Look to Bridge Lines
Many high-end designers do lower-priced collections. You’ll find great deals on wedding dresses at Truly Zac Posen and White by Vera Wang (both for David’s Bridal), Bliss by Monique Lhuillier, Legends by Romona Keveza, and Johanna Johnson Black Label. And some beloved Main Street brands offer budget-friendly bridal, too, like J.Crew, Ann Taylor, and Anthropologie’s Bhldn.
Scout designers’ sites for sample-sale dates, and join mailing lists of bridal salons. You may even be able to buy a discontinued sample from a store—just ask! Laurel, seen above, found her dress at a Phillip Lim sample sale for $200! “I could tell it was perfect, even though I tried it on over all my clothes in a crowded room,” she says.
Go the gently worn route; try preownedweddingdresses.com and oncewed.com. “Some brides only keep a gown on for an hour or two before changing into a reception outfit,” says event designer Paige Appel of Bash Please in Los Angeles. You can even score never-worn dresses (dates change or a bride rethinks her look).
Call It “Something Borrowed”
If you’re not sentimental, kick around the idea of renting a high-end number at a low-end price (check out renttherunway.com).