12/12/2016 07:34 pm ET

How I Got My Valentino Wedding Dress for 90 Percent Off

I was a bride who wanted a bargain.

I have spent just $10 on a mint-condition Marni dress at a stoop sale. I have taken home $30 Rag & Bone blazers from Beacon’s Closet and untold Vince cashmere from T.J. Maxx. My name is Alexis and I am an inveterate bargain hunter. I simply couldn’t imagine paying full price for a wedding dress. So, on a cold winter’s evening, a few months before my wedding this past April, I went to Century 21. 

Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine
Swerdloff bought this Valentino dress for $900.

There, hanging in a far-off corner of the clearance section next to some skirts, I saw a Valentino dress. It was covered in intricate, hand-embellished crystal and sequined embroidery and had panels of rose lace, layers of tulle, and concealed zip cuffs (for rolling up my sleeves on the dance floor). It cut at the waist in just the right spot, had just-puffy-enough sleeves, and hit just below the knees. It was originally many, many thousands of dollars, on sale for 90 percent off—perhaps my best bargain ever.

Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine
The bride saved over $13,000 on her purchase.

For more from the NY mag weddings issue, pick up the magazine, on newsstands now. 

New York Magazine