On your wedding day, you want to look your absolute best. It’s probably the one day in your life that you will have the most photos taken of you ever. Not only do you (usually) hire a person (or two) specifically for the job of taking photo records of the day but your guests will be clicking away too. For this reason, it’s easy to justify spending WAY too much on a dress you will wear for one day (albeit, a very special day) and shoes that you will end up taking off after an hour or two. The following are my suggestions to look your very best and save as many budget dollars as possible.
I think I only need a few sentences about the Groom, really. And I’m not going to go into the personal style of it – wear a top hat, chain, penguin suit, etc if you so choose. As far as the budget goes, I obviously advocate wearing a suit/tux you already own if you have one. Take it to the tailor to get fine-tuning if you need it and buy a new tie or vest if you need to spice it up or match wedding colors.
My handsome Groom in his rental and Chucks (looking a little too serious).
A fitting gift from his best friend.
If you don’t already own a suitable… err, suit, then renting is probably the way to go for you. My Groom rented his from Mens Wearhouse (cute play on words there that I didn’t realize until wedding planning). The total for everything – including tie, jacket, vest, and pants – was $154.94. The Groom bought a brand new pair of Chuck Taylors that he needed anyways to feel comfortable and match his style.
Taken in Mens Wearhouse.
To read about my wedding dress saga, see this post. However, since then, I have discovered that the awesome shop has closed down! Sad sad me. That shop was a treasure chest of awesome vintage wedding gowns at Budget Bride prices. After you take your moment of silence for the loss of a bridal gem, join me in exploring these other budget-friendly options.
That’s me! The Bride!
David’s Bridal I’ve said it once (or twice) and I’ll say it again: David’s Bridal is your friend. For some reason unbeknownst to me, DB has gotten a bad reputation in the wedding world. It’s synonymous with “cheap” or somehow “not chic”. Well, my DB naysayers, I couldn’t disagree with you more.
In the beginning stages of dress hunting, David’s Bridal is your best friend. Make an appointment well before you intend to buy just to try on different styles to see what looks good on your body. Is it strapless? Cap-sleeved? Long-sleeved (a la Kate Middleton)? Sweetheart? Empire waist? Grecian? So many styles to choose from!! You may think you know what looks best, but wait until you try on others before you settle on a style. David’s Bridal is the best place to do this, in my opinion. I definitely prefer them to the stuffy, pressure-filled high-end boutiques.
Look familiar? The Kate Middleton replica at DB for $849.00.
Once you’ve narrowed down your styles, you can either take that information to the web (outlined below), to other boutiques, OR you might find that you absolutely love one of the DB dresses you tried on. Their new Vera Wang line is absolutely gorgeous and I am still grieving their poor timing on its release (that is, AFTER I purchased my own wedding gown). Warning: Most of the Vera dresses are still pricey according to my standards. But boy oh boy, how prettiful. See some of the less costly ones…
Vera Wang at David’s Bridal. $400.00
Another Vera at DB. $500.00. Swoon.
The Web Simplybridal.com – After you’ve chosen the best dress style for you (and reviewed the photos of yourself in it 100 times), one amazingly affordable option is to take that information straight over to simplybridal.com. This website allows you to choose the elements that look best on you and get a gown CUSTOM made for you. Browse through the A-line gowns to find your favorite or check out the organza options then take your measurements and find the right size for you. The prices on these dresses are seriously jaw-droppingly reasonable. They make the gown AFTER you purchase it (so it’s not just a stock dress), they ship it for free, and I couldn’t even find one for over $400.00. Most are in the $200 and $300 range and not pre-worn, pre-owned or even pre-made.
The Penelope Gown at simplybridal.com – $379.99
So, before I decided to recommend them on my blog, I thought what you’re thinking, “…but what if I don’t like it ON and it’s not THE DRESS?” A little digging showed that the dresses are 100% refundable within 10 days. If you try it on and don’t love it, return it! And get this, they will even reimburse up to $75 worth of alterations if they didn’t get it quite right. How is it that I find out about these things AFTER my wedding? ::sigh::
The Charlotte Gown at simplybridal.com – $279.99
Etsy.com – I’m an Etsy fan. I totally dig trying to support the individual artists in their crafts and Etsy is one of the easiest places to do so. They are generally a little pricier than the options above but I still found plenty of drool-worthy options for under $800. And if you don’t find your gown here, check back for accessories and even wedding rings!
RecycledBride.com – If you have no aversion to wearing a pre-owned or pre-worn gown, this is a great site to find designer dresses at a fraction of even the sample cost. You can be in contact with the seller directly and they are usually pretty quick to answer questions (in my experience). Each seller will have his/her own return policy and it’s probably not very flexible, but find a gown at the right price and “splurge” on the alterations. This is also a great way to be environmentally friendly and reduce the footprint of your event! Find decorations, shoes, veils, wedding rings and more on this “green” site.
Oleg Cassini on RecycledBride.com – $300
Last but not least, Oncewed.com – Among many other resources, this website offers a huge inventory pre-owned and pre-worn dresses. It has a similar set-up as Recycled Bride above where it’s kind of a “craigslist” for wedding gowns. There are some real steals on here with Jcrew, Vera Wang, and Jessica McClintock dresses for $100 in some cases. Be sure not to get a size TOO big otherwise you’ll be stuck with a huge alterations bill and you might lose some of the structural integrity of the dress. If you stay within 3 or 4 sizes though, you should be ok. Ask your seamstress what she recommends!
This GORGEOUS Vera Wang dress on OnceWed for $99.00!
JCrew dress on OnceWed for $99.00. I love the back of this one!
As noted in previous posts, I got my pre-worn dress at a designer consignment shop for $250.00. It was $200.00 for alterations, making my dress grand total $450.00. I bought a simple veil from a craft store for about $25.00, my black necklace from an ADORABLE boutique (francescascollections.com) for $30.00 and my “glass slipper” shoes from Aldo for $45.00. My diamond earrings were borrowed from my sister and I wore a black sweater over my dress while I was outside in the nasty weather that was also from Francesca’s. My total look cost $550.00. Right on budget.