As we’re forced to face facts that coronavirus isn’t going away any time soon and brides and grooms start scaling down their weddings to elopements, minimonies, and microweddings, it’s clear that some changes need to be made. What might work for a standard 200-person affair probably isn’t the right course of action for a socially distant wedding. In addition to the obvious areas that are being reimagined (big bands are a no-go and buffets may become a thing of the past), some brides are finding that the big, poofy wedding gown of their dreams no longer fits with their scaled-down 2020 plans.
Whether you’re postponing your wedding altogether (but still looking for a way to celebrate your OG date), hosting something small now and delaying the big party to a future point in time, or scaling the whole thing back to just a few members of your inner circle (plus or minus all your would-be guests who you’ve invited to tune in on Zoom), your fashion doesn’t need to be fancy to be wedding-worthy.
We chatted with a number of experts in the wedding arena to talk about wedding gown alternatives. Restyling a dress from your closet archives, buying something that’s much more pared-down than a gown, or considering a couple trend-forward looks for the informal fête at home and the bigger bash to come post-COVID are all viable options for wedding wardrobing these days.
Recycling Something You’ve Worn Before
Repeating an outfit isn’t exactly how every bride imagines the wear for her wedding day, but then again, did anyone imagine that a virus would be getting in the way of people exchanging vows this year? Probs not. If style icons like Kate Middleton and Elaine Welteroth (Project Runway judge and best-selling author) can pull something out of their closet and make it new again, so can you.
Elaine Welteroth and Jonathan Singletary’s May wedding on their Brooklyn stoop quickly went viral, and Welteroth wasn’t shy about where she got her dress. She told Vogue that she chose not to overthink her dress, going with “an old, white, label-less dress from my own closet.” She said, “I hadn’t worn it in over three years. But it was the first idea that came to mind when I envisioned us getting married on my stoop.” Yes, that’s right, this trend maven recycled something for her wedding day, and it’s something that all brides (not just ones who are figuring out their dress details during a pandemic) might want to consider.
Nicole Sheppard, co-founder of the super curated, modern, and inclusive dress destination Wander Atelier, thinks that brides who are over this quarantine and just want to get married can absolutely do it in something they’ve worn before. “If you decide to elope ASAP, there’s nothing wrong with pulling from your own closet and adding a few bride-specific accessories à la Elaine Welteroth,” she says. Elaine’s dress was something old, but she made the look into something new with some custom-made shoes, and also incorporated something borrowed—the veil her mother wore at her wedding, which happened to match her dress.
View this post on Instagram
Sheppard notes that in addition to the many fun veils to try these days, “capes can also be a great way to layer without having to make the commitment of a veil.” Sheppard also loves “the idea of a headpiece: trade out a flower crown or a more traditional embellished headband for a dried flower piece.”
Opting For Something Simpler For Your Setting
You can also just lean into the comfort of casual if you’ll be having a city hall ceremony or a more intimate one at home. Sheppard says that many of her brides right now are gravitating towards simpler, more casual looks. The samples in her shop that she qualifies as simple are “chic, clean-lined silk gowns that are lightweight and breezy,” while her favorite casual picks include “jumpsuits with a wide leg or more modern, streamlined silhouettes.”
According to Savannah Miller, a designer who helped put elevated bohemian style on the map after spending years working alongside British fashion titans like Alexander McQueen and Matthew Williamson, a bride doesn’t need to sacrifice her bride card if she gets married in a more under-the-radar fashion. In fact, her own wedding day was the epitome of easy, breezy, bride behavior: “My wedding day was a prime example of low-key. We had to get legally married the day before the ceremony for our friends and family, and I was tearing around in a kaftan with a baby on my hip trying to coordinate everything,” Miller recalls. “We ducked out to do the official ceremony and it was the most meaningful part of the whole weekend, because, ultimately, a wedding should be just you and your partner looking into each other’s eyes and promising to love and cherish each other forever. That’s what it’s all about.”
So a little white dress, a jumpsuit, a crop top and skirt, or some seriously trendy separates suit this new (wedding) normal. Many brands stocked in authorized bridal boutiques and shops, like Savannah Miller Bridal, are moving up their timelines and offering a leaner selection of their styles, in limited sizing, for brides getting married this summer. Some others have even launched quick turnaround collections online to appeal to the overwhelming number of COVID-affected brides. And it doesn’t have to be tagged bridal to be bride-worthy, either—you can scout out special-occasion options through your favorite ready-to-wear shopping sites.
Here are some buy-now offerings for corona brides getting married at home that are simple, beautiful, and still totally bridal.
