Pic Cred: Fusion Photography
Every bride, for the most part, has a vision of how they want to look on their wedding day. Now, you might not have it nailed down exactly, but we live in our bodies everyday, and generally know how we want to present ourselves. A conservative bride will most likely not buy a plunging, skin-tight illusion gown. Same as a bride trying to camouflage her hips won't typically choose a trumpet style dress. So if you've narrowed down the overall shape you are looking for, it is relatively easy to find the exact dress of your dreams and pay less than you think.
How? Well what if I told you the dream dress you'll fall in love with wasn't actually a "dress"? I'm not suggesting anything radical here, but I'll tell you a short story.
We recently had a bride that was looking for a very specific dress - a satin mermaid skirt with a lace sleeved top. When you have tunnel vision, it's hard to see that if you broke those two items up - into a skirt and a top - you're search is a lot more attainable and affordable. Personally, we love Martina Liana's separates collection (fab!) and there are a ton of options to find the right satin mermaid skirt for you. Also, your lace top is easily found as a bodysuit. And voila - "dress" of your dreams. The second thing we love about this, is it's easy to pull off a second look for next to nothing. How about that gorgeous bodysuit and a pair of stellar white jeans for your chill reception? You go girl!
Now, I know what we are suggesting isn't groundbreaking, but if you think outside the box (in this case outside the dress) with some add-on items, you can get the exact look you're searching for.
Another option we love? Boleros. The bride in the previous example in particular can also look at satin gowns, possibly strapless of with little straps, and add a bolero overtop. Boleros sometimes have an "old" reputation, but they have made a HUGE comeback as a serious fashion statement. They aren't just an add-on accessory in fur or used to cover up for a church ceremony, they can be used in any number of ways to achieve your look. This particular "bolero" pictured right on the beautiful Vivienne Atelier Cynthia gown (soon coming to Savvy Bride!) is so intricate and soft, yet adds such a beautiful and unique look to the dress. Don't be afraid to check out Etsy vendors, they are a great resource and can find a number of boleros for about $100.
If you're a sparkle girl - you'll know that the more gems, rhinestones and beading there is, typically translates to a higher price tag. Now, all brides know they can add a belt, but what about adding a bling trim to the top of your dress? Or a sparkly overskirt that creates a fun and unique dimension? This sparkly bling picture to the left is from Amazon. Yup - Amazon! The cost? Twenty bucks. So if you think your cinderella dream dress is outside of your budget, ask your bridal consultant what add-ons might be available to create the exact look you want. Also make sure to consult a good seamstress with your idea prior to buying anything so they can make you feel comfortable with what is realistic.
Below is a list of some other great alternatives to consider:
1) adding or removing crinoline whether you are looking for a fuller or more whimsical look
2) adding a petticoat
3) adding cap sleeves or straps
4) Want it to zip instead of lace up? If your dress is a few sizes bigger, a seamstress can swap it out (or vice versa)
5) adding buttons to a train
6) shortening a train - easy
7) making a short dress? even easier, chop it off!
8) changing necklines (ie, adding a sweetheart)
9) adding cups for a fuller look
Literally, the list goes on! So don't be afraid to take some time and think how else you can achieve your look for less. It can literally save you hundreds of dollars. And even though that might sound like a deck chair off the titanic in terms of overall budget for your wedding, every dollar counts!