Broke-Ass Tag: under $500


Let’s start the New Year by rocking a reader’s “CAI/GOI” challenge. Today’s challenge: Finding a new dress for Julianne to love!

I am absolutely in love with this Watters gown; however it is completely out of my price range. I would love something for under $500 with similar detailing on the bottom. Do you have any suggestions on where I should be looking?



Julianne, I’m happy to help! Finding something super detailed and sticking to a tight budget can be super difficult but starting a new year is all about resolutions, right? We’ve got this.


Adelaide Gown (Retails for $3,400)


Strapless Pleated Bodice Gown with Pick Up Skirt ($399.99 at David’s Bridal)

Beaded Tiered Tulle Gown with Sweetheart Neckline ($349.99 at David’s Bridal)

Organza Gown with Pleated Tier Skirt and Lace ($449.99 at David’s Bridal)

Organza A-Line Gown with Angled Draped Pick-Ups ($349.99 at David’s Bridal)

Tiered Organza Wedding Dress ($419.99 at For Her and Him)

Strapless A Line Wedding Gown ($399.99 at For Her and Him)

Adrianna Papell Strapless Rosette-Skirt Gown ($238 at Dillard’s)

To get the detailing you want for under $500, sales and clearances are going to be your best bet. Lots of places have sales around this time of year. Get out there and look around. If you’re close to a sample size, consider going to stores to see which samples are on sale. I grabbed a sample dress and paid much less for it. It was a tad dirty, but a quick trip to the cleaner made the savings worthwhile.

  • 10/23

    Vera Wang’s collection for David’s Bridal brings her unmistakable talent to a lower price point. But it’s still not affordable for all.

    Hi there!

    I was wondering if I could get a Can’t Afford It/Get Over It for the  Vera Wang White collection gown at David’s Bridal (Organza Fit and Flare Gown with Bias Flange Skirt Style VW351011).  I have fallen in love with it but can’t afford $1200+ for a dress that I will only wear for a few hours. Thanks!!

    If this dress isn’t in your future, be open to adding details to a simpler design. A classic strapless A-line or ball gown dress, for example, could look much closer to your inspiration with a bridal sash. Etsy is full of options like this crystal beaded number or this DIY kit. The intricate organza detailing on the skirt of this DB gown is undoubtedly the reason for the $1200 price tag – but tone down the detailing on similar gowns and watch those prices drop!


    Organza Fit and Flare Gown ($1,248 at David’s Bridal)


    Strapless A-Line Gown ($399.99 at For Her and For Him)

    Anabelle Gown ($450 at J. Crew)

    Satin Pick-Up Ballgown ($199.99 at David’s Bridal)

    Taffeta Ball Gown ($249.99 at David’s Bridal)

    Adrianna Papell Strapless Rosette-Skirt Gown ($238 at Dillard’s)

    Badgley Mischka Iridescent Strapless Ruffle Gown ($695 at Shopbop)

    You can also consider looking at websites that allow brides to sell their dresses. A quick Google search for the dress style you’re requesting took me to a couple people selling that exact dress. If you go that route, be sure to ask about any alterations made. Many sites require sellers to have a return policy. It’s hard to know if the dress will fit you. Or, if the seller lives nearby, perhaps you can have a meet-up.

  • 9/13

    Candie is in love with a dress "Glee" actress Lea Michele rocked at the 2011 SAG Awards. Hi there! I'm looking for some help. My fiance and I are getting married next June and I need to find a wedding dress. We're getting married on some friends' property, and it will be pretty relaxed and casual. Because of that (and the hot weather!), I really…

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    Lizzy is loving everything about this dress except the price. Hi there! I have a query for your can't afford it/get over it category. I love J.Crew's "Serena" wedding gown, but can't afford the $2,100 price tag. (That's, uh, more than half of my wedding budget!) I love the polka dots, the sleek shape/minimal ruching, and the silk/linen fiber (I really don't love polyester). I…

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    Caitlin has a dress she can’t stop thinking about. I have a dress I can't get's the Maggie Sottero "Bernadette." I found one on, but it was $1,500, and not in my size :( I’ve been there; literally. My dress was a sample -- so there was only one made. Despite its beauty, it was a dress that would never be reproduced. Even…

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    Candice is smitten with a loverly and lacey gown that is way our of her budget!  Poor thing!  Let's see what Candice had to say.... So I thought it would be worth a shot... I LOVE the The St. Pucchi Avine 506! The  lace is gorgeous and the back is to die for! However, I too am a BROKE ass bride and I can't afford the thousands…

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    This week, I took it upon myself to see how many BABs there are out there who are brave enough to rock a short white frock for their big day. In my CAI/GOI research I've run across some totally adorable, beautiful, sexy and sassy short dresses that would be awesome for a reception dress or as "The Dress" if you have the cajones!  So, do you have…

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    We're jumpin' right into CAI/GOI this week with this submission: "Hello, my name is Liz and I have found the perfect wedding dress! The problem is that it's out of my price range...I am in love with a Tara Keeley dress that is absolutely amazing but costs over $2,000! My husband and I are finally having the wedding we never had. The ceremony will be…

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    One of the best ways to get a unique, affordable wedding gown is to buy it from a talented Etsy seller. Here are some phenomenal gowns for under $500. MuseBridalBoutique, $275 SugarWeddings, $429 SugarWeddings, $429 MaryniaGasiorowska, $300 WhiteRomance, $450 ZephyrGrahamParis, $489 KtJean, $480 Lolileu, $450 ElianaCouture, $425 FrenchKnotCouture, $425 Have any of you BABs found your dream dress on Etsy? We wanna see it! Leave a…

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