You've scoured every bridal boutique in town and still haven't found the right dress. Between making appointments, getting bossed around by salespeople...it's not ending up to be the dress experience of your dreams. We've compiled some unexpected places to find a bridal gown that will blow your mind and not your budget!
Dreams of a designer gown don't have to die!
Consider A Used Gown
It's only been worn once! This is a great way to wear Vera Wang without the price tag of a new dress. However, take into account that if you buy a used dress, it almost certainly will have been altered. If you can, try the dress on before buying it. However, if you use a site like Once Wed, that will likely be impossible. Get as many measurements as you can, and base your decision on your largest measurement––anything else can be taken in by a seamstress. It's also not a bad idea to take photos of the dress to a trusted seamstress and get her input on how difficult alterations would be. For example, dresses that are made entirely lace, particularly patterned lace, are sometimes difficult to alter.
Check Out Off-The-Rack Styles
So many big-box retailers have released bridal lines that are absolutely stunning. Most offer online shipping and returns, too! Ann Taylor, J. Crew, or Nordstrom are great options. BHLDN, Anthropologie's wedding line, has some truly stunning options, but some carry a hefty price tag. White House Black Market even has some bridesmaid dresses that might work as a bridal gown!
Speaking Of Bridesmaid Dresses...
Bridesmaid dresses come in every style under the sun––and every color, too. This includes white, ivory, champagne, and blush! Though a bridal salon likely won't steer you in this direction, it's worth checking out the selection. If you're having a more formal wedding, look at the floor-length options and remember that you can dress it up with a sash or veil.
Find your dress right along with your 'maids!
Don't Forget About Etsy!
If you're brave and have plenty of time before your wedding, Etsy can be a great option for a dress that's unique or vintage. If you choose a dress that will be custom-made, be sure to get measured by a bridal shop. They will likely measure you for free, and you'll be certain that the designer making your dress gets the measurements she needs. Remember to look at lots of pictures and read reviews––this is the best way to ensure that you'll have a positive experience. However, a custom-made dress doesn't meant you won't need alterations. Be sure to budget enough time to take your dress to a local seamstress if need be. This Carrie Bradshaw-inspired dress is enough to make me press "Add to Cart!"
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