The Little White Dress
Bride-adored brand Amsale recently debuted its Little White Dress collection, and it’s replete with crisp, modern, and polished options for brides who want a very aisle-appropriate aesthetic, but aren’t feeling a gown. They also have a brand-new virtual try-on feature to help brides imagine how they’d look in each dress, since in-store appointments still aren’t the safest bet. Items typically arrive within a 4-6 week shipping window, however, some dresses are available immediately. The Amsale team always goes above and beyond, too, to make sure these expedited deliveries happen without a hitch.
Amsale LW143 Stretch Crepe Dress, $425
Amsale LW138 Faille Dress, $385
One of Amsale Design Director Margo Lafontaine’s favorite features are the super comfortable, yet sophisticated stretch crepe fabrications that most of the designs are made from. We’ve been at home for so long that luxe loungewear has become the universally accepted fashion of the moment, but for your wedding day, even if it’s at home, you need something that’s equal parts comfy and stylish. This first jumpsuit, for instance, has pants that a bride will quite literally “want to live in,” according to Margo. Can’t argue with that!
Amsale LW161 Cami Neckline Jumpsuit, $550
The Jumpsuit, And Other Unconventional Couture
Nadine Merabi Hailey White Jumpsuit, $400
Nadine Merabi, luxury womenswear designer and minimony bride herself, just debuted her own collection of looks that are perfect for I Dos done simply. The White Collection is full of ready-to-ship styles that don’t feel too over-the-top, which is great for brides who want to tone down the formality, but not the fashion statement. We’re especially into the jumpsuits and midi options, because they can be worn down the aisle and then out of the house… when it’s safe for us all to get social again. Also, totally something you’ll want to throw into your suitcase for your honeymoon… whenever that happens.
Nadine Merabi Victoria White Dress, $335
The Ready-To-Wear Looks That Aren’t Bridal, But Can Be
Olivia von Halle Issa Ivory Slip, $400
As we mentioned before, your outfit doesn’t have to be bridal per se to work for your wedding , especially with elopements and limited-guest gatherings becoming the norm right now. There are so many ready-to-wear options, and spoiler alert, there are lots of great benefits to shopping modern and contemporary for your unique occasion. First, you won’t have to spend as much on your look as you would if you went through traditional bridal channels. You can also get away with purchasing something a little more edgy or alternative (sexy slip dresses, brave crop top combos, etc.), since the pressure to dress for a crowd isn’t really part of the equation. Finally, you can really have fun with your accessories, and either go more bride (with classic accoutrements like a veil, a cape, or a bouquet) or more anti-bride (choosing something that’s not ivory/white, smoking out your makeup a little more, or throwing on a leather moto jacket).
Allen Schwartz Raine Bustier Dress, $485
Even with all these ideas in mind, you don’t have to go back to the drawing board if you don’t want to. Nicole Sheppard, who was actually a wedding planner and owner of All Who Wander Event Design before she opened up her Caldwell, New Jersey dress shop, sees a lot of her brides staying the course and wearing their original, pre-pandemic gowns, even for smaller weddings. “But,” she says, “there are a lot of others who are getting creative, especially when doing a smaller wedding or ceremony in 2020 and a larger-scale event or reception in 2021.”
She adds, “Many brides are looking to their designers or even similarly minded contemporary fashion houses to find something that mimics their gown, but in a more casual, understated way.” Sheppard suggests, “a little white dress iteration or a dress that pulls in some of the most recognizable design details from their dream dress” that allows brides to “honor their original dress in a more low-key setting, but save the real deal for their party in 2021!”
People are also taking the opposite route, and Sheppard tells us her favorite “is a bride wearing her original gown for her 2020 date, as anticipated, but getting a new, even more fun gown for her 2021 celebration. We’re looking at puff sleeves, beading, a total mood, even bigger than before!” Basically, people are doing a million different things, and there are no wrong answers.
Savannah Miller reminds us that whatever details you decide on, it’s all about feeling your best on the big (or not-so-big) day. “I believe that every bride should feel like the best version of herself on her wedding day.” In 2020, “That may mean dressing in a slightly more laid-back way than you have initially anticipated, but it doesn’t mean you will look any less fabulous.” In such a crazy time for weddings (and life in general), this is exactly the mindset we all need right now.
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
Images: Jonathan Borba / Unsplash; wanderatelier / Instagram; Savannah Miller; Amsale; Nadine Merabi; Shopbop; Allen Schwartz
Every bride dreams of the moment she’ll step onto that pedestal at the bridal salon, tears in her eyes, as she tells her friends and family this is the dress. Unfortunately, with everything going on, that’s not a possibility right now—at least not in person. On the bright side, at least we don’t have to go hunting through racks and deal with bridal entourages who feel a little too comfortable speaking their minds, but in all seriousness, it sucks not having the wedding experience you’d been planning out since you were little. But just because you can’t step foot into the bridal boutique you’ve been stalking since before you got engaged, doesn’t mean you’re going to have to get married in your pajamas. (Unless you want to, in which case, respect.) In light of lockdowns and social distancing orders, many bridal companies are now offering virtual bridal appointments. Here’s everything you need to know about ordering a dress during the pandemic.
