What To Do When You Can’t Afford THE Dress

It’s no secret that I made a huge mistake letting my fiance pick a dress out of the catalog for me to try on. Of course, we both fell in love with a dress nearly triple my intended budget. That’s rule #1: Don’t try on a dress that’s over budget. Just don’t. I left the bridal store on a mission to find an equally awesome dress within my budget. After browsing 50k plus dresses, I concluded the dress couldn’t be topped. We decided to go ahead with the over budget one and figure it out later. Instead of upping our total budget, I am cutting corners from other places in the budget.

The bustier for under the dress runs $60 from David’s Bridal, but I found the same one in my size at the local thrift store for $2. The petticoat is the same story. I had planned on renting diamond jewelry from adorn.com for $200-300, but found a set in my accent stone/colors on etsy.com for $27 including shipping.

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So, tip #2 is to shop small. Check thrift stores for things like shoes, petticoats and even veils. Hit up artisans for unique and affordable jewelry and accessories. I bought some plain white garters and I am going to dye them to match my colors, saving me $30. I decided to do my own makeup for a $60 savings (minus some time doing research). I am also going to make my own wedding cake, saving us a minimum of $300, but most likely closer to $800. Tip #3 is to use your strengths. I’m a good baker, so it’s no stretch for me to bake my own cake. Besides, I’ve done it before!


Just with those changes we had saved enough to cover the extra dress cost, but we took it a little further, deciding against a formal reception at a restaurant. We’ll grill meat we hunted ourselves, serve beer we brewed and vegetables we grew. It’ll mean our guests are saved an hour long commute to our reception location. Since we don’t like to dance, we’ll have yard games to play and other activities. I also decided to buy bales of hay for seating, so we don’t have to worry about returning rentals and the wildlife will appreciate the leftovers. I’m starting to get excited now that we have a few details worked out!

So tip #4: Use things you already have or can make. We have a great ceremony location, so why leave it? I have so many bra and panty sets that I’ve never worn, so why not set aside a set for the honeymoon instead of buying more?

~ by accordingtoleanne on December 19, 2013.

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