You might not believe it (*cough*) but weddings can sometimes be expensive! And by far one of the single most expensive items can be the wedding dress – and if you’re a same-sex couple looking for two wedding dresses… well you can see where I’m going. I mean, who needs that beautiful black-truffle Dahl entrée? Maybe your guests will be fine with a sharing a bargain bucket of chicken nuggets…
But don’t fret just yet! We’ve got a list of simple tips so you can keep on top of your wedding-dress shopping and find the perfect outfit without breaking the bank (or your spirit):
1. Plan, plan & plan some more
You’ll find this is a common theme with a most of our tips, but: planning is absolutely crucial. Plan ahead – like way, way ahead. Finding your perfect wedding dress can take a lot of time, and even once you’ve found the one, you’ve still got at least a couple of rounds of fittings to get through. Planning ahead of time can save you headaches & heartache galore.
2. Trust the professionals
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the same story: bride sets their sights on a gorgeous dress from a magazine, hunts it down (or something very similar), and the stylist/shop owner/assistant suggests something that they never would have glanced at (or even makes their nose wrinkle). Then they try on the dress and voila! It’s perfect. Trust these people! They’ve been doing their job even longer than you’ve been searching for the dress (which may feel like an eternity already), and if they’re any good at what they do, they’ll know what works for you.
3. Expect the unexpected
This is a kind-of extension of the first point, but when you’re (hopefully) planning long-term, all kinds of things can pop up that may require you to make some minor detours; for example, your body shape may change due to unexpected or unplanned events; or maybe you’ve been trying for a baby and all of a sudden you have a lovely bump.
Planning is great, but always give yourself some wriggle room (especially in a form-fitting dress!)
4. Don’t discount it just yet…
Despite what I said in Point #2, sometimes that perfect designer dress you’ve seen in a magazine is the only thing that will possibly do (although I do recommend you exhaust other alternatives first!).
If you absolutely positively simply cannot do without that Vera Wang, then go find it. Depending on the bridal boutiques nearby and the availability of The Dream Dress, you might have to do some travelling. Once you’ve tried it on, put a pin in it. There are literally dozens of resources online for finding designer dresses at a discount (and we list some of the best ones here!). If you can find an eBay listing or Gumtree post of The Dream Dress, even if it’s not exactly in your size, then you might find it’s at a significant discount, and dressmakers can always adjust your dress to fit (within reasonable limits, natch).
One key thing to note here is that if the dress is a recent edition to a designer’s line (either the current season or last season) then you may struggle to find it at a significant discount because it’s unlikely that any smaller or discount stores that pick up stock overflow will have it yet; and very few brides will have already worn it and put it up for sale.
Whatever you decide to do, the key takeaways should be to look around extensively and exhaust all of your options first – and don’t settle! Find the dress that’s perfect for you.