When it comes to getting married, one of the first things many brides will think about is the wedding dress. Wedding dresses, like everything else wedding-related, can be pretty expensive, but there are quite a few ways to get the wedding dress of your dreams for less.
If you are in the market for a wedding dress, be sure to check out these five outlets and you might just walk away with a dress at a fraction of the retail price.
1. Daily Deal Sites
This might come as a surprise, but daily deal sites such as Groupon or LivingSocial occasionally feature wedding deals and that includes discounts on wedding dresses.
2. Sample Sale Sites
A couple of times each year sample sale sites like Ideeli, Gilt and Rue La La will feature nothing but wedding-related sales on their sites, and that includes wedding dresses. I have seen dresses marked down as much as 50 to 75 percent below retail, and that is on designer gowns such as Monique Lhuillier, Nicole Miller and many more.
Additionally, if you desire a pair of designer shoes to wear on your wedding day, then browsing the sample sales year-round can be a great way to pick up a pair for less. All three of these sites feature a different shoe brand on sale nearly every day, and you never know when the shoes you want might appear.
3. Bridal Salon Sample Sales
If you watch "Say Yes to the Dress" on TLC, then there is a good chance you have seen one of the episodes featuring a Kleinfeld Sample Sale. From the looks of it, hundreds of women line up (often in the rain) for their chance to purchase a designer wedding dress at prices way below retail.
While the Kleinfeld Sample Sale is perhaps the best known, many bridal salons host sample sales to get rid of last season's dresses. To find a sample sale near you, I recommend doing a browser search for bridal sample sales in your particular city.
4. Have a Gown Made For You
One of the things I realized from being a bridesmaid in my best friend's wedding was that I did not ever want to set foot in a bridal salon. I went with her to look at dresses and found myself completely overwhelmed by the number of white dresses in the store. When it came time to plan my own wedding in 2012, I hired a dress maker to make me a custom gown.
When I first made the decision to go this direction I was a little worried that the price would be exorbitant, but all told I paid far less than I was expecting and less than I would have paid for a gown off the rack. Plus, I was able to pick out each and every detail that went into the dress, from the lace that was used to the fabric to the buttons down the back.
5. Purchase a Used Wedding Dress
I know that some women would never consider purchasing a used wedding dress, but if you cannot afford to pay full retail prices for the gown of your dreams, then this may be a great option!
There are a few online stores that sell used wedding dresses, and you can also check out consignment shops in your area. Otherwise, take a peek at sites like eBay and Craigslist. You might be surprised with how many options there are for beautiful wedding dresses that have only been worn once before!
Before purchasing a used wedding dress, be sure to confirm all measurements. Any dress can be tailored to fit you, but the dress needs to run a little bit big in order to do this. If at all possible, try on the dress before committing to purchase it or at the very least make sure the measurements run a little bit large, both in the sizing and in the length of the dress.
You will also want to carefully look over the dress to make sure there aren't any stains or damage. Regardless, plan on taking your dress to a dry cleaner that specializes in wedding dresses to get the dress in perfect condition for your wedding.
Lisa Koivu is the founder of ShopGirlDaily.com, a shopping blog for women who want to have the best for less.
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