49 Stunning Bridal Shower Dresses to Make You Shine


Plus a very important poll: wear white, or nah?

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

wedding day vibes sequined shift on brunette woman

Wedding Day Vibes Dress (sadly out of stock)

It can be tricky to pick bridal shower dresses, simply because there are so few rules about what to wear. We all bitch about etiquette, but the great part about it is that it gives you a reasonably clear set of rules to follow (or chose to break intentionally). Wear this, do this… or hey, I don’t like those rules so I’m not gonna follow them.

But when it comes to bridal showers, there are not a ton of rules (and there are many kinds of showers), so figuring out what to do and how to dress, can be really hard. Bridal showers vary from casual backyard gatherings, to large, formal shindigs (I’ve been to both, and more besides). So when it comes to finding bridal shower dresses, you have to figure out a few things first:

  • How formal is the shower? (Ask yourself: Where is it being held? What time of day is it? How many people are coming?)
  • What’s the crowd? (You probably act and dress differently with your fifty-year-old aunties, than you do with your co-workers or life-long BFFs.)
  • What’s the general vibe of the party? (I had a book shower and dive bar in New York City party, and a politely open gifts in front of my husband’s family party… and I wore very different bridal shower dresses, trust me.)

Once you’ve asked yourself those questions, you also just have to figure out what you feel comfortable in and what you want to wear. Lots of people choose to wear a white engagement dress, because it’s one extra day that you can stand out and feel like a bride. But that is in no way mandatory. Polling our office, nobody wore white to their bridal shower (in fact, one of us wore leopard print). Which brings me to our very important poll. What are you / did you/ would you wear to your bridal shower? THE PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW.

Pending the results of our Super Scientific Survey, I’ve tried to keep it flexible. I’ve included a lot of white engagement dresses, and a fair amount of lighter summery prints (OKAY FINE, and some brights, because I think they’re the prettiest). While I’m assuming most bridal showers are daytime affairs, I have tucked in a few slightly more formal options, just in case. Plus, some rompers, in case your best girlfriends throw you the coolest shower of all time. I tried to cover a variety of price points for bridal shower dresses, assuming that you’re probably not going to spend a fortune on this one (but giving you a few killer options just in case you are).

Pro-Tip: I included a really good sampling of dresses from Rent the Runway, partially because their daytime dress department is on fire right now, but mostly because bridal showers are the perfect occasion to rent a nicer-than-you’d-normally-buy-and-don’t-really-need-in-your-closet kind of dress. Also, because I personally always forget renting is an option till it’s too late, and then kick myself.

Let’s do this thing.

White engagement Dresses

woman in long sleeved lace and pleated white dress

Lace Evening Dress with Pleated Skirt, Plus Sizes ($169.90)

woman in sleeveless lace bridal shower dress on pink background

Defining Divine Midi Dress, available in Plus Sizes ($150)

woman in cold shoulder white dress with looped belt

Cold Shoulder Pleated A-Line Dress, Plus Sizes ($99.90)

woman in cold shoulder lace mini-shift

Cold Shoulder Lace Shift Dress ($149)

Lace shift high neck dress on redhead woman with tulle overlay

Time and Grace Lace Dress, available in Plus Sizes ($99.99)

modern lace a line v neck dress on woman

Memphis Dress ($270)

black woman in dropped shoulder trumpet sleeve white romper

Trumpet Sleeve Romper, Plus Sizes ($128)

dropped shoulder lace knee length dress on white woman

Tiered Off-the-Shoulder Eyelet Dress, available in Petite Sizes ($438)

dropped shoulder trumpet sleeve fitted dress plus size on woman

Lace Ruffle Sleeve Off the Shoulder Dress, Plus Sizes ($129.90)

woman in pleated white strappy white dress

Lily Pond Fit & Flare Dress ($128)

off the shoulder crochet ankle length white dress with natural hair model

Tatiana Off the Shoulder Dress ($140)

boatneck cream dress with silver sequins on woman

Beaded Sands Swing Dress, available in Petite Sizes ($228)

black woman in off the shoulder cream ruffle bridal shower dress with gold details

Studio Off the Shoulder Double Ruffle Gown, Plus Sizes ($154.90)

woman in white slip dress with lace neckline detail

Lace Trim Slipdress ($100)

woman in white dress dress with crotchet lace stripes

Embroidered Midi Dress ($135)

long sheer polka dot white dropped shoulder dress

Cold-Shoulder Tiered Maxi Dress ($118)

dropped shoulder ruffle mini dress with lace detail on woman

Studio Eyelet Off the Shoulder Dress, Plus Sizes ($139.90)

satin shift mini dress with single shoulder strap

Tea Room Dress ($180)

cream lace maxi spagetti strap dress with crochet detail

Crochet Trim Maxi Dress ($105)

ruffled halter white dress defined waist

Studio Flounce Tiered Dress, Plus Sizes ($134.90)

