MadMan & I are engaged! More correctly, we have been engaged and are now wedding planning. Just this past week, we got our outfits. MadMan got his suit and I got my dress. MadMan and I are pretty chill, as they say, so at the time we were quite unaware of just how “big a deal” that was. We found out when people bombarded us for photos and hints and congratulations. “For an outfit?” we thought, “that’s strange” You might be different (aka more excited) than us, yet, regardless of your excitement about “Saying yes to the dress” I have some tips for you. Where to find a dress, tips and thoughts on getting a used dress, and what to do with a dress after the wedding.
Wedding dresses cost too much…
The wedding industry has gone nuts. $5000 for a simple sheath wedding dress, $1000 for something that I could make at home. It’s simply too much. That said, I did want a wedding dress that was a tad traditional. I just wanted something that represented my frugal minimal habits, aka, not spending thousands on something I might only wear once. I didn’t think I could find “the white dress” for less than $1000 and had given up. I was just going to get a sun dress. Then I found Brides ABC in Atlanta. My dress is amazing. Yet, it made me realize something. There are so many women who got married this year. Most of them have nothing to do with their wedding dress, that’s when I decided to write this.
The point? You don’t have to give up on your dreams of a cheap wedding dress that is also your dream dress. My wedding dress cost $300 total. Now, you might think that price means it is cheap looking, come my wedding, I will post photos of it and show you just how gorgeous it really is. Dream dresses can be found for a decent price, it just takes quite a bit of looking.
If they don’t cost too much, where are they?
In closets, in places like Brides ABC, or in Brides ABC if you are in Atlanta or close enough to travel. Look around, go to every store, and check the Facebook market place. In short, here’s a good way to begin your search:
- Check all department stores
- Check all boutiques (sales)
- Check discount wedding boutiques
- Check thrift shops
- Check Facebook
Remember: You can get a dress altered. While it does depend on the kind of dress and the amount of beading, most dresses can go up or down almost two sizes as a rule of thumb. You should also make sure that a dress has not been altered before as that could affect whether or not it will be able to fit you after alterations.
Note for Facebook: I would advise meeting at a dress alterations shop to try on the wedding dress. This way you can try it on at a place where an answer can be given right off the bat. It’s also a safe public place to meet rather than in someones home or dress try-ons in Walmart.
But a dress does not mean as much if it is used!?!
Says who? The advertisement that wants you to spend more? The people who think spending more means loving more? Mindfully think about where you got this idea. Does a frugal dress mean that you love the love of your life any less?
A wedding dress used to represent purity, that’s why they are white in many cultures. Now they represent more of a new chapter than how pure the woman is. As long as the dress represents your new chapter, who cares if someone else wore it too?
How does re-using a dress help you and others?
- Saves landfills: (it could have been thrown away)
- Reduces Waist: Getting a new dress would have cost a lot more in water, energy, and materials than getting something used.
- Saves Money: You’ll probably saves thousands (like me) and you might even get the chance to make money back!
What do I do after the wedding?
I don’t see the need to keep my dress in a closet never to wear again. I’d rather get more use out of it or at least some money back. Look at it from a minimalist perspective… Does it make you happy to keep it? Does it add value to your life? Would it add more value to someone else’s life? Would you be happier if you could get more use out of it?
There is no reason that you should just keep it in a box. Create baby gowns from it, dye it and make it into a formal dress, sell it for money, donate it to a good cause. Help the environment by eliminating waste and consumerism (dramatic, yes. Inaccurate, no.)
Where/How can you do these things?
- Up-cycle your dress: Find a good wedding dress alterations store or DYI it yourself
- Sell Your Dress: Facebook, Craigslist, Wedding Dress By Back Programs
- Donate Your Dress: Goodwill, Salvation Army, Dress Drives
In short, Wedding dresses should not cost as much as they do. If you know where to look, you might be able to get a steal like I did for something more “traditional.” If not, who said you even need a white dress? Why not wear a sun dress or a cruise type formal dress? There are many things you can do with your dress after your wedding from get money back to make something new or even help someone. It’s time to make weddings less consumerist and more celebration. It’s time to make them about the couple and not about spending money.