Speak To A Stylist
At the very least, now you have extra time to scour Pinterest and bridal sites to really pinpoint your preferred style and silhouette. Tara Healy, Co-Founder of LA-based bridal brand Tara Lauren, says brides-to-be should “take advantage of all of the extra downtime at home to sit with a bridal stylist, chat about your personal style and gather ideas on what you’re liking.” She adds, “Even if you’re not 100% comfortable with making your purchase remotely, it will give you a much clearer idea of what you’re leaning towards so that when you’re ready for that in person appointment you have your top picks ready to go and a clear plan.” So don’t worry about your screen time usage increasing 150%, since it’s all in the name of research.
Set Up A Virtual Appointment
If your wedding is coming up later in the year or next year, you can still purchase a dress even though bridal boutiques in your state may not be open, as many shops are offering virtual consultations. Bridal retailer Brideside launched virtual styling appointments for bridal parties, allowing clients to video chat with a stylist to look at swatches, see gowns, go over mood boards, and discuss fit.
At Lovely Bride, a bridal shop open in 18 cities around the country, virtual appointments kick off with a mood board, and although trying on dresses in-person isn’t possible right now, founder Lanie List says, “if a bride is on a tight timeline, we can ship her the #1 pick on her wishlist. That way she can make the decision without the stress of long gown lead-times.” It may not be the picture-perfect moment you had envisioned, but companies are devising ways to find you your dress and retain as much of the in-person experience as possible.
Know Your Options
The biggest overarching theme here is that brands and vendors completely understand that nothing is business as usual anymore, and are adjusting their policies to account for all the chaos. For example, Birdy Grey, a direct-to-customer bridesmaid dress brand, has extended their return policy until the end of May for their brides. They’re also offering free color swatches delivered straight to your door to help choose color palettes. Brideside will also send color swatches to all clients who book a virtual styling appointment at least five days in advance. Lee says that, “Unlike most bridal brands that are made-to-order, we hold inventory, so our dresses are in-stock and ready to ship,” adding, “Thankfully, we haven’t experienced any COVID19-related disruption to our shipping lead times, so all of our bridesmaid dresses deliver in 10 days (or less!) worldwide.”
Try On At Home
This should come as a surprise to no one, but many bridal brands and stores are now offering try-at-home options. Grace and Ivory, an online ecommerce bridal brand, launched a try-at-home program “so brides have another option when shopping for their wedding dresses,” says Founder and Creative Director Tina Wong Zysk. For $25, you just pick your style and size range and the gown comes with clips, measuring tape, a try-at-home guide, and a prepaid return shipping label when you’re ready to send it back. If you love the dress and decide to purchase it, Zysk says, “we follow up for measurements and custom options and your dress will be crafted and delivered in just 3 to 4 months.” Keep this timeline in mind when ordering your gown. She advises “that you order 5-6 months before your wedding so we can ensure you have the dress 6-8 weeks before your big day.”
If You Already Ordered A Dress Before COVID-19
If your dress is delayed due to COVID-19 and you’re worried it won’t get to you in time for your big day, don’t worry. Bridal companies are going above and beyond to accommodate brides who are in need of wedding attire in the next few months. The first thing you need to do is review the shop’s policies, as many are likely to have systems in place for these types of situations. If not, due to the crisis, bridal companies are more likely to work with each client on a case-by-case basis. If you have a wedding planner, definitely reach out as they are more likely to have the resources and contacts to help you in this scenario.
Jeannette Tavares, Principal and lead wedding planner of premier event planning company EVOKE Design and Creative, says planners are going above and beyond for their brides, working with their industry contacts and “accessing floor samples, rushed alterations, borrowed gowns and more.” If your dress will not be coming in time for your wedding day due to issues caused by COVID-19, Tavares proposes, “Reach out to family and friends that have their wedding dresses in boxes and ask them to pull them out just for you!” It might be even more special that way. She adds, “Once you receive them, set up virtual try-on sessions with everyone (a fun way to include everyone that has come to help you).” If borrowing a dress isn’t something you want for your special day, or none seem to fit, Jeannette recommends getting family and friends together to help you create your own dress. If you have the time during quarantine, how special would that be? Tavares suggests “find someone who can sew and create your own beautiful gown. There is something pretty special about a ‘something borrowed’ wedding dress.”
If there is no way your dream dress will come to you in time, take the time you need to mourn. While this isn’t ideal and we know you were beyond excited for that dress, there are alternatives you can look into. One option is BHLDN, an online and in-store wedding shop by Anthropologie. For brides in a time crunch and who need their dress ASAP, or their dress is delayed and will not come in time, BHLDN offers an entire collection of last-minute wedding dresses that are ready to be shipped. Each dress offers a detailed style guide as well as an option to speak with a stylist to help find your perfect size. In addition, the site offers a style guide video explaining exactly how to measure yourself for their dresses. All you need is a measuring tape. The dresses are guaranteed to ship to you within 24 hours and they do offer an express overnight option. You can wipe the sweat off your forehead now. Phew.
