R5 Dress For Less

Have you always had your heart set on walking down the aisle in a Vera Wang? Budget brides can try their luck finding a used Vera on sites like oncewed.com, woreitonce.com, or even eBay—or you could head to David’s Bridal. Yes, that David’s Bridal. And yes, that Vera Wang. The two wedding titans have launched a new partnership, with Vera Wang designing bridal gowns and accessories specifically for the retail chain. And, lucky for the frugal brides out there, the price is in line with the other David’s
Bridal offerings: gowns will range in price from $600 to $1,500. The first collection will be available in spring 2011 and, sometime after that, bridesmaids’ dresses will be available as well (David’s Bridal, 2572 Central Ave, Yonkers 914-779-1366, davidsbridal.com).

If you don’t have your heart set on Vera Wang but are still looking for an inexpensive, big-name dress, another fashion giant has jumped onto the bridal bandwagon: J. Crew. Though the chain has had bridal and bridesmaids’ dresses for a while, in May, the company opened its first “bridal boutique” in New York City (769 Madison Ave, New York, NY 212-824-2500, jcrew.com). The store has dresses and accessories for both brides and bridesmaids, and bridal gowns start at $250. Hate the preppy look? In March, Urban Outfitters declared it was planning to get into the bridal game through its Anthropologie stores, possibly by Valentine’s Day 2011.

For less formal affairs, you might want to take a page from your bridesmaids’ look books—as in, buy their dresses in white. Many bridesmaid-dress designers offer their dresses as a “bridal alternative.” Swoon dresses—available at Bella Bridesmaid in Westport, Connecticut (16 Taylor Pl, 203-227-5762), and Manhattan (545 Eighth Ave, 212-695-2700; bellabridesmaid.com)—has created a line of alternative bridal fashions that all retail for $425. Pieces in Jenny Yoo’s alternative bridal line (139 W 35th St, New York, NY 212-645-0823, jennyyoo.com) range from $430 to $1,200.

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Or, you could skip the bridal boutique route altogether. Nordstrom’s website (nordstrom.com) carries a line of ready-to-wear white wedding dresses. Shorter styles can be picked up for the super-saver price of $70, and its most expensive gown as of press time is only $880.

(Above, left to right) Swoon bridal dresses—the Mykonos, the Cancun, the Sonoma, and the Florence—retail for only $425.

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