Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Happily Ever After // {How I Saved $1000 on My Wedding Dress!!}

Like many girls I have always dreamed of finding the perfect dress. I always thought that I would have that moment when you try on a dress and all of a sudden you start crying, then your mom and maid of honor start crying and everyone around you is crying and shaking their heads and saying "This is it!" or "This is the one!" Yea that totally didn't happen for me. And I'm okay with that. I still found the perfect dress for me, even if my mom didn't get to see me try it on, even if I didn't cry, even if it took me a month of trying on dresses at a ton of bridal salons just to figure out what I wanted.

Now, perfect means different things to different people. I had ideas in mind of what I wanted and what I didn't. All of which had to fit into a budget of $1000. Yes, that's right, $1000 for a wedding dress. I guess that watching too many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress taught  me that my dress had to be upwards of $2000 for it to be "the one." I have to admit that I was scared that I wouldn't find one that I could both love and afford. So, using my trusty Pinterest board, aptly named "The Big Day," I began to figure out how I was going to get what I wanted to wear for what I wanted to pay and here's how managed to do just that for half the cost!

Buy used. *Gasp* I know some of you are like "Ew no way!" or "Wear something someone else has already worn?" or even "But then it's not really your dress." Trust me, I thought these things as well. Then I started looking around and found that used wedding dresses can sell at amazing prices. I also found that these used wedding dress sites have a lot of sample dresses for sale. THEN I found that they also have brand new dresses that people are trying to get rid of for reasons like they found a different dress, they cancelled their wedding, or they need a different size. Who am I to say no to a brand new, never worn dress at 25% to 60% off?? Now, there are a couple different ways you can do this: 1. Go in blind and try on dresses, find ones you like, then look for the ones you want online or 2. Look for dresses online first, find ones you like, then look for stores that carry them and try them on in the salon. Here's what I did:

First I pinned styles I liked. My style has evolved over the years and I really found myself gravitating towards fit and flares and mermaid style gowns. Looking back at some old Pinterest posts I found that my tastes really evolved from more traditional looks to dresses that felt like my own personality. I think that's some really important to remember because if you don't feel like you, then you're not going to be happy with it. Having a board can really help you keep your dresses organized and I can honestly say that I showed my board to every bridal consultant I saw. This gave them a better idea of what I was looking for. Sometimes it's easier for a person to see a picture than it is for them to listen to you go on and on about how you like lace but not too much lace or not that kind of lace that looks like a table cloth but you want it to have a vintage feel but not like your grandmother's crochet aaannnd ....yea. Have pictures with you.

Next I researched the designers of the dresses I liked. I used Wedding Bee boards, blogs, and Google to find out as much as I could about who made the dresses I was interested in. I wanted to find out about price, quality, fit, material, where they sell, and even any upcoming trunk shows in my area. This information helped me figure out if I was looking at something I could realistically buy; because lets be real here, there's no way I would have been able to afford that diamond encrusted mermaid gown made from the silk of the rarest silkworms living in the highest mountains of China. Anyway, know your gowns and be realistic of what you're looking for. If you're looking for a Pnina Tornai on a Davids Bridal budget you might be disappointed. Use designer gowns as inspiration. You might be surprised to find similar dresses by different designers at much more affordable prices.

After I had an idea of what I wanted, I looked around for various bridal salons in my area. I read reviews, looked at their websites, and checked out their social media pages. I really wanted to get an idea of where I was going and who I would be meeting there. This is such a special experience and the last thing you want is to show up to a store full of rude employees or an inadequate stock of dresses. Some of the things I looked for are what designers they carry and what other people had to say about their experience there. I made two appointments on a Saturday morning and brought my maid of honor with me. We got to the first salon and tried on dresses. This was my first time putting on a wedding gown so it was very exciting and I wish my mom had been able to be there (she lives in a different state) but I'm so glad I got to share that with my best friend. Anyway, an hour and 7 dresses later I didn't find anything that stood out so we moved on.

The next appointment was still fun and exciting. The process was pretty similar at this salon, though ones that I went to later were a little different. My consultant pulled some gowns and I tried on about five or six but this time around I ended up finding three dresses that I loved. Upon leaving the salon I had the consultant write down the info on the dresses like the style name or number, the designer, the price, and the size (if I tried on a sample that was a good fit). Then I went home and looked for those dresses online. I used Preownedweddingdresses.com, Tradesy.com, and Oncewed.com. You can also find people selling dress on some of the wedding boards but I'd stick to the dress sites because you're purchase is protected there. I was able to find all three dresses I loved on Preownedweddingdresses.com. Using the site I created an account and contacted the sellers. We communicated back and forth. I had them send me pictures of the dresses and I asked all kinds of questions. Luckily all three of the dresses I wanted were Brand New Never Worn! I was super happy!

I still wasn't ready to buy yet because I wanted to be sure that I chose the right dress. So I made three more appointments a different salons. This time I went in alone during the week. It was was very helpful to go in and try on other dresses. It really helped me determine which one I wanted because I kept comparing everything I tried on to one specific dress. When I realized what I was doing I decided I needed to go back to the second salon and try on the dresses I loved one more time. So the following week I did just that and it really solidified my decision. I went back online to the seller and we agreed on a selling price and shipping terms. It took me about a month and five different salons before I decided on THE dress.

Now here's the whopper. In the salon the dress was $1900 before taxes and fees..after those it would have been over $2000. I purchased the same dress brand new, never worn for $900. That's right. I paid $900 for the same dress. I gave the seller $100 for shipping because I had the dressed packed very well to avoid any damage during shipping such as water or poor handling. I also had it shipped quickly with tracking.

So if you're worried about finding a dress in your budget I highly recommend looking at Preownedweddingdress.com, Oncewed.com, and Tradesy.com. Whether you buy new, used, or a sample you can really end up saving some money. I am so happy I was able to find THE DRESS....but I'm even more happier that I was able to find it in my budget.

*This is  not a review of any used wedding dress website. This was not in any sponsored by Preownedweddingdress.com, Oncewed.com, and Tradesy.com. This is simply a story of how I was able to find the dress of my dreams for a fraction of the cost!