Attire & Accessories Forum

$400 budget

With my FMIL I filled out a budgeting worksheet.  It worked out that my wedding dress will need to be $400 or under.  Anyone else have a smaller budget like this?  And if so, can you recommend some designers/brands that carry that price range?

Re: $400 budget

  • You could always try Davids Bridal and Alfred Angelo. They have dresses that are under $400. Davids Bridal also does their $99 sale and you should check that out the next time they have one.
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  • I had a small budget for my dress. I paid just over $400 for it. I LOVED my dress. Try: David's JCrew (Robin, Sophia, Avery & Cecilia styles) Macy's Nordstrom Here's a link to ....all dresses that are under 500:
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  • You can still go to bridal stores (I hate David's with an intense passion) if you are able to wear the sample sizes, you could purchase off the rack, like I did.  My gown was originally $1500, and I bought it for $480 when it went on sample sale. 
  • Despite what anyone says about David's, I had a great experience there, as have many of my friends.  One of them just purchased a beautiful dress there for $99.  Jessica McClintock carries some nice, inexpensive gowns as well (at least they used to). 
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  • As the pp said, I too, had a great experience with David's. They were very helpful and my dress was perfect for me.
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  • You could try Group USA.  They had a lot of dresses around that price range.  I tried them on and they were pretty well made. 
  • Also I know its a little more than your budget but I got my Wtoo for $520 from Pearls Place.  They have great prices.  In the shop by my house they wanted $950 for the same dress. 
  • You can always look at bridesmaids dresses, there's tons that could work. Also you can try to purchase a used gown there's lots of sites out there that sell them.
  • Sample sales, [url][/url] [url][/url] [url][/url] craigslist I bought my gown for 1/5 of the retail price at a sample sale.
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  • Some of the J. Crew wedding gowns are under $400: has a bunch of pretty ones: Penny:|50444|64335White dresses on has some nice dresses, like this champagne evening gown: prom dresses (try stores like Windsor, Group USA, department stores): PPs - eBay, Craigslist, Trash To Treasure board, consignment stores, Salvation Army (I found a gorgeous, modern Mori Lee there a couple of years ago for $100), Brides Against Breast Cancer, white bridesmaid's dress, salon sample sales, inexpensive bridal designers (Alfred Angelo, David's Bridal, Jessica McClintock - and go through a wholesaler like Netbride or RK Bridal for a bigger discount). Does a friend have a gown you could borrow? Can someone make you a dress?Do you have your heart set on a white "wedding dress"? If not, another option would be to buy a knockout evening gown or a gorgeous bridesmaid's dress in your favorite color. I'm sure that'd run much less than $400.
  • I want to go to Davids Bridal but the lady was so rude when I went in. So they will be my last choice to go to. But they do have good deals.

