Chic And Affordable Wedding Gowns

If you got engaged on Valentine's Day, you might be in the market for a wedding dress.

Antonia Van Der Meer, editor-in-chief of Modern Bride magazine, says you can look like a princess on your big day without spending big bucks.

"You can find a dress in every price range," Van Der Meer says. "Keep looking until you find the style that's right for you within your own budget."

To prove her claim, Van Der Meer put co-anchors Hannah Storm, Rene Syler and Harry Smith to the Chic on a Shoestring test and they found it was not easy to set the steal apart from the splurge.

"For the record, Harry got them all wrong," said co-anchor Julie Chen, who was hosting the game. Hannah and Rene tied with two correct answers each.

A new trend that many celebrities are adopting, Van Der Meer says, is having two dresses. The new Mrs. Donald Trump did it as did Star Jones Reynolds: A large, more formal dress is worn to the ceremony, and then, a more modern, sleek party dress is donned for the reception.

Here are some things to keep in mind when buying a dress, Van Der Meer says:

  • The theme of your wedding
  • The setting of your reception
  • Your personality

If you're having a formal, black-tie wedding you should opt for a more formal dress, just as an example.

The following outfits were featured on The Early Show:

Theme: Glamorous

This look is about dramatic details and a more "fashion-forward approach" such as a gathered bodice or embellishments.

These dreses are perfect for weddings that tend to be more on the formal side, and usually take place at a high-end hotel or country club. They also usually take place in the evening.

The bracelet is a great way to add a hint of glamour without being overwhelming.

Splurge Dress:
Eliana Ben-Zeev "orchid" $2,870.
It is a strapless, ivory, A-line gown with a bodice overlay of sheered damask that poufs in the back.
The A-line skirt has a chapel train
All of the lace Eliana uses in her gowns are French
For this dress, there is more than 10 yards of fine European silk.

Splurge bracelet: 18k white gold and diamond (5.22 karats) by Pejay Creations, $12,500

Grand Total: $15,370

Steal Dress:
David's Bridal style T8076 for $299
Satin A-line with a drape front and a sweep train.
Available in ivory, light gold, pearl, and white

Steal Bracelet: Rhodium-plated with cubic zirconia by Nadri, $150, available at Bloomingdales

Grand Total: $449

What's the Difference:

The splurge dress uses luxurious, high-quality material like European silk. The splurge bracelet is also made of diamonds versus cubic zirconia.

Theme: Romantic

This is the quintessential bridal look: Very traditional and princessy.

This type of bride is looking for more of a fairy tale. She could wear this dress to a wedding in a castle.

Steal Dress:
Forever Yours style 45122 $700
Ivory, full tulle skirt with a satin bodice
Ribbons are criss-crossed over the bodice
This is a strapless gown but is also available with detachable straps.

Grand Total: $700

Splurge Dress:
Ann Barge "La Fleur 107" $2,750
The type of tulle used is a very fine nylon material
The bodice is of Medici satin from Italy and is a non-silk fabric.
The beading and embroidery is hand sewn

Grand Total: $2,750

What's the Difference:

The splurge dress features hand-sewn beading and embroidery.

Theme: Destination

Nine percent of all weddings are now destination weddings. The dresses are usually in a flowy fabric and styles are a little more casual. Dresses featured are in a shorter length. We are now seeing more of these dresses with a little more detail than the simple shift dress.

Splurge Dress:
From Shannon McLean $2,750
This dress is called "Missy" and has an attitude of playfulness.
Frou-frou ruffles and feminine details include a deep V-neck bodice, a wide Chantilly lace waistband and a flounce skirt.
The fabric of the dress is Chantilly lace imported from France
The lace is then hand appliquéd.
The lining is pure silk
The dress is available in both long or short and evokes the carefree "1920s" attitude.

Grand Total: $2,750

Steal Dress:
From Watters Bride by Watters & Watters, style 5038B, $540
White, knee-length dress with a shirred halter necklace and a ruffled skirt.
To give this simple dress personality and appeal, designers added details such as the nine ruffles on the skirt.
This is a light, packable dress that is perfect for a destination wedding.

Grand Total: $540

The Difference:

The splurge dress has lace that has been applied by hand. The lining is also pure silk.