I recently found this website that sounds cool http://www.bridepower.com/ and Priscilla of Boston (they have stores all over the states) has a new line that has beautiful dresses for under $1000. I didn't see them online, but I'm sure you can call and ask. I tried one on in chiffon that was spectacular for $875! That new line caters to destination brides and brides that don't have a lot of time, so you buy them off the rack (no ordering and waiting) but you need to make sure you fit into it :)
Hi Claudia, I got married last June 2010 and as you, I had a lot of trouble for the dress. My advise is do not get it in Cartagena. There is nothing there that would look as the dresses from here. After trying a thousand dresses, I ended up getting a dress from ebay. It was Paloma Blanca and it was gorgeous! I had it cut (as it was too long) in Colombia, this they can do in Cartagena at a reasonable price.
I had extra money to get myself a super expensive mantilla. My advise is give ebay a try, sometimes there are designer expensive dresses at a good price and new, make sure of your size at stores first and also that the dress is dry cleaned already. Also I tried craiglist, I once tried this great dress, designer, over 6,000, new that this girl was selling because she had changed her mind. Unfortunately, the zipper wont close. So keep your options open while also looking at stores, you might get lucky.
Cartagena is very hot, so keep that in mind when trying dresses.
One more thing, the veil is very important, it will show a lot in the ceremony pictures and overall, so try not to get a cheap one. The veil was one of the best advices I was glad to read.
Thank you to all of you who have responded. I will definitely research these options. And if anyone else has any tips please feel free to post!
Hey - I decided to get mine in the States too since there are just more choices - I tried looking in CTG and Barranquilla but everything was imported from the U.S. and cost twice as much. I ended up getting a DEMETRIOS silk dress that was beautiful - it was less than $2000 - check their website to see where else they are sold, but I went to the wedding store in Macys. That did not incl the costs of alterations - we didn't know anyone in Cartagena for that so I did that in the U.S. (we know a fabulous half-Colombian seamstress in the DC area who only does wedding dresses)
I recently found this website that sounds cool http://www.58weddingowns.com/
Click on each tool to see a sample.