Forget the Frock….how NOT to spend over $500 on a wedding dress


I’m sure if you are reading this then you have at one point in your life either tried on a wedding dress or have seen someone else try on a wedding dress. Can you say sticker shock? The price of that fluffy white dream gown can go upwards of $10,000 these days. Even if you had the money to spend….is it really worth it? Yes, you are getting married and that is awesome. Yes, you want to look your best on your special day. Who doesn’t? But is it worth spending thousands of dollars for a few hours of dress? Totes not worth it.

So then what? You have hella options! Below I will list off my fave ideas about the Not-So wedding dress that won’t break the bank or kill your entire wedding budget.

  • DIY dress. ****Caution: only do this if you have an extreme amount of free time to obsess over fabrics and sewing notions. And it really helps to have sewing or design experience as well**** Making your own dress can be one of the most rewarding and stressful things that you will ever do in your life. If you keep the design simple and don’t go overboard on French lace and eloquent beading then you should come out alright. Total cost for my DIY wedding look will be about $100 when I am finished. This is the look I am going for on my big day……..

dressThere are tons of resources online on How-To’s to make your own dress. Find a style you like, come up with a plan and a pattern, and then go to town in your local fabric store. My favorite place to get fabric is Joann’s fabric. You can always find coupons and the staff is always super helpful…


  • Repurpose another dress. If you don’t know how to sew and don’t want to even think about trying to tackle learning how to make your own wedding dress then you can always buy one second hand and repurpose it. Craigslist has lots of gently used and sometimes new wedding dresses that can be tweaked and altered just the way you want it. You could also use your mother’s wedding dress or another family member’s dress that you really like. You could even buy a $99 dress off the David’s Bridal sale dress rack and have it altered, added to, or even dyed to fit your needs (on a side note I do not like David’s Bridal AT ALL. I think the entire staff is rude and the past 10 years I have had dealings with them it has never been pleasant. They treat brides like cattle and they don’t have any desire to truly help older brides or second time around brides. Granted this is just my opinion and opinions are like assholes…everybody has one. If you have had a stellar experience with them then kudos to you!) The best tailor by far in my opinion is Lee’s Tailors. They have several locations in the Triangle NC area and they can usually get the job done in a couple days….


  • Use a Halloween costume. WHAT? Now Gigi you are just crazy for saying that! Or am I? Are you having a theme for your wedding? Maybe gothic or medieval? Often times an entire costume costs less than $100 and they actually look pretty nice. I’ve posted a few examples below of a couple costumes that come from Party City …….medievalgoth


Each of these costs about $59.99 so you won’t be spending too much and you can add a veil or other accessories as you like. They even have “bride” costumes but I think those look a tad cheesy. Use your imagination and build the look that you want!


  • BHLDN. Love this website. They have some really cute, really simple dresses. You have to search around the site a bit but they have quite the selection for under $500. And the best thing is that most dresses come in multiple color selections. Here are two dresses for under $300 that are simple……


dress 2     dress 1

  • Rent-the-Runway. I love this option. They have some really cute dresses to rent for less than $100. Pick out a dress, rent it for your event, and return it. It’s just that simple. Here are a few example dresses below from their site. Both of these dresses cost less than $100 to rent.



  • Bridesmaid/Prom dress. Again another crazy option but a great one. Did you know that after prom season retailers mark down the dresses to get rid of them quick? Some can be marked down as low as 75% off and I swear can double as a wedding dress no problem. If you like a little more blitz and bling then this may be an excellent option for you. Below are two dresses I found online…..both can be found on Bridal’s by Lori  (otherwise known as the salon from Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta). Neither cost more than $400 and they do offer free shipping for orders $250 and over. The one on the top is a bridesmaid dress and the one on the bottom is a prom dress.



  • Consignment & Thrift stores. For those adventurous brides that like a little bit of a treasure hunt then a thrift store may be the way to go. A lot of dresses are less than $200 but can often have stains, tears, and need alterations. Never be afraid to negotiate price either. If they have had the dress awhile they may be willing to haggle. The Goodwill is a great option as well as the Salvation Army. I have found better luck though going to privately owned smaller consignment stores.


  • The children’s department. For tiny brides that are petite, the children’s department may have exactly what you are looking for. Stores like Macy’s, Target, and Belk’s all have dresses in their children’s departments that run large enough to fit a petite adult. The best time to find the fancier dresses is during the Holidays. Keep in mind these dresses also get marked down at the end of the season for a significant discount. Below are a couple of examples I found online. These dresses can go up to a size 16, which should be able to fit size 2-4 petite women.

girls    silvergirldress_3So there you have it….a few great ideas on how to find unique dresses that won’t bust your wedding budget. Just remember, while this is your wedding dress, it shouldn’t cost as much as a small used car or a mortgage payment! Find what works best for you. If you have your heart set on a colored dress, then wear one. If you want something simple and beachy, then go for that look. It you want to be all black and gothed out, then Hot Topic may be your store of choice. It doesn’t matter what your family, friends, and guests think. This is YOUR day. Be different. Be unique. Be weird. Just be you 🙂

Have fun! …..Gigi




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