Thursday, May 14, 2009

Four Places to Find Your Wedding Dress for Less

Let me guess. You have ransacked magazines, pounded the Internet and hit every bridal shop in town trying to find a less-expensive version of your dream wedding dress. Right?

Well if not. You should.

Did you know that buying your wedding dress online can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars? Seriously. Thousands. I mean, think about it ... what could you do with an extra, oh, let’s say $1500 for your wedding?

Wow, huh?

But where would you start? Should you just pick a website at random and order your wedding dress without ever seeing it? Trying it on? Knowing your exact size?

Uhm. No.

What you should do is find your ideal dress. Try it on. Fall in love with it. Then, go somewhere else to buy it.

I know it sounds mean, but bridal shops prey on inexperienced brides who don’t know their options and prices for the same dress-even from one bridal shop to the next-can vary hundreds of dollars. I know. I did the research on my own dress.

But I’ll save you some time. Here are four websites where you can find your dream dress-for less!

Bride Couture
Vera Wang? Carolina Herrera? Jim Hjelm? Those are some pretty impressive names in the bridal biz and Bride Couture is selling them on their website for 50-75% off the normal retail price. You can make a private appointment at their store in San Diego or order two, three, even four dresses, try them on at your house, then return the ones you don’t choose. You will only pay shipping.

Bride Power
Featuring the same designer names as Bride Couture, Bride Power goes one step further and offers a gown-locator service. For $50, they will search for your exact dress and guarantee it for 40% off the retail price. If they can’t find it, you get your $50 back. You can also sign up for their Gown Notifier service where they will call or email you if your gown arrives (although this option isn’t guaranteed).

Perfect Bridal
Perfect Bridal is the sister company of Brides of California and is an authorized dealer for all of the dresses they sell. In addition to wedding gowns, they sell bridesmaid dresses, mother-of-the-bride dresses and accessories.

Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses
All of the dresses on this site are previously worn and sold directly by the brides who wore them. Many sellers offer a return policy and prices run around 50% off the original price of the dress.

This is also a good way to sell your dress-thereby recouping some of your investment-after your wedding. I know I’m selling mine-and in fact, I think I’ll list it with this site.

With any Internet company, you should do extensive research (in addition to the information I’ve provided you), look them up on the Better Business Bureau and ask for recommendations. I asked for recs from one company I considered using, and although they sent me a list of four or five brides to email, I could tell from the tone of the emails and the unnatural English writing that all of the emails were answered by the same person. I ran-fast. You should, too.

You should also read the fine print and follow-up with the company. You could save hundreds-or thousands-on your dress, but if it doesn’t arrive on time or you choose an unethical company, your dream dress could cause you wedding nightmares.

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