It didn't take long for me to become shocked by the prices of everything I was shopping for as a bride. As someone who understands the prices of fabric and the process of production, I was appalled by the prices of everything in the bridal industry- from the dress to appliques to accessories.
I know I'm not the only person who has been shocked by the price tags on everything bridal. You may have found yourself asking how to get around these insane prices without sacrificing style. Well, I've figureing out a few tips and tricks for you! During our engagement and wedding planning, I got very creative, used by background knowledge and found 5 ways to cut costs on my bridal wear without sacrificing how I wanted to look.
After my experience as a bride, I am so passionate about helping other brides be aware of ways the industry is overcharging us.... and ways to get around this.
Take it from someone who spends a lot of her free time in the fabric section of craft stores. I understand the price of fabric, appliques, and the amount of work that goes into production.
Without further adieu..
Here are 5 ways you can cut costs on your bridal look ( + TWO bonuses!)
1. CLEARANCE RACK, LADIES
Yes. My wedding dress came off of a clearance rack. Holla! My dress was originally $2,600. It was on the clearance rack for $600. God bless the clearance section. (and hey if you're thinking, "wow you're cheap," .... yes I am because ya girl had a budget and a good deal is always a great move).
I know that many brides have reservations about the clearance section because they think it would be impossible to find the right dress with the limited selection. However, allow me to remind you that every dress can be customized and altered to your specific tastes. Here are two of the most common reservations brides have and how to get around it:
Clearance Concern #1 "Clearance rack dresses probably won't be the right size."
My dress was a 10 off the rack and I needed a 2 or 4. Alterations were obvious and I was nervous that the cost of the alterations would be too pricey. However, I learned that the cost of alterations is the same regardless of how many inches are involved. The price I paid to have my dress hemmed would have been the same if it was 5 inches or 1 inch. Keep this in mind that a drastic alterations typically costs the same as a slight alteration (in fact, its the tiny alterations that can become the trickiest).
Clearance Concern #2 "The dress won't be exactly what I want."
If you're worried that the dress won't be *exactly* right, remember that every dress can be "jacked up" (as they say on Say Yes to The Dress, lol). Get creative and remember that you can make simple changes by adding a belt, necklace, or a long veil. You can also make bigger changes by adding straps, sleeves, appliques, or by adding more volume to the skirt or adding a "ceremony skirt."
I added the belt to my dress in order to add a little more sparkle and create a defined waistline.
So, keep an open mind and don't be too shy of the clearance section!
Oh hey and here is BONUS #1
There are some brands in the wedding industry that I have fallen in live with and Anomalie is one of them.
Guys, I. love. this. brand. First off, everyone I have spoken with from Anomalie is so genuine, kind and compassionate. Second off, what they are doing to shake up the bridal industry (which is in desperate need of a shake up) is amazing!!
So what do they do? They create CUSTOM wedding dresses for brides at affordable and transparent pricing! A wedding dress that you helped design at a lower cost than bridal salons?! That is a true win-win! If this interests you, I definitely recommend checking them out!
The insanity that is the cost of veils blows. my. mind.
Y'all, the profit margin on veils is SO HIGH. Seriously, the bridal industry is making a killing off of something that has such a low production cost.
The materials needed to make a veil are: fabric (there are several different options), lace or whatever you want to outline the veil, and a hairpiece. That's it. All of these materials are extremely inexpensive.
On top of that, the production process could be categorized as a "beginner" project. If you're more interested in learning about the step-by-step process, click on the link here.
Knowing this, my jaw dropped when I saw the price of the veil I tried on at the bridal salon. It was insane.
So, instead of paying several hundred dollars on something that I knew cost about $25 to make, I went shopping on Etsy.
There, I found the same exact veil I tried on for only $70.
So heck yeah I bought my veil from Etsy, and so have thousands of other brides!
Trust me, the quality is no different, if not better, than a bridal store. Also, the sellers on Etsy provide so many options that you don't feel like you're sacrificing the look you want.
Several people have scoffed at me for buying a veil from Etsy as opposed to a bridal salon. But hey, if you wanna pay more for the same exact product, that's your call.
Here is where I bought my veil: VeilsbyRebecca
Here is where I bought my veil: VeilsbyRebecca
3. Adding a belt or other accessories/ appliques to your dress
Here is another thing that blew my mind, the price of adding a belt to your dress.
I actually bought a belt from the bridal store and immediately regretted it. I was kicking myself for spending $300 on something before shopping around first. So, I called and had the store cancel the order and got the money credited to my alterations. Then, I shopped on Etsy and Amazon for a beaded applique. I found a yard of beaded applique for $11 on Amazon (that looked exactly like the $300 belts from the store).
If you still think it's crazy, the seamstress herself said I was smart for buying the applique on amazon as opposed to her place of employment. During my last fitting, she sewed the applique on in 10 minutes and complimented how great it looked!
Y'all, there is not much difference between a bridal belt from Etsy/ Amazon and a bridal belt from the store other than the price.
If you still don't believe me, check out these bridal belt options from Etsy.
If you need help starting your search on Amazon, start here.
And this leads me to BONUS #2!
Happily Ever Borrowedreached out to me after seeing one of my posts about Anomalie!. Happily Ever Borrowed allows brides to borrow high end wedding accessories for their big day! I love what they're doing and had to share with future brides!
I'll just say this outright- I bought my earrings from amazon for $17. I got several compliments on them. Not a damn soul noticed that they were cheaper than bridal store earrings.
It's amazing to live in a time that "dupes" are trendy.
There were also fantastic options on Etsy!
To put it bluntly, no one really sees your shoes. Unless you have a strong emotional connection to buying a certain pair of shoes for your wedding day, I strongly suggest cutting costs here.
Most many brides are choosing function over form when it comes to the shoes they will wear on their wedding day. And I hopped right on that train. I wore a pair of old converse shoes that Camden had bought me years ago that was (unknowingly) part of his proposal.
Side note, here is an alteration tip. Consider this: if you wear heels for the ceremony and plan to wear flats for the reception, your hemline is going to be reflective of the heels & therefore make your dress too long when you're flat-footed. In other words, remember that you won't be wearing the heels all day and you don't want to be tripping over a dress that is too long once you switch shoes.
So there ya have it! Five ways (+ TWO bonuses) to cut costs on your bridal look!
Here are my last words, please do not feel like you need to spend a certain amount because you think "this is what I 'should' spend." That is how the wedding industry keeps turning such a high profit.
You do not need to break your bank to look beautiful on your wedding day. That is a consumerism lie we've been fed.
Take it from the girl who wore a clearance rack dress, old converses, an Etsy veil, and amazon accessories and still looked pretty damn good if I say so myself.