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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

Bridal Christmas: Wedding Dress Shopping on a Budget

Though it may not seem like the time of year to think about weddings given our current polar vortex winter, spring is coming up soon and that means wedding season! Even if you're already married – this post may relate to someone you know - A daughter or son, a niece nephew, or a new member of your family. As a former employee of a major bridal salon in the US as well as just purchasing my very own wedding dress – below are some tips to help you decide if you "say yes to the dress"!

1. Have a budget

When you decide to go shopping for your wedding dress – have an idea of how much you want to spend. When you think of this number – it should include shoes, undergarments, veil, accessories as well as alterations. What most bridal salons won't tell you – is that alterations are expensive. My sister for example has to have over $300 in alterations alone on her wedding dress! For example – if you want to budget your dress to $1,000 – then your dress should only cost $650-$700. That way the rest of the budgeted amount is for the other things you need to go along with your dress. Lastly, this budget should also account for if you decide you want to have two dresses as well.

2. Don't count out the little bridal salons

Sometimes going to a smaller salon can reap major benefits. You may be able to find a better deal as the salon may need to get rid of inventory to make way for newer dresses. A salon may give you a discount for purchasing your dress in cash. When we purchased my dress, we saved $100 by purchasing in cash. Now that extra $100 can go towards other items I'll need for the big day.

Another option my friend used was that she went to bridal shows and got a coupon to use at a salon. Even though she had to travel quite a bit to use it – she saved 30 percent off her dress! Now that's some super savings.

3. Keep your purchase in perspective

Yes, your wedding dress is something you have dreamed about since you were little, but you need to remember to keep your purchase in perspective. You only get to wear this dress once. Let me give you an example: My cousin's wedding dress was over $4,000 – and yes she was absolutely gorgeous, but that $4,000 could have helped with the down payment on their house, speed up the process to save for retirement and many other larger purchases. Wedding dresses are very special, but remember to focus on the life you are building with your significant other as well.

4. Trying on Tuxes (For the Guys)

You should know you may get a discount for renting more than 5 tuxes from a store – so remember to ask! My fiancé's groomsmen received $40 off their rentals. Plus there are other special offers - the groom can receive his tux is free to rent during the wedding or he can get a free suit for future use. Both options are great depending on what his line of work is as well as what is best at the time.

Remember to have stick to your budget on your dress, look for savings with either paying in cash or with a coupon, keep your purchase in perspective – and don't forget to help out the guys with their tuxes!

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