Now your dream becomes reality and you’ve gotten engaged and are beginning to plan the perfect day. Except when you do start, you soon realise that the reality is that funds are not endless and you have to work within a budget. That budget must cover so much, fees for rental of your ceremony and reception site, decorations, catering/food, bar, flowers, music, photography, video, marriage license, invitations, wedding rings, transportation, honeymoon, attendants, gifts, guest wedding favors, and a myriad of other miscellaneous costs. So how much is then left for your wedding attire, which could also include not only a dress for you, but your bridesmaids, flower girls and of course the men’s wear too.
Not many of us have the luxury of spending over £2000 on a designer dress and even if you could you might prefer to allocate less towards the dress and use a larger portion of your budget for a more elaborate honeymoon or reception party. Whether or not you are working to budget, everyone enjoys the feeling of accomplishment when locating and acquiring a bargain. These days it’s not so hard to come across a bargain with little effort. The best way to start is to have a look in some bridal shops. You may not have the intention of buying from them but you can certainly establish the style, size, and cut of the kind of dress you are going for.
Make notes of what kind of styles and colours you like the best. Sometimes you find a style in a magazine and when you try it on you find it isn’t really how you imagined and it doesn’t flatter your shape the way you expected. Bridal gown sizes can come up smaller than your usual size so the best thing to do is to go by your measurements and ask dressmakers for the bust, waist and hip sizes that make up the size in general. Some bridal shops don’t keep the manufacturers labels on and instead re-label and price with their own internal tagging system (many salons do this to avoid competitive shopping and price comparisons). The shop should tell you the name of the designer or manufacturer if you ask.
Once you have got an idea of the styles you like and the size you need, then you can begin searching for your gown and accessories. It’s best to purchase your dress before shopping for accessories. Certain elements of the dress will help you choose the best accessories to match.
When you start looking for a gown it is better to find a dress that either fits perfectly or is just a little bit big. Because of the delicate fabrics making alterations can be done easily if the dress needs “taking in” but to “let it out” can be quite tricky. Most gown designers always allow about an inch or slightly less for seem allowance. If a gown is very tricky to alter then this will reflect in the price of the alteration. So remember your dress budget needs to be for the dress itself and any alterations needed.
Bargain dresses can be found in a number of places. Some bridal shops will sell ex-show dresses at a cut price. Some of these gowns will have been modelled on the cat walk but may no longer be manufactured. Some dresses are available due to brides changing their minds and therefore forfeiting their deposits. Generally these kinds of dresses are almost new but can still be dry cleaned and altered for that perfect fit.
One of the best ways to bag a bargain is online via the internet. Internet shopping has reached record levels and it is great way to be connected to thousands of sellers and great offers. There are a number of good websites dedicated to selling bridal wear. Some sites host new dresses and some nearly new. Either way, because the sellers have no overheads in terms of premises and stock, they can sell you the same dress that a store will, for a fraction of the price.
Many local full service bridal shops are losing business to internet bridal retailers because they have difficulty competing with the deep discounts, therefore, you may have noticed paid articles in bridal magazines discouraging brides from purchasing gowns online. You will need to make your own mind up but ultimately if you want a bargain then online has to be a better choice.
The one thing to be careful with online is getting the size right. Make sure you ask for their guide to “how to measure” and ask them how they determine the sizes as you won’t get to try before you buy, this is very important. Once a dress is made to your requirements there will be no refunds. Buying online is becoming more popular and online stores are becoming more flexible in what they can offer. You can request samples of materials and if you have a picture of something you want or need some special beading just ask. Most online stores will be able to accommodate changes and alterations as the dresses are usually made after the order.
It is vitally important you order in time, especially if you are not ordering a standard dress. Most suppliers insist on 6 to 8 weeks. So bear that in mind when placing your order. Of course if you are happy to make changes and alterations using someone you have chosen then a last minute deal can be snapped up! Other ways to use internet searches to locate a bargain is by visiting sites like e-bay that have many second hand designer dresses at bargain prices. Which ever method you choose I know you will look drop dead gorgeous and you will find your dream dress without breaking the bank!
Buying your dress should be fun. Make sure you have a friend with you that knows you well enough to give you an honest opinion and remember if it is too much over your budget you are bound to find a similar dress elsewhere that has your name written all over it. Good luck and Happy Bargain Hunting!