Friday, August 3, 2012

Be the Bride of Your Dreams on a REAL Budget - Part 1

Money is tight for the average Americans. As a result many of us have made significant lifestyle adjustments like downsizing, cooking in, and down-sizing.  The "big is better" philosophy has passed. Who would have thought we would see the day when people brag about how small their cars on.

While most budgets are getting smaller, wedding budgets have gotten bigger with almost $28,000 being the average. The average cost of a wedding gown is around $1,200, which is a bug ticket item. However big price-tags and designer labels don't always equal quality and luxury.  You can be a beautiful bride and have a sophisticated wedding on the cheap.

We live in the Internet Age where at your fingertips there are gifted indie designers, upscale second-hand shops and mind-blowing vintage.  However, there are so many options it can be overwhelming - which leads me to my first two tips.

Tip 1: Do your research. To streamline your search you have to know your measurements and what style is most suited for your height, body shape and complexion. You may have to forego that Kate Middleton dress for something you never even expected. Take a honest but kind friend or family member with you to a bridal superstore and try on a large cross-section of dresses. Your goal is to find the best silhouette, color and style for YOU. You want your guests to say, "She looked beautiful!" not "Oooh, that dress is exactly like Kim Kardashian's!"

Tip 2: Try Vintage:  a) you get a better constructed dress with high quality fabrics; b) you won't be a cookie cutter bride in the latest "it" dress c) you can potentially save hundreds of dollars.
cut your wedding dress cost in half d) With a good seamstress you can customize the dress (unless you are a vintage purist).

Still a little squeamish? Here is my first sampling of vintage wedding dresses from the Bridal Shop of one of my all time favorite online haunts,  FabGabs.  It's a great place to start - they are having a limited time only sale - and you  will be shocked at the prices.

Dress #1 is a Full Skirted Lace Dress from the 50s.  Quintessential Princess Dress.  This is one of those styles that may be adapted from era to era but never quite goes away.  The current sales price? A whopping $276.50, originally $395.00. This dress would retail for several thousand dollars if made with the same materials and quality craftsmanship.

Dress 1: Full Skirted Lace Tiered Dress from the 50s - SM

Dress #2 is a Liquid Satin Dress with Peplum and dramatic train.  This dress would release any bride's inner Hollywood Starlet.  Think Jean Harlow - Josephine Baker. Sale Price - $136.50, originally $195.00. 

Dress # 2 Liquid Silk Dress from the 30s

This third gown is very special and has been lovingly restored by FabGabs owner/curator Julie Bergmans.  Made from quality organza, this 1950s Couture dress features hand finished 3-dimensional tulips.  Sale Price $420.00 originally $600.00.

1950s Couture Organza Gown by Julian Martin

There are plenty more dresses where these came from,  Stop-by FabGabs Bridal Shop and FaceBook Page to see what bridal treasures are waiting for you.
Next Week - I will feature more vintage as well as some great independent designers!


  1. We had a small wedding so we didn't have to spend lots! My brother in law made my dress for me. It's so crazy how expensive weddings can be!

  2. Same as Stela. Wedding was small. I like dress #3.

    Maybe the rise in cost is due to reality television wedding shows.

  3. At Stela - How lucky are you to have a brother-in-law skilled enough to make your wedding dress!

  4. @Peaches - I think that is excatly why - because of all the media coverage of celebrity weddings and the reality shows.