Brides Are Skipping Pricey Gowns for These Thrifty Alternatives – How Little Could Your Dream Dress Cost?

A few beautiful wedding dresses on a hanger.
SbytovaMN / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Research has shown that millennials tend to favor spending their money on experiences, such as travel and shows, than on material items. And GenZ might be following in their footsteps, at least if the new trend of inexpensive wedding dresses is any indication.

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The average wedding dress cost $1,800 in 2021, according to research from The Knot wedding planning website. But some GenZ brides are playing a game of, “How low can I go,” when it comes to wedding gown shopping.

“I feel like a lot of younger people now want to travel more, or they’re like, ‘Wait, I can put this towards my honeymoon, or I can put this towards an experience,'” 26-year-old bride Rachel Connealy told the New York Post. She paid $3 for her wedding gown and $5 for a dress to wear for the reception, going viral on TikTok with her Goodwill finds.

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The hashtag #cheapweddingdress yields 400,700 views and counting. While some of these posts show brands promoting their sales, others showed affordable dresses, like a $39 mermaid cut long gown from Shein. Other dresses ranged from $99 to under $500, which are all considered “cheap,” by today’s standards. Another account showed a bride “renovating” her $20 wedding dress into the gown of her dreams.  

So where is the best place to find a cheap wedding dress?

Shein seems to be a popular option, based on how many brides on TikTok hashtag the e-commerce site. Since brides are often accustomed to waiting months for their designer dresses, the long shipping times expected from Shein shouldn’t be a problem.

But if you want your dress fast, the old online shopping standby, Amazon, also works. We found a beautiful bohemian long wedding gown for just $33.99.

Of course, the “new rules” of wedding wear no longer dictate that the bride must wear white. Chain store David’s Bridal told the New York Times that colorful wedding dresses, including red, black and blue, now make up roughly 10% of its collection, about one-third more than last year.

Of course, if you’re shopping for a dress that isn’t white, it opens an entire world of low-cost options, since you don’t have to shop in a store’s bridal department, where prices are usually higher.

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For brides who aren’t quite ready for a bold and colorful look, pink, blush and champagne gowns are also an attractive alternative, David’s Bridal told The New York Times.

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If you walk down the aisle in a colorful dress — or at least one that isn’t pure white — you’re more likely to wear it again at another party or event. That can also take some of the sting out of the high price tag.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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