Above all, Shelley Brown, Senior Fashion & Beauty editor at The Knot, says, “The most important thing to remember during these unprecedented times is that communication is key. If you’re just beginning the shopping process, contact your local bridal salon to see what options they have available. Local bridal salons are doing everything in their power to continue supporting brides during this time, from hosting virtual consultations to sending dress samples for at-home try ons. If you’ve already ordered your dress, check in with your salon regarding arrival date and inquire about options for alterations during this time.” You’re not going to be left hanging, so just reach out and ask.
Images: Jonathan Borba, Charisse Kenion, Tron Le, James Bold / Unsplash
Another day, another wacky wedding story thanks to the people who post their problems on Reddit for me to read and laugh at while I’m supposed to be working. I don’t know about you, but nothing truly gives me life quite like stupid wedding etiquette questions that seem pretty cut and dry to those of us who have, like, common sense. Today’s wedding story, though, is a little less black-and-white than our usual “Am I a bridezilla for telling my Maid of Honor to terminate her pregnancy so she does not appear pregnant in my wedding photos?” type stories. Let’s just get right into it, with a problem I’m dubbing “Mo’ Titties Mo’ Problems.” You’ll see why in a sec. Here’s the dilemma she posted on the Am I The Asshole subreddit, or r/amitheasshole. It involves a bra, a blue dress, some really stupid questions, and some fun word play. Let’s go.
So, our OP posted this f*cking novel to the AITA subreddit, and has been officially voted an asshole. For the uninitiated, Am I The Asshole (or AITA as it’s lovingly called) is pretty self-explanatory. People write in about various scenarios that have happened to them, and the good people of Reddit decide who was the asshole in that situation. So, strap in and get ready to judge strangers—our favorite pastime!
Here’s the rundown from the OP herself. Please note, all spelling and (atrocious) grammar has been left as-is:
“My boyfriend’s (M27) brother is getting married. I (F22) often don’t wear bras (free the titty). I wear them to work, in a (business) professional setting, but if I’m going out with friends and family I don’t wear them. My boobs aren’t huge enough to where the flop everywhere, but I’m not flat chested either. My boyfriend has informed me that his brother’s fiancé has requested I wear a bra at the wedding, quoting ‘I don’t want no free range titties.’ Their family really looks down on it and thinks I’m a hippie heathen that has abandoned God and is motor-boating Satan.
I respect that 100%, it’s her day. However I’m trying to match my boyfriend’s attire, which is blue. I even dyed my hair to his color as well. The dress (blue) that best fits for the wedding (I have no time or money to buy a new one) is not designed to have a bra. I have a few other dresses, but they’re white (big no). I have a black dress as well but I wore that to their grandma’s funeral (so also no). I have other dresses/gowns but they’re very fancy and I don’t want to out dress the bride.”
First off, this has got to be a troll post, but for my own amusement, I’ll pretend this is real. People do tend to do crazy things, so I guess this story could be true—but just know that I’m proceeding with caution, so don’t @ me in the comments that this post is “obviously fake”. Now that we’ve covered that aspect, there are a couple of things to unpack here—like how the bride is so morally offended by the existence of breasts but has no objections to this girl dying her hair blue to match her boyfriend’s outfit. Seems like a weird hill to die on (or dye on, lol) but ok.
But let’s talk about the problem at hand. Or, more accurately, the problem at chest. (Okay, you’re right, I’ll stop now.) On the one hand, I have a feeling that if this bride is specifically requesting OP wear a bra, her situation is more noticeable than she makes it seem. However, let’s please give this girl a Pulitzer for the phrase “motor-boating Satan.” I don’t know what exactly it is or why it works, but it speaks to my soul and has sparked joy.
On the other hand, does anybody else find it a little ridiculous that the bride went out of her way to ask one guest to wear a bra? “Free range titties” or no, it’s a weird thing to do. Like, I would think she would be too preoccupied with, ya know, getting married, picking out flowers, avoiding her future mother-in-law, etc. to care about one guest’s body. Also, I struggle to see how this is THAT big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Maybe, as the groom’s brother’s girlfriend, she’ll be in some pictures, but the OP isn’t a bridesmaid, so it’s not like she’s going to be in every single shot.
The OP then goes on to explain why she reallyyyy just cannot wear a bra, no matter how much she may want to.
