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Quiz: What's Your Bridal Style?

Are you into all things modern or is rustic elegance more your speed? Take our quiz and find out!

couture wedding dresses

Shopping 101: 4 Ways to Save on a Designer Wedding Dress

We consulted our friends in the fashion world for tips on how to shave off a little bit of the cost while still keeping style high.

Photo: Clark Jones

Lose the Trimmings

Choosing a classic gown without embellishments may lower the price tag significantly (often by up to 25%). Alternatively, opt out of some of the ornamentation. Get all that gorgeous lace and beading on the bodice, but eliminate the lace and embelishment on the hemline, waistline, train, or sleeves to save.

Avoid Custom Alterations

Making special changes to couture gowns, such as changing the shape of the neckline or altering a sleeve, can cost up to $300 per adjustment.

buyer beware

There are plenty of wedding-related purchases you'll want to make online, but your wedding gown isn't one of them. Trust us, we've heard all the horror stories. Online retailers go out of business regularly and leave brides high and dry. Even the biggest ones disappear (like DBS which went of business in July 2005) leaving brides without gowns close to their wedding date, scrambling for something to wear down the aisle. Additionally, gowns from online retailers are often designer knockoffs (not the real things they claim to be) and once you've bought one, you're stuck with no recourse for exchange or return.

Go Simple

Keep your budget balanced by choosing a simple silhouette. The more fabric it takes to make a gown, the more it costs. A ball gown made with yards and yards of taffeta or organza can cost more than twice as much as a sheath in the same fabric.

Shop Sample Sales

Winter and summer are two times a year when you can luck out and get great savings at a bridal shop sample sale. At these events, buyers attempt to get rid of inventory and may cut prices by as much as 80%. You'll need to factor in dry cleaning and alteration costs though, since these gowns (used as try-on models) are usually sold "as-is". Also, women who fit into a size 8 gown will have the best luck as most samples are made around that size.

Dress: Alvina Valenta

-- The Knot

See More: Wedding Dress Shopping