How to shop for a wedding dresses on a budget without getting overwhelmed?

posted 2 years ago in Dress
Post # 2
2428 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

You can call up some salons in your area and let them know your budget over the phone, and ask if they have a big selection in that price range. That way you’ll know if it’s worth your time, and theirs, and still get that bridal shopping experience!

David’s Bridal also has really affordable dresses.

Post # 3
3195 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010


Order online from David’s Bridal.

Post # 4
293 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I just went to David’s Bridal just to try on dresses so I knew how they fit before I went to a boutique type of place. I didn’t think I would find “my dress” at David’s but I found one that I loved for $549. 

If you tell them that your budget is $700 they should show you dresses  within your budget. I can’t speak for all bridal shops but I know David’s did.

Post # 5
7531 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

jelly3:  I second what ChristinaC598:  said.   I bought my daughter a Maggie Sottero and then she ended up wearing a Davids Bridal gown, (that looked ugly on their model), lol and looked sooo MUCH better on my daughter 😉 Plus, even if you don’t like anything at Davids Bridal, you’ll have an idea of what types of gowns you do like on yourself.  Schedule at Davids first, and have at least a second appointment at another salon already scheduled, that way, even if you have a bad experience at Davids Bridal, you can look forward to the other appointment.  And if you find something at Davids you like, and you have a positive experience there, you can cancel the other appointment.  Good luck!  Have fun!!!

Post # 6
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

jelly3:  go to bridal salons that have new gowns that are just above your price point, and try on those gowns. when you find a dress you like, look for the gown on tradesy or preownedweddingdresses. You should be able to get a great deal for a new or almost new gown! Some brands to keep your eyes peeled for are Allure, wtoo, bhldn, alfred Angelo, Michelangelo and forever yours. 

Post # 7
249 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015


jelly3:  When I went dress shopping I told the sales girl that I wanted to spend under $1000.  The store we went to had there dresses separated by silhouette so my sisters and I basically went to the silhouette I was interested in and just pulled out the dresses that were under $1000 and chose from there.  I chose a dress that was $770, but I remember seeing dresses under $700 as well.  You should find shops that carry the more affordable brands like Mori Lee or Alfred Angelo.

Post # 8
462 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I can tell you what not to do. Do not buy a dress just because of the price or you may end up hating it and having to buy another one – spending even more money. Be careful and take your time. Also, I do not recommend buying preowned online unless you have tried the dress on before. I made both of these mistakes and regretted it. I got it right on the 4th dress.

Post # 9
19 posts

I went into a more expensive Boutique, by myself, the first time I went looking at dresses.  I didn’t consider the prices, just wanted to get a sense of what was out there and what looked good on me.  Of course, I fell in love with a dress well beyond what I could afford.  After a while, when I realized I would never find it at a price I could afford, I took my sister and we went shopping at a sample sale.  I found a dress in the same silhouette as the previous one, for $400.  I was tickled!  I was able to let go of the idea of the first dress….the key is to find a silhouette you love, then shop within your budget.

Post # 10
20 posts
  • Wedding: St. Paul, MN

I was in the same boat as you–I would suggest keep looking at or You at least have a good amount of time to keep checking online (I checked pretty much everyday). I ended up finding a Pronovias dress on oncewed that was never altered/worn at an AWESOME discount–like $1k cheaper. I went to a boutique to try on Pronovias dresses to get an idea of size and style, and decided to go for it.

I don’t think trying on dresses at a boutique to start getting ideas is a bad thing. You are paying for (most likely) the most expensive piece of clothing in your life.

Post # 11
2106 posts
Buzzing bee


I never recommend buying online if you can help it, if it is your last resort so be it. I know some people have good experiences but I have heard way too many horror stories to ever recommend it. I work in a small boutique and we carry a wide range of prices. Call around to local stores near you and inquire about their stock, also see if any trunk shows or sample sales are going on near you.

Understand what styles you want and make sure they are attainable for your budget. Obsvious wanting lace or anything with heavy beading automatically shoots you up near the $1000 range and beyond, it can be done in your budget as long as your are not unrealistic about what you want don’t be a bride that suffers from champagne taste on a beer budget.

That being said your budget is completely reasonable and you can get a legitimate designer wedding gown for under $1000. I want to recommend some brands for you too look at that will have designs under, and around your budget.

Mori Lee Bridal: The Voyage & Blu Collections (these are the two most affordable collections)

The Voyage collection especially I have never seen anything from this collection over $850

Da Vinci Bridal (mixed range but they do have many dresses under $1000)

Mary’s Bridal: The Moda Bella & Informal Collection (these are the two most affordable collections)

Venus Bridal (similar to Da Vinci it is mixed range but have many under $1000)

You could always buy a formal bridesmaids dress as well, many come in white and ivory. We actually sell some of the Mori Lee lace dresses as inexpensive wedding gowns. 

Mori Lee BM

Watters & Wtoo BM

Jim Hjelm BM

Hope this helps!



Post # 12
73 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2013 - Tuscan Farmhouse

You can definitely find a lovely dress in your budget. I know of stores that specialize in new and sample gowns from last season and beyond ‘off the rack’ and heavily discounted. Use google or other search, oncewed and preownedweddingdresses sites to find them. Don’t get overwhelmed before you start!

Post # 13
612 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

llussier:  You are freaking brilliant.  As a bride who was looking for something decidedly “un-bridal” for her reception dress (and with no train I’d need to pay to cut off!), you could have saved me about $900 had I just bought a bridesmaid dress in white or ivory for $250.

After looking at those Mori Lee’s I’m seriously considering returning my dress to the designer’s store and using the store credit for other clothing.

Post # 14
2106 posts
Buzzing bee


We are getting this one in ivory for the store and I am so excited! Its gorgeous and I think its around $250-ish

Post # 15
418 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I upped my budget to avoid making the process miserable.  I decided that it was important enough that I felt comfortable with 1000s of photos being taken and comfortable temperature-wise (It’s a July wedding an I orginally bought a $200 consignment dress in satin.  It’s gorgeous.  Pronovias.  Never worn, but about 8 lbs of satin).

So I went in resigned to spend up to $1500 including alterations.  I knew it would involve some sacrifices, but ultimately I knew that it would be worth it to not hate the way I looked on my wedding day.  Fortunately I found a sample for $850 and didn’t need the budget, but it was nice to know that I wasn’t so limited by budget.  

I guess my tip is to look for samples.  Don’t buy consignment online if you’re a tough fit.  You may end up wasting money on dresses that you can’t wear.


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