Bridal Talk: TLC bride shares how she found the dress of her dreams!

Aug 1, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. ET

We're huge fans of TLC's show Four Weddings. Lucky for us, actual brides who have taken part in the show are sharing their stories with us in this new series! Up today? Stephanie Guido who found the dress of her dreams for half price!

Planning the wedding

Bride Stephanie from TLCs Four Weddings
Stephanie found her dream dress online for half the price!

I always dreamed of a big all-out wedding, but when my daughter came before we said “I do,” priorities and expenses came first when it came to planning our wedding.

We settled on an intimate brunch wedding on a Sunday with a guest list of 75 people in February. All of these factors played a big part in keeping our expenses low. I searched venues close to my geographic area for the best bang for my buck.

Finding the dress

I am a bit of a fashionista, so I knew I was not going to be happy just picking a wedding gown off the rack at my local David's Bridal. At the same time, I could not afford to be spending thousands of dollars on designer dresses. My total budget for the affair was $10,000! So, like any budget-minded girl who doesn't want to sacrifice style, I went online and did some research. I came across sites that sell pre-owned wedding dresses and there she was, sitting pretty for half the price! I went to a dress shop that carried the dress at full retail price to try it on and make sure it was my perfect match! It was truly a dream come true.

Decorating on a budget

Decorations came pretty easy for me since I have a friend who is kick starting a side career in party planning and decorating. Being that it was the middle of February, I decided to go with a winter wonderland theme. I scratched all the pricey flowers and decided on tree branches instead, decorated with snowflakes and some fabulous fake snow. I made a wish tree for my guests out of a huge branch that I picked out of my backyard. All I needed, besides the branch, were readymade tags for guests to write on, ribbon and a flower pot. Voila! It was a big hit, looked pretty and totally went along with my winter wonderland theme.

Looking back

Taking the time to do your research and calculate costs can get you far in planning your wedding. After all, those four and a half hours go by like lightning and you have to ask yourself: "Did anybody even see the $500 pair of shoes you were wearing?!"

There is nothing I would have done differently and I honestly wouldn't have changed any of the details from my wedding. Of course, I would have loved to invite way more people. I have a large family and had to do some serious cutting along the way.

Photo credit: TLC and Discovery Media

Preview Stephanie's episode of Four Weddings here! There may or may noy be a stripper involved.

More wedding tips from real brides

My "Under the Stars" wedding
My big, fabulous Greek wedding
Wedding party favors: How to cut costs