Non-White Bridal Shower Dresses

v neck floral white dress with sheer and ruffle details

John Zack Plus Ruffle Shoulder Floral Maxi Dress, Plus Sizes ($87)

multicolor stripe halter dress on woman

Purposefully Piquant Midi Dress, includes Plus Sizes ($119.99)

plus size tropical print dress with drop sleeve ruffle details

ASOS CURVE Floral Ruffle Prom Midi Dress, Plus Sizes ($135)
mini striped shift dress on woman model

Leslie Geo Tunic Dress, available in Petite Sizes ($198)

magenta wrap dress v neck on black model

Tie Waist Halter Dress, Plus Sizes ($149.90)

natural hair model with loose illustrated cream sleeveless dress

Sheena Maxi Dress ($248)

ruffled sleeve multicolor and white print dress

Little Mistress Plus Floral Printed Skater Dress with Fluted Sleeve, Plus Sizes ($108)

tropical leaf print one shoulder ruffle mini dress

Caline Poplin Dress, available in Petite Sizes ($158)

mini blue sheet wrap dress with lace inserts and slits

sleeveless black and white stripe peasant dress with red embroidery

sleeveless cream dress with sheer floral layer

Inesse V-Neck Chiffon Gown, available in some Plus Sizes ($290)

white slip dress with emrboidered floral long sleeve sheer overlay

Embroidered Maxi Dress with Tie Waist ($214)

dusty rose slip dress with drop sleeve sheer lace overlay

Boohoo Plus Lace Overlay Cami Dress, Plus Sizes ($56)

Sleeveless maxi white dress with pink colorblock bottom

Contrast Hem Maxi Dress ($35)

tie front short sleeve white dress with floral sheer overlay

striped green and yellow sleeveless fitted waist dress

Colorful on Cue A-Line Dress ($99.99)

Rental Bridal Shower Dresses

strappy maxi dress with pleated floral details

Waleska Printed Chiffon Slip Maxi, available in Petite Sizes ($90–$105, Rental)

single shoulder minidress loose with modern floral details on navy

Floral Painted Drop Waist Dress ($50–$65, Rental)

white bodycon short sleeve mini dress with abstract paint multicolor pattern

Derek Dress ($30–$55, Rental)

sleeveless fitted white dress with blue embroidery and ruffle bottom

Floral Mariana Dress ($120–$135, Rental)

halter maxi dress with sheer lace overlay in white

Pennie Dress, available in Long ($55–$90, Rental)

tie front cutout tropical maxi dress

Flora Stone Tie Front Maxi Dress, available in some Petite Sizes ($70–$85, Rental)

drop sleeve ruffle short tunic in coral

Peony Ruffle Off Shoulder Shift ($45–$80, Rental)

grey and pink pleated sleeveless dress with floral details

Ola Pleated Dress ($65–$80, Rental)

tie front striped orange and pink fitted dress

Spring Stripe Dress ($30–$50, Rental)

dress with fitted cutout top and colorblock white black and pink pleated bottom

Stripe Pleated Cami Dress ($80–$100, Rental)

maxi dress with blue and red abstract print

Purple Verona Dress ($50–$70, Rental)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • All these dresses are gorgeous! And there is always room for gold polka dots in my wardrobe.

  • K. is skittish about disqus

    My mom desperately wanted me to wear white to both my shower and my rehearsal dinner. But I’m a big ol’ girly fashion-lover, so I was super into the fact that I got two extra occasions to wear show stopping dresses in any color I chose. For my shower, I was decked out like Kate Middleton in intense pink lace with a swingy A-line and for my rehearsal dinner, I wore a slinky dress in bright cobalt blue. Too much fun.

    But then again, there’s something about a bride-to-be in a white outfit so I’m absolutely supportive of all fashion choices. :D ETA: Like the Memphis dress?! Heart eyes all the way. Perfection.

    • rebecca

      Ooooh intense pink and slinky cobalt both sound amazing! I’m a sucker for color

    • Jess

      The Memphis dress caught my eye too!

      I wanna see the slinky cobalt dress!!!

    • Jane

      Always interesting to see what other moms care about. My mom has definitely encouraged me to go colorful. Also she worries that I buy too many dresses, so she may just be trying to avoid me buying more.

    • Angela’s Back

      Speaking of Kate Middleton, my MIL bought me this white with a blue rose pattern cotton walking coat thing from Loft that is *so* KM goes to church in the springtime and I’m just dying to wear it out with my one blue dress and a hat and be the prissiest-looking but also best dressed lady in the place.

  • rebecca

    These are all great, I especially love the rose lace one. I splurged on a RTR Unlimited membership bc I have a lot of wedding stuff/work stuff rn and wore this Peter Pilotto to my shower last weekend which is one of my favorite things I’ve gotten from them, not least bc my partner said, “You look like a sexy Dr Seuss illustration” https://www.renttherunway.com/shop/designers/peter_pilotto/floral_printed_kia_frill_dress

  • Jess

    A) If anybody wants to invite me to a fun event this summer, I am renting that Derek dress hands down.
    B) I wore a white-and-khaki-striped linen short tank dress I already owned from Ann Taylor (bought on sale, obvs). I wanted to wear something light colored.

    • Lisa

      The Derek was my favorite, too! Though it would probably be uncomfortably short on me, I’m living for those colors.

