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How to shop for wedding dresses on a budget

Say “Yes” to a cheaper dress
WATCH: The high cost of getting hitched. A new way to say money before saying "yes" to the dress. Anne Drewa tackles matrimony in this consumer segment.

You don’t have to spend thousands to look stunning on your wedding day.

Knowing where and how to shop wisely for a wedding gown can help any budget-savvy bride.

For starters, check out bridal shop sample sales. Patty Nayel from North Vancouver’s Pure Magnolia Gowns says, “a shop will run a sample sale when the dresses are a little bit used and it’s time to buy new dresses.”

Sizing tends to be a bit limited, but a bride can save between 30 and 70 per cent. Most bridal shops advertise sample sales in spring and fall.

Consider buying a pre-owned dress. Several online sites offer incredible prices by connecting buyers and sellers of wedding items. Make sure the site is reputable and read reviews. Also, read the fine print on return policies.

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If you have little or no sentimental value to a dress, think about renting. At Amara Wedding in Richmond, gowns can be rented between $350 and $550, which includes dry cleaning and the veil.

When it comes to bridal accessories, costs can soar. Consider renting. Vancouver-based “The Borrowed Collection” offers beautiful designer bridal jewelry that can be rented for a fraction of the cost compared to the full retail price.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to have that bridal look. You don’t want to wear that look another day, so you just give it back instead,” says owner Elise McClain.

Money saved that could be spent on a honeymoon.