Affiliate Disclaimer New

Sometimes a gown calls to you like a low-backed, cap-sleeved, plunging neckline, lace siren, as the Berta 14-20 did for reader Jessica, who commented on this post:

I’m obsessed with these posts and have a dilemma myself… I fell in love with the Berta 14-20 when a model at a bridal show walked past me. The $8,000 price tag is out of my budget, though. Do you have any suggestions for similar dresses under $3,500? My wedding is October 15 of this year. Thank you!!

When it does, who you gonna call? #GownHunters!

Can't Afford It

Berta Bridal 14-20

Berta Bridal 14-20 Back

Berta Bridal 14-20, $8,000

Get Over It

Dezory Sexy Wedding Dress by RaraAvisAngeEtoiles

Dezory Sexy Wedding Dress, $1,583 by Etsy seller RaraAvisAngeEtoiles

Watters Ashland Illusion Lace Mermaid Dress

Watters Ashland Illusion Lace Mermaid Dress, $2,010 at Nordstrom

Kristina Sexy Lace Wedding Gown by DressesLioness

Kristina Sexy Lace Wedding Gown, $2,262 by Etsy seller DressesLioness

Elegant Champagne Lace Wedding Dress by Yasminelayani

Elegant Champagne Lace Wedding Dress, $890 by Etsy seller Yasminelayani

Watters Seaton Illusion Off-the-Shoulder Lace & Georgette Trumpet Gown

Watters Seaton Illusion Off-the-Shoulder Lace & Georgette Trumpet Gown, $2,580 at Nordstrom

Sexy Bohemian Lace Wedding Dress by DressesLioness

Sexy Bohemian Lace Wedding Dress, $2,877 by Etsy seller DressesLioness

Beaded Lace Wedding Dress with Illusion Details by Galina

Beaded Lace Wedding Dress with Illusion Details by Galina, $858 at David’s Bridal

Victoria Sexy Couture Bridal Gown by DressesLioness

Victoria Sexy Couture Bridal Gown, $1,975 by Etsy seller DressesLioness

Berta 14-45

Berta 14-45, $3,500 at Preowned Wedding Dresses

Watters Dune Silk Georgette Fit & Flare Skirt

Watters Dune Silk Georgette Fit & Flare Skirt, $1,410 at Nordstrom

Riccarda Lace Trumpet Wedding Dress by RaraAvisAngeEtoiles

Riccarda Lace Trumpet Wedding Dress, $1,809 by Etsy seller RaraAvisAngeEtoiles

Kate Lace Wedding Dress by DressesLioness

Kate Lace Wedding Dress, $3,328 by Etsy seller DressesLioness

And two that are over budget:

Sexy Lace Wedding Dress with Low Back by DressesLioness

Sexy Lace Wedding Dress with Low Back, $3,835 by Etsy seller DressesLioness

Lazaro V-Neck Lace Trumpet Dress

Lazaro V-Neck Lace Trumpet Dress, $3,950 at Nordstrom

Only a few months to go, Jessica! Let us know in the comments which gown you’ve chosen for your October wedding.

Got a gown that you just can’t get off your mind? We’re happy to help you get over it! Just tell us in the comments below! Please remember to include the budget you’re working with so we can find you the best alternative for you. Please be aware, though, that because you guys love this column so much, we can often build up quite the queue and it may be a while before we can get to your dream dress. Rest assured, though, Team Broke-Ass is on the case!

*As always, please do your own research before buying a gown online. Team Broke-Ass is here to provide you with inspiration and resources, but it is up to the consumer to know what they’re purchasing.
  • 7/27

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewReal Bride Lucinda: DIY Wedding Success

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography

    We did it! On June 4, 2016, we tied the knot on a beautiful (and hot!) day outside of Boston, Mass. After over a year of planning, everything came together just like we wanted, including everything we DIY’d with all of our friends.

    The biggest DIY of them all was my wedding dress, which was probably the hardest and most time-consuming sewing project I’ve made in my 20 years of sewing. I started planning what kind of dress I wanted to make in August 2015, bought all of my fabric in NYC in September, made my test dress to make sure my pattern fit in October, cut out all of my fabric for the final dress in December and steadily worked on constructing the dress from January to April. I could have made the dress a lot faster had I been laser-focused on getting it done, but with everything else that goes with wedding planning, I worked on it here and there when I had time between DIY projects. The good thing was that I wasn’t scrambling to finish it up to the last minute.

    Real Bride Lucinda and her handmade wedding dress

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography

    The back of Lucinda's DIY wedding gown

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography

    My dress is from an Italian pattern company called Marfy — it has a sweetheart neckline, kimono cap sleeves and skirts that gather at the side waist. To make my dress, I used French lace, silk and silk georgette fabric. The belt is silk ribbon with small flowers I attached to it, made out of leftover silk fabric from my dress. I also added faux buttons up the back over the zipper to make it look like it was buttoned up. My accessories pictured above I bought from Etsy, but I made my veil out of English netting. Total cost for my dress and accessories: $600

    I also found my makeup artist at Sephora when I got a free makeover last year, and my hairdresser who usually cuts and colors my hair did my updo. That was much more affordable than using someone who specializes in wedding hair and makeup, and I could afford to have all of the makeup done for my bridesmaids as part of their gift from me.

