Dressing your wedding on a dime

by Karen on September 3, 2008

I realized early on that no matter how silly it seemed before I started planning, looking the part of “the bride” was important to me. My wedding was really my first and only chance to really overdress, and since I knew I’d have the pictures forever (more on the photography later), I really wanted to look fabulous.

I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dress I’d only wear one day, though.

Here’s what we did to outfit the bride, groom, and attendants stunningly, simply, and affordably.

Wedding Gown

I’ve heard a lot of things about David’s Bridal, positive and negative. The fact of the matter is they have a huge selection of dresses in a lot of different styles, and they’re pretty affordable. Was I treated like a princess? Um, no, and I didn’t need to be. I just wanted a deal on a dress.

I bought my dress during the $99 gown sale. Unfortunately, the selection of $99 gowns is pretty limited. I didn’t find anything that I liked in my size.

It didn’t matter, though. I had already flipped through a catalogue and found a dress that was exactly what I’d envisioned. I tried on several dresses, but I ended up going back to the first dress I saw in that catalogue, the first one I tried on. It was on sale for $50 off the original price. David’s Bridal has this sale about 4 times a year, so make sure you buy your dress during the sale.

The really nice thing about David’s Bridal is that they usually have your size right there in the store. I can’t imagine special ordering a gown without being able to try it on first. You never know how it’s going to look until you try it on.

I really lucked out as my dress fit absolutely perfectly right off the rack. I saved a ton in alteration fees. Even though it fit perfectly, they tried to convince me to order it a size up and have it altered for a “custom” fit. Um, no, it fit fine. Don’t let them talk you into alterations you don’t need. If you feel comfortable, then it fits. They might try to tell you that it doesn’t, but only you know what’s comfortable for you.

If you decide to go with David’s Bridal and you do need alterations, I suggest you do some comparison pricing at other places. Sure, having David’s Bridal do it is probably more convenient, but you can save a lot by taking it to a private alterations shop.

Wedding Accessories

I went ahead and ordered everything at David’s Bridal. The grand total for dress, shoes, undergarments, and veil was a few dollars over $500. Yikes. It adds up so quickly!

I considered buying things on eBay, but honestly, I didn’t really want to do that. Choosing everything specially to match what I envisioned was important to me, so I made room for it in my budget. I don’t regret it.

The Tux

Our original plan was to buy Tony a new suit that he could wear at the wedding and to future events. He has a black suit that he bought in high school that still fits, but we both wanted him to look extra spiffy for the wedding.

We looked at a lot of suits. Tony wasn’t crazy about any of the suits in our $300 price range. We wanted to stick to our budget, but he didn’t want to buy a suit that he didn’t like just because it fit into our budget.

Just for comparison’s sake, we stopped in at a tux rental shop to check out prices. When Tony saw the classy three-piece tuxedos and I saw the prices (about half what we had budgeted for a new suit at $125), we decided to go with the rental.

The bonus was that his best man wore a matching tux, and they looked great in the pictures.

It would have been more economical to buy Tony a new suit that he could wear later, but he already has a black all purpose suit. The tux looked extra snazzy at half the price.

The Attendants

Choosing attire for our attendants was super simple because we only had a maid-of-honor and a best man. Tony’s best man wore the same tux as Tony. My maid-of-honor and I shopped for her dress when she visited us a few months before the wedding. I picked the color, and she picked out a dress that she liked. Simple.

We got her dress at David’s Bridal as well. I really like that they have many different styles in the same color. It makes it easy even for brides with large bridal parties to allow their bridesmaids to choose something flattering and unique to their styles. An added bonus was that my maid-of-honor was able to order her dress in North Carolina when she visited and pick it up in Indiana.

We spent a total of $625 for bride and groom attire. We were very grateful that our attendants picked up the tab for their own attire.

When I look at the photos, the only lasting thing we have from our wedding day, I’m really glad we didn’t cut corners on attire. We both looked our best, and most importantly, we felt great in what we wore. That’s what’s really important when it comes to choosing your wedding attire.

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