How to Buy Wedding and Bridesmaid Dresses on the Cheap

23030450_sMany young girls imagine their wedding. They imagine their dress, the flowers, and the ceremony.  As they grow up, these same girls might buy bridal magazines and gaze longingly at wedding dresses before they’re even engaged.

While we’ve seen the rise of expensive, couture dresses thanks to shows like Say Yes to the Dress, some retailers are bucking the trend and offering discount bridal and bridal party wear.

Whether you’re the bride or the bridesmaid, there are plenty of ways to save on formal wear.

Discounted Dresses for the Bride

Have you heard that Target is selling wedding dresses?  It’s true.  While a Target dress may never make an episode of Say Yes to the Dress, if you’re looking for a dress that won’t set you back thousands of dollars, looking at a discount retailer may just be the answer.

Target wedding dresses sell from $69.99 to $129.99.  These dresses are simple and no frills, without beads, sequins or other embellishments, but they are classic.  They would be perfect for a casual church wedding or a summer beach wedding.

If you prefer to go with a fancier dress, shop bridal stores and look at the clearance racks.  My wedding dress retailed for $450, but it was on clearance for $169.  After buying the dress and paying for several alterations, my dress still cost less than $250.

Bridal stores also have regular sales, so make sure to allow yourself several months to shop so you can ideally buy your dress during one of these sales.

Another alternative is to buy a used wedding dress.  You can find these on eBay, Craigslist, at thrift stores and second hand stores as well as from friends and family members.  This is probably the cheapest way to buy a beautiful dress at 90% off retail or more.

Getting Designer Dresses at a Discount

If you’re a lucky bridesmaid, the bride will let you pick your own bridesmaid dress, usually in a particular shade of color.  Rather than spending $150 to $250 on a bridesmaid dress that you’ll wear once, why not rent your dress?

Companies like Rent the Runway rent beautiful, formal dresses in a myriad of styles.  These dresses are made by designers like Nicole Miller, Badgley Mischka, and Monique Lhuillier and retail for anywhere from $1,995 to $479.  However, they typically rent for $70 to $90.

If the bride prefers all the bridesmaids to be in the same style and color dress, perhaps you can convince her to get them through a rent-the-dress company so you don’t have to pay so much out of pocket for a dress that will likely never be worn again.

If you don’t want to go the designer route, Target also offers bridesmaid dresses from as low as $27.99 to $48.99 for clearance dresses to $69.99 for full price dresses.

The average American wedding costs over $25,000.  If you’re like me, you can think of a lot of ways to spend $25,000 besides on a one day party.  The most important thing about your wedding is the lifetime you are beginning together, not the actual wedding.

If you’re looking to cut costs as a bride or bridesmaid, there are plenty of ways to do so.

If you’re married, did you try to save on the wedding dress, or did you buy the one you loved at full price?

Posted in: Editors Picks, Minimalism and Frugality

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