“I’ve put on the bra with the dress, but it’s terrible and more offensive. You can see the straps and side of the bra, and a tube is still visible too. Even a cardigan can’t cover it fully. It’s not a provocative dress either, it wraps around the neck and shows some side boob but everything else is covered. No shoulder, hence seeing the straps of the bra. I have a bra with fancy straps and I’m thinking about just going French style (France sees bra straps as an accessory, compared to america’s ‘hey your strap is showing’).
Would I be an a*shole if I just taped my nipples and wore the dress? Or should I wear the most off white dress I own? I honestly don’t mind wearing a bra for the wedding, but the dress I would most like to wear isn’t made for a bra.
While I thought it wasn’t her place to say what I can and can’t wear, it is her WEDDING. Soooo… what do I wear?”
Honey, this is 2019. You have options outside of “wear a bra that will completely be visible” or “expose your free-range titties even though the bride specifically requested you not do that.” The Reddit community seems to think OP is the asshole in this situation, since her ultimatum has become “I’ll wear no bra with this dress I like” or “I’ll wear this white/off-white dress with a bra and piss everyone off even more.”
Also an important question: Has the OP ever heard of chicken cutlets? Strapless bras? Like, there are alternatives here.
The OP has since commented on the post and said she WAS thinking about wearing the sticky boob cutlets, but hadn’t considered them a “bra.” In this case, I think they would count. I feel like the bride is really just asking the OP to get a little support.
Reddit thought the OP was the asshole, with the top comment from u/kaitou1011 saying, “YTA because you’ve created a dichotomy of ‘I wear this dress or something much worse’ and ‘I wear this dress with a visible bra or with no bra at all.'” They continue, “You’ve picked a dress for the wedding, it seems, with the express excuse of going against the one thing they’ve asked you, and it seems pretty deliberate. You’ve got lots of other options, like buying a new dress that doesn’t have this problem (especially considering if there’s sideboob it’s probably not appropriate for a wedding of people who think not wearing a bra makes you a hippie heathen whose abandoned God and is motorboating Satan.). There are also some age-old tricks for hiding bras under revealing dresses, as well as actual products meant for that purpose like strapless bras or that one backless bra thing you can buy online for like five bucks which also gives really great cleavage too. But seriously, just go buy an appropriate dress at freaking WalMart.
I can see this point. It seems like this person wrote this entire post to Reddit just so that strangers could validate her choice, and had no intention to ever acquiesce to the bride’s request. We hate a validation post over on AITA. Reddit is a fickle beast, and the commenters do not always side with the OP.
That said, personally, I think both the OP and the bride are the assholes. The OP for the reasons laid out, and the bride for making this weird body-shaming request in the first place. It would be one thing if the bride asked nicely and acknowledged that this is a strange and low-key rude request, but she went about it pretty poorly, if OP’s account is to be believed. Also, the internet typically rules against brides who try to dictate their bridesmaids’ appearances, and I don’t see why this is any different. If you ask me, the bride is the bigger asshole for making a huge deal about something that probably won’t even matter. Sadly, we’ll never know what ended up happening, because OP has not provided an update.
Do you think the bride was the asshole, or the OP? Do you have any insane wedding stories to share? Let me know in the comments!
Images: Fahad Waseem / Unsplash
Courtney Soberal is originally from Michigan, but has lived in Los Angeles for five years. She is currently a preschool teacher and college student at CSU Dominguez Hills, working toward a degree in Child Development. Courtney and her husband met on Tinder, bonding over Taco Tuesday nights, and eventually tying the knot in 2018. They hope to expand their family with a puppy very soon.
Call me cliché, but after my now-husband proposed, we almost immediately knew how and where we wanted to exchange our vows: an intimate beach ceremony in Hawaii. Just like many other young couples, we also quickly realized that a dream destination wedding can come with a nightmare price tag, so we wanted to figure out ways to cut other costs, particularly with our bridal fashion.
Did you know that the average cost of a wedding dress is $1,631? If my husband and I wanted to say aloha to our new life together, I knew I couldn’t spend anything near that price for one dress. I also didn’t want my bridesmaids to have to invest in a dress with a staggering retail price when they were already jet-setting across the Pacific.
This is where Poshmark comes in. I had been using the app for nearly two years when my wedding rolled around, and had ample success buying and selling clothes and accessories on the app as a side hustle, so it was really a no-brainer to browse the platform for bridal looks. I started sifting through their millions of new-with-tags (NWT) and pre-loved listings in hopes of finding my bridal party’s looks, and of course, the beachy glam wedding dress of my tropical dreams.
In reality, I had already found the perfect dress, but it had an unfathomable retail price tag (it would have cost the same amount as two round-trip tickets to Hawaii, which was something I couldn’t justify). After about two weeks of searching on the Poshmark app, I found the exact same dress NWT in my size for ONLY $200 (pro-tip: buy one size up if you’re debating because you’ll likely get it altered anyway and will want the fabric). It was delivered to me in a few days, brand new and beautifully wrapped. My only added expense was getting a few alterations done.
