A big part of the reason wedding planning is so difficult is that it's hard to stick to a budget! There are so many beautiful ideas out there, and once we start shopping, it's hard to get the real to match the ideal.

This is especially true of purchasing a wedding dress. This is where most brides will battle the urge to splurge because, let's face it - you're only going to do this once (uh, we hope) and you want it to be perfect. But does that mean it has to cost a fortune?

Tip #1: See if the designer has a lower-priced line.


For instance, Vera Wang is the penultimate bridal designer - and a gown from her bridal line can cost upward of $4,000! A gown from her White by Vera Wang line at David's Bridal is less than half that cost.

Reem Acra and Monique Lhullier have also offered lower-priced lines to help brides afford the look without the steep cost. So if you have your heart set on a specific designer, take a look and see if they offer something at a more modest cost!

Tip #2: Expand Your Options


If you've fallen in love with a specific dress you saw on Pinterest or in a magazine, it helps to break down WHY you love it. Is it the way the fabric seems to move? Do tiers of ruffles stop your heart?

Make a note of what you love about the gown and then have that in mind when you shop. See if you can find those special elements in a dress that's affordable and most of all, looks great on you!

Tip #3: Shop Retailers You Love


J. Crew, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, BCBG and more all have bridal lines that are very reasonably priced. If you want your wedding dress to be a reflection of the way you dress in real life, see if your favorite store has wedding dresses (or a dress you love that will work as a wedding dress!)

You can also shop the main dress section of a major department store if you're the kind of bride who's looking for something a bit less traditional, like a colorful or beaded gown.