just like many women i’ve always had an idea of what kind of wedding dress i’d want to wear. if at any point in the last decade you had to ask me on the spot i’d probably reference Carolyn Kennedy on her wedding day (her dress was designed by Narciso Rodriguez). looking at that photo again now that scene seems to encapsulate everything i’d imagine a perfect wedding to be. a rustic venue, an elegant dress, simple shoes & an even simpler bouquet, pulled back hair…
this is a long, wedding-ey post. so if you’re interested, read more below…
but back to the dress! i went over some budget wedding ideas the other day, and the dress is certainly a tough one to crack if you’re on a budget. if you don’t want to go the vintage route, what do you do? your options are either having a dress made or buying one off-the-rack. both perfectly great options – until the word BRIDAL is thrown in there. want to see prices go up by 1000 percent? just attach that word to anything.
it’s just not a priority for me to pay R20,000 ($2,000) for a dress. not even my wedding dress. in my short experience that’s only the jumping off point if you approach a bridal designer in south africa for wedding dress quotes. but i don’t want to bum you out here, i want to talk about what the options are!
some girls have been emailing me asking advice on budget wedding dresses, so i set out on an internet quest to find some online options that range between $150 – $1,000 (which i know is still a lot of money, but certainly more realistic than $2,000). most actually hover around the $500 mark, which i think is pretty decent. another caveat: they are all white / cream / neutral. if you’re going to go for a non-traditional dress that’s a colour other than white then you should have no problem finding something affordable (and more power to you!).
ShopBop has a sort of bridal boutique – they also feature non-traditional wedding dresses in there (basically just fancy white frocks). most of them are super pricey, but sometimes they have great sales on though – so keep an eye out. i like these ones by Alice + Olivia ($596) and Joanna August ($895).
moving along to more high-end stores, Saks also has some nice affordable options (just do a search for “white dress”). another lovely Alice + Olivia creation ($484) and a beautiful beaded gown by Laundry ($345)
similarly, you can also search for white dresses at Neiman Marcus. i’m not usually into strapless gowns (and i’ve noticed that at as a wedding dress they can sometimes be quite awkward to wear) – but i like this number by Sue Wong ($570) and this dress by Aidin Mattox ($465).
…they also carry a gold-flecked (!) version of the Alice and Olivia dress i featured above.
Net-A-Porter is another high-end retailer that has some designer gowns that could totally pass as wedding dresses. this See by Chloe dress ($595) would be perfect for a laid back / beach wedding, and Alice by Temperley gown ($795) is just so prettttyyyyy.
and let’s not forget about Anthropologie – they have some nice white dresses, and often have exclusive ranges with geust designers that are pretty cool too. i like the Natalie dress by Alexandra Grecco ($278), the Sapelo Maxi Dress by Lila ($88) and the Caraiva Maxi dress by Edme & Esylette ($118)
Grace Loves Lace is an Aussie boutique that has dress ranging from the $700 mark
Daughters of Simone have similarly vintage inspired lace numbers starting at $300.
BHLDN has some pretty nutty dresses, if you ask me. most of them are too froofy for my taste and the ones that i actually like are too expensive. but they have a few on sale right now, including the Afternoon Social Dress ($300) and the Bouvier Column Gown (just making the list at $1000)
sometimes it’s worth scouring places like She Inside and Fashion the Box for deals (not sure about the quality though…) i can imagine these in a sweet courthouse / garden ceremony. left: Chiffon Lace two piece dress ($28) right: Rhinestone lace dress ($33)
and last, but not least, this lovely Betula Lace Sleeved dress by Twigs & Honey comes in at $990.