This is a guest post written by my very awesome bride-to-be sister, Jennifer Daly. I had a similarly awesome but cheap wedding that you can learn about here).
How I bought my dream designer wedding dress for $200
Every girl wants her wedding day to be amazing. The church adorned in flowers, a perfect venue lavishly decorated, a five course dinner, and of course the most incredible dress. I will admit that my idea of the “perfect day” seems to be slightly different than everyone else’s. I absolutely want amazing. I just want “amazing” to cost significantly less than $30,000. Pretty simple right?
Planning a wedding is exciting, slightly addicting and VERY expensive. In fact even saying the word “wedding” while you’re shopping around for ideas- seems to raise the price of everything by a few thousand dollars. Weddings are a huge business. So, with that in mind, I opted for a slightly different happily ever after.
We’re heading to a beautiful New York State Park with a view that is absolutely phenomenal for our wedding. Fall colors in a natural setting where everyone is invited to enjoy a relaxed chicken barbecue cooked on site by our favorite restaurant. We are hoping for a stress free, fun day with family and friends. Still Amazing! But our amazing comes with a total anticipated cost of less than $5,000.
The one thing, I really wanted and didn’t want to compromise on was the dress. I really wanted an amazing wedding dress. But where can you find an any dress for the $200 I had budgeted, much less an amazing one? I went to Bridal Shops and tried on an array of dresses. They were beautiful, stunning, elegant, and they were also between $700-$1,500, WAY over my budget. I started to give up.
So it was time to explore some other options. I tried to shop online, but it never looks as good on you as it does on the model. I looked for an alternative evening gown that I could wear as a wedding dress, but had no luck.
A google search put me on the doorstep of St. Anthony’s Bridal- a non profit organization who works to help brides on tight budgets achieve beautiful, affordable weddings. Their mission talks about the tremendous amount of money the average Washington D.C. area bride spends on your very first day as man and wife. That’s a pretty intense way to begin the happily ever after. St Anthony’s advertises discounted wedding gowns ranging from vintage to couture. They focus on options that allow brides to have “Amazing” without the massive price tag that goes along with it. I have to tell you, I am totally on-board with this mission!
So my mom, my 10 year old future step daughter and I drive to the location, which is open Saturdays from 10 am-12 pm. St Anthonys bridal is located in Maryland, and we find the place with no problem at all (thanks to GPS!) located inside an establishment called Dogtopia.
As you walk inside there are wedding dresses everywhere – hanging on racks sorted by sizes. The woman at the front desk tells us that all dresses in the store are on sale for $150 plus when you purchase a dress you also receive a free veil. She gives us some direction as to the dressing area locations, and which type of dresses can be found in which areas and sends us into the adjoining rooms. The only request? If the dress is not for you- hang it up and return it to the rack that you found it on. Not a problem.
So we find my size and we hit the dressing rooms with 2 dresses. 10 dresses later (with many more still to go) I looked in the mirror and there it was, THE DRESS! The dress you imagine, the dress you search for- and here it is on my body! This is my dress. It wasn’t until after I left that I noticed the designer name on the tags that were still flawlessly attached. So naturally I googled it.
It turns out, that my dream day will be showcased by an Illisa by Demetrios designer dress. The online retail of these dresses are about $3,000 and their designs have been featured on the runway. Not bad for a girl on a budget.
St. Anthony’s is a non profit organization serving Washington D.C./Southern Maryland/Northern Virginia.
If you aren’t local to that area, I’m seeing quite a few similar businesses in other states. It’s worth a google search.
Try heading over to google, and typing in your state and “non profit wedding dress” to see if you have a similar store close to you.
If you live within a day’s drive of Saint Anthony’s though (or more), It’s totally worth the drive!
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