Inspired by my wedding dress haul, my bridesmaids and I went on a wine-fueled shopping spree for the rest of the bridal party dresses. We found two flower girl dresses for $40 a piece and three bridesmaids dresses for $75 each in a single evening. Again, all of these finds were new and wrapped better than a department store would wrap your Christmas shopping. And we looked incredible, if I do say so myself.
Thanks to the profits that I made from my Poshmark side hustle and the discounted prices of our apparel (an estimated $4,000 in savings), I was able to set aside about $6,000 for wedding expenses. My hubby and I were able to comfortably pay for the intimate, tropical wedding of our dreams in Hawaii AND a reception back in California (where we live) for our extended family and friends. At our California ceremony, I even wore a second dress that I bought on Poshmark for $200 (NWT, originally $1,600).
But it gets even better: after the wedding shenanigans were over, I sold everything back on Poshmark for the original Poshmark-listed prices, meaning I sold my $200 dress for $200 (disclaimer: Poshmark takes 20% of each sale so my total earnings in this case was ~$160). But still!
Moral of the story: don’t let anyone tell you that BHLDN or Vera Wang are your only options. There are some incredibly beautiful gowns available for less than half the price on resale platforms like Poshmark. Happy shopping!
Images: Courtney Soberal (4)
Whether you’re engaged, soon-to-be engaged (*cough* Colton, still not a thing), or single af, it’s always fun to fantasize about the wedding dress of your dreams. We all have our secret Pinterest boards ready for when it’s time to say yes to the dress. We’re always looking for sources from which to pull inspiration, so since we all also watch movies, where else better to look than some of our favorite films? There’s Allie’s vintage dress from The Notebook, Carrie Bradshaw’s impressive cloud of a gown, and tons more memorable wedding gowns you’re probably forgetting about. Here are 7 iconic wedding dresses as seen in your favorite movies and where to shop their dupes.
1. ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’
Not going to lie, I’m starting off with the wedding dress that inspired me to write this article. I watched 40-Year-Old Virgin for the first time last weekend (lol, I live under a rock, it’s fine) and one of the many moments engrained in my mind is how legitimately pretty Trish’s wedding dress was. She wore a stunning strapless mermaid dress with a cascading ruffle skirt. If you love it as much as I do, you can buy a dupe from—where else?—Kleinfeld.
Pronovias x Kleinfeld Sweetheart Strapless Lace Bodice Mermaid Wedding Dress With Ruffled Tulle Skirt
2. ‘Sex and the City’
The iconic poofy wedding gown that almost made it down the aisle (F*CK YOU, BIG) was designed by Vivienne Westwood. It featured a gold strapless corset top and ivory silk skirt. I don’t think anyone who watched the film could forget this ginormous dress, which probably explains why it sold out almost immediately after it was put on net-a-porter.com. However! For those still dying to get their hands on a Vivienne Westwood gown that resembles a similar style, you can start saving up for this one.
Vivienne Westwood Ivory Grosgrain Satin Couture Sol Corset & Skirt Modern Wedding Dress
I’m not referring to the disaster of a dress and feather hat Maya Rudolph rightfully cried over, although that could very well be considered iconic in a different way. The wedding dress from Bridesmaids I’m talking about is the one she sh*t in. Yup, right in the middle of the street. I honestly wish she wore this one to her own wedding, but even as a bride, I guess you can’t always get the nice things. This tulle ball gown was elegant in its own simple way, thanks to the delicate one-shoulder feather strap. For your own statement gown with a wide ribbon for a single strap, opt for this White by Vera Wang wedding dress.
White by Vera Wang Layered Tulle One-Shoulder A-Line Wedding Dress
4. ‘Runaway Bride’
I am seriously obsessed with this dress. In another one of Julia Roberts’ and Richard Gere’s iconic movies, she stuns in an off-the-shoulder lace and satin dress that came with a sweetheart neckline and floral detailing. This particular dress comes close enough without being exact since it features delicate lace details, an off-the-shoulder neckline, and elegantly falls to the floor.
Sincerity Bridal Off the Shoulder A-line Gown with Embroidered Lace
5. ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’
This was a wedding gown to be worn for an interview, not like, an actual wedding. Regardless, Katniss Everdeen made everyone’s jaw drop when she wore it in the movie—probably because it literally went up in flames. Designed by Tex Saverio, the heavy white silk gown was a Swavorski crystal-covered corset under a metal cage. The striking metal pieces represent fire and flames, while the feathers are an ode to the Mockingjay. While you can’t get your own fire-breathing dress for obvious reasons, you can still find a wedding gown like this one that’s accented in silver and booming with feathers like, everywhere.
