You don’t need me to tell you that the cost of a wedding can very quickly spiral out of control. Even the most money savvy brides can struggle to make their budget stretch to cover everything they want and need, and so many couples are left with big debts hanging over their heads once the day is over.
According to The Telegraph, the average wedding dress costs a whopping £1,209, and whichever way you look at it, that’s a shocking amount of money to spend on an item that you’re almost definitely only going to wear once.
So here’s the dilemma… You want to look good on your wedding day. Of course you do. But if you want to make your cash go further, it makes sense to consider how you might be able to grab a bargain when it comes to your dress. Listen… This absolutely IS possible! You can feel like a million quid, even on a lemonade budget. You just need to know where to look.
Here are four practical ways to find gorgeous wedding dresses for less than £100…
CHECK OUT AUCTIONS ON EBAY
There are tons of brides who try to claw back a bit of the cash they spent on their wedding day by selling their dresses on eBay. They’ve been worn literally just once, and you can often find designer pieces for a tiny fraction of what they would have previously cost.
Look out for listings that have plenty of photos so you can get a real feel for what the dress is like and its condition, and don’t be scared to ask questions if there’s anything that you’re not sure about. It’s perfectly acceptable, for example, to ask the seller to provide you with measurements.
You may need to pay for a few alterations when the dress arrives, so make sure that you leave plenty of time to get that sorted out. Still though, the overall cost can be much, much lower than buying brand new. Looking for some extra inspiration? Check out InStyle’s guide to buying your dream wedding dress on eBay.
DON’T OVERLOOK HIGH STREET STORES
Just because a dress isn’t specifically marketed as being a wedding dress, it doesn’t mean that you can’t wear it on your big day. In fact, all it really means is that you’ll pay significantly less than you would for dresses that are targeted at brides. Instead of heading down to that bridal boutique, take a look around the high street.
Stores like M&S, Coast, and Debenhams have a ton of beautiful dresses that you can pick up for less than £100 that are stylish, sophisticated, and that you can pick up straightaway without any fuss. When you take this route, it’s also much more likely that you’ll be investing in something that you really can wear again at some point in the future. It could be the perfect choice for an anniversary celebration a year or two down the line!
VISIT YOUR LOCAL CHARITY SHOPS
Think that charity shops are crammed full of dusty old outcasts that no one in their right minds would wear to a special occasion – let alone what’s arguably the most important day of their lives? Think again. Many thrifty brides head to charity shops to find their dream dress, and you might be very pleasantly surprised.
In a lot of cases, you’ll pay next to nothing, and there’ll be a very wide range of styles, eras, and sizes to choose from. It’s just a case of being willing to hunt around and take a good look through all the racks. Remember that the volunteers are there to help, so feel free to ask if they have anything in the stock room that might fit your requirements.
Some charity shops even have their very own vintage sections that are carefully curated by in-house experts who know how to spot the really special pieces. Oxfam in particular is known for doing this well, and their wedding sections can be stuffed full of complete gems.
HEAD TO SAMPLE SALES
Bridal boutiques update their ranges regularly, and there’s often simply not enough room in the stock room to hang on to older lines. This is where sample sales come in. Plenty of shops run these a couple of times per year, and it’s your opportunity to buy off-the-peg gorgeous wedding dresses for a fraction of their recommended retail price.
To make the most of these sales, arrive early. The best bargains are snapped up straightaway, so now isn’t the time to be a shrinking violet and let another bride pip you to the post! You never know… You might just find that an expensive piece that you’d previously considered has been discounted, and is ready and waiting for you.
A FEW FINAL THOUGHTS ON GORGEOUS WEDDING DRESSES ON A BUDGET…
At the end of the day, the only person who’ll know exactly how much money you spent on your dress is you. And anyone else you choose to tell, of course. You absolutely can look amazing without splashing a ridiculous amount of cash, and making a decision like this frees up some of your budget to take care of the other things that are on your list.
Have you managed to find gorgeous wedding dresses that cost much less than you imagined? And what will you be doing to keep the cost of your outfit down?