    Clutches Lucinda made for herself and her bridesmaids

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography

    Lucinda poses with her bridesmaids

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography

    The weekend before the wedding, I got the idea to make coordinating clutches for all of the bridesmaids to carry their essentials with them to the wedding. I also made one for myself out of leftover lace from my bodice. Because you know, that’s what sane brides do a few days before their wedding, right?! #crazyoverhere

    Crepe paper flower centerpieces and DIY table numbers

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography

    Our centerpieces were very simple with flowers we made out of floral crepe paper, bunches of baby’s breath and vases we found at The Dollar Store. The table number signs we bought at Michael’s craft store and the number holders we found through a restaurant supply company. Total cost of our centerpieces per table: $10

    Simply decorated cake with DIY cake sign

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography

    Reserved signs for VIP family members

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography

    DIY labels on mini  Champagne favors

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography

    Our printables turned out even better than we thought they would!  We made signs for the cake table, place card table and bar with cute sayings and our wedding hashtag — easy peasy with some fancy fonts in Photoshop and printed out on our inkjet printer. We also thought it would be a nice touch to add “reserved” tags to the chairs of our parents and grandparents for the ceremony — really easy to customize using a free printable from Something Turquoise. The favors were a little tricky at first — my girls and I ended up scraping off the original labels on the mini champagne bottles (easier than soaking off the labels or using Goo-Gone) and stuck on the labels I made in Photoshop, tied the bottle with some ribbon and added a paper straw.  Total cost for 60 bottles: $150

    Lucinda's friends pose in front of the DIY photo booth backdrop

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography

    Newlyweds pose in front of DIY photo booth backdrop

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography

    The photo booth backdrop was my favorite decoration for our wedding, and probably was the easiest DIY project. I found this fringey fabric at Joann Fabrics, added a backing fabric so it was less transparent, and sewed a casing at the top for the pole of the frame to go through. The frame is PVC piping that we sawed and assembled together with PVC connectors and caps, an easy tutorial we found on Pinterest. The balloons came from Oh Shiny! Paper Co. on Etsy and made the photos more festive. And it just so happened that one of our friends had a selfie prop kit that we used for silly photos. Total backdrop cost: $80

    Lucinda and Chris pose for portraits

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography

    All in all, we wouldn’t have done our wedding any other way!!

  • 7/26


    Ah, the craft store ... for the DIY couple, it can start to feel like a second home. There are paints and paper, ribbons and trim and if you really start looking, you may start to realize that a lot of this stuff is really expensive. When it comes down to it, craft stores and the supplies therein are usually marketed towards women. If you're…

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    bab heather3

    I made my first wedding craft!!! It was a lot of fun, and it helped to get me excited again about the wedding! When you spend the first part of your engagement trying to come up with a budget, venue, and all that goes with it, it's easy to start feeling overwhelmed. We have been through our fair share of ups and downs as I…

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    Ring Security Polo Shirt by TheKnottedPalm

    Ring Security Polo Shirt, $22+ by Etsy seller TheKnottedPalm Will your ring bearer be the only security at your wedding? Hey guys, keep your advice questions coming! Dear Lisa, My MIL says I need to hire security for our wedding reception, but I don't really want to pay extra for security and it's a squeeze for our budget, plus I think it would offend our guests. Do…

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  • 7/21

    Eve Gown from Rue de Seine

    Today's CAI/GOI request is for a lovely Rue de Seine look-alike. Reader Emily commented on this post asking for help finding a gown similar to the New Zealand designer's "Eve" from the Young Love and Nomadic Love collections. Emily says she is addicted to Rue de Seine designs, and who can blame her?! Rue de Seine gowns are soft, feminine, and romantic. The "Eve" gown…

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    And that's okay! We're a little over two months out from our wedding, so Russel and I decided to check out the progress at our venue this past weekend. It was actually a triple-duty trip to Amish country -- we worked on our invitations, stopped by the fairgrounds, and spent QT with my parents. Our summer has been insanely busy, so we haven't been able…

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    There are places in my life that I feel so connected to by memories and experiences that they almost take on a life of their own. My parents' house (where Matt and I currently call home as we save to buy a house of our own) is like that. The campground where we got engaged, where I'm writing this from currently on a surprise trip…

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  • 7/18

    Real Bride Amy enjoys her Bridal Shower

    This past weekend, I had my bridal shower! I was pretty excited about an opportunity to celebrate with my friends. Like all things, I had to do something a little bit nontraditional. Since I'm not having a formal bridal party, there was initially some question over what the shower plans would be, but I have great friends, so a group of my would-be bridesmaids planned…

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