Confession: when I was engaged, I visited 8 bridal salons, tried on more than 40 dresses, and ended up buying one gown only to change my mind and buy a second gown just 6 weeks before my wedding. If you were feeling like a crazy bride, I hope I just made you feel a little less crazy by comparison.

See this gorgeous Monique Lhuillier gown? That’s the dress I ended up not wearing. I love that dress. It’s gauzy and gorgeous and light as a feather, and I totally had plans to wear it long for the ceremony, then shorten it for dancing like this bride did. I fell in love with it so hard that I bought it even though it wasn’t the right dress for me. But it might be the right dress for you! I’ve listed it with Nearly Newlywed, and if you love it, you can have it at a huge discount (almost 60% off!).

Or maybe you’ll find another designer wedding dress for anywhere from 40-90% off the retail price. Some of them are gently used, and others (like mine) have never been worn. Vera Wang, Reem Acra, Jenny Packham, etc. They’re all authenticated, inspected and shipped via Nearly Newlywed, and you can actually try them on at home before you commit to buying. Perfect, right?!

In addition to the Marketplace dresses (the previously owned gowns), Nearly Newlywed also has an exclusive collection of new dresses from hard-to-find designers (how pretty is this “Swan Lake” gown?!). Really, though, I think the best part is that they’ve made it virtually risk-free to buy a wedding dress online – even one that’s pre-owned!

“Tell me about the $500!” you’re saying. Okay, here goes: One of you, dear readers, will win $500 toward any purchase from Nearly Newlywed! All you have to do is go to their website and shop around. Find the dress you’re most excited about, then come back here and leave a comment on this post with a link to the dress, and a line or two about why you think it’s The Dress. Of course, if you can’t make up your mind and have two favorites, I’m in no position to judge.

Contest begins Monday, January 13, 2014 at 5:30AM PST, and ends Friday, January 17, 2014 at 11:59PM PST. Winners will be selected by Snippet & Ink, and notified by email. Please note: winners must live in the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec).

Official contest rules.

35 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Discounts and Giveaways
  1. Amanda

    I love the WToo Mimi dress! It’s the perfect combination of fun, elegant, and simple without being too plain and expected! I love the sweetheart neckline, too!

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  2. Emma

    I love the Sarah Seven field if flowers dress!

    I love the intricate lace, unique neckline and beaded belt!

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  3. Rachel Marie

    Hello, gorgeous:

    So sophisticated.

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  4. Rachel R.

    I love the Watters Amile Lace V-Neck!

    It’s simple, yet elegant with a lace design and cap sleeves, just like I wanted. And I think I could walk in it without falling over. :-)

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  5. Tess Prescott

    I’m 6’0 tall, and this dress would suit me perfectly!! It has gorgeous details, but not overdone. My wedding is August 2015 and this dress would be perfect!!

    Thank you for a great giveaway!!!

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  6. Justyne M

    I love how romantic the dress is and the petals are so unique!

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  7. Lyndon

    delicate, sleek, lace… the most romantic dress i can imagine for the most romantic day.

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  8. Lia

    Oh my goodness, I love this dress so much:

    I’ve never even heard of Paolo Sebastian before. but this ‘Jolene’ dress is perfect!

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  9. Darice

    Newly engaged and searching for the dress of my dreams just became easier. This Monique Lhuillier ‘Sincere’ Lace Illusion Wedding Dress from Nearly Newlywed is a showstopper. The elegant overall lace of the dress including the lace detailing on the back (which, let’s be serious, is the side of you that your invitees will be seeing during the ceremony and is of equal importance to the front), makes this the perfect dress! My fiancé is aready a cryer, and I know this dress is a sure fire way to bring him to tears on our special day!

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  10. Elizabeth

    I love Monique! I tried on her magical skirt and it’s like a dream. I could sleep in it!

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  11. Elizabeth

    What a great idea! I’m newly engaged and very budget conscious and I absolutely love the idea of getting to try a beautiful dress in the privacy of my own home! I’m in love with the simplicity of this amsale:

    It seems so classic and like a dress I could celebrate in all day long!

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  12. Elyse G.

    I absolutely adore the Monique Lhuiller Sincere dress. So pretty and chic! *fingers crossed*

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  13. Natalie C

    This would be perfect for our simple beach wedding, chic and stunning!

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  14. Kathryn

    I love this beautiful lace dress! It’s perfect with just a touch of embellishment!

