11 Ways to Stay on Budget when Wedding Dress Shopping in the Reading Bridal District

Are you tired of endlessly searching, "Reading Bridal District," “discount bridal store near me,” cheap wedding dress stores near me,” and “outlet wedding dresses near me?” If you’ve started wedding dress shopping for your big day, you probably know this already, but wedding gowns can be quite expensive! Sure, there are off-the-rack specials at discount bridal shops and internet deals, but, as we all know, those finds are often too good to be true, and can show up in the wrong color, with a weird fit, or worse! 

If you’re looking for a high-quality, well-made gown that fits you like a glove, but don’t want to keep searching “discount wedding dresses near me,” break the bank, or redo your budget, read on! In this post, we’ve come up with 11 of the best industry tips to save big when wedding dress shopping.

Shop Early at the Reading Bridal District

Gowns fit best after being altered by a professional seamstress. If you want to make adjustments like adding/removing straps or adding a bustle on your dress’ train, it’ll take some time to get your dream dress back wedding-day-ready. It’s best to visit a seamstress soon after picking up your gown and get the process started! There are plenty of seamstress in the Reading Bridal District and surrounding area.

Besides, by now, we’re all familiar with the array of unknowns, from supply-chain challenges to staffing shortages, that can affect consumer industries. Do yourself a favor and reduce the stress of wedding dress shopping by starting the process and searching “wedding dress stores near me” early. No matter what unforeseen circumstances you could face, you’ll sleep easier knowing you’ve built in extra time to be flexible. 

Start with Your Overall Budget & Portion It Out

Many couples we work with allocate about 10% of their full wedding budget toward bridal attire. This is not a hard and fast rule though - if your wedding attire is what you’re most excited about, some brides boost this up significantly to allow for funds to cover that specific designer piece. 

When brides end up finding a good deal on a consignment gown or sample sale dress that matches what they’ve envisioned, those funds can be allocated to other things, like a wedding photo booth or a little extra for your honeymoon. Trust us, even if you’ve added extra cushioning to your dress budget, it’s definitely still a good idea to look for opportunities to save. We probably offer the most amount of sales and deals in the Reading Bridal District, so make an appointment today!

Find Your Designer / Style

There are plenty of high-end designers in the Reading Bridal District. If you’re familiar with designers like Justin Alexander, Madi Lane, and Sophia Tolli, you know that they are well-known for having high-quality, gorgeous gowns of different styles and price-points. We recommend you spend a little time getting familiar with characteristics like these for the designers that you will be likely to see while wedding dress shopping. 

At Blush Bridal in the Reading Bridal District of Cincinnati, you’ll find the designers named above, as well as lines like Sincerity by Justin Alexander, Evie Young, Lilian West, and Justin Alexander Signature. 

One way to score amazing designer gowns for less is to search “affordable wedding dress shops near me” or visit a discount bridal shop like Blue Bridal, where you can save 30-60% off brand new designer wedding gowns! This outlet carries overstock items that are collected from top designers, as well as actual original designer gowns. With sizes from 2 to 32 and prices from $500 to $1200, this might be the best (or at least the most effective) way to save big on your dream gown. 

Things that make the dress cost more

Understanding why dresses cost what they do can help you be prepared as you start dress shopping. Perhaps the biggest factor that plays into cost is, as we suggested in #2 above “Find your designer/style,” the designer. Designers create lines of gowns, and these gowns are grouped into collections that frequently have a similar inspiration. These gowns fall into general price-points, listed above, and may go for a certain “look” with fabrics, silhouettes, or embellishment style. 

Another factor strongly affecting wedding dress prices is fabric. Just like you can feel the difference between a fine sweater and one that is made with low quality materials, you can likely feel the difference between silk and synthetic satin. More expensive gowns are frequently made with certain fabrics that are of a higher quality, more challenging to source, or more delicate to piece together. 

Can you imagine sewing thousands of tiny sparkling beads to the skirt of a wedding gown? Embellishments like lace, sequins, and intricate beadwork are usually added by hand, thus strongly influencing the price. 

Factor in alterations

Keep in mind that alterations can be pricey and many seamstress’ book up well in advance.  The labor involved in getting your dress to fit like a glove can take quite a long time, and you may need to visit the seamstress for regular fittings until it’s just right. If you’re working on finding a gown in a time crunch, you may be better off choosing a gown with minimal required alterations or working with a store that can do alterations in-house, as this can help to speed up the process as well. We do offer alterations is you bought your dress at our Reading Bridal District location.

