Many women dream of their wedding dress long before they think about the price tag and that can lead to disappointment.

"I found the dress of my dreams and it was $4,000. Not going to spend $4,000 on a dress I'm going to wear once," said bride Jaci Fletcher. 

On average, brides spend more than $1,200 on their gown. But Consumer Reports says you can get what you want for a lot less than you think.

Consumer Reports recently asked its staffers whether they could tell the difference between dresses that ranged from $500 to $10,000, and tallied the results. Most staffers were able to pick the least expensive gown, but it was much harder for them to price the others. In fact, 85 per cent thought a $1,100 gown with the most embellishment cost $3,200 or more.

Many of the features that set apart expensive gowns may not be that obvious, like hand finishing and encased seams. Consumer Reports’ textile expert says even the cheapest dress she examined would last at least for a day and a night of wedding fun.

If you're looking to save money, CTV News staffer and Vancouver wedding blogger Jeannine Avelino recommends buying used or renting your dress and accessories. 

“Look out for events like the bridal swap which allow previous brides to bring in their old dresses to sell,” said Avelino. “Or keep your eye out for sample sales where stores are trying to get rid of old stock.”

Back to Jaci. She bought a used dress for a fraction of the cost of a new one from a woman who’d worn it for four hours. 

Consumer Reports recommends you try secondhand shops and websites like Tradesy and eBay. Tradesy operates out of the U.S. and is a peer to peer marketplace but ships to Canada. However, it doesn't offer Canadians the same consumer protections to guarantee you get what you ordered.  

You could try another site called Nearly Newlywed. It deals with Canadian customers and offers dresses for a fraction of the regular price with a risk-free 5 day return policy to international customers.