It’s wedding season, but that doesn’t change the fact that money is tight for many people. Brides and grooms are trimming guest lists, scaling back menus, and taking on do-it-yourself projects in an effort to cut costs while still having their dream wedding.
The growing trend of brides saying “I do” in used gowns is putting money back in the budget and sending brides down the aisle in designer dresses at nondesigner prices. And there’s no need to be ashamed. Frugality is in.
“I want a trendy dress, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money,” said Morghan Spychalski, who beamed as she tried on dresses last week at Dream Designs Bridal Outlet in Sylvania. The 19-year-old Toledo woman hasn’t set a date for her wedding, but knows she wants a good deal. “I tried on a dress that was never worn; the owner just didn’t want it. You can find a good bargain.”
The recession gave a lift to the trend of brides-to-be foregoing expensive gowns for pre-owned dresses at bargain prices. Resale and consignment shops have found their businesses thriving as tough economic times force couples to work harder to trim the cost of their big day.
Encore Bridal in Bowling Green and Dream Designs cater to cost-conscious brides-to-be, with collections of pre-owned gowns and accessories. Most gowns, billed as “pre-loved,” “once-worn,” and “nearly new,” are less than three years old and in mint condition. Many of the “used” gowns were never worn; instead, they were dropped off by brides who canceled their weddings, or changed their minds about the dresses. Discontinued and sample gowns from retail stores also end up at the shops.
Katelyn Kellermeier tries on a cathedral veil at Encore Bridal in Bowling Green. THE BLADE/ZACK CONKLE Enlarge | Photo Reprints
Prices range from $99 to $500 at Dream Designs and up to about $800 at Encore Bridal. Those prices are about half — or less — the original price.
“Brides want to have a beautiful dress and still be able to feed people at their wedding,” said Lee Liebetreu/Welling, owner of Encore Bridal, which features 400 gowns.
“If they can save $400 or $500 on a dress, they can use that money toward something else,” said Paige La Course, co-owner of Dream Designs, where brides can shop from a collection of about 800 dresses.
Shop owners have sold gowns by famous designers such as Monique Luo and Maggie Sottero, and even a high-end couture gown by Vera Wang. And for that perfect fit, both shops have in-house seamstresses for alterations.
“I don’t care if your gown costs $200 or $2,000, you deserve that special experience,” said Mrs. Liebetreu/Welling. “You’ll always remember shopping for your dress.”