In Fashion, My Journal on
March 15, 2016

How I Saved Almost $1,000 on my Wedding Dress

The dress of my dreams ended up being from the Goodwill!

Recently I wrote a comprehensive post on how to get married for under $10,000 (exclusively on VisiHow) and afterward fell totally back into the moment of my wedding day and all that it meant to me, prompting me to go back through my wedding related blog posts. To my horror, I realized I had not written a post about my wedding dress! My thoughts on what my wedding dress would be a few years ago versus the process I went through to actually chose my dress were completely different, so I knew I needed to share with you how I ended up with the dress of my dreams and saved $1,000 jut by being flexible.

Several years ago, I shared my first wedding vlog where I talked about how my dream dress was the Snow White Alfred Angelo Disney collaboration, for $1,199. Considering my wedding Budget was $10,000 – that’s a huge chunk of the budget!

My original dream dress versus my used wedding dress:

Is it okay to buy a used wedding dress?

Looking at the two dresses now, I’m startled by how similar they look as I didn’t intentionally go out looking for the same style. Honestly, if my budget had been bigger I may have never considered shopping around, but boy am I glad that I did.

It all started around February 2014, when I had found a wedding package with Grand Salon Reception Hall. As I was doing the numbers and seeing what was left in the budget, I thought to myself “Would I be heartbroken if I didn’t get the Snow White wedding dress?” and to my surprise, I wasn’t. I always thought it would have to be THAT dress after seeing it online that first time many years ago, but my heart was more open minded to other options that I had anticipated.

So I started looking around Etsy and adding some lower cost items to my Pinterest board, keeping my mind open, and then one day my Mom and sister called me in a rush telling me that they had found the perfect wedding dress for me at the Goodwill for only $60. Technically, it was $100 but my Mom was able to get the price to $60 because she’s just clever at things like that.

If you’ve never been to the Goodwill, it’s a store where they sell gently used items at a steep discount. Every item they sell is a product they received from a tax-deductible donation.

I wasn’t able to tell much from the photo she texted me but they were so enthusiastic about it that I said to go ahead and make the purchase, taking a risk on the potential of such a steep deal (wedding dresses are non-returnable at the Goodwill).

When I came back from my vacation and saw my Mom again, she passed off the dress and I tried it on. To my surprise, it was almost a perfect fit.

Trying on my dress for the first time in my sister-in-law’s bedroom:

Used Wedding Dresses

We only needed to bring up the length in the front, trim a bit around the bust, and add some buttons in the back to pick up the dress for dancing.

And boy was it fun to dance in!

The alterations ended up costing about $200, bringing my total cost of $260. That means I spent 80% less than I originally planned, an almost $1,000 difference from my original dress.

As I was prepping this post, I searched my dress for a tag and found one printed into the dress. The website is no longer live, but the brand is NY Atelier Vestidos de Novia (Bridal R Us). I’m sorry I can’t give any more information than that, all I can say is that I’m really glad the previous owner donated their dress. It really made me feel beautiful on my special day.

So, I hope that this post helped show you all what other options are available. Your dress dress may very well be in a thrift store!

Do you have any ideas about your wedding day that you feel are more flexible than you originally thought?

More posts about my wedding will be coming soon, even though it’s two years later! I want to make sure I fill in those content gaps and let you all know even more about my special day.

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  • Chasing joy

    What a beautiful dress. Your right it does look like your ‘dream dress”

    March 21, 2016 at 11:21 pm Reply
  • Paula

    I love that you were flexible about your wedding dress! For my wedding, I wore a blue dress that I picked out at Nordstrom for about what you paid, too. It’s my second wedding, and I wanted a dress I felt pretty in, and I didn’t care about white. We got married on an ocean bluff, too, so it was informal and wonderful. Congrats on your wedding!

    April 21, 2016 at 1:00 am Reply
  • Denea

    Wow you dress is beautiful! I paid so much for my dress and now its sitting the bag it came in! I wish I could have spent money alot wiser!

    April 21, 2016 at 3:35 pm Reply
    • Rebecca Kelsey Sampson

      As long as it made you happy on the day of, have no regrets! We can’t change the past.

      May 10, 2016 at 9:24 pm Reply
  • Steven Duncan

    Failing going to goodwill, or other thrift stores, I’ve known a few brides to seek out closing down dress stores and picking up dresses for next to nothing. One bride that comes to mind bought 3(!) wedding dresses from a closing down designer for $150. She actually had a choice on which one to use.

    April 24, 2016 at 3:46 am Reply
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