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    12 Helpful Wedding Dress Shopping Tricks For People Who Want Something A Little Different

    Because the real love story is between the bride and the dress.

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    Shopping for a wedding dress is HARD, especially if you know you want something nontraditional. So we asked the BuzzFeed Community for their tips and experiences for alternative dress shopping, and BOY did they show up!

    Universal Pictures

    ^Shout out to About Time, one of my favorite movies and inspiration for non-tradish brides far and wide.

    Here are some of the best tips, tricks, and jaw-dropping photos they sent over:

    1. Customizing a gown that you find in a bridal boutique is definitely an option. If you've watched Say Yes to the Dress for more than five seconds, you know. You can also get a dress from a bridal shop and take it to a trusted tailor/seamstress for custom work.,

    "I was so in love with all the grey/blue, ethereal looks on Pinterest but couldn't find that style at any store so I said eff it. I bought a $200 David's Bridal dress and about 20 yards of tulle and worked closely with a local seamstress to make my dream dress. Our wedding wasn't traditional at all — emerald ring, a lot of Harry Potter elements, walked down the aisle to David Bowie and had an eight-minute ceremony. It was perfectly our own and I wouldn't change a thing!" —Taradactyl8

    "I knew I wanted something purple, but couldn't even come close after a couple appointments at traditional salons. On a whim my mother and I went to a designer sample store in NYC called the Glamour Closet where I found an almost perfect dress at something like half off retail. Then I took it to a tailor to have a custom lining made plus other alterations and still ended up paying less than I would have for a new, white dress. I got a ton of compliments and wouldn't change a thing." —lefthornton

    2. Etsy is where it's at! There are so many incredible sellers with designs that are already extremely unique but can be further customized so you get exactly what you want.

    man walking bride down the aisle who's wearing a dress with a long-sleeved lace top with a pearl collar and a white-to-teal ombré tulle skirt

    "The teal, navy, and mint sola flower bouquet and most of the dress were from Etsy sellers. I got so many compliments on the look as a whole and each piece's unique character." —sarahjlow

    People also love shopping for wedding dresses on Etsy because everything can be customized to your body before it even ships out — and usually at a much better price than buying a piece somewhere *then* taking it to get fitted.,

    "I’m a plus size woman and knew I didn’t want to deal with going to a bridal shop that probably had a limited selection and feeling anything less than beautiful in the process of finding my dress. So I went on Etsy and found a designer that makes custom dresses. I sent my dress designer a photo of a storm cloud as inspiration for the skirt and couldn’t have been happier with the result! It was magnificent, and everyone loved it!" —meganleeeeigh

    "I knew I wanted a pink dress because my mother wore a pink dress when she got married. I had it custom made for me by a woman on Etsy, which I highly recommend doing. Better prices, and you get EXACTLY what you want, made specifically for your body." —helenr401c82ed3

    3. ModCloth, ASOS, Anthropologie, Torrid, and Nordstrom are all amazing retailers to look at if you're looking for a wearable, cute look at a nice price. They also have a quick shipping time that's usually just not possible at a bridal store or Etsy.,

    "I got mine on the sale rack at Anthropologie — it was the last one and it was in my size! I knew it was perfect from the moment I put it on." —maggieh49cf44aff

    "I wore a red swing dress from Torrid. It was $40 on sale and I bought two sizes so I didn't have to worry about my weight fluctuating. I couldn't ever picture myself in a white dress — turns out my mom felt the same!" —manningl428

    4. Shopping the bridesmaid dress section of any bridal boutique can result in finding some absolute gems at a fraction of the cost of a "wedding dress." Ummm any dress you wear at your wedding is a wedding dress, and if it happens to be a tenth of the price *and* unique...yes please.,

    Check out the BHLDN and David's Bridal bridesmaid selections to start!

    "The brides wore blush and gold. Neither were wedding dresses, both were listed as bridesmaid dresses. So it was big money saver and more flattering on us than white!" —sarahr428809935

    "I always knew that I wanted a golden mustard wedding dress, the problem was finding one. Just when I was about to give up, I found this lovely Jenny Yoo bridesmaid dress. My family was super supportive of my choice. Some of my friends tried to convince me to go a more traditional route and I'm glad that I didn't cave because I felt and looked exactly how a bride should feel on the most magical day." —sydsal73

    5. When in doubt, DIY! Dip-dye, alter, and sew your heart out. If you know exactly what you want and are confident you have the skills to make it — go for it!


    Head over to Rock N Roll Bride for an easy tutorial on how to dip dye your dress!

