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How to Buy a Wedding Dress on a Budget

How to Buy a Wedding Dress on a Budget

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Designer wedding dresses can cost thousands and thousands of dollars, and even cheaper wedding dresses will cost a bride a hefty sum of money. For a couple with a tight budget, it can feel impossible for the bride to afford her dream gown. But, by using a few tricks, brides are guaranteed to find the gown they want at a price they can afford.

Save Money on a Wedding Dress by Buying it Online

Buying a dress online can save a bride hundreds of dollars. Wedding dress salons give their salespeople big commissions, and that extra money goes into the price of the dress. Furthermore, brick and mortar stores have to pay for rent, utilities, and the decor of the store, while online businesses don't have such overhead costs. Even more importantly, brick and mortar stores hold limited stock, and brides may only find specific styles or have to wait weeks simply to try on a specific dress. Online options have almost unlimited stock, and brides are overwhelmed with choices.

Find a Tailor Before Shopping for a Wedding Dress Online

The first step a bride should undertake to find her perfect wedding dress is to know her exact size. She shouldn't guess or assume that ready-to-wear sizes are at all the same as the sizes that wedding gown designers use. Go to a trusted tailor and get professionally measured. This has the added bonus of letting a bride try out tailors if she doesn't already have one. Alterations are almost always necessary, so this is a great opportunity for brides to find a tailor who they trust and get along with in a friendly manner. Once a bride has obtained a full set of measurements, she needs to do some research into how different wedding dress brands size their lines. These can vary a lot, but since bridal stores don't always stock a range of sizes, not every bride will have a chance to try on a gown in her size.

Trying on Dresses Before Buying Online

Before starting a search, try on dresses in a store. What looks good on a model may not look good on a bride, and vice versa: Styles that may seem strange or even unlikable in pictures might be stunning on a specific bride. Start with color: There is actually a wide range of whites that dresses come in. The brightest whites are referred to as stark white, diamond white, or natural white. These whites are universally flattering, but they look especially good against dark skin. Whites with a yellow undertone are called ivories or eggshells, and whites with a pink undertone are called rum or champagne white. Try these on in as much natural light as possible; some colors can make women look washed out or too pale. It's also important for brides to try a range of silhouettes to know which is the best for her body type. From ball gowns to A-line skirts to mermaid flares, there is an almost endless variety of dress styles, and each bride needs to take the time to find the look that looks best on her.

Know the Different Types of New and Used Wedding Dresses

Once a bride has focused in on the look and size of the dress that she wants, it's time for her to go online and find a deal. When shopping for wedding dresses online, a major component of the price is the dress's condition. Each grade of condition has specific meanings, so a bride looking for her dress on eBay needs to know which of them she is comfortable with purchasing and wearing. Then, she can easily use the menu to the left of the Wedding Dresses page to sort available dresses by condition.

Wedding Dresses That Are "New With Tags" Are the Most Expensive

"New with tags" means that a dress is just that: completely new. These dresses have not been worn except perhaps to be tried on. Often these dresses are being sold by brides who have changed their mind or who can, for some reason, no longer use the dress. Since many designer dresses are custom-made, it is rare for bridal salons to offer returns, putting brides on the hook to sell any dress that they cannot use. Sometimes this category includes dresses that are brand new but are not from a specific designer. Other brands or overseas designers sometimes choose eBay as the best way for them to reach new audiences. This can be a great option for a bride to discover new styles.

"New Without Tags" Wedding Dresses Can be an Amazing Deal

Like wedding dresses that have been labeled "New with tags," "New without tags" dresses are still in pristine condition. They also are often purchased by brides who are, for one reason or another, unable to wear them. While this category of dress can be significantly cheaper than "New with tags," the dresses are of the same quality. As long as a bride is certain of her choice and is not concerned with reselling her dress later, this category is a great way to save money but get the same product.

