Bridesmaid Dresses You Should Wear As Wedding Dresses

Shop Joielle: You're welcome, bridesmaids

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

White & Ivory Bridesmaid Dresses | A Practical Wedding

Laurel Dress, by Watters ($236)

When we went on our great wedding dress shopping expedition last year, the hands-down winner of most flattering and affordable gown went to a champagne colored bridesmaid dress from Watters Bridesmaids. (That’s me wearing it up there. WITH NO BRA, GUYS. Magic.) It’s $236, made of crinkle chiffon, and fits like a flowy, ethereal glove. Ivory and white bridesmaid dresses are the unsung heroes of wedding fashion: they are gorgeous, affordable, and usually available in sizes beyond what you’ll find at your standard wedding dress store. And since you’re lucky, longtime APW sponsor and online bridesmaid dress retailer Shop Joielle has one of the best selections of bridesmaid dresses that you can wear as wedding dresses in just about anywhere.

Like wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses have an air of mystery about them. Go into a normal bridesmaid dress salon and it’s not always clear how much the dresses cost, what colors they come in, and what sizes are available. Shop Joielle fixes all that by offering a huge selection of bridesmaid dresses (and not just in white and ivory, but in every other color imaginable), at varying price points, and in sizes up to 30. Oh, and they also tell you right on the page how much each one costs. I know, they rock. So today we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite bridesmaid dresses available at Joielle that you can also wear as a wedding dress. The magic of wearing a bridesmaid dress as a wedding dress is that you can really do anything with it. Since bridesmaid dresses tend to be simpler in nature than wedding dresses, you’re not tied to a particular style by beading and adornments. So you can keep things as simple as you want, or go all out and add an appliqué or really cool statement jewelry or a kickass sequin coverup, or all of the above. And all for less than $300.

So why Shop Joielle? For starters:

White & Ivory Bridesmaid Dresses | A Practical Wedding

ONE Harlequin Dress, Watters ($260) TWO Off Shoulder V-Neck Chiffon Gown, After Six by Dessy ($215) THREE Sheer One Shoulder Chiffon Dress, Lela Rose ($260) FOUR One Shoulder Bobbinet Gown, Wtoo ($238) FIVE Cowl Neck Chiffon Blouson Dress with Thin Straps, After Six by Dessy ($190)

THEY MAKE IT EASY: So let’s say you have five bridesmaids and they all live in different states. You want to make things easy for your besties by giving them direction on color and fabric, but you still want them to be able to pick out a style that fits their body type best. Simply tell them to head over to Shop Joielle, where they can search by designer, fabric type, color or style and pick the dress that suits them best. Not sure it’ll fit? Joielle carries mostly major bridesmaid dress brands, so your ladies can head to a big box store and try on the styles they like best before ordering, or even request a sample dress from Joielle themselves (though sample sizes are limited). And if you want to be extra sure, you can also order a fabric swatch from Joielle (you never even have to set foot in a store if you don’t want to).

THEY MAKE IT AFFORDABLE: The best thing bout Shop Joielle is that they list all of their prices, in plain English, right there on the page. Most of their dresses fall between $100 and $300, and they work really hard to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want by offering sample sizes and fabric swatches. Have a wedding party of more than four people? You get a 10% discount! Go you!

ONE Blouson Chiffon Gown with Pleated Detail, Dessy Collection ($190) TWO One Shoulder Dress with Gathered Fold Detail, Lela Rose ($230) THREE Pleated Sweetheart Dress with Sash, After Six by Dessy ($210) FOUR Sweetheart Chiffon Dress with Gathered Waist, Dessy Collection ($220) FIVE Twist Bodice Bobbinet Gown, Wtoo ($196)

They Make Something For Everyone: The dresses sold at Shop Joielle are the kind of bridesmaid dresses you actually want to wear. And with sizes ranging from 0–30 in styles that flatter all kinds of body types, Joielle makes it practically impossible for you to not feel like your hottest self. And in case I didn’t use enough caps the first time, YOU MIGHT NOT EVEN NEED A BRA.

Their Clients Love Them: Take it from Tara and Monique:

Joielle was a great experience all around and I recommend it to everyone. Tammy and Julie were very quick and thorough in responding to my emails and questions. The dresses were the exact shade of grey that I wanted and couldn’t find anywhere else. They even waited until all of my bridesmaids had ordered before they dyed the dresses to ensure all of the dresses were in the same dye lot! Excellent customer service and great quality dresses!