  • I bought mine from a 2-dress bride.  Check out the trash to treasure board, as well as preowned wedding dress sites - they have lots of good stuff. 
  • I don't have a ton of experience but my suggestions are all based on how fancy of a dress you are looking for.  If you want something on the simpler side, definitely check out Macy's.  I had to wear an all white dress for my high school graduation and mine came from there for $90- and was gorgeous.  If you want something a bit more formal, I don't know if the stores in your area would have it but the bridal salon I just bought my dress from had a rack of "discontinued" gowns- I guess kind of like a sample sale but not huge and kind of going on all the time.  I pulled a dress of it just to try and I think the price tag was $400 (but I don't remember the designer).  Finally, I think the style really does influence it.  I don't know how expensive Mori Lee dresses go for overall, but mine had only ruching on it, not beads, lace, etc- and it was only $525.  Good luck!
  • Destination dresses tend to go for $400 and less.  I'm thinking about this one myself:[link]<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>[/link]
  • Oh and I think my only concern with purchasing a previously worn gown off a website is that I wouldn't be able to see it and check it over.  I know thats a risk you take, but I don't think I could rest easy.  That was, in fact, my mom's biggest concern with David's Bridal (that instead of giving you a never worn dress when you buy they would send you a dress people had been trying on).  I would look really hard at sample sales and consignment shops- and maybe take someone who sews with you if possible so that if the dress has any damage from being a sample he or she can give you an idea of how difficult it would be to fix.
  • look at bridesmaid dresses in ivory or white! there are a lot that would make perfect wedding gowns...some even have trains!
  • This isn't always true. My dress was brand new so I had to wait for it to come in. I'm not sure if that only applies to their Oleg Cassini line, but they don't sell of of their gowns off the rack.Good to know.  I just know our salesperson said they would do whatever was less expensive- and that was typically having it sent from another store. 
  • I had a budget in mind of $1200 but the dress I feel in love with was $422.00 at a small bridal salon.  There are many options for you to choose from in your price range and you will find a dress you love. 
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  • You can find a beautiful dress in that price range.  I agree with pp's to check out David's Bridal, but ask your local board what they think of your local store...David's is hit-or-miss depending on the one you go to.  Also consider buying a pre-owned wedding dress (  Sometimes you can find a more expensive brand for a more reasonable price that way.  Another thing to consider is buying a bridesmaid dress in white or ivory or whatever you want.  I know of two friends who did this, and you wouldn't know the difference.  Some bridesmaid dresses are quite fancy, and at $400 you could get a super nice bridesmaid dress. 
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  • Another option would be to try some dresses on in a local salon, find something you like*, then post the picture here and ask if anyone knows of a copycat model from another designer (or even a similar BM dress) that you can buy for under $400. * This is probably a good idea anyway, so you can get some assistance in finding gowns that you like and that work with your body. I fell in love stuff online that looked like crap on me in real life, and wound up purchasing something I looked over many times on the website because I originally felt that it wasn't for me. I think that, if you go to a good salon and have good saleswomen helping you, it'll help you narrow down your options a lot more. I think you will have a better chance at finding a $400 dress that works for you if you know what style you need. Plus that'll save you money and stress from ordering different things and possibly returning them if they don't work out.
  • I was thinking about looking into getting a sample size dress.  I'm a pretty average size.  I wear a size 7 in street clothes so I'm getting I'm around a size 10 in dresses?  I'm not sure.  What size do samples generally come in anyways?  Anybody know?
  • my budget was 200 so i know about small budgets...i went to Davids Bridal during the $99 sale, but didnt find anything $99 that was worth a look...everything was discounted tho- so I ended up getting a dress i loved for $250...
  • I got my dress from David's Bridal. It was a good experience and now my dress is under 400 dollar there. GL! You can find a wonderful dress!
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  • I had a budget of about $1500-2000 and ended up getting a dress for $400! And it was not because of the price, it was honestly the dress I liked the best. I got it at Alfred Angelo and it is a dress that they are weeding out, which is why it was so cheap. I also went while they were having a sale, so I got a little more off of it. They had many beautiful dresses in that price range there.
  • Hey there, I also hate David's Bridal with the passion of a thousand fiery suns but that's just me. I also know some girls who swear buy it. This is my recommendation:www.bridalpower.comCheck out their mega markdowns. There are some great deals to be had there. GL!
  • Do you live within driving distance of a Filene's Running of the Brides location? $400 at the running will buy you a far nicer dress than you'd be able to find at David's.
  • $400 at the running will buy you a far nicer dress than you'd be able to find at David's.It's a shame when people dig on David's like this because it's kind of an insult to people who did buy a gown from them. I think my dress was pretty damn nice... lol (the lace and beading was of higher quality than most other designers I tried on). 
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  • Most sample sizes are an 8 or a 10, so I think you're going to have a lot of luck with finding a sample dress.  Just keep your options open, and as the ladies on here can testify, you may be pleasantly surprised about what's out there in your price range.
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  • You can still buy a very nice dress for that price! Its great to buy off the rack, which you can do if you are a normal size or have it altered down. I would suggest buying a corset so you save on costly alterations. Just ask for a discount! Some smaller stores will just give you one to get some business.Also, people not liking Davids bridal shouldnt offend anyone. Im not offended by people who like hamburgers when I dont. I would stay away from Davids because their dresses are made from polyester(hot and itchy!) and they arent very flattering. They overcharge on alterations and everyone and their sister has a dress like yours! You still have a very reasonable budget to buy a nicely made dress that can be different and wont be something everyone has already seen other places. Remember service is hit or miss, you only have to deal with those people a couple of times. What counts is if they actually follow through and are realiable. The last thing you need are sales girls telling you what they think (who cares?) You might even be able to have a dress custom made! I would go to Davids so you can see for yourself, and also when you try on better dresses you will be able to feel the difference. A discontinued, or sample dress thats really special is still better than a cookie cutter dress that just happens to be cheap. Good Luck!!
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