50 Short Wedding Dresses For Every Style And Budget

You call them reception dresses. We call them wedding dresses.

I wore a short wedding dress to my wedding. A decade ago, short wedding dresses were just starting to make a comeback, and picking one felt like a bit of a wild choice (in fact, you can see my early overthinking of the subject right here).

Back in the day, finding a short wedding dress was something of a nightmare. Every time I saw a blog post with a short wedding dress, I’d desperately look for the credits, only to find that the dress was custom made, or vintage, or simply not credited at all. So I did what any reasonable person would do, which was go into wedding dress boutiques and show them pictures of dresses I liked. The salespeople would always nod and smile very politely, and then tell me they had something very similar. Then they’d pull out several full length, strapless, cupcake dresses, and suggest I might look GREAT in a dress like this. (Further review would confirm all the dresses in the store looked exactly the same.) In one particularly desperate moment, a saleslady pulled out a $10,000 Vera Wang dress that weighed at least ten pounds, and suggested I could just chop it in half. Clearly, the logical thing to do with a recent $10K purchase is to chop it down the middle and hope that it works out. Needless to say, I didn’t follow that salesperson’s advice or even end up buying a dress at a bridal salon. Instead, I…. you guessed it… tried to make my own dress, and when that failed, I lucked out and found a perfect $250 vintage short wedding dress. Nice for me, but just as unhelpful to you as all those blog posts I read back in the day.

Now (with thanks to the wedding Goddesses, along with a changing industry), finding a short wedding dress isn’t super difficult, though you still often can’t find what you’re looking for at your local bridal boutique. But thanks to the wonder of the internet, now you can buy great wedding dresses online, saving you ridiculous conversations with saleswomen, who suggest chopping dresses in half to achieve your desired look. Plus, short wedding dresses have the added advantage of not always being marketed as wedding dresses, making them much more affordable.

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50 Short Wedding Dresses For Every Style And Budget

Pro-tip: If you’re having a hard time finding a short wedding dress you like, try looking for reception dresses. Often super stylish, super affordable short dresses will be marketed as dresses to wear while you dance… but they’re clearly cute enough to wear all night long. In fact, BHLDN has a whole reception dress section, and it tends to be pretty killer.

So without further ado, here is a selection of vintage short wedding dresses, bohemian short wedding dresses, and modern short wedding dresses, in a variety of price points and sizes (including some rental options).

Vintage

Personally, I’m grateful that the silhouette originally known as The New Look has made a comeback. One day I may be like my grandmother, rocking it regardless of whether it’s in or out of style because it is the single most flattering look on my body. If like me, you’re looking for a vintage short wedding dress, this might be the vibe for you. But we’ve also thrown in vintage styles from a bunch of different eras because we can all get behind some ’60s chic or ’70s glam, and we’re always here for the flappers.

black woman with lace white dress and flowers

Chi Chi London Gilded Grace Lace Dress* via Modcloth ($175) *available in plus sizes

laughing woman in sequined white dress

Goldie Dress via BHLDN ($400)

flower applique ball gown short dress

Truly Zac Posen 3/4 Sleeve* via David’s Bridal ($758.00–$808.00) *available in plus sizes

white dress with gold overlay top

Ketu Dress by Catherine Deane via Rent the Runway ($125–$145 rental)

woman wearing a lace mock turtle neck dress

Mock-Neck Illusion Lace via David’s Bridal ($99.95)

Plus size woman wearing a white, high-neck, knee length dress holding an embellished purseRecognized Romance Fit and Flare Dress* via ModCloth ($200) *available in plus sizes

woman wearing a knee length ivory fringe dress

Dazzler via BHLDN ($460)

woman wearing a lace embroidered dress

Curve Lace Embroidered Mini via ASOS ($222) 

woman wearing a ivory cocktail length sheath dress

Ivory Lace Cocktail Sheath by Marchesa Notte via Rent the Runway ($130–$145 rental)

woman wearing an off the shoulder lace dress

Mia Dress via White Runway ($155.45)

woman wearing a floral mesh overlay dress

Collectif x MC Rosette Radiance A-Line Dress* via Modcloth ($175) *available in plus sizes

Tea Length Cotton Eyelet Dress

Tea Length Cotton Eyelet Dress* by FrenchKnotCouture ($800) *available in plus sizes

vintage picture of a woman wearing a dress in a car

White Bride Dress via Vintagecatalunya ($222.93) 

woman wearing a Tulle Plus Size Tea-Length dress

Tulle Plus Size Tea-Length via David’s Bridal ($499)

Bohemian

When you think bohemian, it’s often the maxi dress that comes to mind. More is more is MORE, right? But some of the coolest bohemian wedding dresses are short ones. The balance of maximal with less (dress), creates a really design-y take on one of our favorite looks.

woman wearing a High Neck lace Shift dress

High Neck Shift via Grace Loves Lace ($544.50)

woman wearing a dress with Embroidered blue flowers

Thistle via BHLDN ($460)woman wearing a dress with a Full skirt, Short sleeves, Crew neckline

