Bridal bargains: How I bought my wedding dress for $200

By Melina Byrne

(the wedding dress is pictured)

Wedding dresses can be expensive (the understatement of the year!). But with help from RESCU’s bargain bridezilla, Melina Byrne, you can buy your wedding gown under budget. 

I’ll start by telling you about my wedding. I got married in the Whitsundays by the beach last September, amongst a tropical yellow and white theme. The weather was perfect and, of course, love was in the air.

For my dress, it was not love at first sight; it was more lust at first click. It was a $200 eBay purchase (RRP: $1000).

Here’s what I saw:

• Limited edition design by Australian brand Thurley

• Pure silk, ivory in colour

• Hand-beaded with sequins and beads

• It was my size!!

There were 10 different pictures of the dress, which was brand-new, on eBay. So I bought it using ‘Buy It Now’ (the early bird catches the worm!).

Then disaster struck…

When the dress arrived, it was as gorgeous as its pictures. But it did not fit me; it was too big. All size 10 dresses are not created equal. To cut a long story short, I had a dressmaker tailor the dress to fit.

Top Tip: Don’t tell the dressmaker that it’s a wedding dress (unless it obviously is). You usually save money by not mentioning the word wedding.

Here are my bridal bargain tips:

1). eBay

If like me, you love eBay, be prepared to invest in alterations to make the dress fit. Or buy from sellers who allow you to try things on, or have a return policy.

Top Tip: eBay is a great value place to buy your wedding accessories. I bought my veil from the U.S. for $30 and resold it after the wedding for $25.

2). Sample sales

Brides-to-be on a budget should seek out all sample/seconds sales. Wedding dresses can be 50-80% off.

3). Don’t just shop in wedding boutiques

The perfect dress may not be a typical wedding dress. It may be a white dress with a reasonable price tag. My dress, for instance, wasn’t a wedding dress, but once you added a veil and bouquet – instant bride!

4). Renting

Renting bridal dresses is common in many Asian countries, but is not very popular here in Australia. However, I found a lovely floor-length white gown you can hire at Dressed Up for $199.

Results Of The Recessionista Wedding Dress Auction

Update: The eBay auction for the pictured wedding dress is over. The starting bid for the dress was $49.95 and it sold for $56.00. This shows eBay is the place for big bargains, and also that you can’t sell an altered dress for very much.

Hint: If you want a dress that resells well, buy Collette Dinnigan or Alex Perry. I have seen them sell extremely well (think thousands!).

The image below shows the wedding setting the Coral Sea Resort. This photo was taken by Norina Jane from Whitsunday Photographer.

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