The Best Way to Buy Your Wedding Dress

Updated 09/25/17

Stocksy

For many brides, one of the first (and most exciting!) wedding tasks they want to tackle is finding their dress. It's a magical moment and it's tempting to jump right in! We totally get it. But with so many shopping options, even figuring out where to buy wedding dresses can get overwhelming. Before you decide where to buy your gown, there are two key things to consider:

1. Your Budget

Once you know you've got, say, $2,000 to spend, you can figure out which stores carry gowns at that price point.

2. Your Venue

No matter how gorgeous the dress, what works at one venue won't necessarily work at another. A goddess dress on a sunny Cali beach? Perfection. A cleavage-flaunting fit-and-flare in a Baptist church? Not so much.

Now that that's out of the way, it's a question of shopping style. Figuring out the best places to buy wedding dresses depends on how you like to shop. For some brides, online is the way to go, while others want the traditional experience of a bridal salon. Read on for a breakdown of shopping options to help you figure out where to shop for wedding dresses.

Where to Buy a Wedding Dress

Destination Salon

Want to turn dress shopping into a weekend getaway? Go to a destination salon. Spots like Kleinfeld Bridal in NYC and Lovely Bride, with shops in NYC, Philly, D.C., and L.A., offer a variety of designers. Tip: beat the crowds by booking a weekday appointment.

Local Bridal Salon

Don't want to travel? Go to a local bridal salon. These intimate mom-and-pop boutiques provide a range of prices and made-to-order styles. Plus, there's something romantic about buying your wedding dress in your own hometown.

Wedding Megastore

Into instant gratification? Go to a wedding mega­store. Find chic off-the-rack gowns at shops like David's Bridal, which carries elegant, affordable styles in tons of sizes. You're more likely to find a killer deal at a large store, too, as they regularly have huge sales where you can score deeply discounted designer wedding dresses. David's Bridal does alterations and can even add touches like sleeves, sashes, and more.

Designer Salon

Obsessed with Monique? (Or Vera? Or Reem?) Go to a designer salon. Hit your favorite designer's outpost—generally found in a large city—for the best selection of her gowns. Tip: expect to pay upwards of $3,000. If it's in your budget, you can even have a dress custom made to your specifications—right down to the sequins.

Online Bridal Store

Want to try your dress on at home? Go online. You'll find sites offer gorgeous wedding gowns that will land on your doorstep in days. Just make sure to read return policies carefully and beware of scam sites.

BHLDN, the sister store of Anthropologie, has an amazing online wedding boutique filled with vintage-inspired, whimsical gowns any boho bride will love. Major department stores including Macy's, Nordstrom, and Dillard's offer online bridal salons, as well.

Consignment Store

Consignment stores are great for brides looking for designer gowns at a discount or for brides who love vintage. For the bride looking for a 1920s Chanel, start at local, high-end consignment boutiques that specialize in wedding gowns. With any luck, you'll find a vintage gown that's to-die-for and within your budget! Brides looking for discounts might also look at consignment options, where they can find Maggie Sottero, Zac Posen, and Elie Saab wedding gowns at a fraction of what you'd pay for them new. You can also find consignment stores online, like Pre-owned Wedding Dresses or Still White.

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