Many people have asked me about my wedding dress; what did I pick, where did I find it, how much did it cost? Well I really want to share because my wedding gown was my absolute dream gown, and how I got it is one of the things I'm most proud of from all of the things I did for our wedding (DIY projects included).
Every bride has a different budget. We definitely had a budget. To stay within that budget, we made some sacrifices: I had my cousin shoot our wedding video instead of having the 8 mm professional film done that I really wanted, I made some more affordable vendor choices, etc. And I did not want to spend a small fortune on my gown, even if I could afford to.
I found my dream dress right away. It was Melissa Sweet and it cost almost $5000. I was not willing to pay $5000 (although I am sure I would have, had I not found a way to find it more affordably). I am a girl who can justify spending $150 on jeans, buying a shirt at Anthropologie that would buy me 3 shirts somewhere else, and getting a pedicure two weeks in a row. But I couldn't justify $5000 for a wedding dress without at least trying to find a more affordable option first.
I went to two different bridal salons, and neither offered me much of a reduction. The lowest they would go was $4500 and that didn't include alterations or sales tax. I watched "Say Yes To The Dress" like every other bride, and I know things can be done, so I walked away. I started looking on the internet, looking into buying the dress used, and called around to other salons. In my internet research, I found several websites to find gowns used or discounted. I went through one called Bridepower, which is basically a wedding gown search service. You tell them what gown you are looking for and pay a $50 fee. If they don't find the gown, you get a refund. If they find and you purchase a gown, they keep the fee. The gowns are reduced up to 40% off retail, and are in great condition (most were never worn or used in any way).
So I signed up with Bridepower. And a couple of days later I received a call from Leslie, the owner, saying that she also owned a bridal salon in Boston called Vows where she sells sample gowns. She had found my gown in my size in her store in perfect condition. Since she found it in her store she told me I would not have to pay the $50 fee, the gown would be over 50% off, and I paid no sales tax! I paid $50 for shipping, but that was it. Leslie assured me that the gown was in excellent condition, but if once I got it I found that not to be the case, she would fully refund my money. It seemed too good to be true!
So I bought my dream gown and it was in perfect condition as promised. It needed very little alterations (I think I spent $300, but I also had a bustle added and boob pads sewn inside the lining because I didn't want to wear a bra). The total cost of my dream gown..... $1900! Flat. Done. Sold.
Lesson: a couple of weeks of waiting and internet research saved me over $3000 and got me my dream gown. No one else had worn it and it was in perfect condition. It didn't even need to be cleaned. And I loved it.
Every bride deserves her dream gown, but no one said you always have to pay retail to get it!