How I Tamed My Inner Bridezilla With Just $900

My wedding dress has been on my mind since day one of our engagement.  Scratch that – since day one…  Of  My  Life.  Though I wasn’t the type to plan the actual wedding as a little girl, I have been planning for my perfect white gown for quite some time.  Soon after I became a bride-to-be, I realized that in order to tame my inner Bridezilla, I had to find my dream dress.

Nightmare on Wedding Street

I’ve been having wedding nightmares since I began this engagement journey,

In one, I showed up to our ceremony and realized I forgot to even buy a dress.  Naked brides are usually frowned upon at our church.

In another, I did buy a dress (or should I say outfit), but realized minutes before the ceremony that a sparkly green and black leotard – shockingly – just wasn’t my dream dress.  In every dream, I’d have an ugly meltdown and transform into a terrifying Bridezilla before waking up in a cold sweat.

After several weeks of that nonsense, I decided it was time to start the dress hunt, lest I have a real-life panic attack over my Lady Gaga-inspired outfits.

Sticker Shock

I’m no dummy.  I’m very aware that prices in the wedding industry are absurd.  Still, I was shocked when I found out how much quality bridal gowns really go for.  Bridal boutique employees don’t even bat an eye at a $2,000 price tag.   At one store, I even found a white poof-ball that they claimed was a dress that was going for $6,000.  … $6,000!  Until then, I was only familiar with discount bridal stores, where you can easily get a dress for under $500.

I also wasn’t prepared for the way those designer dresses can make you weak in the knees.  They’re masters of their craft, those gowns.  The shiny white satin hugs your curves ever so perfectly and the Swarovski crystals suggestively bat their shimmering eyelashes at you as you twist and turn in front of the staged mirror.  As an engaged woman, the act of trying on wedding dresses will brainwash you into doubling or tripling (or quadrupaling) your budget.  STOP!  Stay strong, bride-to-be.  Remove the dress and let’s talk this through when you’re not under the influence.

When You Know, You Know

The first dress that I tried on at the third stop in my tour de bridal boutiques was the one.

I knew it as soon as I laid eyes on it.

I knew it before I even got it on.

I knew it even when my bridal attendant didn’t throw it over my head correctly and I ended up in an awkward position, half-naked in front of her, my mom, and my maid of honor with tulle from the skirt sticking up out of my strapless neckline and into my face.

And when I finally walked onto the lighted staging area, I really knew it was the one.

I had already mentally bought the dress when she rattled off the $830 pre-tax price tag.  It could have only been wedding fate that my perfect dress just happened to be well within my budgeted means.  After that, the Bridezilla dreams ended.  And all it took was $900.

How much would you spend on your dream dress?  And, just for the information purposes, do you think I’m a Bridezilla?



  • Congrats, Amber on finding THE dress. It can take forever for some people. Not only did you luck out in that you only had to visit three stores to find it, you even kept it under $1000. That is awesome!!

    • Thank you! I know, I was super pumped to find one under $1,000! Now after alterations, I’ll probably go over $1,000….

  • I shopped every “discount” bridal store in town and found nada. Then I stepped into a high end boutique – “hellooo $4000 dress, you could be mine.” You’re right, the expensive ones are so easy to love.

    Fortunately the saleswoman who worked with me was understanding of my small budget. She suggested I look at their bridesmaid dresses, and I found a lovely empire waist chiffon dress in the pale butter yellow I wanted for only $300.

    And you don’t sound Bridezilla-ish at all.

  • Wow that’s awesome! Whether it costs $5000 or $500, what matters is that you love it. I spent about $3500 on the dress and I thought I was doing good since it was one of the cheapest ones in that boutique. I was really terrible with money then.

    And you don’t sound like a bridezilla at all! And believe me I’ve seen some!

  • No you are not a bridezilla. $900 these days is actually pretty cheap for a wedding dress. It’s funny how so often it’s the 1st dress you try on! I still think 1k and 2k is just way too much but that’s just me. Mine was $500 and more then I wanted to spend but worth it ’cause I loved it so! The alterations added on an extra $200 but what are you gonna do right?

    • That’s kinda what I was thinking about the price, but I wasn’t sure how the PF community would react. 🙂 I’m glad others think it’s a great price. Plus, it’s a designer dress and not just a discount dress, so I was VERY happy with that price!! 😀

  • Very funny post.

    My wife and I had a fairly non-traditional wedding (dream wedding). There was us, the wedding official, and a photographer. Oh, and a fisherman that we asked to be our witness (we got married on a beach by the Atlantic). My wife’s dress was a deep blue and it was beautiful, so I don’t think it was subject to the price gouging that you describe. (As for me, a suit and cuff links, but no tie.)

    So far, I’d say you’re doing alright bridezilla wise.

  • I’d say $900 is very reasonable, but I’m hoping that I can be as lucky as my friend’s now-wife, who found her dream wedding dress, in her size, at a thrift store for $25. 🙂 All she had to do was get it cleaned.

  • I had sticker shock when I went wedding dress shopping too. I can’t top $25, but I was very fortunate, my dress was $180. It was almost identical to a magazine pullout I had of a dress I fell in love with at 11 years old. The reason it was so low is it wasn’t considered to be a “wedding” dress, but was just categorized as formal attire. It makes a HUGE difference in price.

    Congratulations on finding the dress. In wedding shopping, it’s half the stress battle.

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