White Lace by ML Monique Lhuillier via Rent the Runway ($75 rental)

woman wearing a dress with Sheer net lace

Edina via BHLDN ($300)

redhead woman wearing a vintage-inspired, lace dress

Through the Bluebells A-Line Dress via ModCloth ($100)  *available in plus sizes

woman wearing a dress with a Bardot neckline, fit-and-flare silhouette, and lace hemline

Grace Around You Off-Shoulder via Chicwish ($60)

black woman wearing a knee-length lace plus-size wedding dress

Wedding Belle Plus Size by Kiyonna via David’s Bridal ($188–$198)

Short And Simple

The wedding industry loves to push this idea that you need to make sure your dress is “bridal,” whatever that means. One assumes that a bride wearing a dress makes it bridal, but in an industry that loves a good upsell, it’s easy to get the idea that your dress needs to be EXTRA, even if that’s really not your jam. So rest assured, even if your dress is short, it’s bridal. And if your dress is simple, it’s also bridal. And if it’s short and simple? Well then it’s not just bridal, it’s super modern. With that in mind, we’ve picked some little white dresses for those of you with a more minimalist aesthetic. You’ll look like a bad-ass bride in all of these, we guarantee it.

brunette woman wearing a dress with a side slit and knee-length hem

Adler via BHLDN ($297)

woman wearing a slip dress with cutouts

Shiloh Slip* via Show Me Your Mumu ($234) *available in plus sizes

woman wearing a Strapless lace sheath dress with a sweetheart neckline

Dessy Collection 2954* via Joielle ($218) *available in plus sizes

black woman wearing an off the shoulder white dress

Tara Sheath by Hutch via Rent the Runway ($30–$50 rental)

woman wearing a spaghetti strap wrap dress

Sorella Vita via Brideside ($169.15)

woman wearing a white dress with cutouts and applique

Claire Cutout via Show Me Your Mumu ($224)

woman wearing a white halter dress

Light Ivory Halter Sheath* by Badgley Mischka via Rent the Runway *available in plus sizes

Modern

If you’re looking for a short wedding dress, chances are you’re a little fashion forward in the first place. So embrace it! Don’t be afraid of cutouts, exaggerated sleeves, or sleek silhouettes. Trust me, looking back, you’ll never regret going bold. Go big or go home, as we always say. Or in this case, little, with a big vibe.

woman wearing an ankle-length dress with a dramatic v-neck

Kennedy via BHLDN ($498)

woman wearing a dress with a plunging neckline, floaty short sleeves, and a knee-length skirt

Sylvan* via Fame and Partners (customization available, starts at $279)  *available in plus sizes

woman wearing a High-Neck Pleated Chiffon Shift dress

High-Neck Pleated Chiffon Shift* via David’s Bridal ($139.95) *available in plus sizes

woman wearing a dress with white sequins on mesh

White Carlene by Dress The Population via Rent the Runway ($50–$65 rental)

woman wearing a dress with structured ruffles

White Ruffle by MSGM via Rent the Runway ($60–$80 rental)

black woman wearing a halter dress wit h lace overlay

Lace Halter Mini with Asymmetric Hem via David’s Bridal ($149.99)

black woman wearing a white dress with intricate embellishments

Brandi Sequin Sheath by Dress The Population via Rent the Runway ($45–$60 rental)

short wedding dresses - woman wearing a dress with bell sleeves

Ivory Bell Sleeves by Badgley Mischka via Rent the Runway ($85–$100 rental)

woman wearing a dress with cutouts and tulle

Venice* via Fame and Partners (customization available, starts at $329) *available in plus sizes

plus size woman wearing a sheath tank dress

Soutache Tank Midi Plus Size Sheath by JS Collections via David’s Bridal ($249.99)

woman wearing a dress with a deep v and balloon sleeves

Delray by Rime Arodaky ($849.57)

woman wearing a dress with off the shoulder ties

White Tyler via White Runway ($190)

NONTRADITIONAL

You know our rule on this. The only thing that makes a wedding dress a wedding dress is that you wear it to your wedding, and don’t let anyone tell you different. Your bridal style is what you make it. So while these dresses might not be sold as wedding dresses, they probably should be.

woman wearing a dress with white lace leaves

Defining Divine Midi* via ModCloth ($150) *available in plus sizes

woman wearing a dress with intricate lace overlay

Tiana via BHLDN ($395)

woman wearing a dress with Embroidered Floral Lace

Stevie May Embroidered Floral Lace Midi via ASOS ($274)

woman wearing a dress with star lace dress overlay

For Love and Lemons Tulle Midi via ASOS ($411)

woman wearing a long sleeve lace cutout dress

Uplifted Long Sleeve Midi via White Runway ($250.41)

woman wearing a lace cutout long sleeved dress

Harper Lace Dress via White Runway ($315.23)

woman wearing a short dress with a train

Gaga by Daughters of Simone ($1,195)

woman wearing a Embellished Tulle Mesh Mini dress

Embellished Tulle Mesh Mini via ASOS ($190)

woman wearing an intricate white lace dress

White Lace Luxe by Alexia via Rent the Runway ($140–$155 rental)

woman wearing a dress with long fringe bottom

Levine via BHLDN ($195)

If you wore a short wedding dress, where did you get it? What did it look like? Pictures or it doesn’t count!

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