Some will offer brand name dresses at a discount, as well as free shipping and free garment bag or other incentives for purchase.
We recommend bridalonlinestore.
coms and powerbride.
Be careful, however, when browsing at eBay because so much is weighing on your dress getting to you that you may decide not to go that route.
OFF SEASON Consider purchasing a gown during the off-season of most weddings, i.
get your spring/summer gown in November.
Or, if you're having a winter wedding, purchase your gown ahead of time in August, when most weddings have taken place.
You could even purchase a winter dress up to 11 months ahead if you've got time, around February, when the winter dresses are put on sale.
SAMPLE GOWNS/TRY-ONS You should also consider getting a sample gown, or one that has been tried on in-store, at a discounted rate.
These dresses should be professionally cleaned before your wedding, however.
Always be sure to closely examine the seams for tears, and the train for any shoe/dirt marks.
Also check the beadwork for any missing elements before you buy.
You've got to be a real detective because these are usually non-returnable or non-exchangeable items.
CONSIGNMENT BRIDAL BOUTIQUES Not what most brides think of when dress shopping, but a consignment boutique can really save money.
Make sure you go to a bridal boutique, not a general consignment shop.
You'll find overstocked styles that may not have been even tried on, or previously lightly worn dresses in assorted styles.
These should be in good condition (after all, how many times can a wedding dress have been worn?).
These stores take a small percentage of the selling price, but leave you with the best price.
TRUNK SHOWS Trunk shows are a great opportunity to hone in on a favorite designer's collection of dresses.
They are usually hosted at local bridal boutiques and require for you to reserve a place weeks or months ahead of time.
You can meet the designer, and maybe ask a few questions about his/her dresses.
You'll most likely be urged to make a purchase, however, so don't try dresses on if you aren't going to consider buying.
If you buy a gown, you might be rewarded with a discount on a dress you choose in the end.
BRIDAL OUTLET STORES Although they have a limited selection, you may end up with a real catch.
Outlet stores carry overstock, discontinued (the previous seasons' designs) or lesser-known designers for a discounted price.