If you’re recently engaged and the thought of dropping a couple thousand dollars on a wedding dress coupled with spending prolonged time with your mom/bff/soon-to-be mother-in-law perusing bridal salons is giving you high-level anxiety, time to chill TF out. The internet—and our favorite retailers to buy, like, T-shirts from—have come to our rescue and come out with a bunch of affordable wedding dresses that are still v chic.
Gone are the days of sitting in Kleinfeld’s and pretending to be totally OK with dropping $5k on a gown that will divide everyone in your wedding party. Seriously, do yourself a favor and at least peruse the online offerings from spots you already know, trust, and don’t have to guess your size for. You didn’t know these 5 retailers made affordable wedding dresses, which is why you’re so lucky to have me as a friend and confidant.
You have to poke around a bit, but H&M does offer some pretty cute and affordable wedding dresses if you search and categorize dresses by long and white. There are high-necked lace numbers for under $300, bridal separates, and this slinky, sexy satin dress that’s ideal for a beachy wedding. Plus, they have some decent basics to fill your suitcase with after you decide married life isn’t for you and you need to start a new life on an island with some cats. Just saying.
2. Anthropologie – BHLDN
Boho betches know that Anthropologie has an entire line dedicated to weddings, BHLDN. Dresses range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars and come in tons of styles from “I don’t care and I’m gonna rock this tiny lace see-through thing” to “I need a glam gown that looks like I spent $10k”. The best part is that BHLDN stores are an actual thing, so if you’re not into ordering your wedding dress online, you can trek to one of those locations and try it on IRL with or without your entourage.
3. Free People
The favorite for festival wear and Coachella hats actually makes some very summer and beach-worthy dresses for those of you that enjoy camping and not combing your hair. You can channel Princess Jasmine in this revealing number (and piss off your mom) or channel your inner gypsy in the Canyon Moon dress—probably while reading Tarot cards!
Free People canyon moon gown & duster
Yup. The retro-vibe clothing line offers a lot of tea-length and full-length dresses that are perfect for a super casual wedding where you don’t feel like dropping more than $500 on something you’re only going to wear for eight hours of your entire life. If you aren’t into wearing one of these for a wedding, they make a great rehearsal dinner or shower dress, too. Prices range from $65 for those on sale to around $350, so you can still afford a 10 hour open bar so, #priorities.
Modcloth graceful grandeur maxi dress in ivory
If you haven’t heard of this before, prepare to blow all your money on this wonder. Prices range from about $20-$550 when you sort by wedding stuff, and the options are jaw-dropping. Art Deco style fringe dresses and pink-tinged bridal lace dresses are all amazing finds from this retailer, and many of them are lower than $200. There are also tons of bridal shoes, hair accessories, and other wedding sh*t you didn’t realize you needed! Praise be.
ASOS Edition wedding dress with paneled seam
Images: Melody Jacob / Unsplash; ASOS; Modcloth; Free People; Anthropologie, H&M
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He popped the question, you Insta’ed and Snapped that shit, and now comes the planning, the stress, the different colored napkins, the fucking flowers, the bridesmaids, the food…and of course, the literal most important part of planning: choosing the dress.
We’ve all watched Say Yes to the Dress enough fucking times to acknowledge Randy’s place as our spirit animal and the dress’s place as what everyone will be staring at. You could think you’re really leaning toward one silhouette, but you could be wrong. As in every facet of your life, we’re here to guide you. You wouldn’t just pick a princess, strapless, sweetheart silhouette without asking your friends first, right? Right.
1. The Ball Gown
Fitted bodice and flared at the waist for a full skirt—this is the shit every bride under the age of 20 buys. My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding? Ball gowns. People who like to pretend they’re princesses? Ball gowns. Child brides and virgins? Ball gowns. Home-schooled jungle freaks? You get the idea. Honestly, I find this shit childish and tacky, which, if that’s what you’re going for during your carnival themed, pizza-catered wedding in the Elks Lodge, go for it. If you’re poor, I get it. This shit seems expensive for those who thought a night at Golden Corral was a big-time treat.
2. The A-Line
This dress has a fitted bodice through the waist and flows to the ground, resembling an uppercase “A.” I have no real issue with this shit, aside from the fact that it’s boring. If you have a stellar body and have been #sweatingforthewedding for a year, dropped a shit ton of weight, and resemble a part-time model (but only part-time), show that shit off in a more revealing silhouette. If you have a small upstairs and still THICC downstairs, though, an A-line is great for you. Show off dem boobies, as my idiot husband would say. This is also a great dress for virgins not afraid to expose the wrist and ankle.
3. The Mermaid
Fitted from ya titties down to the knee, then, like Ariel’s magical green flippers, flares out. This shit works v well if you are a size 00 yet still have a nice hourglass frame (who are you people?). Also works well if you moonlight as a Victoria’s Secret model. Unfortunately, if the aforementioned does not apply to you, then you should probably not buy this kind of dress. Your family members will tell you you look magical, when really you look like a sausage squeezed into a too-small bag. Flaunt what you’ve got, but ain’t nobody wanna see you spilling out of a white-ish dress.
4. The Sheath
Are you a wannabe 40s movie star who had a little too much fun in theater and choir growing up? Have you newly discovered satin? The sheath is likely what you’re leaning toward. This is a dress that has a narrow shape that flows straight down the neckline to the hemline. Who can ACTUALLY wear this shit? If you’re super tall, super thin, or very petite with an hourglass figure, this shit will WERRRKKKK. However, if you’re super short and chubby OR very tall with an athletic build
or just like, a normal fucking human, probs not for you. This dress is NOT forgiving, i.e., you cannot hide your pudge where you store extra cookies, feel me?
5. The Tea-Length
“Hi! I like to pretend everything is retro and cool, and my house is oddly era-specific and mid-century modern, AND I have a lot of cats and love reading!” Here’s your dress, weirdo. Tea-length dresses fall between the ankle and knee and, shockingly, work for almost every body type. However, we find them weird and kind of overly trendy. Like, if you’re having a 50s themed wedding in an abandoned diner in Brooklyn, ya, this will work. You’re also hipster scum, but w/e.
6. The Trumpet/Fit ‘N Flare
Unlike your mermaid gown, this shit is a straight bodice (doesn’t hug like a mermaid) which flares out toward the bottom, giving you a skirt like—YOU GUESSED IT—a trumpet, starting around your knees. This is a great option if you want to show off curves while actually dancing and shit. Downside—it will NOT hide your tummy pooch, so don’t go inhaling all the shit at the dessert table. Liquid diet it is.
7. The Empire Waist
If you want to pretend you’re an ancient Greek goddess and/or wow your Star Wars-obsessed soon-to-be, this is the dress for you. Great for those who have stellar racks but not-so-stellar thighs, hips, stomachs, etc., aka many of us. Personally, this shit feels a lil too boho hippie chic for us, but if you’re into flower power and communing with nature, this could be a great fit.
Photos: Alvin Mahmudov / Unsplash; Shutterstock (7)