Lose the Trimmings
Choosing a classic gown without embellishments may lower the price tag significantly (often by up to 25%). Alternatively, opt out of some of the ornamentation. Get all that gorgeous lace and beading on the bodice, but eliminate the lace and embelishment on the hemline, waistline, train, or sleeves to save.
Avoid Custom Alterations
Making special changes to couture gowns, such as changing the shape of the neckline or altering a sleeve, can cost up to $300 per adjustment.
Keep your budget balanced by choosing a simple silhouette. The more fabric it takes to make a gown, the more it costs. A ball gown made with yards and yards of taffeta or organza can cost more than twice as much as a sheath in the same fabric.
Shop Sample Sales
Winter and summer are two times a year when you can luck out and get great savings at a bridal shop sample sale. At these events, buyers attempt to get rid of inventory and may cut prices by as much as 80%. You’ll need to factor in dry cleaning and alteration costs though, since these gowns (used as try-on models) are usually sold “as-is”. Also, women who fit into a size 8 gown will have the best luck as most samples are made around that size.
Note: I’m pretty good with all of these areas. Unfortunately I really like lace. Who knows what it will look like when I try it on though. I may not like lace at all.