If you don’t mind sample gowns which have been worn before by other brides-to-be, then you can probably have the designer dress of your dreams at a good price. Most bridal boutiques that carry international designer collections have end of the season sales to clear their sample stock. Take note though that gowns that may not be in their best state and come only in selected sizes.

Local designers who create collections for fashion shows will also have their show pieces at affordable prices after the show. Take note that the gowns may not be in the best condition, and they come only in model sizes.

You love dresses with lavish details – but do you need one that is covered all over in extravagant beadwork? It’s usually the added extras that cost; to save more, cut back on your sparkling trims.

You can choose to add sparing details to parts of your dress – the neckline, waist or low back. Having beaded lace embroidery on your billowing skirt and skirt hems add more opulence but no one really look down at the skirt when a bride walks down the aisle. Better still, opt for a simple, elegant dress that is beautifully tailored and detail-free; it’s modern, timeless and very chic. 

The image of a veiled bride appeals to many women but there really is no need for a full length, embroidered or pearl-studded veil.  You don’t even need a veil if you aren’t having a church wedding. Many of the real brides we featured in our magazine choose to go veil-free for their ceremony, especially if they had a resort celebration.  

But if you must have a veil, the most popular option is the more affordable simple shoulder length veil, or even a pretty white face net. For something that is worn only for a short time during your wedding, veils should not be a big priority in your wardrobe budget.

Most brides would have three outfits for their wedding: the wedding dress, a tea dress or reception dress for the afternoon, and an evening dress. My suggestion to cost-minded brides is to have one dress for the tea ceremony/afternoon reception and evening celebrations.

A pretty flowy dress in pastel or bright hues is perfect for both occasions – all you need is some clever accessorising. Wear basic jewellery, or none at all, with fresh flowers in your hair for the day reception; when dusk falls, add on statement bling, sparkling heels and glittering crystal brooches and belts to transform your sweet day look into a glamorous evening stunner.

You can even have just one great dress for the entire day – if your dress can be transformed easily from day to night. Some slim, figure-hugging dresses come with large detachable skirts and trains that create a grand look for your church ceremony, and looks sleek and elegant for evenings without.

Instead of having two or more pairs of heels to match your gowns and dresses, stick to a single pair that works with all your bridal outfits. You don’t need a white/ivory coloured pair of heels for your wedding dress, and then another brightly coloured style to match the colour of your reception or evening dress. The best ‘colour’ to have would actually be metallic silver heels – shiny or matte. 

Silver shoe styles can match a white dress and any other colourful evening gown beautifully, adding a glamorous sheen to your ensemble as well.  Just be sure that the jewellery you wear matches the silver hue – think white gold!