Georges Hobeika Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2018/19
6. ‘The Notebook’
This is yet another wedding dress that never made it down the aisle, but the fitting scene is still unforgettable. The vintage mermaid dress was an off-the-shoulder style with full-length lace sleeves, a sweetheart neckline, and flattering body-hugging fit. For your own vintage style, you’ll want to check out this off-the-shoulder dress that’s covered in lace and jewels.
David’s Bridal Jewel Off the Shoulder 3/4 Sleeve Wedding Dress
7. ‘The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement’
From a royal wedding that went down in movie history, Mia Thermopolis’s dress was all lace and seriously gorgeous. It was a very regal look that was elevated by an accompanying lace veil and crystal tiara. Usually, some brides tend to stray away from a lot of lace to prevent from feeling as though you’re being weighed down. However, this one is also off the shoulder with lace and beading and enough delicate little details to make you feel like royalty.
Photo: Alamy; Giphy (3); Paramount Pictures; YouTube (5); Instagram
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
As a bride, your wedding is your time to shine. It’s the ultimate attention grab. All eyes are on you. Everything you say, everything you do, and each and every item you wear, from the shoes to the bracelets, will be judged and documented. No pressure! That being said, you obviously need to look at weddings dresses that will wow everyone—even Aunt Diane (she’s so sassy). Because you can’t be outright exposed on your wedding day (I mean like, you cannnn but you’ll probably regret that see-through corset dress in 10 years), opting for a backless dress is a great way to say, “I’m settling down, but I’m still hot AF.”
Okay, before you crucify me: Go ahead and bare it all on your special day, but don’t come crying to me when you look back on your wedding photos in 10 years and think, “Wow, I should have listened to that Betches article back in 2019.” Anyway, we rounded up some sexy backless wedding gowns for every bride, whether you’re princess-obsessed, hipster-chic, or somewhere in between.
Sarah Seven Sunset Forever Gown, $3,000
If you’re going for a Meghan Markle vibe on your big day and there’s a chance it’ll be cold, this Sarah Seven dress is a great option. It’s simple, making it easier to accessorize with major bling (is bling still a thing?) or downplay with simple jewels and hair. Lace haters, this is a gown for you.
BHLDN Kenna Gown, $800
Are you into piña coladas and
getting caught in the rain flamenco dancing? At only $800, this very different, slightly out-of-the-box hip-hugging backless dress from BHLDN is a great choice for spring brides. It’s flirty, it’s cute, and it’s unique enough to make you feel like you aren’t just another basic bride in a white gown. Praise be. Plus, it has the whole cold-shoulder trend going for it, which I personally detest, but can acknowledge is super popular.
Watters Frasier Gown, $2,400-$3,120
If you want lace on lace on tulle and the flirtiest, girliest dress of all time, Watters has it for you with the Frasier Gown. It’s a little on the pricier side, hovering around $3k, but I assume that’s because the materials are like, very nice. And don’t let the romantic look fool you. This dress offers a very deep V in front with an illusion neckline. It’s romantic yet daring, which I’m strangely into.
Catherine Deane Killian Gown, $2,350
I feel like this dress is a backless gown that won’t scare your conservative relatives. The soft chiffon sleeves seem like a pretty perfect choice for a spring wedding, but we could see them working nicely for an
artsy fartsy boho-chic-hipster winter wedding, too. This dress also isn’t form fitting, so you can chug beer and shove appetizers into your mouth without worrying if your Spanx are going to hold up. Trust me, as someone who’s been there, this is a legitimate concern on your wedding day.
BHLDN Sabrina Gown, $3,995
This dress reminds me of those crochet cover-ups I wear to the beach when I’m trying to be cool—in a good way. Because of that, it seems like it’d be ideal for your summer wedding set on some private shoreline. Deep V in the front, deep V in the back, and a fluffy skirt. This one probably requires a lot of boob tape, though, which is something to consider before dropping almost $4k.
Watters Lotus Gown, $2,495-$3,244
Do you want to have a gown that’s backless, sideless, and form fitting? Look, I certainly do not have the body to pull this off, but if you’re confident you can rock it, and want something crazy chic, this is the dress for you. You will hands down be the hottest bride out of all your friends. Would I recommend this dress in the winter? Probs not, but do you.
Maggie Sottero Milan Jumpsuit, $1,500-2,500
Holy sh*t, do you want to wear a jumpsuit to your wedding? You should. Get one with a low back and lace so you won’t feel like you’re in just any regular jumpsuit that you’d wear to brunch. This Maggie Sottero jumpsuit screams, “I’m a modern, boss bitch,” while still saying “I like cute things.”
Images: Shutterstock; Sarah Seven; BHLDN (2); Watters; Catherine Deane; Enaura; Maggie Sottero.
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.
H&M long lace dress
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.
BHLDN medallion gown
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
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
It’s officially May, and the most basic of the basics (aka girls who have summer weddings) are officially in bridezilla mode. I’m not sure who deemed summer weddings to be all that in the first place, but I’m going to go ahead and say that they should probably be shunned from society. Summer weddings are hot, humid, and consume a whole weekend where you’d rather be at the beach… unless of course you already are because, oh hell, it’s a beach wedding!
