There are many options for a budget-conscious bride to get the dress of your dream without blowing the budget. We’ll go over some of these:
1. Rent a gown
2. Purchase a second hand gown
3. Ebay factory direct priced gowns
4. Netbride, trunk shows, and other great deals
Option 1: Wedding Dress Rental
Renting a dress is a great way to save costs and be environmental. If you are living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), you are in luck! There are many dress rental stores in our area.
Expect the cost to be $500-$600. These stores all carry designer-brands and this season’s bridal gowns. The rental cost includes alteration and dry-cleaning. However you’re going to be a little limited by choices because some dresses with detailing at the bottom are hard to alter (length-wise).
Plus most of these places rent bridal veils, accessories and jewellery as well. Ask for a package cost and discount if you’re buying more than 1 item or dress. There’s always room for negotiation.
Some places to start:
Armour - Great for petite brides, with a huge selection of dresses (e.g. San Patrick, Alfred Angelo) already preshorten and in small sizes. Info: 175 W Beaver Creek Rd Markham, ON 905.763.2300
Vivi Bridal – Again a large selection of gowns. Info: 175 West Beaver Creek Rd. Unit 3. Richmond Hill, ON.
Picture Perfect Bridal - Smaller selection of dresses. Info: 50 Esna Park Dr. Markham. 905.474.5678
Honeymoon Bridal – Large selection of dresses in all sizes and lengths. They also have some rental dresses from older collections that they are now selling for around $150 (be warn, they are obviously selling them for a reason: the styles are no longer popular or in trend. But if you’re looking for a more traditional gown, e.g. one with straps, you would be in luck!) 245 West Beaver Creek Road, Unit 5A. 905. 882-1931
Faces Bridal Boutique – Personally didn’t find a lot of new styles here but they asked me to look only through a catalog which was limiting. 175 West Beaver Creek Rd., Unit 16. 905.764.8432
Hilda Studio - Info: Unit 1, 30 West Beaver Creek Rd, Richmond Hill, ON. 905.764.6137
Wonder Photo Inc. A small-to-fair selection of dresses but not designer branded. Cost is the same though as studios renting designer gowns. 1170 Burnhamthorpe Road West, Missisauga, ON. 905.270.0360
Eills Bridal Boutique – Info: 2201 Brimley Road, Unit 4. Scarborough. 416.291-2108
Taipei Love Forever - A friend of mine has checked this place out, her comment was that she wasn’t allowed to try on too many dresses without a deposit. Info: 175 West Beaver Creek Rd. Unit 1-2. 905.709.0516
Option 2: Buy a second-hand good karma wedding gown
Of course, keep in mind too that The Bride’s Project sells secondhand dresses as well as sample dresses donated by bridal stores for around the same price. Pro: goes to a great cause. Con: the selection at rental stores are always new and in-trend. With Bride’s Project, you need to visit at the right time to get your dress. Cost: Destination dresses start at $50-$100. Most dresses are in the $500 range. And top of the price dresses start at $700. Don’t forget you will need dry-clean and alterations, but they have some great seamstress and dry cleaning vendors they will refer you to.
Check bridal forums! Many brides sell their dresses and other wedding items on Bridal Boards, Craighlist, and ebay. Check out:
Canadian Bride – For Sale section
Wedding Bells Swap Shop
Frugal Bride’s Babbling Boards
Kijiji Wedding Dress Sell List
Also check out US based Preownedweddingdresses.com
Option 3: Ebay
Ebay is a great place to order custom-sized factory-direct wedding gowns from China, made exactly to your measurements. They can make a gown based on photos & sketches – the more you can supply the better. Cost: $100-$500. Many of the designer gowns are actually made in China. Of course you have no way of trying on the dress before you purchase it, but you can ask them to send you a photo of the finished product before you send in your final payment. My advice if you want to take this route is to really do your research and find a vendor with solid reviews. Try Milly Bridal, their prices tend to be higher but they are definitely most trusted amongst some bridal boards. After weighing it all in, I decided to go this route! Stay tune for my own Milly Bridal review.
You can also purchase your veil, bridesmaid dresses, and mother of the bride dresses through these suppliers. Again for multiples, ask for a discount as prices are up for negotiation. If you are a petite size bride, you may also get a better price on your dress just by asking.
And more options
- I’ve heard good things about ordering through Netbride – they have selected designer dresses at a better prices, but you may incur custom costs.
- Check out when trunk shows are on. There are many trunk show sales usually around Jan-Feb.
- Check out wedding show specials.