Buying a wedding dress, like every other aspect of planning a wedding, is crazy expensive. It’s really incredible that a dress you only plan on wearing once is the most expensive you’ll ever buy, isn’t it?!

Being a bit of a cheapskate myself, I did a fair bit of research on how to save money on buying a wedding dress. It’s really not easy! And don’t get me started on finding nice High Street bridesmaids dresses. It’smnreally true that adding the word ‘wedding’ to anything doubles the price immediately. Eventually, though, I came across some good ideas and thought it would be fun to come up with my own list of the best tips. Here are my top five favourite ways to save money on a wedding dress!. I’ve started with the lowest risk (and arguably lowest saving) and moved on to the high-risk, big bargains stuff!

Buy a sample dress

I found my perfect dress in a local bridal shop and fell in love with it. I’m a size  8 to 10 normally, but I’m not a ‘standard’ shape, as I have a large bust and hips with a tiny waist. This meant that they would need to order in a larger size and tailor it around the waist.  The sample dress I tried on happened to be a size 12, and the lady running the bridal shop asked if I would be interested in buying the sample instead, for around £200 less!

Both the sample and a brand new dress would have needed similar alterations so it was kind of a no-brainer for us. Yes, a sample dress will have been tried on before, but bridal shops really take care of their stock. Mine was in pristine condition. Both the sample and a brand new dress would have needed similar alterations so it was kind of a no-brainer for us. The sample dress will have been tried on by other ladies, sure, but bridal shops really take care of their stock so mine was in pristine condition. You will be paying for alterations on almost any wedding dress, so why not take advantage of sample or end-of-line frocks and save some pennies?

Find a local wedding dress outlet

Once I got engaged, I started getting lots of ads on my Facebook for a place called Wed2B. Now, I’ve never been myself but I’ve heard lots of great stories from ladies who purchased their dresses here. All Wed2B dresses are under £600 and are sold as-is, with no alterations or extras. Not necessarily the absolute cheapest way of doing things, but certainly not the most expensive. Some of the dresses I tried on were easily twice that price! Wed2B isn’t the only option, either. You might have similar outlets near you – just ask around for recommendations, you never know what you might stumble upon! Near me, we even have some charity outlets that sell seconds and out-of-season wedding dresses with proceeds helping to raise funds. A great way to save money and give to a worthy cause!

Shop the High Street

Over the last couple of years, lots of high street stores have been starting to expand into bridal wear. I honestly think ASOS do it best, but Dorothy Perkins and Chi Chi London. Even retro favourites like Lindy Bop now offer bridal ranges. And there are some super pretty options too! High Street dresses are a great option if you’re going for an ‘alternative’ style like short or colourful dresses.  And remember, you don’t have to buy from a bridal range to get a wedding dress feel. Try visiting your favourite websites, filtering by ‘All dresses’, and selecting white, cream, ivory… or whatever dress colour you want to go for!

Second-hand

I think shopping second hand for a wedding dress is such a brilliant idea. After all, you only wear the dress for one day. Once it’s been dry-cleaned, odds are a second-hand wedding dress will still be just as beautiful as it was brand new, and it won’t cost an arm and a leg either. Try searching  From a practical point of view, it might be best if you stick to local listings, so you can see the dress in person before you commit. There is an element of luck involved, but give yourself plenty of time and you could find the one! You could even sell it on once you’re married and make a few pennies back!

Take a huge gamble on eBay

I was in two minds about recommending this one. Have you seen all the articles about the very questionable wedding dresses that unsuspecting brides have bought off eBay? Some of them are truly awful! But a week or so ago I went down a bit of a rabbit hole on YouTube and ended up watching some eBay Wedding Dress reviews. And you know what? Some of them were actually really lovely. Like this lady’s dress for example. How great does she look?! This could be a great idea if you’re on a really tight budget. As always with eBay, use a seller with great reviews and do your homework – watching YouTube reviews is a great place to start. You could end up scoring a really beautiful dress for a tiny price! Just bear in mind you could also end up with one of these beauts instead though…

And one extra little tip

Alteration, alteration, alteration! Regardless of what you end up spending on the actual dress, the only way to the perfect fit is to have a few little alterations made. Whether you go to a professional, ask a family friend or even if you’re handy (and confident!) with the needle and thread, tailoring your dress is a must. It’s an extra expense but it makes such an enormous difference, and you will feel happier and more confident in a dress that fits you like a glove.

I think the key to wedding dress shopping, especially on a budget, is to give yourself as much time as possible. Do plenty of research into shapes (Pinterest is your best friend here!) and styles or maybe go into a bridal shop and try on a few different dresses. You don’t need to commit to buying straight away. Oh, and take an honest friend or two! I took my mum and my three bridesmaids, who gave me some super helpful ideas and opinions. I would have been totally lost without them. In fact, it was one of my bridesmaids who found my perfect dress!

Remember, it’s your big day! You’re going to be taking lots of photos and making lots of memories with the people you love. It’s important that your dress is comfortable, fits well and suits you. Don’t go for something that stops you eating or having a boogie! It really doesn’t matter if the dress cost £50 or £5000 – if you feel great in it, that’s what will show!

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