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The Great Wedding Dress Hack

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Reader Bridget sent me a budget wedding dress story that was so good it needed its own post. Bridget fell in love with and Amsale dress that was, errrr, a little pricey.
Since she wanted to send her kids to college one day, she decided to skip the crazy expensive dress. Instead she bought a simple J Crew wedding dress, which she found on ebay for just $71.
But she wasn’t done yet! Bridget took her new simple dress to a seamstress, and told her to “hack this dress,” and the seamstress added the details she loved.
The total cost of her dress was $471. She got exactly what she wanted, found a creative and affordable way to do it, and saved a small fortune. As far as I’m concerned, this story lands Bridget on the Practical Wedding wall of fame for doing something so clever and determined. I like my brides with chutzpa, thank you very much.
And don’t tell Amsale, but I like this dress is better! It’s simple, it’s chic, and its got soul.

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

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  • Sara

    Go Bridget! :)

    I did something sort of similar. I fell in loooove with a Romona Keveza, but of course can’t afford it. So I put the picture up as an Etsy Alchemy posting, and had literally a dozen people bid to make the dress for about 10% of the retail price ($550 was my asking price). Yay Etsy and hurrah for budget dresses! :)

  • Cate Subrosa

    Simple genius – which is of course the best kind.

  • Mrs. in May

    All I can say is WOW. I am beyond impressed, it is GORGEOUS!!!

  • Bailee’s Bride

    GORGEOUS dress! I agree: straight to the Hall of Fame she goes.

  • kate

    The first wedding dress I bought was a BEAUTIFUL Jessica McClintock from for $55!!! But it was strapless, and I realized that it wasn’t entirely me. So I bought a Nataya ( 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.

  • kate

    This really is SUCH an amazing dress. And I love her for putting the work and the love into it. Makes it so extra-special.

  • loren weltsch

    i love it! the actual wedding dress looks stunning!

  • mrs shortcake


  • Cassandra B

    I have the original JCrew dress. It is a great dress but very plain so I decided to go with something else. But seeing this gives me hope of transforming mine!!!

  • La BellaDonna

    I think it is both beautifully logical and more creative than most. I do this all the time, myself, sometimes with thrifted garments, sometimes with brand-new garments right out of the shop – and even jewelry, sometimes. It’s all about making your things YOURS.

  • Kim

    I did this – it was so wonderful! In a similar vein, buy the sample, i.e. floor model. They run in the hundreds instead of the thousands. Or check Craigslist.

  • Jane

    I did exactly the same thing my dress. That said, yours has turned out amazing and so similar to the original Amsale dress. I got my dress preloved at

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  • anwith1n

    Meg, LOVE this post! Bridget looks amazing! I couldn’t figure out how to hack my dress the same way Bridget did, but I did hack my accessories. I love amazing mixed media sashes, but just find it impractical to spend $100 – $300 on a sash. I went to a wholesaler and picked up silk and organza flowers for $14, and will attach them to a silk ribbon myself. Easy, peasy. No sewing required!