A Real Wedding on a Budget: Tips From the Bride

Posted by csancho on Oct 28, 2013

When Bride Stephanie Fenn got engaged, the budget for the wedding immediately reared its ugly head as problematic. So, with careful planning and the cooperation of her family, she began to navigate ways in which to get the wedding of her dreams to cost under $5,000.

First stop: The Dress

I made a couple appointments with different dress shops, one being David’s Bridal, and the another was a shop called Ann’s Classic Affairs. We went to Ann’s Classic Affairs first because it came recommended from a friend, who said it had a large selection of affordable and modest gowns – having a sleeve and higher neckline was something I was specifically looking for.  I went in doubtful I was going to find anything in my price range, but when we told the owner what we were looking for and what we could afford she walked us over to her clearance dresses. At first I was like…’you could of just laughed and told us to leave,’  but then she went over their prices on alterations and how they could make our budget work (under $1000).  

I tried on four dresses and ended up back in the very first dress I tried on. It was a size 14 -and I was a 4- so to get me in they had to use the big clamps. They assured me that they could get it to my size and that it would be flawless. So we bought it, scheduled my fittings, and got a gorgeous ballroom gown with beaded and lace detail that made me feel like a princess It was truly perfect for my storybook theme and landed us well under our budget of $1000.  The dress itself was $500 and cost roughly $300 for all the alterations. This gave me room to purchase jewelry, a head piece, and two garters-one to throw and one to keep. I guess I can’t say I am a relatable example for the bride that tries on every gown in ten different dress shops, but I would just say that if you got a tight budget, don’t be afraid to dive into the clearance racks!

The moral: If you have a tight budget look into clearance dresses and try shopping in non-“name brand” stores. If you do pick out a dress that doesn’t quite fit without alterations, then you want to make sure to pay attention to the cost and reputation of the stores alterations. Another solution would be to try renting a dress. This, of course, is a solution that would only work for brides that don’t wish to keep their dress.

If there is a will, there is a way!

I thought about making my own wedding invitations – it was what both of my older sisters did for their weddings- and I knew that a DIY invitation with a wedding invitation kit could be just as beautiful as any printed from an invitation company, but I just didn’t want to. Perhaps it was a bridezilla moment, but I had an invitation in mind and I didn’t have a clue, or ,as a full time student, the time to make them. So, after finding the ONE on Invitations by Dawn, I approached my parents with the $500 cost. Their reaction was predictable-‘that’s fine, but remember that means we can’t buy….”. So, I came up a solution: A Wedding Garage Sale! I put out a post on Facebook requesting donations from family and friends and asked to take any clothes, books, technology, or furniture off their hands. About a month later on a Saturday we held our sale. Most items were under $5, some even under a $1, but it turns out that a sign saying ‘help us pay for our wedding’ and some cheerful negotiating inspired people to buy and then buy more. We made about $650 in one morning. This not only allowed me to get the invitations I wanted, but it added $150 to our budget. 

The moral: If you are on a low budget, get creative and generate extra funds! A garage sale, like Stephanie’s, could generate anywhere from $400-$800 if done right. It isn’t asking for handouts. You will be doing the work, and earning the right to be picky about the invitations you order. Other creative ways to earn extra wedding cash would be a bake sale or a car wash. Just try to figure out a service you can offer, and fill it!

Cutting Corners

One thing that really helped me save money was borrowing from brides that preceded me.

Pinterest Inspiration

I got all of my white round table clothes from a girl who had her wedding the weekend before mine and whose mother just so happened to be best friends with my new mother-in-law. The trade was that we would help them set up and take down their wedding reception decor. Then, because I didn’t want to have just plain white table clothes, I got inspired by a image I found on Pinterest that had two squares of colored cloth that formed the extra color and design I wanted. 

I wasn’t going to be able to afford buying square table cloths in the varied sizes, so I went with my parents to a material store and picked out cloth in my colors.  I gave the picture example, the dimensions of the table, the material, and thread to my dad and told him not to mess it up (he is the one that sows in my family). The tables turned out EXACTLY how I wanted and cost us about $80 for all 10 tables.  

The moral: Don’t forget to ask around. Brides should have each other’s backs, and if you know a bride that was married recently, don’t be afraid to ask where she got her materials for decor, and even, if you could use some of it. A wedding is one of those things that you don’t want to go trying to reinvent the wheel on. Get advice, ask around, and learn from other brides!

Lace Four Ways by Allure Bridals

Posted by Kim on Oct 10, 2013

Post Sponsored by Allure Bridals

Lace, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways! Lace is a classic and feminine fabric for wedding dresses, of course, but it’s also extremely versatile. Many of Allure Bridals‘ gowns feature lace used in unique and gorgeous ways – and whether you’re a super-romantic bride, a glamour girl, a modern sophisticate or a total romantic, there’s an Allure lace gown for you. Check out a few of our favorite lace wedding dresses from Allure Bridals.

wedding dresses allure

Romantic: Head-to-toe lace with classic sleeves is pure wedding romance. We love the slim silhouette and the illusion neckline – so Kate Middleton, and perfect for a springtime garden wedding.