Resourceful Brides Will Save on Dresses That Are "New With Defects"

Dresses that are marked "New with defects" are completely new but may have some small imperfections. They may be

errors from a dress workshop, but some stores will sell sample dresses this way. Sample dresses have not been pre-owned, but they are the dresses that brides try on in the store. For this reason, sample dresses are very cheap but may show signs of wear. Since each dress marked "defective" will have different flaws, it is important for brides to read each dress description very carefully. A good seller will also have close-up images of each defect, so a bride will be able to judge for herself if the defect makes the dress unwearable. Often, defects are too small to see or can be easily fixed by a good tailor.

Brides Can Find Anything in Dresses That Are "Pre-Owned"

Dresses labeled "Pre-owned" will range from recent designer dresses that have only been worn once to vintage and antique dresses that may have been worn and then put into storage for years. Some of these used dresses may have small flaws, stains, or tears from being worn for a wedding. A bride looking through these options will need to be diligent in reading descriptions and checking pictures for these problems. However, these dresses are, by far, the cheapest category of wedding dress. If a bride believes that any wear or stains can be fixed with a trip to the dry cleaner, and if she has no reservations "sharing" a dress with a previous owner, then pre-owned wedding dresses are a steal.

Finding Extra Wedding Dress Bargains on eBay

When a bride is sifting through all of her options on eBay, there are other ways that she can save a lot of money on the purchase of her wedding dress.

Brides Should Look for Dresses With Free Shipping

Many sellers on eBay offer free shipping on purchases. Many wedding dresses are large and bulky, and even smaller dresses are constructed out of heavy fabrics and can have heavy embellishments. Shipping costs can really sneak up on a bride who is looking for her wedding dress online because of all this weight. Brides can easily use the search functions in the left-hand menu to search only for dresses that are offered with free shipping .

Brides Can Choose Their Buying Format

Using the menu on the left of the page, brides can also narrow down how they buy their dress. Dresses up for auction start with lower prices, but brides will be actively bidding against other brides. A bride may find that her dream dress is quickly out of her budget, and some brides find that having to constantly watch her dress's auction and keep track of bids may be too stressful. Brides can also choose to only view dresses that are available for purchase instantly by clicking on the Buy It Now option. While a bride might not have the chance of getting as good of a deal as with the auction format, many brides prefer to secure their dream dress once they have found it. Brides may even use the Buying Format search function to find sellers who will accept the best offer. Some sellers will list dresses that have been designated as being on sale. which is another great way for brides to find good deals.

Brides Can Save Money by Choosing Bundled Products

Many brides know that their wedding outfit is more than just a dress, but veils and other accessories can cost hundreds of dollars. eBay allows sellers to bundle accessories with wedding dresses so that a bride can find her entire wedding ensemble without the hassle of searching for items individually and at a fraction of the cost.

Brides Will Save Money and Feel Secure

Some brides balk at buying a dress online, sight unseen. However, these brides do not have to worry. Many sellers on eBay offer returns, so if a bride has misjudged her size or the style of a dress, she may have the option of returning that dress without losing any money. Brides also know that authorized sellers will provide a great product and are trustworthy.

Brides Can Choose Local Sellers for a Great Deal

For the bride who wants to save on shipping and also deal with a seller face-to-face, she can use the search menu on the left of the eBay wedding dress page to choose sellers within a certain distance. Many sellers are open to local buyers picking up their purchases, and this helps brides avoid high shipping costs. Brides will also have an opportunity to meet the seller. This is a great chance for brides to meet the dress's previous owner and learn about how it feels to actually wear the dress. Many brides also appreciate the chance to swap wedding stories and get advice from a bride who's already had her wedding.


Many brides will budget thousands of dollars for a wedding dress while wishing that the money could go towards a better reception or a honeymoon. Other brides settle for cheaper dresses than they would prefer. Every bride looking to save money should consider the benefits of looking on eBay for a fabulous dress at a great price. With all of the tools that eBay provides, every bride will find it a snap to not only find her dream dress but to also get it at a fraction of what it would cost anywhere else.

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