Oct 17 2007

Our wedding: The dress


I’m guessing (but I can’t confirm this, of course) that most of my readers are already married. If you are, perhaps you can share your frugal wedding tips in the comments section. I’d like to write about some of the things we did to save money on our wedding. To spare you all from a ridiculously long post, I’m going to break this up into parts.

My husband and I were married on May 19, 2007. We got engaged on December 21, 2006, so if you do the math, you’ll see that we planned our wedding in about five months. The planning took place during our last semester in college. My husband was working two part-time jobs at the time, and I was working a lot at my beloved newspaper. It was a busy time.

We were very fortunate to have all of our parents contribute both financially and with the planning. [Thank you!!!] Still, my husband and I wanted to contribute as much as we possibly could.

The Dress
I went dress shopping by myself one afternoon just to get a sense of what was available. I thumbed through the racks and wasn’t happy with what I saw. The dresses weren’t that great, plus they were $500-$1,000+. That’s too much! The saleslady very kindly pointed me to the back room where they had sales.

I found two that I decided to try on. The first had a lace-up bodice in the back, but the front wasn’t that interesting. It was $250. Certainly doable. The second dress was simple, with a short train, beading and a neckline that I really liked. It fit almost perfectly before alterations. It was $99.

I had them hold the dress for a few days so I could bring in some people for a second opinion. It got the thumbs-up, and I bought that and the garment bag for a total of $120 including sales tax.

Alterations were minimal, but ended up costing $80. I spent another $50 to have it pressed right before the big day. While it’s possible I could have had this work done cheaper or done it myself, I was ridiculously busy and just wanted it done. Total cost for dress: $250.

Where is it now?

“What in the world am I going to do with an altered and worn wedding dress?” I asked myself. “I will never wear it again. I don’t want to sell it on eBay or at a consignment shop. I know! I’ll cut it to pieces,” I declared.

I cut the top of the dress off and put it into a shadow box so I could display it alongside wedding photos. I also put an extra wedding invitation in the box, with info photo-shopped out :).

The bottom of the dress is in a bag under my couch right now, but I plan to cut some of the decorative fabric and sew little handkerchiefs to give to all my daughters/granddaughters/etc.

I’ve heard some women will use the big poufy skirt as a decorative skirt for their baby bassinet.

Posted under Uncategorized | 15 Comments »

15 Responses to “Our wedding: The dress”

  1. Wow, so beautiful! I have an old wedding dress that was my grandmother’s…I wore it at my wedding, but I’m not sure it can be used again, it’s so old and stained now.

    Such a cool idea!

  2. This post is quite timely as yesterday was my wedding anniversary, and I’m still wondering what to do with my dress! It is a size 3, and I don’t have any daughters. I can’t wear it, and nobody is small enough to buy it! But the material is a soft quiana jersey. I will have to get creative like you! (I also bought my dress on sale, about half price, because nobody else fit in it but me!)

  3. That’s a really neat idea! I’d never heard of that before. It’s nice to know it’s actually getting use, instead of just hanging in a closet for decades.

  4. That is a brilliant idea. And this reader is not married. ;)

  5. not married. i’ve heard of the shadow box preservation before. i don’t know how you mustered up the courage to chop your wedding dress!! amazing. i love the giving parts to your children/grandchildren. that’s beautiful.

  6. Kacie, my husband and I had a similar wedding experience. We had a 9 month engagment and paid for the whole wedding minus $2000 that my parents gave us. My dress was $350 and I just adore it! We had our reception in the backyard of our newly purchased home and, being from the south, had a buffet style pig-pickin’. Total cost of food – $10 per person! Our wedding cost apx $5000. I can’t imagine spending the average of $20,000+ on a wedding! (Cute idea with the dress in the shadow box!)

  7. Great post! I made my wedding dress back in 1998. I had leftover fabric which I used to make my first baby girl’s blessing dress (like Christening gown). My dress is still intact though but don’t know what I’ll do with it…

  8. What a super idea! I’ll have to bounce that off David and see what he thinks. We joked about going to a costume party or Halloween party as a bride and groom just to get additional use out of the dress.

    I’ll keep you posted as to what we decide to do.

    Talk to you in a week or so, girl.

  9. That must have taken a lot of courage to cut it. I keep thinking that maybe Mr. Micah and I will do something fun and I can play dressup in it. Well, the cutting and boxing can always be done later. If I do so, then I’m going to find a creative way to use the skirt lace. :-)

  10. Thanks for all of your comments!

    It was so cool to cut that dress up. I had my husband take a picture (but I can’t find it, grr). I told him “I am happily married, and I won’t have a need to wear this again.” Then I went snip snip!

    I think it’s a cool idea to use wedding dress fabric for a baby’s christening gown.

    Gosh…I really need to learn how to sew.

  11. My husband and I were engaged in Mar ’05, married in May ’05, but had our church wedding in July ’05 (we were overseas in Japan, and there was a ton of legal/military/gov’t “red tape” to go around, so that’s why we had a legal ceremony and a church ceremony) We spent about $1,500 on our wedding… not bad, I think. Especially considering that we had to order a bunch of stuff from the States and pay shipping for it! My dress was $175, and we spent $50 to get it altered (I’m really short, lol). The dress was the 2nd most expensive thing we bought; the most expensive item was the food. Which was just under $500. So, not bad! :)

  12. My wedding dress was my mother’s – saved from 1973!! My grandmother did take the long sleeves off because they were tight and my wedding was in August. It was so special to wear my mother’s dress and it was very elegant because she had kept it very simple (empire waist, high neck, 2 lovely pieces of lace down the front).

    I have my dress saved in a box. Occasionally, on an anniversary, my husband and I will dress up in our wedding clothes again and take pictures. I guess if my dress had a train or required elaborate undergarments or if my husband had rented a tux (he wore his own black suit), we wouldn’t be doing this. But it’s a lot of fun!

  13. So you are the smallest person in the world or what?

  14. i’ve been reading through a lot of your older posts, and this one caught my eye. i love what you did with the shadow box, and i would do that…but can’t bring myself to cut up my $600 dress. (the dress chose me…i would never have picked something that expensive, good god…it’s just a dress, right?! but i had to have it…it was the one.) so instead it hangs in my closet in the garment bag where nobody can see it lol

  15. I got married in 1996, my wedding dress was $200.00 including alerations, I love that dress, My total weddding was a little over $5,000.00….whereas my SIL probably spent as much for a wedding dress and everyone will tell you that my 100+ versus her 500+ guest wedding was much more intimate and guest felt special and included.

    I had my dress made into an christianing romper for my 1 yr old. It is adorable. I think it was a great idea.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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