Ever since you were a little girl, you've daydreamed about the magnificent dress you'll wear on your wedding day. But back then, you didn't know you might need a small fortune to pay for that gown!

When the average wedding in the United States costs $28,082, and the average cost of today's wedding dress is $1,075, brides have got to think of ways to find the perfect dress while staying within a realistic budget.

When I began the arduous task of finding my dream gown, I fell in love with a strapless satin Melissa Sweet dress in a fancy boutique downtown. I was shocked at the dollar amount listed on the price tag; for that amount of money, my husband and I could finance our entire honeymoon! After a little online research, I realized that I could buy the same dress -- worn only once by another bride -- for a fraction of the price. I wasn't just elated about finding the gown, but also thrilled to realize I could save a ton of money -- money I could put toward other details of our wedding. In the end, I ended up choosing a different dress (still a steal!) that I loved even more.

Never fear, budget-conscious brides! With the right attitude and a little perseverance, there are many ways for you to score your own wedding dress at a discounted price.