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Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

Diva Mailbag: How to find a deal on a wedding dress?

Folks, we have a faithful Deal Divas reader who needs help, and so like the Avengers, we MUST ASSEMBLE. Sarah is getting married and wants to find... well, I'll just let her ask:

Hi! I love the Deal Divas blog. I'm asking for some advice here! I'm getting married in July and, being a Deal Diva, I am doing my best to keep the cost down. Do you or any of the Divas have any good ideas for finding an inexpensive wedding dress? I keep being told that since you only get married once (or that's the plan at least), it should be perfect. And I agree it should be perfect, but at the same time I feel like responding that since I'm only going to wear it once, it doesn't make much sense to spend huge amounts. I don't mind if it is second hand. I'm getting married in a church so I'm looking for a fairly traditional dress.

Thanks for your help!

Alright. I should preface this with that fact that I have never been married, nor have I ever purchased a wedding dress. However, I have spent most of my life in the mean streets of bargaining and have been around many a shopping bride, so I can muster up a couple suggestions. BUT PLEASE CHIME IN AND HELP SARAH, BRIDES!

I will say, everyone's definition of thrifty is different, especially when the threshold is raised so high for something like a wedding. Me? I would think a bargain wedding gown would come in less than $500, but others might feel differently.

Inside the big box: Try one of the bridal lines from a regular big box or mall retail store. Did you know they exist? They do! J. Crew has a line of wedding dresses, though I think some of them are still pretty pricey (and Lord Above, can we please burn this bridal pants jumper, burn it until it is gone and can no longer live to harm another?). Target also has a line by Tevolio, mostly bridesmaids dresses, with a couple simple gowns thrown in. This cowl-neck satin number is less than $100. The prettiest selection of retail store wedding gowns might be from Ann Taylor, IMHO.

Wedding phobia: Avoid the word "wedding." Just because something isn't specifically a "wedding" dress doesn't mean it's not good enough for your wedding. Scan the racks at department stores like Dillard's and Macy's for white or off-white gowns that fit the bill. Or consider ordering an elegant bridesmaid dress in your preferred shade of pale. Check out this search I narrowed from Dillard's for an idea.

Something old: Since you don't mind the used approach, check out one of a number of websites that specialize in secondhand gowns.,,, and (where you can also sell it back when you're done to recoup some of the funds) are good places to start. And there's always eBay.

Redo for I Do: Get an old dress from your mom or your aunt or your grandma. Or, heck, go to the thrift stores and get one from someone you don't know, then take it to an experienced tailor to turn it into something modern, perhaps even meaningful.

Brides, please let us know about your own experiences! I know you have some good ideas.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 8, 2014 5:43pm]


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