The month in which you have to attend a summer wedding plays a huge factor in its level of misery. May wedding? Sure, whatever, just don’t take my MDW. June? I guess her mom wanted her to be a traditional “June Bride.” (Idk, apparently, this is a thing.) But July? August? What kind of serial killing duo has a wedding during the HOTTEST months of the year? Sick fucks. I legit can’t even sleep if I’m not freezing cold, so I can’t imagine celebrating the holy ceremony of matrimony, and also (supposedly) the greatest day of my life, sweating my tits off.
Regardless, you’ve already RSVP’d and your fate is sealed. You’re unfortunately going to the wedding. Therefore, let’s cut the shit and try to figure out how to make the most of it. As someone who sincerely cares about you, I can only hope and pray that, for your sake, you at least get a hot Instagram pic for all your suffering. I mean, beach weddings do at least offer you a scenic background! Of course, that won’t do you any good if you’re wearing a fugly, unflattering dress. Sorry, but no filter can fix that. So here’s which summer wedding dress you should wear based on your body type.
Body Type: Hourglass
Hourglass body types should ALWAYS be accentuating their tiny waists, at weddings and in life. This means you’ll want a dress that is fitted; you’ve got a Kardashian bod so you need a Kardashian dress. Let’s just hope that your wedding experience goes better than Kim’s wedding to Kris Humphries. Basically, you’ll want something tight and structured; you’ll want to stay away from peasant dresses and muumuus, which will only hide your waist and make you look big. No thank you.
Revolve Lovers + Friends Kiki Maxi
This maxi dress will show off all your curves while also keeping you classy AF. It’s the perfect example of a dress that will look effortlessly sexy. The dress comes in two summery, striking colors that will be sure to garner some positive attention and guarantee you’ll look hot, but not showy. No one likes a bitch thirsty for attention. With a bod like yours, you’ll already be drawing in attention, so the goal here is more subtly hot and less Ramona-as-Britney-Spears-in-red-latex-onesie hot. Understand?
Body Type: Pear/Triangle
If your body type is considered “pear” or “triangle” then this means you’re more bottom heavy; you most likely have full hips and a full rear. In order to balance out your appearance, you want to draw more attention to your upper body. This means that you’ll want to choose a dress with an interesting neckline, such as a v-neck or a scoop neck. You should also look for a dress that has embellishments or eye-catching details at the neckline. For the length, look for either a maxi or a midi to help elongate and consequently thin out your lower half.
Revolve Cleobella Amery Maxi Dress
This dress has a sheer top with embroidered detail which, together, perfectly draw attention to your upper half. The maxi length minimizes the appearance of your thicker bottom half, while the natural waistline enhances the appearance of your waist. Also to be noted, this dress in the lilac color is super on-trend, since purple is the “it” color for spring.
Body Type: Apple/Inverted Triangle
You’re top heavy, so let’s show off those chicken legs! I mean that lovingly. You’re #blessed with skinny legs, and therefore you’ll want to show off your best features and actually skip the maxi. You just need to be careful now to ensure that, with a shorter dress, you choose one that is still wedding appropriate. Since you’re already showing off your legs, you need to keep it conservative up top. And, if you’re worried about your post-passed apps stomach pudge, look for a dress with ruching in the middle/lower half to hide your stomach fat while also adding even more volume to your lower half.
Revolve Lovers + Friends Joss Dress
Uhm, I’m obsessed with this dress. This dress is feminine, flirty and, of course, wedding appropriate. You’ll feel great in this dress since its shorter hem allows you to show off your legs, and its ruching hides your tummy. Win-win.
Body Type: Athletic/Rectangle
If you have an athletic or “rectangle” body type, then you should look for a dress that creates the illusion of curves. You should look for one with feminine details to add femininity and volume, like ruffles.
Revolve C/MEO Entice Dress
There legit isn’t a more perfect dress for YOUR body type than this one. Like, I’m just gonna say it: damn, I’m good. This dress has polka dots AND ruffles which, on a femininity scale of Kristen Stewart to Taylor Swift, is the equivalent of T-Swift in a signature red lip and a fit-and-flare dress. Basically, it’s as girly as it gets. Not to mention, there are also ruffle details specifically at the natural waistline, which automatically creates an illusion of curves. Ugh, seriously, if you don’t get this dress then you too deserve to be shunned like the psychos having this wedding in the first place.
All right, my work here is done. Now go and attempt to enjoy the hot AF, super basic wedding for the girl you’re barely friends with! The good news is that you can now do so while reveling in the fact that you’ll at least have a fire Insta to show for all of this torture. Bring on the likes.
Images: Revolve (4)