5 Ways to Save Thousands on Your Wedding Look

5 Ways to Save Thousands on Your Wedding Look
by Catherine Coreno

1) How to Save on Your Wedding Dress

While designer wedding dresses can easily run in the five-figure price range, with a little know-how you'll spend a fraction of that and still purchase your dream gown. The key? Shopping online. Xochitl Gonzalez of Always a Bridesmaid shares her favorite gown sites:

theaislenewyork.com: "They have limited-engagement sales on everything from Angel Sanchez gowns to Judith Leiber handbags," she explains of the shop's rock-bottom pricing on samples and end-of-season gowns.

oncewed.com: This boutique of gently-worn looks stocks "amazing designer gowns that have either had their one night wear, or, in some cases, were the victims of buyer's remorse."

Online shopping tip: Before beginning your internet hunt, however, Gonzalez recommends a reconaissance mission to a brick-and-mortar shop first to get your measurements taken and see what silhouettes work for you. When you do find your perfect gown online, err large, since a gown that's too big will be easier and cheaper to alter than one that's too small.

2) How to Save on Your Wedding Shoes

You don't need to drop a grand on Louboutins to walk down the aisle in glamorous footwear. "The trick is to find a shoe that adds some kick -- not necessarily a designer label," explains Gonzalez, who shares her top websites for landing a shoe bargain:

ninashoes.com: "They have amazing evening shoes with details like feathers and crystals that add flair," she says.

unforgettablemoments.com: A collaboration between high-end designer Lela Rose and Payless, this gorgeous collection of shoes start at $30 a pair can even be custom dyed for no additional charge.

heels.com: "They've got fun, funky evening shoes between $60-225."

3) How to Save on Your Wedding Jewelry

"Everyone knows that celebrities can get 'loaners' for big red carpet occasions. Now so can brides," says Gonzalez. Several sites have popped up that rent jewelry by the day or week for a fraction of the value.

adorn.com: "If diamonds, statement necklaces and earrings are your thing, this the site to go to," says Gonzalez. "Did you love Kate Middleton's earrings? You can rent [the identical look] for $160 against an $8,000 purchase price."

saricloset.com: "If you are looking for something more unusual in the costume jewelry department, take a look at saricloset.com, where you can rent and buy amazing, costume bangles, earrings and necklaces that get noticed," she says.

4) How to Save on Your Wedding Hair and Makeup

Don't let anyone fool you into thinking you need to take a red-carpet approach to getting your hair and makeup done. "While the experience of having a Glam Squad come to your home or hotel room to help you get ready seems luxurious, you can get professional hair and makeup for up to 25% less if you are willing to go to the salon or spa," says Gonzalez.

You can slash that price even further by skipping a makeup artist altogether and becoming your own pro in the months before the wedding. "Many department store counters will allow you to schedule appointments with their makeup artists," she explains. Not only will you learn the tricks of the trade, by purchasing their custom recommendations, you'll have your own pro kit at your disposal.

5) How to Save on Your Wedding Bouquet

It may sound simple, but Gonzalez says that the secret to cutting back on flower budgets is simply to open your mind and trust your florist.

Instead of getting a specific flower set in your mind as a must-have, clip images of bouquets you find inspiring and present them to your florist. "Tell them a color scheme, give them your budget then let them use what is available to create that look," says Gonzalez. The result is often even prettier than the original image - and far less expensive.

The florist you choose can also make a big difference in what you end up spending - often in hidden ways. One never-fail way to save: "Always ask what containers he or she has in stock, because renting what they already have will always save you money!"

More from iVillage.com:

Chic Wedding Dresses Under $500 and Jewelry to Match

Wedding Inspiration: Bridal Style Piles

20 Bridesmaid Dresses They Won't Hate You For