|Almond||White||Vanilla Butter Pound|
|Marble||Orange Dream||Grand Marnier|
|Coconut Cream||Cream Cheese||Amaretto|
|Chocolate||Chocolate Almond||White Chocolate Cream Cheese|
|Chocolate Mint||Chocolate Mocha||Cookies and Cream|
|Chocolate Ganache||French Strawberry Cream||Key Lime Cream Cheese|
Mom's dress (if she had one) is a traditional favorite. Most mom's save their wedding dress in anticipation of one day seeing their daughter walk down the aisle in it. If mom's dress is out of the question, think about your grandmother, aunts, cousins, friends...anyone you know who has gotten married. If you're not married to the idea of a white dress, a vintage prom dress might also work.
Borrowing would be the least expensive way to go but if you can afford it, buying the dress will save you some anxiety. If you own it, you don't have to worry about the consequences of things like alterations or stains. If the dress is yours you can have it completely redesigned if you'd like. Speaking of alterations...they can be expensive...but they're still less costly than buying a new dress.
Consignment shops and thrift stores are another alternative. Now the chances of you walking into a Salvation Army and finding the perfect dress in your size right before your wedding are well...not very likely. But if you keep your eyes out over the years (yes, even before you've met your Prince Charming) or months preceding your wedding you just might find something that will work with a tweak here and there....and there...and there...and there...and....well, you get the idea.
Craigslist is a great resource for finding just about anything you need so why not look there for a wedding dress? Just be VERY CAREFUL about meeting anyone you don't know. Take a friend with you or better yet, try to arrange a meeting in a relatively public place. I would rather try the dress on in a restaurant bathroom (you will need a NICE restaurant with a big, clean restroom) than to meet a stranger at their house. Your safety is of the utmost importance.
If you or a relative can sew, this is also an option. If you're not going to make it yourself, ONLY entrust this job to someone you trust with your life...someone who is reliable and someone with whom you have excellent communication. And be SURE to allow ample time for the person making it to finish the job. No one wants the stress of having a very short timeline for such an important task. This is actually my least favorite option because it has the most potential for disaster (except of course, if you meet a serial killer on Craigslist).
If you MUST have a dress from a traditional bridal boutique, but price is still important, shop sales or outlets and remember, the more details a dress has (ruffles, tucks, beads, handmade lace, embroidery, etc) the more expensive it will be. Look for something simple but elegant and ON SALE!
Lastly, who says your wedding dress has to be a "wedding dress"? Some bridesmaids dresses and mother of the bride dresses come in white or ivory if you're leaning toward a traditional color. If you don't want white or ivory, the sky is the limit for you. I once wore a mother of the bride dress when I was the maid of honor in a wedding. It had a very sexy corset top and a mermaid skirt...not very "motherly" at all. And because they aren't in the "wedding dress" section, they are much more affordable.
The most important thing is to keep an open and creative mind. Think outside the traditional box and see things as they could be instead of how they are.
I think it's safe to say most of us are not Kardashians who have sponsors duking it out over who gets to pay for our wedding. Most of us have a budget (some larger than others) that we need to stick to and could use all the help we can get when it comes to getting the most bang for our buck.
The first thing to do when planning your budget is to prioritize...what is most important to you? (Besides actually being married to your one and only?And if that's NOT your top priority maybe you need to rethink things) Make a list of "Must Haves" and "Wants". For example, if getting married at the same church your parents got married in is a do or die for you then that goes in the Must Have list. If you think you might, kind of like to have live peacocks roaming around at the reception, that goes in the Want list.
Several wedding blogs I've read have said to save money on the photographer by giving all the guests disposable cameras and having them take the pictures. I happen to think this is a supremely bad idea. Why? Because your cousin, Louanne, is going to take a hundred pictures of her brand new baby and that friend of the groom (you know the one...the one who always does the MOST inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times) is going to take pictures of his anatomy or every set of boobies at the reception...even Grandma's. And if there's alcohol on the menu, the pictures will become more inappropriate and more blurry as the night wears on. You can give out the disposable cameras but make sure you invite the friend(or friends) who is a great amatuer photographer (and has a great camera). That way, you will be sure to get some more traditional posed pictures as well as great candids. Just make sure you speak to your photog friend ahead of time to discuss which poses you want to make sure you get. If possible, have a computer and a USB cable there so he/she can download the pics before she leaves. That way, you don't run into "Oh, I just haven't had time to send them to you yet" and you're sure to have the photographic evidence that your magical day really was as beautiful as you imagined it.