Frugal Wedding Tips: How To Afford The Wedding (Dress) Of Your Dreams

When you dream about what you want your wedding to look like, does your dress take centre stage? It’s only natural! Your dress is the first thing your groom and guests will notice when you set foot on the aisle. It’s the reason for the dropped jaws and audible gasps.

wedding dress

Photo by Leah Kelly bride with bouquet

Seeing the blushing bride in the dress of her dreams is one of the most memorable moments for your guests and, of course, your husband to be. Your dream dress is a big part of your dream wedding.

But there’s a catch. Wedding dresses come with a hefty price tag.

Wedding costs pile up quickly. But there’s no need to go into debt for your dream wedding! You can host a frugal yet beautiful wedding, and you won’t have to ditch the dress of your dreams to do so. We’ve got all the tips and tricks to get the wedding dress you’ve always wanted without forking out the big bucks.

Try before you buy

There’s no doubt you already have an idea of what you want your dress to look like. However, you can never truly know what’s right for you until you try it.

wedding dress

Photo by Sandro Crepulja Newlywed Couple

Take a day out to peruse bridal stores. There is no obligation to purchase a dress, but this gives you the opportunity to try many different shapes and styles (and have fun doing it!). This activity helps you see what’s out there, either affirming your original dress design or expanding your options.

Knowing what suits opens the doors to cost-effective purchasing mediums such as online retailers and sample sales.

Repurpose a vintage dress

The world is full of pre-loved wedding dresses looking for a new home. Whether you love them as they are or you want to reuse the fabric, vintage wedding dresses are huge cost savers.

vintage wedding dress

Photo by Vavaleyli Vintage Wedding Dress

Why spend your savings on a brand new dress when you can purchase one that’s only been worn once? Vintage wedding dresses are a great way to acquire luxury fabrics that you’d never afford brand new.

Perhaps your mum or grandma will let you alter their dress – there’s your ‘something old’ taken care of. Modernising a vintage dress is a quick job for a designer, significantly reducing the overall cost of your dream dress.

Rent a dress

Yes, it’s true, you can rent a wedding dress. Anyone who has ever been a bride understands the importance of finding the dream dress. Most of these past brides also understand the costs involved.

lace wedding dress

Photo by Emma Bauso Dream Wedding Dress

Hence, the creation of rental services. Renting a dress means you don’t have to ditch the designer pieces. You don’t have to settle for anything less than the best. If you’re ok with the idea of handing it back when your big day is over, renting a wedding dress might be the perfect option for you.

Check out a sample sale

Sample wedding dresses give you a brand new, exquisite dress at a fraction of the cost. Sample dresses are simply a designer’s first attempt at making a dress worth selling. Consider them practice runs that are too good to throw out.

wedding dress

Photo by Leah Kelly Lace Wedding Dress

Finding a sample dress that you love is like finding treasure. You’ll fall in love with both the dress and the price, and walk away feeling very good about yourself. Even if your dress needs a slight alteration here and there, you’ll still save money on a sample dress.

So, keep your eye out for sample sales in your area. The best way to do this is to join the mailing lists of bridal stores close by and get notified of upcoming sales as soon as they’re announced.

Buy online

If there’s ever been a way to access unlimited wedding dress styles, fabrics, and accessories, it’s on the internet.


Photo by Daria Obymaha Newlyweds

You’ve been to the stores, you’ve tried a selection of dresses, you know what works - so, what’s stopping you from purchasing the perfect dress from an online retailer?

Online retailers have significantly fewer overheads than brick and mortar stores, making their stock far less pricey. Find reputable stores by heading to an online forum and asking other brides about their experiences with particular sites.

If you can’t verify a website’s reputation, steer clear! While there are plenty of great online retailers out there, there are also plenty to avoid. Ultimately, buying a dress online has great saving potential, and we’re lucky to live in a time when this option is available to us.

Add your own intricate details

The more intricate your dress is, the more it will cost. Details require more time from the designer, resulting in a higher charge whether your dress is custom-made or off-the-rack.

wedding dress

Photo by Rene Rasmussen Beaded Wedding Dress

Beading and appliques are not expensive to purchase, but their application comes at a high cost.

If you have your heart set on intricate details, you could save some serious cash by adding these yourself. All you need are the right supplies, a fail-proof guide, and a steady hand. As long as you’re careful with your stitching, you can rectify mistakes along the way.

No bride should have to give up on her dream dress. Take your time, think outside the square, and you’ll get your hands on the dress you’ve always wanted.


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