3/10 Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Grace Loves Lace’s Hollie Dress for Under $500

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Hunting for the gown that’s juuuust right can sometimes feel like hunting a T-Rex … or okay, maybe not, because the gown isn’t hunting you back. But it’s easy to feel a bit like maybe The Dress just doesn’t exist … because it’s extinct or whatever … especially after hunting for what seems like FOREVER. BAB reader Alexis wrote to us about her experience of this: 

Please help! I’ve fallen in love with a dress I can never in a million years afford. I’ve searched EVERYWHERE for something similar but have failed to find anything worthy. I’m starting to think I might need to pay some non-designer name to “ReCreate” the dress. I’ve found MintBride but am always scared to order from places that make a dress based off pictures you send them. Any advice?! I’m looking for the long version of the Grace Loves Lace Hollie, where the lace under layer is floor length rather than knee. I hope you can help!

Hey Alexis, you’re right to be cautious about ordering a custom made gown sight-unseen. There are some reputable places that do just that (and some incredibly talented seamstresses), but here are my Bonus Pro Tips about ordering online:

  1. Do your homework. Look for reviews from as many different independent sources as you can find. The more reviews, the better, and of course the higher the review ratings, the more confident you can be with the decision. Scan review comments for statements about quality, color matching, value, satisfaction with the finished product, and turnaround time.
  2. Get swatches of the fabrics that will be used in your gown, if possible.
  3. Get your measurements taken by a professional seamstress in your area, and consider adding a buffer to those numbers — it’s much easier to take in the fabric later than it is to let it out. (Consult a professional seamstress about whether, where and how much to increase the numbers.) While you’re at it, schedule a fitting / alterations appointment locally, even if you don’t think you’ll need one. You can cancel the appointment if the gown fits perfectly, right out of the box.
  4. Check ALL the fine print (and FAQs) for things like guarantees, production and delivery times, payment methods, duty tariffs (which will add $$ to the cost of the gown), return policies, etc.
  5. Use a credit card. Most have protection in place for fraudulent charges and will go to bat for you if the seller turns out to be a fraud. (Check with your credit card company about their policies for covering fraudulent or disputed charges.)
  6. Order much further in advance than you think you’ll need to — and definitely further in advance than their policies state is necessary. Stuff happens, so building in a time buffer will reduce your stress levels if there are any unforeseen delays.
  7. Go with your gut. If you get a funny (and not in the ha-ha way) feeling about a retailer, DO NOT BUY from them!

I’m not familiar with the MintBride source you mentioned (or with MintBridal.com, if that’s the site you meant), so I’m sorry that I can’t offer any firsthand experience about it. Check out their reviews on WeddingWire, though, to see how you feel about them. And then check out the gowns below to see if any are close enough to the Hollie for ya!

Can't Afford It

Grace Loves Lace Hollie Gown

Grace Loves Lace Hollie Gown, $1667+

Get Over It

Leah Boho Wedding Dress by TheBride2B

Leah Boho Wedding Dress, $365 by Etsy seller TheBride2B

Romantic Tulle and Lace Wedding Dress, $259 by Etsy seller MermaidBridal

Romantic Tulle and Lace Wedding Dress, $259 by Etsy seller MermaidBridal

Spaghetti Strap Chiffon Wedding Dress by iViWeddingDress

Spaghetti Strap Chiffon Wedding Dress, $160 by Etsy seller iViWeddingDress

Backless Ivory Chiffon A-Line Wedding Dress by LaceBridal

Backless Ivory Chiffon A-Line Wedding Dress, $259 by Etsy seller LaceBridal

Or try the Lazio tulle skirt overlay …

Lazio Skirt at BHLDN

Lazio Skirt, $260 at BHLDN

… over a gown like one of these:

White Lace V-Neck Beach Gown by Angelonlinedress

White Lace V-Neck Beach Gown, $178 by Etsy seller Angelonlinedress

Floral Lace Strapless Mermaid Dress by eShakti

Floral Lace Strapless Mermaid Dress, $400 at eShakti

Lace Mermaid Evening Dress by Bari Jay

Lace Mermaid Evening Dress by Bari Jay, $270 at eDressMe

David's Bridal Lace Sheath Dress with Low Crisscross Back

Lace Sheath Dress with Low Crisscross Back, $549 at David’s Bridal

Beauty Beyond Words Dress in Ivory

Beauty Beyond Words Dress in Ivory, $200 at ModCloth

Full Lace Mermaid Wedding Dress by LaceBridal

Full Lace Mermaid Wedding Dress, $328 by Etsy seller LaceBridalDavid's Bridal Strapless Lace Gown with Ribbon Detail

Strapless Lace Gown with Ribbon Detail, $599 at David’s BridalJill Jill Stuart Love Story Gown

Jill Jill Stuart Love Story Gown, $85 rental at Rent The Runway

So Alexis, what do you think? Do any of these gowns check all the boxes, or will you get your gown custom made? If you do happen to use a custom design service and love it, please let us know! 

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.

*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.
Lisa Paladin is the owner of Event Plan-It, a wedding planning and design company located in The Heart of It All. Lisa loves helping creative couples to plan EPIC weddings without any highway robbery, and believes there is no such thing as too much glitter. Or color. Or animal print. Lisa is a volunteer cat/kitten foster mom, a collector of neon things, an Argentine Malbec aficionado, a treehugger, a dabbler in all things crafty and a word nerd (despite excessive use of exclamation points and parenthetical statements). Follow Lisa on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, or email Lisa at info (at) eventplanit (dot) com about your Cleveland wedding or The Walking Dead.