Weddings cost a lot of money. It's true.

One of the earliest expenses involves getting and finding your perfect wedding gown. Some cost thousands of dollars, while others cost… not so much. If you're just beginning to do your gown shopping, it's easy to feel swept away by an undertow of white crepe and silk, so that you’re left wondering if the best bridal gown for you even really exists. And then you think if it does, it'll cost a fortune.

Take heart. The ultimate bridal gown for you exists, and you can afford it. Presented below are five ways to help you get the best gown at the best price. Use them together, or use the one you like best - and good luck!

Keep an open mind.

You've probably had an idea of your ultimate wedding gown in your mind for a while, and now you're waiting to find its real-world counterpart. This is basically a recipe for disappointment. Instead, think about what you like about the gown: the individual parts that appeal to you, then look for those on a variety of dresses.

Remember too that sometimes the solution to a problem will present itself when we're not looking or looking in the wrong direction. Keep your senses alert for an "out of a blue sky" solution to your wedding down shopping that might be just the perfect thing.

Remember that size is variable.

Tailoring is a professional art form with hundreds of years of experience and craft. Why not take advantage of it? Remember that you can have a dress taken in or even let out if it's a little snug or blousy here and there.

As you shop, look for the size above and below you. To tell the truth, you were probably planning to shed a few pounds before the wedding anyway, maybe just to look good in the photographs. Getting into a smaller dress size is a lovely way to celebrate yourself on your wedding day. Bigger sizes can always be altered and corrected to make a perfect fit. In the meantime, you've got a wider spectrum of choices.

Don't be afraid of the Internet.

You're probably not afraid of the Internet if you're reading this. Just the same, don't neglect online bridal gown wholesalers and retailers, who may offer special sales and deals.

Keep an eye on annual closeouts and sales.

Department stores, bridal wholesalers, and other wedding gown vendors sometimes hold semi-annual or closeout blowouts with discounts far below the suggested retail price. Some markdowns range as high as 80% on designer and name brand gowns!

The trick is knowing when the sales begin and end, and getting there early.

Fight for your right to bridal gown satisfaction.

As you shop, remember that the perfect wedding gown for you may also be perfect for someone else. Don't leave things to chance by putting something back on the rack or assuming it will still be there next fill-in-the-blank. See if the store will hold a particular dress you like, or put a few favorite gowns on lay-a-way while you make up your mind.

by: Michael Kabel