that mermaid gown! For me, I am an hourglass figure, so I knew I wanted to accentuate my waist and torso more than my legs. I started with building a massive , like seriously massive. I knew I wanted to be a lil sexy but still have class an elegance. My top picks were a couple of styles like the trumpet style, simple a line, and even a couple of tea length dresses! Everything had the same theme, vintage lace. Lots of champagne colors, subtle blush, or satin with chiffon overlays. Starting here with this “theme” in mind for my dress, it made the process so smooth and made the try on’s WAY shorter and efficient. Check out this style guide from BuzzFeed for how to choose a wedding gown!
Okay, so now you have the style and theme in mind. But aren’t dresses super expensive..?
Yes….and no. Like I mentioned, my entire ensemble was under $1K, which is kind of unheard of in the bridal world. I got a brand new dress, thrifted wedding train with alterations, and a custom veil for that price. I made sure to keep my budget small for my dress, partially because I knew if I went too high, I would have to give up other aspects of the wedding. But want to know a crazy fact? Wedding dresses in Texas on average cost $1,437. So if you’re in the market for a dress, shoot for $1,600 to include alterations as well. But if you’re a bride on a budget, there are multiple ways to keep that cost down.
Here are 3 places you can go to shop for wedding dresses for brides on a budget!
Yup, Facebook has a massive marketplace where you can go to find used, new, and rent goods. This is actually where I found my 15ft custom wedding veil for $35, then altered it to turn into a Juliette Cap wedding veil. Most sellers have only worn their dress once, and are looking to just make back half of what they paid. Or if you’re in need of a wedding veil as a fraction of the cost, this is the place as well! Just a reminder, when picking up or going to a resellers house or to pickup an item, never go alone. Bring a buddy and stay safe!
Poppin’ tags isn’t just for everyday wear, it’s can be for your wedding too! Whether it’s for decor, bridesmaids dresses, or your wedding dress, they will have a unique selection! Plus, many thrift stores have an organization that they donate their proceeds too. So you purchasing a $250 dress means that your purchase is serving the community! Many of these dresses also make great bases to hand off to a local seamstress to build a custom wedding dress of your dreams at a fraction of the cost! Which is exactly how I got my dream 13 ft cathedral train on my dress. This was a detachable wedding train that we attached my moms wedding train to. (Which was a 90’s style wedding train hand beaded with sequins, beads, and pearls, which also weighed as much as a small toddler) This entire alteration and dress addition cost $350, and included the alterations to my wedding dress!
Sample Sales and Sample Bridal Boutiques
This will be the holy grail. Sample sales are basically last seasons dresses that didn’t sell, dresses worn for photoshoots, dresses that have a small defect, and dresses that just haven’t sold in general. Nothing is wrong with them, they just need a good home! These dresses prices are SLASHED! Im talking 50-90% off of retail. All it takes is a quick google, or a quick phone call to a bridal showroom in your area to see if they have any samples or last seasons “clearance” dresses. For me, that meant a call to Sunday’s Bridal here in DFW and surfing their website for “the dress”. Making an appointment was so easy, and the owner actually took care of us the entire time! She made sure the dress would match the wedding train we had thrifted, which fun fact other stores in the area would NOT allow us to bring in another dress to color match. Pro tip: always just give the salon a call to make sure you can bring a guest, if you’re color matching, and what their price range is. At Sunday’s Bridal, I got my dream dress for sub $600, BRAND NEW! it was a 2015 Vera dress and was just breathtaking on!
What else should I know?
There are a million and one things you could talk about for dresses alone, but these are my steps that helped me decide on the dress and made my process so smooth and seamless!
- Bring a small entourage. Everyone will want to be there with you, but having 3 or fewer people will make the process WAY more seamless and easy on you.
- Go in with a game plan, and take breaks every 3 dresses. When you have a plan, your appointment will feel efficient instead of a waste of time. Showing your consultant your dream dresses, being firm on your pricing, and saying no to what your consultant and guests suggest will make for an efficient and appointment that’s about YOU!
- Film yourself describing your favorite dresses. My MOH suggested this and it helped me decide! You can even see the difference in your body movements from dress one to THE dress! For all you visual people you can also see how it moves and looks on your body!
- Try on one or two dresses you could never see yourself in, you might be surprised to find you look great! I never imagined I would wear a princess gown, but it hit me in all the right places, was just the right amount of sexy, and matched the train PERFECTLY. It was like this dress had “Lillia” all over it!
this is the one rule you should follow when dress shopping…
YOU are wearing your dress. Not your mom, not your aunt, not your new MIL, not you bridesmaids. YOU. ARE. So therefore you know who’s reaction is the only one that matters? YOURS! If you get in a dress and mad ugly cry because you feel like a princess, but no one else reacts, who cares?! That’s the dress! I couldn’t stop twirling when I put my dress on, and I felt sexy and like my husband would be proud to say “That’s my wife!” So if someone is pushing you to something that you feel isn’t the dress, remember No is a complete sentence and you can say that!
If all else fails, the most important thing to remember…
“At the end of the day, you are marrying your best friend, and the rest is just fluff.” This is the best advice I received about wedding planning. When you step back and think about it, it’s so true! While the rest of the “fluff” may be what we dreamed of, the real magic is the sparks between the bride and groom.
When it comes to wedding planning, it can be stressful! Send this post to a bride or groom so they can get the insider scoop on how to search for venues and wedding planners and how to break down the cost of their big day!