How to Score a Discount on an Expensive Wedding Dress

Amanda Garland

The average cost of a wedding dress is a whopping $1600. That's a bit insane.

Just think of all the other things you could do with $1600. Start a college fund, pay off debt, take a vacation, buy a flamethrower...

Whatever you are into, there is probably a much better use for $1600 than a dress you will only wear once.

So, how can you save a few bucks on the cost of a wedding dress?

Off rack/floor sample - Save up to 50%

When you custom order anything, be prepared to spend a good chunk of change. The good news is that you don't have to custom-order a wedding dress. There are plenty of perfectly good dresses already sitting on the rack.

These off rack or floor sample dresses are the ones that other women have likely tried on before ordering their custom dresses. When that particular dress is no longer available to order, the dress gets put on the rack to be sold.

Since these dresses are sold as is, with no alterations, you can usually get them at a significant markdown of up to 50% off.

Shop during sales season - Save up to 80%

You can save money buying a Christmas tree in January or buying a bathing suit in October. The same applies to wedding dresses.

The sale season for wedding dresses happens twice a year, in the winter and in the summer. This is when designers are coming out with their new styles for the season and the old ones must go.

When a retailer is trying to free up room and clear out old stock, the consumer benefits. Buying a wedding dressing during the sales season could save you up to 80% off the sticker price.

Discount Store - Spend less than $1000

There are discount stores for everything, including wedding dresses.

The dresses at these discount stores are perfectly fine. Perhaps they are there because the dress is out of season, the designer is in decline, or a bridal shop went out of business.

You can often get this dresses at a substantial discount, with the majority selling for less than $1000 regardless of what the original sticker price was.

But be careful. These dresses are sold as is. So you'll want to be on the lookout for stains, tears, and other flaws.

Shop a Regular Store - Spend Less than $300

Did you know that Macy's sells wedding dresses?

Well they do. And so do a lot of other clothing and department stores.

You don't have to buy your wedding dress at a bridal shop. In fact skipping the bridal shop and buying at a regular clothing store could save you a bunch of money.

Buy a Regular Dress - Spend Less than $100

Who says that you have to buy a "wedding" dress. When you put the word "wedding" in front of anything, the price seems to shoot up. Wedding photography, wedding flowers, wedding gift, etc.

There are no hard set rules on what a wedding dress needs to look like (though there may be some cultural ones).

So instead of throwing away hundreds or thousands on a wedding dress , hit up your local clothing store to buy a regular dress.

Check the summer dresses for something light and airy. Or the business attire section for something more sophisticated. You could even buy a nice dress from the formal wear or prom wear section.

Secondhand/Hand Me Down

Some wedding dresses stay in a family for years. Why not hand down your wedding dress to your daughter, after all you spent a fortune on it.

But some families don't have anyone to hand there dress down to. So off to the garage sale it goes. These once used, or sometimes never used, dresses sell for pennies on the dollar. You could end up scoring a designer dress for $60 bucks.

You can find lightly used wedding dresses on Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, or PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com.

Just remember the whole As Is bit, and carefully scrutinize the dress.

And if you are superstitious at all, you should probably steer clear of secondhand. Who wants the bad juju of a nasty divorce hanging over their wedding dress.

Rent a Dress

Most of the men in your bridal party will likely be wearing a rented tux, so why not go that route yourself.

You are only ever wearing the dress once. So why not have your few hours of fun in the dress and the return it to the shop so someone else can have theirs.

Compared to full sticker price, the small rental fee, deposit, and alterations will be small potatoes.

Donate Your Dress

If you've spent full price on your wedding dress, there is still a way to save money after the fact. And it doesn't involve having to hop on craigslist to sell your dress for pennies on the dollar.

Instead, look at donating the dress to charity. There are several charities, like Brides Against Breast Cancer, that specialize in lightly used wedding dresses. They take the donations and then resell the dresses at a discount to raise money for cancer research.

Not only will donating your dress give you a warm fuzzy feeling, the 501c will help you to write of the cost of the dress (value of your donation) come tax time. Though doing so might require you to itemize your taxes.

It Is Your Day - Wear What You Want

It is your big day. Wear the dress that you want to. And anyone who gets offended at your discount choice can either keep their mouth shut or stay home.

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A Texan and new mom, writing about things I am most passionate about; personal finance, parenting, and the events that shape Texas.

Dallas, TX
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