If you're planning a wedding, you probably already know that costs add up—really quickly. But just because you're sticking to (or stuck with) a budget doesn't mean you can't have the dress of your dreams; all it takes is a little extra research, and some insider intel. Our three favorite, unexpected places to look if you're looking to score a drop-dead gorgeous dress that will still leave you money for your honeymoon? Your favorite retail shops (many go-tos, like J. Crew, have lines on the side specifically designed for brides and bridesmaids), sample sales (thanks to modern technology, you don't even have to be there in person fighting off other brides-to-be), and resale options (because why should a dress so beautiful only be worn once?). Read on for the options that top our list.

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Ann Taylor Jasmine Lace Gown
Not too sexy, not too prissy (and, thankfully, not too pricey), this strapless mermaid style finds that sweet spot in between. Also in petite sizes. To buy: $895, anntaylor.com.
| Credit: anntaylor.com

Wedding Lines At Retail Stores

  • BCBG: A small but special selection, all under $1000.
  • Anthropologie (BHLDN): Dresses with a bohemian and vintage bent that one would expect from Anthro. Most dresses are under $2000.
  • J. Crew: Classic all the way—and the largest collection. All gowns are under $3000, with plenty affordable wedding dresses under $1000. They also have a bridal boutique on Madison Avenue in New York.
  • Top Shop: A relaxed design aesthetic with impeccable detailing—draped lace, fine tuille, bias-cut satin—in a variety of flattering silhouettes.

Used Dresses

  • PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com: One of the original sites to connect buyers and sellers of used dresses, with a broad selection.
  • OnceWed.com: A tasteful site and blog with a lovely selection of used designer gowns.
  • Tradesy.com: Our pick for used bridesmaid dresses.
  • eBay: Great selection of wedding gowns on eBay. Just don’t get caught up in the bidding, and make sure to check return policies.
  • Craigslist: The place to turn if you’re after the cheapest wedding dresses (and we mean price, not quality). A bit sketch, but the advantage here is that it’s local, so you can go try on the gowns in person, and negotiate the price to your advantage.


    6 Ways to Find a Cheap Wedding Dress

    for more tips for finding the perfect gown at the right price.