Budget Bride Tip for June 2: Say ‘yes’ to an affordable dress

Bride and groom with pink piggy bank

We’re celebrating the month of June with a daily tip from savvy brides who saved big bucks on the wedding of their dreams.

Amanda and Todd Sinclair knew that holding their wedding dinner and reception at a private club in Chicago’s tallest skyscraper meant cutting corners elsewhere.

“We splurged on the reception but really budgeted for the rest,” says Amanda, 30, a graphic designer.

That included her wedding gown.

Her goal was to spend under $1,000 for the dress, including alterations.

So, with her mother in tow, she headed to a bridal salon that featured sample dresses brides-to-be could purchase off the rack at a discount, as well as made-to-order gowns for a much higher price.

One dress stood out right away.

“I fished through the rack, and I saw that one first,” Amanda says. “I liked that one best, regardless of the price.”

Not that the price wasn’t nice. Since it was two years old and a previous display model, the once $900 wedding gown came in at just $275.

The average cost of a wedding gown in 2010 was $1,053, according to The Wedding Report, a wedding industry research company. It went up to $1,166 last year.

Amanda’s dress fit so well that she paid only $150 for a French bustle and slight alterations.

Spending under $500 on her dress helped the Sinclairs keep the total bill of their Windy City wedding to $26,000.

Although it’s been nearly two years since her wedding to Todd, 33, an event planner, Amanda still compares her dress to those she sees featured on TLC’s reality shopping show Say ‘Yes’ to the Dress.

“I’ve yet to find one I like more,” the bride says.

Here's Amanda walking down the aisle in her gown with Todd, after they were married ...

Thanks to Amanda and Todd for sharing these personal photos from their wedding album.

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