We all know how expensive weddings can be…or maybe you’re here because you just got your first quote from a wedding vendor and you’re in complete sticker shock. It’s ok-we’ve got you!

So let’s get down to the real question. Can you plan a wedding for under $10K? The answer is, of course you can! But we’ve got to have a chat first about what that means. . .

You can definitely still have a beautiful wedding on the cheap, but you have to be realistic about your expectations and prioritize what’s really important. Most people think that they have to get all their vendors by picking the cheapest vendors available, and while that might get you under $10K it’s also a fast track to disappointment.

Really the best way to find middle ground on your dream day and your budget is to choose what’s most important to you, then find qualified and talented vendors that make the most of your big day. Hiring a planner (like us!) can help you find ways to save, get discounts with vendors, and can help you pull off your vision without emptying your bank account.

In this series we’re going to cover different categories that you might prioritize first- dresses, photography, flowers, etc. and talk about ways you can still get the perfect day in your budget. We’re going to kick things off with a big one-your wedding dress.

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A wedding dress is a huge part of your day, obvs. But the struggle is REAL when your budget isn’t enough to get the dress you’ve pinned on Pinterest. Like, you want a beautiful dress that you’re going to look and feel amazing in but also *looks at empty bank account*. Yikes. Let’s talk about that…

There are a TON of options for finding affordable wedding dresses. You can even start at a bridal dress shop and ask them about sample sale dresses or ones they have in your budget. (Some of our fave local shops- White Lace and Promises, Gilded Gown, and Lillian Ruth) But in this blog we’re going to focus on some local options for budget brides. We always warn brides when ordering online look for reviews, research the company thoroughly, and always order with enough time to get it altered.

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Before we dive into the deets, the styled shoot put together for this series was done with the help of some very talented (and budget friendly!) local vendors. Be sure to check them out! Our photography was done by Kristin Lane Photography, hair was done by Hair by Katie, makeup was done by Beauty by Blair, and floral was provided by LB Floral. Our backdrop was the stunning Historic Southern Railway Station.

Now let’s talk dresses! One of the best options if you’re looking for affordable dresses is looking at consignment shops. Several dresses from this shoot were featured from Ivory and Grace a new consignment shop here in Knoxville.

While these dresses were used, they still were stunning, clean, and photographed beautifully. The best part? All of the dresses shown in this post were under $500. Seriously. While some dresses can still be upwards of $1000 at consignment shops, a dress that previously would have cost two or three thousand dollars and was likely worn once-or possibly never-can be WAY less than that.

So think about it, what could have been $2000 is now $300 (like that stunning dress from above is). That’s $1700 you have to spend on a talented photographer who is going to take incredible shots and make that used dress look like it belongs in a magazine. Along with Ivory and Grace, we also recommend Loveliest!

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Another great option is thrift stores and vintage stores. While the sizes will be much more limited than with consignment stores, you’re guaranteed to find a one of a kind unique dress. We borrowed some dresses from one of our fave vintage stores, Nostalgia and oh my GOODNESS. THE BEAUTY.

I mean, can we talk about this pantsuit-skirt hybrid real quick? This easily became one of our favorites for it’s unique style and pearl-fect details. This gettup was less than $100. For real.

And this lacey number definitely gave us some Madonna vibes but we weren’t mad about it.

There’s plenty of various decade styles too, like these 20s Gatsby dresses.

It might take a little extra time to track down the perfect dress, but you’ll have fun going through the stores searching for the ONE.

A few words of warning for dresses from consignment shops or thrift/vintage stores: Yes, the initial price might be super low but you’ll want to also take into consideration alteration fees and cleaning fees. Often times it’ll still come out to be cheaper than a new dress though!

Cutting budget with alternative sources is WAY better than cutting corners trying to go through a sketchy online company. Let me say that louder for you folks in the back…cutting BUDGET is better than cutting CORNERS.

If you want help planning your dream day on a budget, reach out to us! You can also stay tuned for more blogs and live videos in our Team Weddiquette series.

Thanks again to our team of talented vendors who helped with this shoot!