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Budget Wedding Dresses


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

When I posted about budget wedding dresses last week, your response floored me. You girls are thrifty geniuses! Thank you to all of you who shared ideas with each other, or emailed me pictures of your stunning and affordable wedding gowns. I thought I’d post a roundup of some of the dresses that blew me out of the water. I hope it gives us all new ideas, and the feeling that affordable dresses are awesome dresses. (and, as an aside, if you are spending more then this on your dress you have no need to feel guilty. I’m not this thrifty either.)
Budget Wedding Dresses | A Practical WeddingThis dress almost made my head explode! It is a Melissa Sweet bridesmaid dress, it comes in white (if you want traditional. It would be stunning in black too, if you ask me). According to a commenter runs about $299! Whhhaaaa?
Budget Wedding Dresses | A Practical WeddingOr how about this sassy Melissa Sweet bridesmaid dress? What do you think they would charge if it was in the wedding dress section? Probably 10 times as much. Literally.
Budget Wedding Dresses | A Practical WeddingBlogger Guilty Secret’s wedding dress rocks my socks off. Not froofy, not fluffy, just simple and stunning. And what is it? Ah, yes, a bridesmaid’s dress in white.
Budget Wedding Dresses | A Practical WeddingHere is blogger Marie-Eve rocking a Target dress she got on sale for $65! She said, “Obviously I would have been ready to pay more, but after this why would I?”
Budget Wedding Dresses | A Practical WeddingReader Elizabeth rocked a full scale traditional dress she fell in love with at $1700 and couldn’t afford… until she found it on ebay for $150.
Budget Wedding Dresses | A Practical WeddingAnd how about this Jenny Yoo bridesmaid dress? So simple and chic, and in the $300-$400 price range.
Budget Wedding Dresses | A Practical WeddingAnd I’m just throwing this BCBG dress in because I like it… and it’s $398 (why? Because the word wedding isn’t in the description of the dress)

And that list doesn’t even cover those of you who wrote in with pictures of dresses that you’d scored for pennies preownedweddingdresses.com, or bought from a sample sale. Keep those stories coming, and I’ll keep sharing them.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07382314733862881357 (wife.)

    ooohh, I am *totally* in love with the BCBG one, with the illusion V. So pretty!!! Thanks for the great post – everyone looks amazing and very “expensive” (I mean that in the cleanest way possible!).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12633056996927758780 Amanda

    I’m also a huge fan of Nordstroms’ online wedding shop. Great designers, most under $500, and if you get the dress and it doesn’t work, you can always exchange/return it. It’s where I bought my casual sheath gown for my beach ceremony. I couldn’t be happier!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00887181391107365136 Jibi

    I feel compelled to brag about my own find! Mine is a M Christopher creamy silky dream, orig price 3000, paid 140 bucks on Ebay. It’s a sample of course, but good as new after cleaning and pressing.

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_EjY3F4umMfs/SKcAAKT9pwI/AAAAAAAAAAo/lC2GmVoBQaU/s1600-h/jibidress1.jpg

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11371172824707301749 Cate Subrosa

    Aw, thanks for the link love. I can’t wait to post my dress again once it actually fits me in a couple of weeks!

    This was a really great post. So many people have said to me “wow, I didn’t even think of that!” when I told them I went for a bridesmaids dress in ivory… I’m so glad you’re spreading the word about this!

  • ErinW

    I also went the bridesmaid dress route. Sometimes the shops are reluctant to let you shop in the bridesmaid dress section or help you as much but I found a great little shop that treated me just as well as if I was buying one of the expensive dresses. I think it helped that I went when it was not busy and I called ahead to tell them I was looking for something short.
    I had to use my imagination because the sample they had was black, and I haven’t seen the real thing yet – I can’t wait. It is from After Six style 6507 with the satin in “palmino” (champagne) and the lace in ivory. If it doesn’t need alterations – $200!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17468276901563947172 Kristy

    This was a fantastic post – thanks Meg! I have seen some gorgeous bridesmaids dresses that I would wear in a heartbeat and now I’m feeling more inspired to go that route.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00174894872050076618 Marie-Ève

    Thanks Meg…! I love them all! Guilty’s one is stunning, it looks like it already fits to me!…
    My dress is still wrinkled from coming in a box, it needs alterations, and I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think of taking off my bra for this picture in my humble living room… So it’s clearly not the best, but I’ll resend one when it’s all good and ready…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10290371849149893673 kate

    (I meant to post this comment here, but I accidentally posted in the above story instead. So here it is again – sorry – I totally suck at this!)

    The first wedding dress I bought was a BEAUTIFUL Jessica McClintock from overstock.com for $55!!! But it was strapless, and I realized that it wasn’t entirely me. So I bought a Nataya (www.nataya.com) for around $150 at a small locally-owned store in my hometown (Mendocino), and it was super timeless and gorgeous, and more “me.” Check it out in the “Kate and Coalmine” wedding featured here on A Practical Wedding! Thanks again for that. . . very exciting.

  • http://budgetbeautiful.wordpress.com/ budgetbeautiful

    Oooh, I LOVE that Melissa Sweet gown!

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    Pretty pretty! I love the short one and Guilty’s.

    While my dress wasn’t a bargain in these leagues, it seemed like one to me. I tried it on in London and it was ÂŁ1100, I bought it online from America for $950. Once I’d paid taxes and import duties it was quite a bit more, but still about half what it cost here in the UK.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07377831013971667963 Shannon

    I was going to make my own dress with one of my mom’s friends. We went to David’s Bridal so I could try on shapes and see what I liked. We found a plain dress that fit me off the rack with no need for alterations and I fell in love. It was on clearance! $50! Then we went to the fabric district in Philadelphia and picked out beautiful cloth to make into a sash and covered buttons. It was incredible – saving me time and money. All in all it was just over $100 for the dress of my dreams.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09086142807086386230 Mrs. Andi

    I LOVE the idea of looking for a non-wedding labeled dress! Who would have thought that one word can jack the price up so much!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06300991554978909484 Kat

    omg… i tried on a dress at BCBG today… and ordered a $350 dress from nordstrom this evening…

    my mom is convinced that EVERYTHING but heavy lace is “cheap-looking”. i wholeheartedly disagree!

    anything can be bridal if you’re the bride!! :-)

  • http://threeforks.wordpress.com liz

    Ooo, that first one is gorgeous… Bridesmaid dresses are the way to go if you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a dress. I found mine on amazon for a whole $50 (This one, in ivory). All I’ll need to do is hem it a bit!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12965792967178076275 Kenzie LaRae

    I actually ordered that Melissa Sweet (MS130) for my own wedding after a dry cleaner destroyed my first dress. I got it in “Natural” and ordered 2 yards of the lace (@$45/yard) to have a custom bolero made. I won’t post photos on my blog until after my wedding, but I can email photos of it if you ask nicely :)

  • pixie_moxie

    I went the bridesmaid dress route also. Bill Levkoff, pretty champagne A Line dress. I went into the Bridal Shops and no one understood what I meant when I said simple, straight lines. I bought my dress at a little boutique, it was the first dress I saw – thru the window, first dress I tried on.

    Full disclosure…I bought this dress during my first engagement. I picked up the dress the day before we “postponed” the wedding. I am now engaged to a wonderful man and have been struggling with the wedding dress issue. I have recently re solidified with my self that the dress was My dress, not former fiances, and I will be altering the dress with the help of my Mom and her friend to make it fresh for this new stage of my life. All while still honoring the dress I fell in love with in the first place.

    It is amazing to me how many people automatically look at me with distaste or pity when I answer the “How is your dress hunt?” question honestly.