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  15. Alison K.

    This dress is stunning and exactly what I’ve been looking for: The intricate details of the lace provide a romantic and sweet glow… I would love nothing more than to wear this dress on my big day!

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  16. Vivian

    I love the Monique Lhuillier Treasure Lace dress! It is exactly the type of gown I have imagined wearing on my wedding day since I was a little girl. The elegant chantilly lace, the delicate sweetheart neckline – it would be the perfect fit for our romantic orchard wedding.

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  17. Ashley M

    Love the Anjolique dress! The fit and the lace detailing are gorgeous.

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  18. Catherine

    Sigh… I couldn’t pick just one. The first two are just so absolutely understated and elegant, and Vera Wang is, well, a dream…

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  19. Haidi

    Does there exist a gown that could encapsulate all my feelings about our upcoming marriage and a lifetime of love to come – a physical embodiment of my many wishes and desires and emotions about our imminent marriage? This was the question I asked myself when I started the search for the dress, and it remained unanswered until I met Carolina Herrera’s Winterhalter. The classic ball gown silhouette harks back to the formalities and traditions of yesteryear, the intricate beading and hand-painted motifs make this gown no mere wedding dress, but a work of art. The silk origami flowers evoke the promise of an eternal spring. This gown is a dreamy vision of grand romance and quiet loveliness – everything I wanted in the most significant gown I will ever wear in my life.

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  20. Stephanie

    Claire Pettibone Lalique! To be able to afford a Claire Pettibone gown would be my dream.

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  21. Stephanie

    * I am most excited about the Jenny Packham Aspen Gown

    * Its THE dress because of the delicate detail and peeks of lace and the beautiful tiny sleeves. I just love it. So dreamy.

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  22. S.P.P.
    Oh my goodness, this romantic Sarah Seven Forget Me Not dress.
    I would so love to win this giveaway and help make my dream dress more of a reality.
    I love the layers on this and the sweetheart top.

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  23. Pamella

    Where shall I begin? Every little girl dreams of her day, but finding this dress online made those dreams come to reality. Paolo Sebastian has brought elegance, pure beauty, and my love for ballet together in one dress that is still so delicate. Wearing this dress on my big day would be especially wonderful since my ‘Prince’ and I have already agreed to have Tchaikovsky played for our first dance.

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  24. Heather

    Eek! Paolo Sebastian’s creations are like a magical fairytale dream. If I could pick any, I would totally float down in the Swan Lake dress!

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  25. madeleine

    oh goodness, i love this monique lhuillier–STUNNING.
    I am all about the lace, and this one is especially lovely. I’m newly engaged and so happy to learn about this site, thank you!

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  26. Tami

    This dress is just beautiful. I am entering this for my daughter so if I win I would love her to have the prize. She is such a beautiful girl and this dress would just compliment her beauty even more.

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  27. Heather

    I love the Jolene dress! Perfect dress (and name) for my Southern wedding. Thank you so much for offering this awesome contest! :)

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  28. sheri

    Love the simplicity of this dress
    its so hard to pick a favorite with all the gorgeous gowns!

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  29. Sasha

    Wow this dress is stunning and would be perfect for a romantic farmhouse wedding :)

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  30. Jo Nguyen

    I love this dress! exactly what i’m looking for… little mermaid dress with lace!

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  31. Mary Beth

    My dream dress is the Angelo Lambrou Autora Silk Sheath Wedding Dress – seen here:

    It is the perfect combination of simple, relaxed and feminine for my low-key, outdoor summer beach wedding. The shape of the dress, along with wrapping features on the bodice would be so flattering to my figure. Exactly what I want!

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  32. Madison

    Watters Sydney Antique Rose Patterned Wedding Dress – Love. Love. Love.

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  33. Christina

    can i has the VERA WANG ‘EVA’ FEATHER & TULLE GOWN?
    ever since the movie penelope i’ve dreamt of a wedding dress that incorporated feathers and wow. of course if anyone could do it would be vera. thank you for introducing me to this wonderful site!

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  34. sheri

    Has the winner been announced? The suspense is killing me! Lol

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  35. Bonnie

    This contest excites. A bride on a budget I fell in love with the swan lake dress immediately online before I knew who the designer was. Much like when we chose our venue (I teared up) knowing the plantation was the perfect fit, I again knew that the swan lake dress was exactly the right fit.

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