Are you a bride on a budget? With wedding season soon upon us, many brides are looking for a way to create the most special day imaginable, without racking up the biggest debt imaginable. Here are a few money-saving tips that will guarantee a stunning look on your wedding day that won’t cost you an arm and a leg!

Stick to a budget – This is the number one and most important rule. If possible, try and shop only within your price range. If you write down your dress budget on paper, you are more likely to stick to your budget. Remember to include money for dress alterations and accessories in your budget.

Brave the superstore – Off-the-rack retailers such as J. Crew, Ann Taylor, and stores such Nordstrom’s, have become the go-to places for brides on a budget; offering attractive styles and prices. You can order online or make an appointment with a wedding stylist at select locations. Another advantage is the dresses don’t take months to come in and can be returned.

Head online – Shopping online greatly increases your options and lets you play with more varieties while remaining within your budget. There is something to be said for the experience of shopping for a bridal dress with family and friends in an actual bridal salon but any bride can tell you after a few tiring session, the novelty of that starts to wear off. Remember to make sure there is a return policy just in case the dress is not as impressive in person.

Buy a used or sample dress – You can find some great deals when buying a used or sample dress. Sometimes used dresses are not really used but simply pre-owned, in some cases, the bride never even wore the dress and is just trying to get a little bit back from what she dished out. You can get great deals browsing the web or ads for gently worn dresses that brides are selling back, almost as good as new. As far as sample dresses go, each season, bridal stores buy a selection of styles in sample sizes for brides to try before they buy. If the dresses are in good shape, the salons will often resell the samples, either in their stores or through special sample-size resellers, so check the bridal boutiques in your area. You can also buy sample sizes at the assorted trunk shows held during wedding season.

Give secondhand and vintage sources a chance – It’s true that new dresses don’t necessarily carry the bad karma of a called-off engagement, but if you can overlook some of the negatives you can find some great deals. A great way to save is to search for a good vintage option in your family heirlooms that you can modernize with the right accessories. The classic beauty of a vintage dress often features exquisite details and workmanship for a fraction of the price. Whether you find a hidden treasure from family weddings past or you bargain your way to a unique find in your local vintage shop, vintage wedding dresses are becoming a popular penny-saving fad.

Plan a less formal event – If you imagine yourself at the altar in a cathedral-length veil, then this isn’t a tip you want to pay close attention to, but if you are planning an outdoor or more casual wedding, this could be an option to consider! Skip the wedding dress altogether and play around with more fun, light-hearted look that will usually be less expensive. You can also play around with the color of the dress. White isn’t always the easiest color to wear, and a different shade might better complement your skin tone. If you’re the type of woman who likes to turn heads, refraining from white is a surefire way to make a statement with your wedding gown.

Be wary of cheap talent – Often times here at SGM Events we get a frantic call from brides that have had their wedding entertainment cancel on them last minute. Usually, this is because they went with a very budget DJ or entertainer and that person found a higher paying gig. One thing you can feel comfortable booking with an entertainment agency like us is that we will never pull this on you. Be open and honest about your wedding entertainment budget and we will do our best to cater to your needs. If we do not have any talent that fits within your price range we can try to refer you to someone who can, or we will let you know instead of leaving you with one of those scary stories where the entertainer took the deposit and ran.