Communication with the ladies at Joielle was easy from start to finish. …The dresses were just perfect! The girls all felt so beautiful in their dresses, which made not only my day, but theirs.


Whether you’re looking for a white bridesmaid dress or trying to outfit farflung wedding party members, Shop Joielle gets it right. In fact, as soon as this post goes live it’s getting sent out to all my friends who got engaged over the holidays. Because if there’s even the slightest chance I might be a bridesmaid this year, I want one of these babies hanging in my closet.

Top photo by Christina Richards (APW Sponsor)

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

Staff Picks

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  • Rachael

    I love the Watters Encore collection, most of which can be bridal or bridal party (or just party). I wore one of their short lace dresses for my wedding (looks like it is discontinued) and received so many compliments on it. It was very affordable ($350 before alterations, I think), especially considering I can wear it again to a nice dinner (maybe for our anniversary!). Plus, lace.

    • Seconded! My grandma is making my dress but I tried on a Watters Encore short lace dress with sleeves that would have been my dress otherwise. I was thinking of getting it in a different color for other nice occasions because I liked it so much!

  • terra

    Where did you get your awesome earrings in the top photo?! I love them and have been looking for minty green earrings for my upcoming wedding.

  • KC

    I WANT that off-shoulder v-neck chiffon. (specifically: not “frat party”, not “prom”, not “matronly”, not something-only-someone-with-sass-can-pull off, not “Hello, I am a bridesmaids dress!” – *AND* neither spaghetti strap nor strapless)

    That’s getting bookmarked for the next special occasion I need to look nice-but-dignified for. In case that happens. :-)

  • Caro

    My wedding dress was a taffeta bridesmaid’s dress in cafe colour. I tried many wedding and bridesmaid’s dresses on my shopping trip and it just so happens that the one that was the most flattering, and best fit for my personality and our backyard wedding, was not in the bride section. It was comfortable, affordable and perfect.

    • Manda

      I love your wedding look! Gorgeous.

  • vegankitchendiaries

    The Wtoo dresses are always so beautiful! Remember that hot magenta Wtoo dress worn at that APW Quaker wedding? I still dream about it…

  • Manda

    You guys! I’m totally rocking a bridesmaid dress as my wedding dress!!! It’s this Alfred Sung beauty right here, but full-length and in champagne: The attached screenshots show the dress in the right length and color. I love this dress because 1) it is affordable, 2) it has pockets (!), and 3) it gives me an excuse to invest in kickass wedding shoes. Not that the excuse is necessary.

    To anyone who is on the fence about purchasing a bridesmaid dress as a wedding dress, consider this post an affirmation. And after your nuptials are complete, please submit your wedding photos to APW. I want to see you rock your dress too!

    • Manda

      It appears that my original post ate the attachment. Here are the pictures.

  • Amanda

    2 and 3 in the top section. WANT!

  • KEA1

    Two things: 1) I want the royal blue dress and an occasion to wear it and more importantly 2) GAH-WOW you look hot in that photo. %)

  • emilyg25

    My wedding dress was a bridesmaid’s dress from Shop Joielle. Buying your wedding dress online can be a bit nerve-wracking, but they made it so easy with the sample dress and excellent customer service. It was a wonderful experience.

  • Kelly

    I called a store that specialized in bridesmaid dresses and told her that I was looking for a wedding dress. The woman told me they didn’t sell wedding gowns at the store. I asked her if they sold white or ivory dresses and she said yes. I found my beautiful, affordable wedding dress. Huzzah for bridesmaid dresses as wedding dresses!

  • Jess

    i’m wearing an amsale bridesmaid dress for my wedding! it happens to be in teal, cause i’m more at home in that color than whiteish, but yay!

  • Kara

    My wedding dress was also a Watters Bridesmaid’s dress (style #529, but it’s discontinued, now). I loved it. It was plain and simple–a trumpet silhouette, sweetheart neckline, and faux buttons all down the back . It was $250, but I later found it for $176.

    • Kara

      I don’t know why the picture won’t show up…oh, and the style was 596 (not the WTOO dress that shows up when you search)

  • Jana

    I snagged this bad boy in ivory for my wedding:

    The bonus: Mackenzie Michaels manufactures in the US, which was important to me. Lots of the Watters Encore dresses also are made in the USA, but none of the ones that I tried on were flattering on me.

    • debbie

      Thanks for purchasing a Mackenzie Michaels :)