(Closed) I need Wedding Dress Buying 101.

posted 6 years ago in Dress
Post # 3
602 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Firstly I got my dress from a boutique, I don’t want to put the price on here but it was 4 figures (GBP), the alterations were about 10% of the price.

But – one of my friends got married and bought a lovely off the peg dress from a department store for a few hundred pounds.  She went to a high street seamstress and got it altered cheaply.  I think it depends how many alterations you need.

It depends on your look as well – I’ve listed what I needed for my outfit (hope this helps):





cloak (photos outside weddings in march and I live in Scotland lol)






makeup (I’m doing my own because I’m picky)

You could go for a nice retro look and get your dress made to measure – I’ve put the link to a lovely store in the UK below – I’ve ordered from them before and they’re not too expensive. 


 They do cute wee coloured boleros which could match your shoes or bridesmaids.  Just an idea – they’re making my going away dress πŸ™‚

Can you make your something borrowed your jewellery to save cash?  It’s all so expensive.  We’re having to re-budget every 5 minutes.

Good luck

Post # 4
1217 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I bought my dress at a boutique too but I have researched the subject a lot, because I REALLY wanted a designer dress so I almost bought it used off preownedweddingdresses.com. If you don’t wear a lot of dresses, then I think you should try on dresses in person rather than start out by shopping online. 

There’s a lot of ways to find cheap dresses!

1) Craigslist

2) Online: eBay, preownedweddingdresses.com, oncewed.com, recycledbride.com, the Weddingbee classifieds, etc.

3) Regular stores – like J. Crew and Anne Taylor – sell wedding dresses now for <$500. J. Crew’s are gorgeous and go on sale often. http://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/weddingsandparties/forthebride.jsp?navLoc=left_nav’ defer=’defer (The Arabelle gown is gorgeous and could be hemmed to be tea-length, and is on sale now for $450.)

4) Wedding stores – there ARE some stores that sell dresses for $300 or less! Do a Google search for wedding stores in your area. Also, most bridal shops sell “sample dresses” that are the ones people try on in the store. Sometimes they are a little dirty or may have a tear, but they can be cleaned & altered for still much cheaper than the dress would’ve cost originally! One of my BMs bought her wedding dress that was a sample at David’s Bridal for $200.

5) Thrift stores and consignment stores. Here in Houston there are two wedding-specific consignment stores that sell used wedding dresses. I’ve seen a couple cute dresses at Goodwill, too.

I don’t think there’s any advantages to buying from a store, other than being able to try on the dress in-person, and being able to return it if you don’t like it.

Fittings and alterations depend on the seamstress (there are cheap seamstresses out there, and there are definitely expensive ones – ask around for recommendations! You can even ask older women you work with about where they get their clothes hemmed). They could be $100 or they could be $800. But you may not need them, you never know if you’ll find a dress that’ll fit you pretty snuggly. My dress hardly needed any alterations!

The reason why some people buy their dresses early is that if you order a dress from a bridal shop (not buy the sample dress, which you can usually take home the day you see it at the store, but if you want to order a new one), it can take the manufacturer a long time to make it – I ordered a dress in my size, and it took Allure (the designer) 5 months to make the dress and mail it to me. BUT, unless you plan to order a new dress from a bridal shop, you don’t need to worry about time right now… you’ve got some time to spare.

DON’T buy a dress in your dream size, buy a dress in your true size. If you need to alter it, that’s fine! Also, dresses with corset backs (as opposed to zip-up or button-up backs) are much more easy to adjust if you lose weight, since you just tighten the ties.

And regarding accessories… There’s no rule of thumb that works for everybody! Unlike the previous person, I am not wearing a tiara or many accessories… I am wearing heels, earrings, a veil, and nude-colored lace underwear, and that’s it. I’m not even wearing a bra, since my dress has a low back. I bought my earrings for $22 online, my heels off eBay, and my veil from another bee on Weddingbee. My underwear are just regular from Target, they were like $4. I’m keeping it cheap!

I hope that helps! Let me know if you need any other advice!

