At Brad's Deals, we don't believe in paying full price for anything--not even your wedding dress. With recent studies putting the average cost of a wedding at around $30,000 (the highest its been since 2007), we're all for saving wherever you can. But that doesn't mean you have to cut corners or settle for a dress that's a nightmare instead of a dream. Read on for our foolproof ways to save on that gorgeous gown you'll remember for years to come.
Since many mass retailers offer bridal gowns, you may be entitled to a discount even if your chosen garment isn't on the sale rack. Check Brad's Deals, as well as store promotion pages for special coupon codes and specials. Many stores offer discounts with credit card or email signup even if no other discount is available. Neiman Marcus, for example, where we found this pictured Ralph Lauren Collection Chantel Beaded Evening Gown ($8,000), has a credit card with a point system and also offers 10% off with email signup.
As some of the best shoppers out there will tell you, getting a great deal isn't always an act of serendipity. Scoring a steal can take several months of careful planning and research. If you've got your eye on a particular gown, it pays to know the sale cycles of the store you're planning to purchase from. What type of store are you shopping at? If it's a mass retailer, do they ever have storewide events, such as a Friends and Family sale? What month(s) does it usually fall in? Is it an independent bridal store? It might pay to wait until December/January, when bridal experts say many shops are marking down their remaining inventory to make way for the new year's latest styles.
There's Saks Fifth Avenue... and then there's Saks Off 5th. There's Nordstrom...and then there's Nordstrom Rack. There's Barneys New York... and then there's Barneys Warehouse. There's Neiman Marcus... and there's CUSP by Neiman Marcus, as well as Neiman Marcus Last Call. These designer store outlets offer many of the same products as their namesakes--but they offer them at discounts of 30-90%. These stores are a win-win, as they allow the department stores to make a profit on items with an abundance of stock or items that didn't sell as quickly as they were projected to, and the consumer gets to save on name-brand items they otherwise might not be able to afford. Shopping a designer outlet can take a great deal of patience, as sizing may be extremely limited, but if you find that needle in the haystack, it's a sure sign that it's meant to be. This Monique Lhullier Cecelia Asymmetrical Lace Ball Gown, once $8,358 and $2,305 at Saks Off 5th, is sure to make some size 10 bride VERY happy. Bonus tip: Even if you don't find your dream dress, you're likely to find a rehearsal dinner dress, a great pair of shoes, jewelry or accessories at a major markdown.
Just because you've found the dress of your dreams doesn't mean that you've found it at the best possible price. A simple search of your gown's brand and style name in Google Shopping and/or Amazon can not only offer you potentially discounted resale options on sites such as eBay, it can alert you to any possible sales between competing retailers. A quick note: Be alert to potential resale scams. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. While many well-known, reputable retailers have their own eBay or Amazon store's, third party resellers aren't always trustworthy.
While this option isn't for everyone (those with serious sentimental attachment to clothing need not apply!), sites like Rent the Runway are making the big day far more affordable with gowns on loan. This pictured Badgley Mishka Antigua Bay Gown, for instance, would cost you around $890 to own, but you can wear it down the aisle for $150. Check your local listings for bridal shops and stores that offer similar services in your area. Alterations may be allowed depending on specific retailers, although security deposits may be required.