Bridal Gown Shopping Tips

Well Ladies, the wedding season is well and truly upon us now. All I seem to hear about these days is friends spending money on wedding things, and my gosh it can be expensive. But we do need to be smart about these things! I got married in June 2014, and I saved as much money as I could without compromising on what I wanted. But there are so many things you think you could have done in hindsight! Where’s the rewind button….! So here are some tips for you thrifty brides.

The Shop:

One of the most important things is to pick a shop that has a good history and is trustworthy. No bride needs the stress of wondering whether their dress will arrive in, whether it will be exactly the one she picked, or whether the shop might take her deposit and ship out to a foreign land with it! Use resources like wedding websites ( / to get reviews on various  bridal stores. Independent sites are also useful, like – I find you get more “honest” opinions on these sites and it’s no harm to hear some of the horror stories so you know what to look out for an avoid. This is an extreme case, but you definitely don’t want this happening –


The Dress:

Every bride dreams of the beautiful, luxurious, designer wedding dress (with the unfortunate price-tag to match). Ladies – don’t fall for this! The key is to SHOP AROUND. Not just in shops in your local town/city but in different locations around the country. I found the Perfect Dress in a shop in Dublin, fell in love with it, and knew for sure that nothing would sway me. I even went back a second time to try it on again. This was definitely The One. But…..I was visiting my parents in Limerick the following week and decided to give a couple of the bridal shops there a go. I found a very similar dress, but it was so much nicer! Instead of plain lace it had subtle sequin detail on it, nothing “in-your-face” but it gave it that added extra that made me forget all about the Dublin Dress. I could barely bring myself to ask the shop owner the price, but I did, and I literally had to stop myself from hugging and kissing her when she gave me a price €800 LESS than the Dublin Dress. SOLD!

But we can do one better than that Ladies, can’t we? Well you can….I got too impatient and put a deposit on the dress there and then – it was €900. But if I had been patient enough to wait for the end-of-season sale I would have got the same dress for €300. What a steal! So make sure that you check out sale times if you’re really looking for a bargain – the shop will tell you what time of year they have their sales so if you have the time to wait for sale time then you’ll still get a gorgeous dress for next to nothing.


The Finishing Touches:

Alterations can be soooo expensive. Depending on what needs to be done you can spend up to €200 on alterations alone – and that’s not including adding extra details to the dress. I’m not saying you should walk down the aisle with those sexy bull-clips holding in your dress so it fits you, but there are some simple cheats you could use.

Get a dress with a corset back instead of a zipper back – corsets are more forgiving so it means that if you lose or gain a little weight, chances are you won’t need alterations done to the bodice of the dress.


If you’re not afraid of a high-heel you may not need length taken off the dress either – wear the highest heel you feel comfortable in when you’re going to your first dress fitting and make sure you’re happy with the height (remember, you’ll be standing in these for a good 6 hours before you get to kick them off under the dinner table!). With any luck you won’t need much (if any) alteration to the hem.


Don’t be afraid to source your own embellishments if you want to add that extra something. Bridal shops can be very expensive for these kind of extras – belts, hair combs, cuffs and the like. Don’t go so low-end that you cheapen the dress, but it’s worth scouring Ebay and the like to see what’s on offer. You could very easily pick up a little diamante brooch and then buy some material in a haberdashery shop and marry (pardon the pun) the two into a gorgeous belt – if you do end up getting alterations just ask the dressmaker to sew the belt into the dress for you too – you don’t want to risk that bit yourself!


~ ~ ~ ~

So those are my little tips for saving money without feeling like you have to buy a bargain bin dress. I have a few other ideas about how to save money on your wedding, so let me know in the comments if you’ve enjoyed reading this and if there are any specific tips you’d like to hear about!

Aoife X


*Photos of the dress are my own.


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