Are you, your mom, a friend, or anyone else making a dress for the big day? Remember, not just the bride wears a dress. You have bridesmaids, mothers, flower girls. If a gifted sewing friend asks if he or she can help in some way, consider saying yes. (But if you're new to sewing, best not to make a dress yourself. And if you have any hesitation about the skills of the person offering, be kind but firm when you say "No, thank you."
You're not stuck with the cheap plastic buttons and polyester fabrics at the Jo-Ann or Hancock's at the strip mall. I've been shopping from some online retailers for years. (I sew, but my mom made my dress.)
M & J Trimming. They have unique buttons and trims and it's where I bought all 30-odd pearl buttons for the back of my dress. They can lean toward tacky, suggesting Swarvoski crystal for just about every project, but they also have a great selection of just about anything else you could want.
Thai Silks. High quality silks at reasonable prices. It's worth buying one of their swatch sets to see all the colors and feel all the textures before deciding on final fabric choices. I found the gorgeous silk/linen blend for my dress for a price cheaper than the polyester satin at many other fabric stores.
Fabric.com. Inexpensive, huge selection of mass-market basics. When my mom offered to make five flower girl dresses for a family wedding, she went here to buy the exact shade of pink the bride wanted--in silk dupioni. (Do three-year-olds need silk dresses? Well, for that price and for such a gorgeous dress, why not?)
Your dress is being handmade with love, so don't skimp on the details. You're still saving money over a purchased or professionally made dress. Just because you're not shelling out the big bucks doesn't mean you don't deserve a gorgeous dress.
(Flaming Tulle is not affiliated with any of these businesses. I'm just a loyal customer.)
(Photo: My dress, photographed by gumgirl)