Every bride wants to look breathtaking on her wedding day, and there’s definitely no shortage of options out there to make you stand out. (Especially when it comes to designer bridal gowns by big names like Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier). But purchasing your dream dress—and sticking to your wedding budget—can sometimes seem like a far-fetched goal. Fortunately, we’ve enlisted the help of Ashley Childs of Vancouver’s Blush Occasions to compile our top five tips for helping you select a gown you love without breaking the bank. Rest assured it is possible to find designer bridal gowns for less.
1) Keep it Simple
If you’re on a tight budget, the first step you should take is to be realistic about the design of your dress. Chances are, the more embellishments a gown has, the more expensive it will be. So, when you’re shopping for a gown, Childs advises brides to go for dresses with a slim silhouette or a simple design to avoid sacrificing the quality of the dress.
2) Experiment with New Designers
Considering a budding designer can be a great cost-cutting technique. “Without the name and branding behind them, their gowns often retail at a lower price point,” says Childs. “And this doesn’t necessarily correspond to a lower quality in the fabric or material.” Don O’Neill, for example, worked alongside French designer Christian Lacroix in Paris. Now that he has his own line, Theia Couture, he creates quality gowns that retail for around $1,000 to $2,000. This gorgeous ballgown (see above) is just one example of what O’Neill can create—at a price you can afford!
3) Consider a Canadian gown
When you buy a gown that was made by a foreign designer, you’re not just paying for the gown itself. Often, transportation and duty fees raise the price of dresses for Canadian brides. So why not support local designers and cut costs at the same time? If Canadian gowns interest you, a great place to start is Alyne, a Canadian line produced by Rita Vinieras of Rivini.
4) Think Outside the Box
If you don’t mind steering away from traditional gowns, or if you’re having a destination wedding, purchasing a shorter dress is a great way to get your hands on a quality look for less. Mostly, this is because material costs for short dresses are lower. Childs suggests brides considering this option check out the Amsale Little White Dress Collection, which features a range of different styles, all under $1,200. Designer bridal gowns that are above the knee can be much more affordable than their full-length counterparts.
5) Plan Ahead
Just like your mother told you, beauty takes time. If the prospect of spending all that hard-earned cash is leaving you overwhelmed, ordering your gown well in advance might ease some of the pressure. Most bridal boutiques only require a 50 percent deposit upon ordering your dress, while the remaining balance is usually due around the time alterations begin. “If the gown is ordered well in advance, it can make for a nice long break before the final installment is due,” says Childs. As well, planning ahead leaves you plenty of time to check out sample sales (where designer dresses can retail for 25 to 70 percent less) and trunk shows (where designers have been known to throw in incentives like discounted alterations or veils).