The average wedding in the U.S. costs a whopping $30,000.  It’s no surprise that millennials, many of whom are buried in student loan debt, often put marriage off.  While the average wedding is absurdly expensive, it is entirely possible to have a quality wedding on a tight budget.  With so many different components to pay for and all of the hidden costs that start popping up, it can be tricky to stick to your budget if you aren’t careful.

One insanely expensive part of the wedding is the dress.  You want to look amazing for your special day, but you shouldn’t have to break the bank for a dress you will only wear once!  Here are three ways to save money on your wedding dress and still look fabulous.

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Hit the sale rack.

I wasn’t willing to spend more than $400 on my dress.  My mom insisted that I try on a $700 dress, and after she pestered me nonstop, I gave in.  I loved the dress.  By some miracle, the bridal store just happened to be having a huge sale that day and my dress was $400.  But don’t rely on luck like I did – do some research and find out when and where the sales are.

Beware of hidden costs when purchasing a dress at a bridal store – the dress may seem “cheap”, but bustling and alteration costs add up.

Rent or borrow a dress.

The truth is, after the wedding your beautiful dress will probably end up sitting in your attic collecting dust.  So why not rent instead of buying?  There are plenty of stores and websites that offer wedding dress rentals.

Do you have a friend or family member who has gotten married recently?  If your sizes are similar, you could ask to borrow her old dress.  This could be her wedding gift to you.

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Check out retail stores.

Many retail stores have started offering quality wedding gowns for under $1,000.  These stores include BCBG, The Limited, J. Crew and Ann Taylor.

Everything becomes more expensive with the word “wedding” attached to it.  Try a white prom dress or bridesmaid dress.  Prices range considerably, but you could find dresses as cheap as $50.  If your wedding isn’t super formal and your budget is tiny, this could be the perfect option for you.

What tips do you have for saving money on a wedding dress?