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Bride Talks Budget: How a Bride Saved Thousands on Her Wedding Dresses

You’ve seen her adorable pre-wedding photos with rescued puppies, perfect marriage proposal, and you may even have caught some of the photos and videos we shared while at her wedding last year. But today, we’re picking expert bride and former Team TWS member Natalie Goh’s brains on how she saved thousands on her wedding dresses and the 1 app every bride needs in her life!

Why did I choose to shop online?
Natalie: I went into wedding gown shopping with an open mind. While I tried on my fair share of bridal gowns in boutiques here, for me the fun really began when I started browsing for outfits online. I think the wedding industry has changed a lot from what it used to be; there are so many brands to discover online and a lot of non-bridal labels are offering wedding dress options and alternatives. Personally I’ve never been a fan of conventional wedding gown styles, so opening up my options made being a bride that much more exciting for me!

While I recognise that shopping online for wedding outfits may not be for everyone, I’d recommend it if you have ample time to prep for the big day. If time is on your side, sometimes holding out for that sale can mean a substantial amount of savings. I think it also helps that I’m someone who is very comfortable with online shopping and one thing that I got out of years of doing it is that I am now more confident about what silhouettes I prefer and what styles work for my type of body. This helps narrow down my options in the sea of choices, which can sometimes get overwhelming. Of course there are still risks involved, so I always make sure I’m comfortable with the online retailer’s returns and exchange policy before I go ahead with the purchase.

An extra tip: I used the ShopStyle app to bookmark and keep track of the items and brands I loved when I was shopping for my wedding. ShopStyle aggregates products from major international e-tailers like Net-a-Porter and Shopbop, and was especially useful for me to search for and discover labels, and for shortlisting all the items I liked before making my decisions. One particular function I love is their sale alert where they notify you as soon as an item you’ve bookmarked has its price reduced. I did most of my pre-wedding/wedding outfit and shoe shopping through this gem of a discovery!

The breakdown:

1) Mabel gown from Christos Spring 2016 collection
Online retailer: Your Dream Wedding Dress via Pre Owned Wedding Dresses
Retail price: USD3200 (Approximately SGD4300)
Purchase price: USD1842 (Approximately SGD2480)
Saved: SGD1820

Natalie: I first came across this Christos gown from US-based online bridal boutique Your Dream Dress (YDD) through a listing on online bridal marketplace Pre Owned Wedding Dresses. Though simple, it was unlike anything I’d seen or tried on here and I couldn’t stop thinking about it (a sure sign that I needed to get it, though my husband will disagree with that “shopping theory” of mine ha!) It really helped that owners Angela and Kimberly made the shopping experience very pleasant for me – we only communicated through email but they were patient and reassuring as they answered all the questions I had. When I share this experience with others, I always tell them that I think all bridal boutiques should aspire to have customer service like theirs.

I added a side slit to this gown with a local tailor before I was fully happy with it. Another thing I’d like to encourage brides to do – don’t be too afraid to make changes to an off-the-rack gown, especially if it’s pre-loved. Adding a bit of your character and style through a touch of detail can transform the dress and make it truly “you”.

 

2) Hyacinth gown from Marchesa Bridal Spring 2016 collection
Online retailer: Shopbop
Retail price: USD5995 (Approximately SGD8000)
Purchase price: USD1924 (Approximately SGD2500)
Saved: SGD5500

Natalie: This gown was an accidental find. By the time I saw it, I’d already done hours of browsing online, and this dress from Shopbop tracked me down as a Facebook ad! It was going for 70% off and it was the last piece available in my size. I remember feeling a little giddy from the excitement and immediately texting my then-fiancé. A thumbs up emoji and “buy it!” from him later, I checked out of the store feeling extremely nervous but happy.

This dress was slightly tricky as I bought it many months before my wedding and knew my body was very likely going to change as we neared the day. I spent some time bringing it to different bridal boutiques and tailors before deciding to let Tiara Bridal alter it to a better fit a month before the big day.

 

3) Cape gown from Marchesa Notte
Online retailer: Shopbop
Retail and purchase price: USD895 (About SGD1200)
Could have saved: SGD600

Natalie: This was another unexpected purchase. I’d initially planned on wearing a custom-made evening gown for my second outfit – but I was getting nervous because I was still having problems with it just one week to the big day. Five days to the wedding, I turned to ShopStyle and took a leap of faith with this number – one of the few I’d saved earlier under my “Favourites” folder – and hoped for the best. It turned out to be my favourite outfit of the day! It was such a comfortable gown and the cape overlay made a statement without going over the top – I felt like myself and I think it showed in my wedding photos. I have since sold this dress to another bride-to-be and I hope it makes her as happy as it made me.

A week after my wedding, I got a sale alert that the cape dress was going at 50% off. I cannot stress this enough for brides looking to explore international labels online for their weddings: if time is on your side, make ShopStyle your best friend, pronto!

 

Total savings: Approximately SGD7320 - 7920

 

Thank you for sharing your online shopping experience and the breakdown of costs with us Natalie, we’re sure it'll help Wedding Scoopers with their wedding dress search in the future!

 

Want more information about holding a beautiful wedding on a budget? Read more from our Bride Talks Budget series or check out our article on buying wedding items from Taobao!
How to Plan an HDB or Condo Home Wedding
Bride Talks Budget: How a Bride Saved Thousands on Her Wedding Decor
5 Great Tips for Beautiful Wedding Decor on a Budget
Bride Talks Budget: How a Bride Planned Her Taobao Wedding for Under $6000
A New Way to Shop for Weddings: Exploring Taobao
Bride Talks Budget: Maximising Your Dollars for a Bali Wedding
Bride Talks Budget: A Wedding for under $5000

 

 

Vendor Information
Venues: New York City (pre-wedding) and The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore (wedding and post wedding)
Wedding Planning: Wenxin, The Wedding Stylist
Photography: Joseph, Super Panda Presents (except catalog photos, by Christos and Shopbop)
Wedding Dresses: Christos from Your Dream Wedding Dress, Marchesa and Marchesa Notte from Shopbop and Tiara Bridal (dress alterations)
Groom’s Outfits: A Gentleman’s Tale
Hair and Makeup: Tiffany Tarazi (pre-wedding), Xara Lee (wedding) and Eugenia Ho (post wedding)
Jewellery: Dearest (pearl earrings and wedding rings) and The Heng’s Jewellery (bracelet and engagement ring)
Flowers: Floral Magic (bouquets)


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