The Fit

If you’re shopping ahead of time (which we recommend as it's always busy in the Reading Bridal District), don’t try to slim down before the big day. Instead, make sure you shop for gowns in your current size rather than going smaller, even if you think you will lose a few pounds before the wedding. It is much easier to take a dress in than to work with one that’s too tight. In fact, our professional bridal consultants recommend your dress fit comfortably, with a little bit of wiggle room for the alterations. 

Floor Sample Wedding Dress or Reading Bridal Outlets

At typical Reading Bridal District bridal shops, floor samples are not available for sale off-the-rack. Instead, the bridal consultants will place an order for the gown you selected, and will ship it to you after it’s been made to order. By visiting a shop that sells designer samples, you can save big on gowns that have never been worn down the aisle! You can expect big savings on your gown, but won’t compromise on the quality or uniqueness of your wedding dress. 

Pro tip: If you find a gown you love, be sure that if it needs alterations, there’s enough fabric for what the seamstress will need to create those alterations.

Shop During Off-Season (Reading Bridal District)

Just like other industries, there are off-seasons for weddings, and times when the inventory switches over from season to season. If you’re looking to save on your gown, these can both be good times to shop in order to find good deals. 

To stay in the loop with your favorite retailers, stay up-to-date on their social media pages and you’ll be more likely to be among the first to hear about big sales or discount events. Whether you get a bundled package of a veil with a gown or receive a percentage off your purchase, staying in the know is worth it!

Attend Reading Bridal District Trunk Shows / Bridal Shows

If you know you love a specific designer, you could save money by finding a trunk show near you where their line will be highlighted. These events are great opportunities to see a lot of their gowns and to compare how they look and feel in person. At trunk shows, you get to see their entire collection and be able to order it when you say “Yes!”, so be sure to factor its creation and shipping into your timeline for dress shopping!

Bridal shows are another chance to get familiar with all things weddings. Check out Reading Bridal District’s fall event “Fall in Love,” one of the nation’s best bridal shows. This outdoor bridal event takes over the reading bridal outlet area on Benson Street from Reading Road to Church Street, and its’ high-energy and big savings is a not-to-be missed bridal extravaganza. You can learn more about it by searching “affordable wedding dresses columbus ohio” or visiting the official Reading Bridal District Website

Get a simple dress and create your own style through custom alterations.

You may find yourself trying on a variety of wedding dresses and just can’t find the right one. In that scenario, you may be tempted to redesign a wedding dress to fit your vision. If this is the case, we highly recommend working with an experienced seamstress, while being realistic and transparent with your alteration budget from the start of the tailoring process.

Making small updates like adding a strap or changing the hemline is relatively straightforward in general, and is likely to be more affordable, but any larger changes like could require customizing the inner support and structure of the dress which is risky, costly and could ruin your wedding gown. 

If you’re considering this option, we strongly recommend that you get your bridal stylist’s advice and trust their expertise when it comes to altering your wedding gown. Choose a well-respected seamstress, and make sure there’s lots of time to work on the project. 

Renew your mother’s / grandmother’s dress OR find a dress from a vintage store to renew

For those with mothers or grandmothers who are open to the idea, refurbishing one of their gowns to wear on your big day can be a nostalgic and meaningful concept. We love the idea of generational gowns, and though they can be a lot of work to get cleaned, fitted, and spruced up to your liking, it’s a moment we can’t help but adore. 

If you like this idea but aren’t sure you’re comfortable with modifying your mothers’ gown, search “cheap wedding dress near me” or “discounted wedding dresses near me” and visit vintage stores, thrift shops, or consignment boutiques for other dresses that you could use. Whether you’re mixing styles to create a look that’s your own or just making a traditional gown a bit more modern, we love the creativity that can be applied to make vintage gowns memorable and special for brides today. 


We know that shopping for a wedding dress can be overwhelming - there are so many styles, fabrics, silhouettes, and designers to choose from! While searching “cheap wedding dress shops near me,” “bridal warehouse near me,” and “bridal outlet near me” can go a long way, doing a little research into these elements and checking out more lists like this post can really make a difference in keeping your budget on track.

Our last tip (a bonus one!) is to trust your gut. If you fall in love with a gown that’s less than you’ve allocated, don’t worry about finding a gown that uses the whole amount you’ve set aside for a gown. It’s your day and you should wear what makes you feel confident and happy when you look in the mirror. When you make an appointment at Blue Bridal, our expert stylists will guide you and support you through this exciting journey of finding your ultimate and exclusive dream gown! We can’t wait to see you at the Reading Bridal District!