In March, Steve and I will be getting married. We chose the date of March 1 as a way to honor my parents. Having lost my mom in February 2018, I wanted a way to bring them into the ceremony without going overboard. My parents were married 37 years, so I consider the date to be a lucky one. While we have both been married before, we both wish we had waited until we found each other so we are planning a small ceremony. That means one thing; I am looking to have a budget wedding. The first place I started was going back through my huge list of wedding freebies. The second place was learning how to save money on my wedding dress.
When you’re looking to have a cheap wedding, you need to realize that it will be somewhat difficult. I’m sorry, but weddings can be expensive. Can you have a cheap wedding? Absolutely, but you will need to work for it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying; or just trying to sell a book. That applies to your entire wedding though; not just when you’re trying to find wedding dresses cheap.
Wedding on a Budget | How to Save Money on Your Wedding Dress
To start your hunt for finding a cheap wedding dress, you will need to realize that this could end up being quite the hunt. Actually, finding the perfect wedding gown is a hunt whether you’re looking for a deal or not. This means you’ll want to start your hunt for the perfect gown early to give yourself plenty of time. You’ll want to allow yourself 6-8 months to buy a wedding gown so you have time to shop, try on and have it altered if needed.
Side Note: Before you get started looking for your wedding gown, I recommend that you sign up for an Rakuten account. If you’re not familiar, Rakuten is a cash back shopping site that will pay you cash back on qualified purchases. Plus, Rakuten will give new customers $10.00 in FREE cash back when you create an Rakuten account and make your first qualified purchase of $25.00 or more. This will really help you save some cash should you end up buying your wedding gown online. You can check them out HERE.
How to Budget for Your Wedding Gown
You will also want to set a budget for your wedding gown. If you’re reading this post, you obviously don’t have thousands of dollars to spend; or maybe you do but don’t want to. Either way, keep your budget low enough that you won’t go broke buying your gown but high enough that you will be able to get the gown you want. Starting at $200.00 is a good jumping off point for your wedding gown budget since you can almost always find a preloved wedding dress for much lower than that.
Your wedding gown should be a pretty large part of your wedding budget, but not the entire budget. There are plenty of ways to have a wedding on a budget, so feel free to give yourself a little leeway on the gown. To help yourself keep track of your wedding costs, I highly recommend you get a wedding planner or a printable wedding planner to keep yourself organized.
Yes, I said a used wedding dress. If you are hoping to buy a new wedding gown on a budget, you are going to be looking for a while. David’s Bridal has their $99 sales, but they recently filed bankruptcy so please do not count on them being around for you to buy your gown. If you want to shop their sales, do it before they have the chance to go out of business.
When you do your shopping, be sure to look for gowns that are not only your size, but also two sizes up and one size down. Wedding dresses usually have quite a bit of extra fabric that will allow them to be taken in or let out if needed. You may find the gown of your dreams, but it may be a size too big. A proper seamstress can do a custom alteration for you for less money than you would pay for another gown usually. If you’re brave enough, you could also take and make the needed changes yourself.
How to Buy Used Wedding Dresses Cheap
After you have your budget set, it’s time to start looking for your dream gown! To start, check with your close friends and family. It might surprise you how many of them may have a gown in the closet they would love to make a few bucks on. This can be especially nice if it is a parent or grandparent since wearing a vintage wedding dresses from their wedding is a great way to honor them.
If your friends and family don’t have anything that tickles your bridal fancy, it’s time to start looking for cheap wedding dresses online. From what I’ve found while looking for my own dress to wear, Facebook Marketplace should be your first stop. Change your search area to look within 100 miles of your location. That may seem like a lot, but it is under a 2 hour drive. Finding a secondhand wedding dress cheap is worth a 2 hour drive.
Once you exhaust the Facebook marketplace, Craigslist should be your next stop. Again, look in your own city and in surrounding areas. Make sure you only respond to ads that have photos and if you meet someone that you do it in a very public place so you are able to keep yourself safe. When you’re responding to an ad, be careful not to insult the seller by offering a price that is too low. “Lowballing” will only get your offer refused which means you may miss the dress of your dreams.
If, after checking Facebook and Craigslist, you still haven’t found a gown, check OfferUp, LetGo, Amazon and Ebay. Yes! Amazon does sell wedding gowns and Ebay can be a great place to buy a cheap wedding gown. Just be aware that a huge percentage of wedding dress sellers on Ebay are makers from China. Be sure you are 100% certain what you are buying, that you chec seller ratings and feedback, and that you you allow enough time for your gown to be shipped, go through customs and get to you. The other issue you may run into with Chinese sellers on Ebay is measurements. They tend to run much smaller than what sizing in the US or Canada are so be sure to double check your measurements before you buy.
Finally, thrift stores can be a great place to find a secondhand wedding dress. Not all of them are filled with ugly 80’s gowns that should have probably been turned into a zombie bride costume. If after checking all online sources, you haven’t found one yet; start stalking your local thrift stores.