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Wedding Dresses for Less

Every bride wants to walk down the aisle in the perfect dress. These days, that gown could cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Celebrity brides certainly make a splash with their opulent designer dresses. And at Kleinfeld, the New York bridal emporium, the most expensive gown ever sold was a custom design for $60,000, though most gowns are $3,500 and up.

But in reality, most of us aren’t spending close to that much.

American brides spent less than $1,200 on their dress last year, according to two reports. The Wedding Report found that women spent an average of $1,166, while a study by TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com estimated the amount at $1,121.

The good news for budget-conscious brides is that the selection of stylish gowns below that level has grown in recent years, says Anja Winikka, TheKnot.com’s site editor. Wedding gowns are turning up in department stores and at chain retailers like Ann Taylor and J.Crew, the subject of a CNBC documentary.

“They don’t have to sacrifice style,” Winikka said of today’s brides. “You can still find the dress of your dreams. You just have to do your homework.”

To help you get started, click ahead to see wedding gowns for less.

By Lisa Flam, Special to CNBC.com
Posted 15 May 2012

Photo: Terry Vine | Blend Images | Getty Images