Trunk shows are another way to score a designer dress for a discounted price. Call the boutiques and wedding dress shops in your area, and ask what events are on their calendars. Don't be afraid to inquire if they'll be scheduling any sales or specials in the months before your wedding.
Similarly, bridal gown outlets always feature fabulous wedding dresses for only a fraction of the retail prices. These stores carry hundreds of gowns that have been recently discontinued or purchased at wholesale prices, and brides can often find wedding gowns priced as low as $99.
As a last resort, test your negotiating skills. If the owner of a bridal salon wants to make a sale, he or she might throw in certain extra details for free, such as buttons down the back of the dress or extra length. You never know unless you ask!