Post # 6
4439 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

I got my dress at a boutique and I don’t really think there were any advantages that aren’t obvious – I got personalized service and a personal shopper to look around the racks for me.  If you’re going to buy use I would HIGHLY suggest trying on dresses at a boutique and then whichever you pick looking for that used.  Don’t just pick a dress you think will look good and then buy it used.  You could waste more money that way (you know when you give in and start looking for another dress!) than you saved. 

I wish I had bought used, I didn’t know at the time of buying my dress that it was so popular and readily available used for much less than I paid.  But ooooh wellllll….

Definitely don’t buy your veil or jewelry at a boutique, there’s yet another rip off.  I got all of mine on Ebay and they’re just as nice if not nicer!  Just be wary of rip-off sellers!

I’d plan on $200 for alterations, but it depends on a LOT of things.  I bought shoes so that I didn’t have to shorten my dress because I didn’t want to take on that expense.  Then depending on how elabroate the train (if applicable) my seamstress charged $10 per loop she had to do to bustle it with so I’m probably looking at $70-$100.  Then sewing in bra cups was $15.

Other than that my only advise is to REALLY look at the dress.  I didn’t pay attention to the train because I was all like “omg i look awesome in this” fast forward to when my dress came in and I’m thinking “where in the hell did all that fabric come from?!”  and it’s a p-in the -a to bustle.  *le sigh*

The knot classifieds is also great for used wedding dresses.

BEST OF LUCK!!!!!!!!!!! HAVE FUN!!!  And post pics when you buy it πŸ™‚

Post # 7
1217 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@mchitt329:  Great advice!

And I just thought of one more thing!! In case you didn’t know this yet. Wedding dress sizes are MUCH SMALLER than street sizes – you may be a size 4 in regular clothes but be a size 10 wedding dress! And every designer is different. I am a 4 in real life and a size 6 in my Allure dress, so it wasn’t too far off from my real size, but I’ve heard other brides are all over the place. So you should definitely go to a shop to get measured – you need your height, waist, hips, and chest, at a minimum – and that’ll help you out when you’re looking to buy dresses online. When brides resell their dresses they usually tell you the length of the dress, and then they tell you their height in heels. Make sure you factor in what your own height will be if you wear heels. My brand-new dress came the generic length, and I am tall (5’8″) and will be wearing 4″ heels, so my dress did not need to be altered – but I couldn’t buy used dresses from anyone shorter than that.

Post # 8
4439 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

@MsVoyageur:  You too, I REALLY agree about not buying your dress in a dream size, that’s setting yourself up for a disaster.


Especially me – wedding right after Christmas, LOL πŸ˜€


On that same note, if you think you’re going to fluctuate weight at all, corsets work WONDERS!!!!!

Post # 9
1217 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@mchitt329:  Lol!!! I eat soooo badly during the holidays!!! Our wedding is a mere weeks before Thanksgiving and Christmas, I lucked out πŸ™‚

Post # 10
467 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I originally was going for a vintage, tea-length dress and a friend alerted me to this site: http://dollycouture.com/ They have really cute dresses at very affordable prices, I thought.

Post # 11
4352 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

If you buy used, make sure you do your homework on the dress. Ask a lot of questions to get an idea of the condition (especially if you can’t see the dress before you pay for it) since it could have stains, rips, beading losses ect. Also ask a lot of questions to get an idea of how it will fit you (make sure all of the measurements match or are larger than yours, how has it been altered ect. Make sure you know how the dress has been stored (smoking/nonsmoking home, pets/not pets, in a box/hung, cleaned/not ect.) since this will affect the condition of the dress and how old it appears (it can look brand new and be a decade old or it can look really old and discolored if it was heavily used but not cleaned). If you want an incredibly long list of questions to ask sellers about their used dress, pm me and I’ll send it to you. I bought my dress used and had a great experience. Also I second PP suggestions about trying a dress on in stores first before buying it used. If you cant try on that specific dress than try on similar styles by the same designer.

Post # 12
1876 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Trying getting a Bridesmaid dress in white!! they are many many beautiful options!

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