When I was planning my wedding, I was on a very tight budget:0) I looked at wedding dresses in a few local stores but just could not see spending the small (and sometimes large) fortune they wanted for just ONE day.
So, I began to ask around and found Bridal Mart Wearhouse in Burlington, NC. About a 4 hour drive for me. But I thought I would give it a fair try as I was told I could save hundreds of dollars (and we were looking for outdoor wedding places in that area anyway).
We got a hotel just around the corner and got up bright and early to go gown shopping on Saturday. The place was, well, like a warehouse...cluttered dresses hanging on racks for as far as you could see. The closest comparison I can give you is Walmart on the day after Thanksgiving. It was a mad house.
Everywhere I looked there were people pawing through the racks searching for something that was the right size, not smugged, and not too outdated. And don't even get me started on the lack of service and the wait for a dressing room to try the thing on!
In short, if you DO decide to try the warehouse approach, do yourself a favor and at LEAST try a weekday...maybe it is not soo much a mad house then.