Gasp! No, it's not sacrilegious to buy a dress that came out a year ago. Right now, you can find significant discounts on wedding gowns from the Spring/Summer 2010 collections. In order to make space for new inventory, bridal shops, department stores and online retailers mark down last year's designs once the new gowns come in.
Consignment shops and thrift stores often have both new and used wedding dresses at reasonable prices. When a wedding is cancelled, the bride usually can't return her dress, so she is willing to part with it at a reduced cost just to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
Many brides with canceled weddings put their gowns on Craigslist.org or eBay.com. It might take some time to find your size, but this is a fantastic way to find your dream dress at a discount.
If you are dead set on a gorgeous wedding gown that is out of your budget, rent it! Formal wear shops often rent wedding dresses at a fraction of the sales price. Who cares if it's rented — you are probably going to just pack it away in a box in the attic anyway.
Don't buy your shoes, veil and headpiece at the bridal shop. You can find plain white satin shoes at a traditional shoe store...or don't even wear white shoes, just put on your favorite pair of heels. Affordable veils, headpieces and other bridal accessories can be found at online shops. You can also make your own — pick up a DIY kit at a craft store or sewing shop.
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