    6. Wearing a nontraditional look is an awesome way to nod to your heritage while staying true to your own sense of style, like this tea-length Pakistani-meets-Texan dress and this unicorn look worn during the bride's Mehendi ceremony.,

    "I'm Pakistani, he is Texan. A little fusion. ❤" —MarwaU

    "This is on my Mehendi day (one day before the wedding). An Indian Mehendi function is typically celebrated by the bride's family. In this ceremony, Mehendi is put in the hands and feet of the bride, in beautiful and intricate designs. It signifies love in a marriage. Typically, brides dress up in traditional Indian outfits with the most typical colors being in the warm palette like yellows, oranges, reds etc. I went full unicorn. I wore a lilac organza skirt on which I hand tacked on holographic sequins. And got a top stitched with the same sequin fabric. Instead of the usual flowers in my hair I wore a pearl headband. Also instead of traditional or 'real' wedding jewelry I wore hand-painted imitation jewelry which are a part of my own brand. And as you see, my hair was blue, red and purple for all my wedding ceremonies. (I had two since we're intercaste and one reception). Fun stuff." —dishanath1

    7. If a pop of color is what's in your heart, rock it! You need no other reason than "my spouse-to-be and I like green." What you say goes.,

    "My husband and I both love green, our wedding was inspired by our favorite issue of Swamp Thing. Naturally, I had to wear a green dress! I went with a shade of mint that was so much fun to wear for our garden ceremony. Everyone still talks about my dress over three years later! I got my dress from RenzRags on Etsy and saved a ton of cash doing that rather than going to a boutique! Their dresses are to 'dye' for!" —babymily

    8. Don't forget the accessories! These dresses would have been incredible and unique on their own, but the white Dr. Martens and Misfits logo shoes (!!!!) absolutely make the looks, imo.,

    "My dress was custom-made by Mywony, and as soon as I saw it I knew it was going to be my wedding dress (six months before he even proposed!). It went beautifully with our outdoor October wedding, hosted at an old colonial mill. Not many people got to see, but I also wore white Dr. Martens so I could be comfy all day!" —Mere Stone

    "Anybody who knows me well was not surprised my black attire, the band Misfits high heels with the Crimson Ghost skull logo on them, and the metal and rock music that got played both at the ceremony and reception. My grandma tried very hard to get me to wear any color other than black, but I was firm. It is your wedding, be yourself, even if that doesn't the traditional bridal image!" —caitlindporterwigmore

    9. If you have a friend or family member who sews or designs clothes, asking them to make a dress for you from scratch can be incredibly meaningful — not to mention STUNNING.,

    "My friend went to college and majored in fashion design. It was handmade and there’s no other dress like it!" —kimr4f409a24a

    "My beloved's aunt made my rainbow wedding dress for me, from a distance. My spouse was the one who dreamed it up and measured me for it, too! You can't see it, but the stripe on the top is printed with gummy bears." —ladyclownshoes

    10. Themed weddings are the ultimate reason to flex when it comes to dress choice. If you want your day to be a *literal* fairytale, let your dress reflect that! I'm sure it'd be a local designer's dream to make, too.

    bride and groom wearing purple renaissance clothing on a small bridge in the woods. the groom kneels to kiss the bride's hand.

    "My ex-husband and I had an amazing Renaissance-themed wedding. My dress was custom made by a local designer and I wore it to various Renaissance Faires for years afterwards." —jessicarosep

    11. Consider wearing something you already have! Especially if you're eloping or just decided over breakfast to head to the courthouse that day, chances are you already have something you love that's perfect for the occasion.,

    "Six years strong! We were riding around one day and going past the courthouse so we just popped in and got a marriage license. Made it official that following Sunday and went to Piccadilly that afternoon." —amberb41fcadc50

    "Called our immediate family and said, 'Getting married on Friday morning. Be there or be square.' Went out for pancakes and shopping afterwards." —meira1

    12. But above all, make sure what you wear represents YOU! Whether it's donning a bold color, designing something from scratch, or coming up with a unique take on a traditional dress from your heritage, wearing something that brings you joy is what it's all about.,

    "Got married in a sparkly gray prom dress and hubby wore a kilt. It was perfect for who we are." —artisticmystik

    "My husband and I had a Nigerian Igbo wedding ceremony and this was my first dress. The dress is made of Akwa-Ocha, which means white cloth, but it is made for the Anioma people in Nigeria. I had it imported so that a seamstress could tailor it to my measurements. The beads are made of coral, which are a symbol of power, wealth, royalty and beauty." —officialadmiral43

    Have fun coming up with your wedding looks, everyone! Want to show off your own alternative dress? Drop pics in the comments below!


    The reviews in this post have been edited for length and clarity.