Wow, I can’t believe it’s August already! In less than a month, Mr. NavigatingAdulthood and I will hit our one year wedding anniversary. Today, I’m going to share how I paid less than $300 for my wedding dress and shoes. If you missed my previous post on how we saved money on my engagement ring, click here.
I went into our wedding knowing that I wanted to have a nice day to remember, but for me, I knew that I didn’t want it to be the “best day ever.” In my mind, a wedding day [however amazing it may be] was just one day and my frugal self couldn’t help but think about how a $30,000-$30,000 wedding could be a sizable down payment on a house. And let’s not forget that we live in a very expensive city. According to Zillow, the median home value in Cambridge is $729,400 (Source).
Having a nice house soon was more important to us than having an indulgent wedding day, so we opted to have a nice, but budget-friendly event.
How I Paid Less Than $200 For My Wedding Dress
Wedding Dress: Tulle Tank Gown From David’s Bridal
Price Paid: $150 ($165 after tax)
Here’s the non-romantic story behind how I got the dress: literally a month after we got engaged, I was browsing on the David’s Bridal website. I saw this dress and fell in love. I loved the simple silhouette and the romantic feel. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that I printed off the dress information from the website, and I drove to the store within the span of an hour.
When I got to David’s Bridal, a super nice sales associate helped me determine what size I was in that particular designer. They didn’t have that particular dress at the location that I was at, so the sales associate hopped on the computer to help me locate one. She was so impressed by the price of the dress that she literally said, “I’m not even going to try to talk you into another dress because that is one of the best deals I’ve ever seen and I am going to help you get that dress.”
She was amazing!! She looked in the database and told me that this was a designer dress from 2013 [hence the huge markdown], and she thought the pricing might be a computer error since it was so low. There were 2 dresses in my size in the entire David’s Bridal inventory across the United States. She called both locations to inquire about the conditions of the dresses- one dress was a floor model and had some sequins missing. The second dress was in Portland, Maine and she confirmed with a sales associate at that location that it was in a great condition.
….I then signed and paid for a wedding dress that I had literally never seen in person. I might have been freaking out and calling Mr. NavigatingAdulthood while this was all happening but once he heard that I was buying my wedding dress for $164 after tax, he assured me that if I didn’t love it, we could probably sell it and make a profit.
When the dress arrived, it was perfect! The condition was excellent and it mostly fit- it only needed minor alterations, which was a huge cost and time saver.
I’m going to be completely honest and say that 80% of the reason why I was able to save so much [more money] on my wedding dress was because of Mr. NavigatingAdulthood’s delightful 80+ year old grandma. She graciously offered to help do our wedding attire alterations as her gift for our big day. As my “something old” she added a piece of her own wedding dress from over 60+ years ago. It’s such a special memory that I cherish from our wedding.
- Securing loose beading and sequins
- Cutting off the train– For some reason, I’m not a huge fan of trains and since our wedding was outside, I didn’t like how the fabric would drag across the grass. Cutting off the train gives the dress more of a mermaid gown sort of feel.
- Adding a removable belt– I’m shaped like a rectangle, so I felt I needed a belt to help define a waist
- Raising the neckline– this was due to a family member’s concerns that the existing neckline was too low
As you may or may not know, I lost 13 pounds in the 5 weeks before our wedding due to a nasty kidney infection. This affected how the dress fit, so I was super thankful for the belt-I’m sure I would have swam in the dress if I didn’t have it. I remember zipping up the dress and having half an inch between my back and the zipper.
I think it turned out pretty well!
Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo Lottie Sandal
Price Paid: $110 (Later sold for $85)
Similar to The Luxe Strategist, I got my wedding shoes on Ebay! Mr. NavigatingAdulthood was originally planning on surprising me with a pair of designer heels right before our wedding, but then he realized that I might need to try said shoes on to ensure that they fit. You know what I learned when I went to go try on super expensive designer shoes? They’re not comfortable. I tried on Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, and Jimmy Choo, and I would call none of them comfortable- which is kind of absurd considering these shoes cost over $600!! Based on aesthetics, I liked Jimmy Choo the best, but I knew that I didn’t want to pay full price. Side note to Mr. NA: I’m sorry for ruining your grand plans and finding my own budget option!
I went on Ebay and after a few searches, I found a pair of $850 Jimmy Choo sandals that were selling for $110. They looked like they had been worn a few times, but were in really good condition. To be honest: it looked like someone had worn them once for a fancy occasion and wanted to pass them on. I know some people are weird about pr-eowned shoes, but it doesn’t bother me because I know I can sanitize them.
Here’s what the shoes looked like brand-new:
I did a little DIY for the bottom of the shoes [to hide the wear on the soles and to also add a personal touch]. I still receive countless compliments on them!
As much as I loved the shoes, they were still uncomfortable during our wedding day….so I sold them. I was able to sell them for $85 after the wedding, which means that I really paid less than $30 [including the DIY project on the soles] for a pair of designer shoes that would have cost me $850 had I purchased them new.
How I Paid Less Than $300 For My Wedding Dress And Shoes-Conclusion
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to look great on your wedding day! The total retail value of my wedding attire cost almost $2,000 and I spent less than $300. I admittedly got super lucky with free alterations to my dress and finding my dress at an amazing price. However, part of luck requires work- don’t be afraid to look at the sales section when you’re looking for a dress and don’t discount the powers of Ebay!
What about you? Would you buy your wedding dress on super sale or go the preowned route for designer shoes?