Every girl wants to look great on her wedding day. It's only 8 hours but it's an important 8 hours with lots of pictures.
Dress shopping is exciting and the wedding industry hypes it up to lure you into overspending on a dress. This combined with "it's on sale" or "sample sale" and its easy to cave on the budget. After all, this $5000 dress was only $2000!! But the bottom-line is, can you really afford it?
It takes a lot of discipline to stay on track when it comes to spending on the dress. My simple rules:
#1- Make it VERY clear to the sales associate that you do not want to spend more than X amount.
#2- Do not try a dress on that you can not afford.
#3- Bring someone with you who can help you stay on track.
You can find some great dresses for under $1,000. Many retail shops like J.Crew, Ann Taylor and Anthropologie (will launch soon) have some great dresses. Of course, there's the stand-by, David's Bridal, with their famous $99 dress sale (just beware of buying more than the dress at Davids because they jack up the prices on everything else from veils to shoes and especially on alterations and undergarments). Consider having a dress made. There are some incredibly talented seamstresses out there and if you pick a simple style you could commission your own dress. Then there are online sites like preownedweddingdresses.com and ebay. You can snag some great deals but you take a gamble on fit. I have a number of friends who've had some good luck with online gowns. Finally, don't forget consignment shops.
Dress by David's Bridal
I actually have my dress (yay!) and I purchased it from a local consignment shop for an incredible price. Not only do I love the dress but I also walked away with the peace of mind that I was under budget, not $2000 over. I highly recommend consignment shops because they carry more expensive, and in some cases designer, gowns most for under $500. Some have been worn but many are sample sale dresses or are collected when a wedding boutique brings in new styles.
There are lots of reasonable options out there so don't get lured into spending more than you want to spend!