How I Got My Dream Wedding Dress for $220

7 Aug

On my last post, I talked about all the ways my husband and I saved money on our wedding. I promised more details in future posts, and though life has been unsurprisingly busy since then, I want to keep my word and share!

For most brides, picking out a dress is a very big deal and involves trying on dozens of dresses, lots of opinions from family or friends, and budget-busting misery.  There is just something, well, wrong with spending 3 or 4 figures on a dress that will be worn once when many of those same brides don’t even break the hundred-dollar mark on garments they wear all the time.  

As the sole wage earner in my family until my husband finishes college, buying an expensive wedding dress was not an option.   However, buying a sundress off the rack would’ve been disappointing to me.  After all, it was my WEDDING, after all!  I ended up with a dress I love so much I would’ve chosen it no matter how big my budget was.

The first thing I did was think about what was and was not important to me.  I have always loved ball gown style dresses, so that went on the list. I also wanted a white gown.  It did not matter to me if the dress was brand new or not.  I didn’t find many local options for pre-owned dresses, so I looked online.  

The site I ended up buying from was  It’s a site similar to eBay in that individual sellers post and sell their dresses and accessories.   Since I was buying online and therefore couldn’t try it on, I looked for a strapless style with lacing in the back.  This eliminated having to worry about it not fitting in the arm and shoulder area, which is where I have the most problems.  The corset-style lacing allows the dress to fit a range of sizes.  The ball gown skirt is also very full and loose fitting and therefore easy to fit as well.  The dress I bought was a sample from a bridal shop.  It’s a beautiful Maggie Sotero with a beaded bodice and pick-up skirt.  I paid $220 shipped!  The only way one could tell it wasn’t brand new was if they looked on the inside.  Since bridal shops don’t want you ordering direct from a manufacturer or shopping around, they remove labels from the dress and instead write a number inside the bodice for identification.  The ribbon hangers were also cut out.  No big deal.  When my dress arrived, all I had to do was hem it with some Steam-a-Seam and I was ready for my wedding!

I felt so beautiful in that dress, and no one could believe I only paid $220 for it!  I always thought I’d be one to give away or sell my wedding dress, but it’s so beautiful that it’s still hanging in my closet almost 4 months later!  I see it every morning when I get dressed, and it still makes me smile.

Some other ideas for finding affordable wedding dresses:

  • Thrift or consignment stores
  • Craigslist
  • Borrow from a friend or relative
  • Buy a white prom gown
  • Ask bridal shops about floor samples
  • Buy a white cocktail or sundress from a department store
  • Make your own
  • Buy a handmade or vintage dress on Etsy
  • Buy retail and then resell it right after the wedding to recoup some of the cost

2 Responses to “How I Got My Dream Wedding Dress for $220”

  1. Bart Wilson November 1, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    Good job. My daughter loves to sew and would like a Marfy Bridal Catalog, is yours still available that you wanted to give to a good home?

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