What To Do If You Have Wedding Dress Sticker Shock

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for–time to buy the most important dress of your life. You’ve watched all of the TLC shows, flipped through all the wedding dress galleries on SMP, and narrowed down the styles you love…but when you see the price of your dream dress, your jaw drops. After all, this is all for a gown you’ll only wear once!

Vasia Photography

Going into debt—especially for a dress—isn’t a great way to start a marriage. If you’re paying for your wedding yourself, or if your attire slice of the budget pie simply isn’t that large, there are still ways to go about finding a dress you’ll feel great in.

Have a dress made.

Although this seems like it’d be even more expensive, when you’re having a dress made, you can work with a dressmaker to choose more affordable fabrics, bringing the cost way down. You also won’t need any alterations like you will from a mass-produced wedding gown.

Christine Clark Photography

Consider a dress from a non-bridal shop.

If it fits the vibe and aesthetic of your wedding, consider perusing stores like Nordstrom, J.Crew, or ASOS for longer white gowns. By getting a dress that isn’t technically a bridal gown, you can get the look you’re going for without dropping some major dollar.

Look into renting.

Borrowing Magnolia is a popular wedding dress rental boutique, and Rent the Runway offers wedding gowns as well. You receive a dress, rock it on your wedding day, and return it.

Caught The Light

Search online for your dream dress.

If you have a certain gown in mind, scour eBay or online wedding forums to see if anyone’s selling! There are entire Facebook groups dedicated to wedding dress swapping—if you look at the right time, luck may work in your favor. Remember—you can always sell your dress when you’re done wearing it, too!

Consider a bridesmaids dress in white or champagne

Bridesmaids gowns tend to be considerably cheaper, but every bit as beautiful, and many of them come in white.

Julie Paisley Photography

Investigate sample sales.

Many major bridal lines offer yearly sample sales with prices marked way down. It could be a great way to get that designer gown for much less cash.

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Claire Swinarski is a writer and podcaster based in Wisconsin. When she isn’t writing, she can be found obsessing over football, eating a burrito bowl, or hanging out with her husband and son.