Modern: This gown combines on-trend details (hello, peplum!) with a totally flattering style. The beaded belt highlights the narrowest part of the natural waist, and the v-neckline is so slimming.

Glam: Va-va-voom! The sweetheart neckline and fit-to-flare silhouette are totally sexy, but the stunning lace fabrication keeps things ultra-feminine, too.

Vintage: This slinky style has an Old Hollywood vibe that’s ideal for a Great Gatsby-inspired wedding that’s so hot right now.

And don’t forget your bridesmaids! One of the biggest trends from last season’s bridal market is lace bridesmaid dresses. And no matter what your wedding style is, you’ll find a lace bridesmaid look from Allure Bridesmaids that works perfectly.


Elegant: Hosting a formal wedding? Your ‘maids will look black-tie ready with this gown, which combines a classic illusion neckline with a modern peplum detail.

Versatile: If you’re looking for a dress that would look great on a variety of figures, this v-neck, knee-length style is both stylish and flattering.

Retro: We love the A-line skirt on this dress for a little 1950s flair! Plus, the illusion neckline and cap sleeves provide a little extra coverage.

Sophisticated: This dress is so chic – your bridesmaids will totally want to wear it after the wedding to a cocktail party or out on the town!


new-wedding-dresses-1Dresses by (from left): Olia Zavozina, Berta. Photos by Robert Mitra

Well, it’s that time of year again! In just a few short days, we’ll be heading up to New York City to see the newest designer wedding dresses at Bridal Market. So to get ready for the biggest event in bridal fashion, we thought it would be wise to take a look back at our favorite wedding dresses from last season – the styles that really wowed us. Two of our editors’ personal faves are pictured above: a pink textured rosette A-line gown by Olia Zavozina, and a romantic long-sleeved gown with a plunging neckline and body-hugging silhouette by Berta. Both of these gorgeous gowns were photographed at Pier 94, the hub of New York Bridal Market. Be sure you’re following us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to get inside scoop on what’s new in bridal fashion. See you on the runway!

Choosing a Dress For Your Wedding Season

Posted by Kim on May 20, 2013

Post Sponsored by Allure Bridals

When you’re shopping for a wedding gown, you obviously should choose a style that fits and flatters your figure, but it’s also so important to think about the season when your wedding will take place. You’re going to be in your gown for the whole day, so you certainly want to feel comfortable and confident. We selected an ideal gown for each season from Allure Bridals and shared some of our top tips for finding a seasonally-appropriate wedding dress.

All dresses and photos by Allure Bridals

Spring: We love the look of lace for a spring wedding – it’s so romantic, and the floral motif feels so apropos when everything is in bloom. Allure Couture Style C265 (pictured top, left), features lace throughout, a crystal sash for some added glam, and 0ur favorite detail – a tiered, ruffled skirt that moves beautifully in the springtime breeze.

Summer: When it’s hot outside, think lightweight fabrics, like chiffon, which will keep you cool and comfortable. Allure Bridals’ Style 9057 (top, right) is ideal for a summer wedding – and we love how versatile it is. It’s ethereal and airy silhouette would look gorgeous at an outdoor wedding on the beach, but it’s sparkly embroidery and beading keeps it formal enough for a ballroom wedding.

Fall: For fall, we often hear the words “rustic” and “natural” when it comes to gowns, but we think that vintage glamour fits the season just as well. Allure Couture’s C264 (bottom, left) features leaf-and-vine-themed beaded embroidery (so ideal!) and a flattering v-neckline. Plus, the English net fabrication keeps this slip dress lightweight enough for those warmer early-fall days.

Winter: Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you need to wear a gown with sleeves (you can always don a fur wrap for outdoor photos – so chic!). We love how the silvery crystal and pearl beading on Allure Couture’s Style C271 (bottom right) resembles falling snow. And the illusion neckline provides a bit more coverage than a strapless gown.

How does your gown fit your wedding season? Tell us in the comments!

Runway dresses by (left to right): Marchesa; Christos. Runway photos by Dan Lecca

If you’re shopping for a wedding dress or are just a bridal fashion fanatic (like us!), get excited – New York International Bridal Week starts tomorrow and we’ll be there! We can’t wait to check out the newest wedding dresses and share them with you. The WeddingWire team will be live on social media starting on April 19th, so be sure to like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to make sure you’re up-to-date and viewing the newest styles as they step off the runway. And watch this space, and our Fashion Ideas page, for constant updates, photos from the latest runway shows, and exciting trend reports throughout the week.

And – bonus! – we want to help you shop! Describe your dream wedding gown to us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll select a few requests and play “personal shopper” – sharing photos of brand-new dresses you might like to help get you inspired. Happy dress hunting!