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• Size of store. "Don't even go into shops that are out of your budget," says Danielle Andrews Sunkel, cofounder of The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada. "Larger shops usually have a broader price range than exclusive shops."
• Mailing list. Join a dress salon's email mailing list to keep up to date with their sales and trunk shows.
• Trunk shows. When designers visit stores to display their new lines, they usually offer a small discount of about 10 per cent.
• End of season. "Right after Christmas, stores do a year-end sale," says Andrews Sunkel. Large chains rent out halls to display their entire discounted inventory from the previous year, she says.
• Off the rack. You may need to pay to have these lightly worn dresses professionally cleaned, but shopping off the rack can save you a lot of cash. Keep in mind that most sample dresses are in sizes eight through 10.
• Shop for shoes last. "Hemming the dress can be expensive, so match the shoes to the dress instead of the dress to the shoes," says Angel Chok, a bridal consultant.
• Budget for the extras. "Depending on what's needed, alterations can be quite expensive," says Chok. When you set your dress budget, make sure you allow for alterations and accessories, including the veil.
For more helpful tips on wedding dress shopping, check out: Wedding dress shopping: How to find the right dress.
Plan the most beautiful wedding you can imagine with expert tips and helpful advice from our special wedding planning guide.