How to Get a Free Wedding Dress

Creative Ideas on Getting a Free Wedding Gown

Bridal shop owner helping bride with digital tablet shop for wedding dress
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Is it possible to get a free wedding dress? Yes, it is! With a little creativity and flexibility, you really can get a free gown for your big day.

If you've already started to look at wedding dresses you know that the cost of a gown is outrageous. It can be a considerable chunk of your wedding budget and no matter how much your dress means to you, it will only be worn for one day.

To get a free wedding dress you'll most likely have to lower your expectations a little. It's possible to get a beautiful gown for free but you'll be hard-pressed to find a designer dress and you'll likely need to get the dress altered to fit you.

Borrow a Wedding Dress

The easiest way to get a free wedding dress is to borrow one from a friend or family member. They may even give it to you for keeps if they don't feel like it hauling it back down to the basement.

Don't be afraid to ask to borrow a wedding dress either, most women will be honored that you loved their dress so much you'd like to wear it as well.

Find a Free Wedding Dress Online

Many women have great luck finding a free wedding dress online but through their local community. Both Craigslist and Freecycle are websites where you can look to see if there are any wedding dresses in your area that are being given away for free.

These dresses will likely need to be altered and in need of a good cleaning but this is an excellent way to find a free wedding dress.

Barter for a Wedding Dress

Someone may have your dream wedding dress in storage and you may have a treasure that they want. This is a great way you can barter to get a wedding dress.

Get the word out in your city or online that you have something to trade for a wedding dress. You may be surprised at how many people are willing to give up their old wedding gown for something you have.

Win a Wedding Dress

It's far from a sure thing but you may be able to win a wedding dress through national sweepstakes or a local contest.

Wedding companies and websites will often have wedding sweepstakes ​for free dresses, honeymoons, rings, and even entire weddings.​

Look close to home to find out how you can win a wedding dress. Make sure you keep in touch with all the local bridal shops to see if they have any contests running. For instance, a bridal shop in my town has one day a year where they give out a hundred dresses to the first women who arrive.

Free Wedding Dresses for Military Wives

Military brides can get get a free wedding dress through the Brides Across America program. To qualify the bride or the groom must have been deployed within the past years or have an upcoming deployment.

Bridal shops around the country host an annual day where military brides can come and pick out a free wedding gown. This usually happens in November but some shops will participate at a different time of year.

When You Can't Go Free, Go Cheap

If you can't get a free wedding dress, you should certainly be able to find a cheap wedding dress that will look great but still keep you on budget.

Shopping at department stores, discount bridal stores, and eBay are all great options for finding a wedding dress on the cheap. Keep your eye out for those discounted prom and homecoming dresses too, many come in white and there are lots of options for a non-traditional wedding gown.

You'll also want to consider shopping for a preowned wedding dress. ​Tradesy and are a couple of places to look for gently used wedding gowns sold by recent brides.

More Free Wedding Stuff

Getting a free wedding dress is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of free stuff you can get for your wedding. Find out how you can free invitations, programs, thank you notes, flowers, wedding magazines, and more.