5 Ways To Cut Back on Wedding Dress and Suit Costs

Smiling african woman shopping for wedding outfit in bridal boutique.
jacoblund / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Wedding season is in full swing! Many newlyweds are considering paying a little extra for their wedding outfits this year with 47% of couples willing to splurge on wedding attire, according to findings in Zola’s First Look Report 2022. However, couples on budgets may be looking for ways to cut back on suit and dress expenses. Luckily, there are several ways they can get clever without paying thousands of dollars. Here are a few ways you can cut back on wedding attire costs without sacrificing looking fabulous on your big day.

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Rather than purchase a wedding dress or suit for full price off the rack, look into secondhand or preowned wedding attire options.

Shop for Secondhand Attire

Sarah Ghabbour is the owner of Loved Twice Bridal, an online luxury bridal consignment boutique with a showroom in Beverly Hills. Ghabbour recommends shopping for secondhand gowns because this allows brides-to-be to purchase a couture wedding gown for typically 30% to 50% off the retail price. 

Make Your Money Work for You

While it is possible for brides to find a wedding gown through online resale shopping, Ghabbour said the tough part is that you don’t quite know what you’re getting or if the dress is going to fit. Often, many of these websites tend to be final sale for purchases. 

Shopping through a consignment boutique allows local brides to shop in-store during a private appointment, ensuring the same customer experience they would receive in a traditional boutique. 

If you don’t have a consignment boutique local to you, money-saving expert Andrea Woroch recommends trying on different dress styles, designers and sizes at a local bridal boutique or dress shop. Once you find a gown you love, jot down the details and see if you can find a secondhand version online. 

What if you can’t find a secondhand version of your dream dress in your size? Woroch recommends looking for the same style of this dress in a slightly bigger size. 

“You can likely have a seamstress take it in for a fraction of the price that you’d spend to buy the dress brand new,” Woroch said.

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Make Your Money Work for You

Look for Off-Season Deals

If you’re on the hunt for a wedding dress, suit or attire for members of the wedding party, the best time to start shopping is during Christmas — yes, really. Ranu Coleman, chief marketing officer at Azazie, said major holidays like Christmas, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are always a great time to look for deals on wedding attire. 

Throughout the rest of the year, Coleman recommends signing up for text alerts at stores and websites that sell wedding attire. This helps keep customers in the loop for surprise sales and promotions so they don’t miss out on opportunities to save.

Shop at Stores That Offer Premium Services

Brides who decide they want to purchase their wedding dress online and forgo the in-store fitting experience may want to shop at stores that offer premium services. 

Coleman said some of the premium services to keep an eye out for may include free color swatches for brides and free custom sizing. The latter can help reduce seamstress and tailor fees, which can increase on certain designer dresses, and allow brides to feel at their most confident.

Make Your Money Work for You

Look for Sample Sales

Some bridal stores and boutiques host sample sales with discounted wedding attire to clear out existing inventory. You can save on a wedding dress or suit by shopping at a sample sale, but don’t go in unprepared for the occasion.

Do a bit of dress or suit shopping beforehand so you have an idea of the sizes, styles and designers you’re looking for and that fit best. If you think you’ve found the one, carefully inspect the gown or suit for any visible wear or tear and ask an associate any questions you may have, like whether the dress may be altered, before committing to a purchase. Most sample sales are final sale on gowns or suits so you’ll need to make sure you are ready to buy that day. 

Unlike a private boutique where you may go at your own pace, sample sales often give you a time limit for how long you may shop. If you feel pressured to buy a dress because of the time limit or don’t have enough money to buy, don’t push yourself to rush into a purchase. Keep looking into other sample sales and use the experience to better inform your dress or suit shopping experience moving forward.

Skip the Bridal Section Entirely

If you’re still struggling to find the right dress and are just looking for a white dress at this point, Woroch recommends skipping the bridal section altogether.

“There are plenty of white dresses available that can give you a bridal look that aren’t considered wedding gowns and those options will be much cheaper. You can add a few accessories to dress up a more plain white dress, like a jeweled belt, sparkly shoes and veil to achieve the bridal look for less!” Woroch said.

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About the Author

Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 

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