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When most women receive a proposal, the first thing they begin to look for and dream of tends to be their wedding gown.

Between the array of styles, colors, fabrics and details, the option of dresses seem to be endless. For many (and if you’ve ever watched a wedding show you know this to be true), the dress in one’s mind can often times be contradictory to the price they’re willing or want to spend.

You might not know how much a dress can run you until you begin to shop, and when you do, it can quickly become apparent that your dream and your budget just don’t mix.

Still, no one wants to settle for a less-than-perfect dress. After all, you want to feel beautiful on your big day.

So, how do you find the best dress for you all while staying within your price range? Here are eight places to find a budget wedding gown.

1. Consider Your Favorite Store

Contrary to popular belief, no one said you had to go to a store that specifically sells only wedding gowns. While wedding shops are great places with tons of options, they tend to have some rather expensive selections. Instead, consider looking at mass retailers you may not have thought of.

Companies like J. Crew, Banana Republic and Anthropologie all have wedding gown lines that are surprisingly affordable while still being quite beautiful. Moreover, if you find a budget wedding gown, you can always use the money you saved to add embellishments you might have wanted on your dress.

2. Check Out Sample Sales

Many wedding dress shops hold sample sales each season as they get ready to switch out inventory. In fact, some boutiques and shops will hold specific sample sale blowouts where you can find otherwise pricey dresses at deep discounts.

Of course, sample sales mean you’re receiving a sample gown, or in other words, the gowns future brides have tried on, which means they’re slightly worn. That being said, be sure to look over your gown carefully to ensure any imperfections or signs of wear can be fixed through mending and cleaning.

Furthermore, make sure you buy a dress that’s a tad bigger rather than smaller, as you can always take things in, but it’s much harder to let garments out. Still, if you have expensive tastes, but a strict budget, going with a sample can help you get the dress of your dreams.

3. Go Vintage

If you’re someone who finds hidden gems in vintage stores or flea markets, this could be a great option for you to find a budget wedding gown.

Of course, as any vintage shopper knows, this isn’t exactly the easiest option as it often takes some major searching before finding a truly great treasure. Nevertheless, some stores could have beautiful, antique options at great prices.

4. Consider a Used Gown

Along with vintage gowns, you may want to consider searching for a used wedding gown as well. Sites like have a large inventory of gently worn dresses for great prices.

Moreover, many charitable organizations sell or auction off used dresses and the proceeds go to the cause. Since brides only wear their gowns once, you may be able to find a lovely budget wedding gown that looks like new.

5. Try a Prom Dress or Other Formal Gown

This particular option may be difficult to wrap your head around, however, it’s often the fact that you’re purchasing a wedding dress that racks up the price. Without the “wedding dress” label, you can find a formal gown that’s just as fantastic and works just as well for the occasion.

Browse local shops or the formal sections in department stores which often have selections of white, cream, or ivory dresses that would work perfectly for your big day. Not to mention the fact that you may even get to wear it again!

6. Think Outside the Box on Designer

You’ve no doubt heard some of the big designer names of clothing and bridal gowns alike. However, in the case of your wedding dress, it may pay to think outside the box and search for up-and-coming designers that don’t have much exposure yet. Browse online for newer designers – by doing so you could find a beautiful and unique dress at a great price.

7. Rent a Dress

If you’re truly stuck on keeping your dress forever, this may not be the choice for you, but if you’d rather spend your budget on other details as opposed to a dress you’ll only wear once, renting may be your best option.

There are tons of great rental sites online like Rent the Runway, Vow to be Chic, or Borrowing Magnolia, that offer a large selection of dresses for rent at prices that are by far less than half the price you might spend to purchase a dress. Furthermore, many of these sites offer high-end designer options, which is great if you have caviar tastes without the funds.

8. Custom Make a Dress

When most people think of custom made anything they often think of expensive prices. However, that’s not always the case. Look in your local listings for seamstresses or dressmakers who’d be available and up to making a custom gown. Instead of paying for the markup you receive at retailer locations, you’ll only pay for materials and the time it takes the seamstress to design and make your dress.

Of course, before moving forward with a custom made gown, be sure to check past customers reviews and pictures so you know you’re receiving quality work.

Every bride envisions her dream wedding dress. But finding a dream dress can sometimes lead to a bride to falling in love with a dress that doesn’t fit within her budget.

Thankfully, there are so many more places to purchase a budget wedding gown that don’t involve specific bridal shops or their expensive prices. Don’t be afraid to search or think outside the box. If you do, you may find your idyllic wedding gown and stay on budget.

This article was written by Kayla Sloan from Everything Finance and was licensed from NewsCred, Inc. Santander Bank does not provide financial, tax or legal advice and the information contained in this article does not constitute tax, legal or financial advice. Santander Bank does not make any claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax advisors regarding any financial strategies mentioned in this article. These materials are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of Santander Bank.

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