      • Jane

        I had the same thought – that print is adorable but I wish it would be like 4 inches longer!

        • Lisa

          Yeah, given my height/long legs, it would need a solid 6-7″ on the hem to be a length I’m comfortable with!

          • Jane

            Also looked like I might need a few extra inches of length in the torso.

          • penguin

            Ooh yeah it sounds like (from K’s comment above) that the Derek would be more like a nice tunic on anyone over 5’3″ or so.

      • Jess

        Yeah, I would probably have to get a nice set of colorful heels and dance a lot while getting ready to really feel amped up about the length.

        But! I want to wear it!

      • emilyg25

        So cute, so short! I was hoping it was available in Long (and I’m 5’3″), but no such luck.

      • K. is skittish about disqus

        I’ve worn the Derek! It was SHORT. I’m 5’3 and I was still tugging it down occasionally through the night. It was undeniably fabulous though.

  • Looking back, I ended up binging on a bunch of sheath dresses from Banana Republic before my wedding. Two were for showers (one with ruffles, one in a fun print), and one for the rehearsal/dinner (satin top/pencil bottom half – a bit sexier). I was happy with my dresses, but looking back, it would have been fun to wear a white party dress, too!

  • I checked the link for the Beaded Sands Swing Dress, and it’s now on sale at Anthropologie for $182.40, in case anyone was wanting to buy it!

  • Eenie

    I did not have a shower, therefore I did not wear a white dress to it… I did however rent a white dress covered in sequins to our “rehearsal dinner”. It was fabulous, highly recommend.

    • Jess

      OH SHOOT I forgot: my rehearsal dress was the bomb. I saw it when I bought my wedding dress – it was a mid-thigh length, long sleeved dress with a 20’s-adjacent pattern of beads/sequins. I loved it a million times more than my actual wedding dress. My wedding dress was very much me – simple, a-line, v-neck tank.

      My rehearsal dress? It was the me I want to be.

      • Jane

        Really like 20s-adjacent as a description. I have a few dresses I’d describe that way.

      • savannnah

        I took this approach too! my rehearsal dress is the cool girl bride I’m not ever going to be!

  • Jane

    Timely because I was torn between wanting an “extra chance to wear a fun new dress that marks me as the bride-to-be” and the “why would I wear white when I look better in almost every other color and already have cute dresses that I hardly ever wear.” BUT now I’m having two showers, so I guess I get to do both.

    So, I think I am wearing a short, very pale pink (almost white) lace dress and rabbit ears to one shower (it’s got an Alice in Wonderland theme – so I’m doing a very low-key white rabbit). And a super bright and colorful floral silk pencil dress to the other.

    As a few other people have mentioned, probably going to wear white to my rehearsal dinner. Or white with flowers.

    • Jessica

      I love the idea of an Alice in Wonderland themed shower. More book themed showers!!

      • ssha

        My friend actually threw me an Alice in Wonderland shower as well, complete with cupcakes with little signs that said “Eat Me” and lovely mismatched teacups. I was kind of “um okay” when I heard the theme, but she did a great job and it was all adorable. ETA: now I’m thinking of other books that would make fun shower themes! I know Great Gatsby weddings are a thing now, that’d be a fun one.

        • Jane

          Cuuute. I don’t know all the details but I think mine will have flowers in lots of weirdly shaped bottles, 8′ tall flowers out of tissue paper and chicken coop wire, an outdoor tea party, and just various things that don’t belong outside, like rugs and mirrors.

          Re: a comment elsewhere in this thread, I wish I had thought to have a Dr. Seuss themed shower.

          • ssha

            So fun! Outdoor tea party sounds fun and chill. And YES. think of the dresses you could wear to a Dr. Seuss shower. So many possibilities!

          • Jane

            Oh the places you could go with that theme.

        • Violet

          I get a 1920s jazz era wedding… I do NOT get a Gatsby wedding. Y’all, let’s make our theme being married to a physically abusive brute until a guy who’s been lusting after me for a while comes along to hold creepy parties to try to get with me! Weird.

          • ssha

            I know. My reaction at first is always to wonder if they read the book (see link…) -like, it’s not a romantic story!

  • Jessica

    I just want to wear all the pretty dresses, and have the money to get all the pretty dresses, and have the places to wear all the pretty dresses to.

    • Jane

      Don’t we all? My college does a thing every now and then where they announce a “happy hour” all over the country for a specific day and alums in each city pick a bar and meet with whichever alums happen to be there.

      I feel like we need an APW “fancy hour,” where we all descend on bars/parks in our cities all dressed up.

      • Her Lindsayship

        +1 would participate

      • Jessica

        Yes. Let’s do that! A Fancy Happy Hour!

      • Emily

        please make this a reality !!

        • Jane

          My life this summer is crazy busy, but I will sit on this idea and suggest it for real in the fall if there’s enough interest. Plus I will have moved by then and can use it as an excuse to become friends with some of you wonderful people IRL.

  • Essssss

    Cue dreams of alternative reality where I lounge at summer parties every day of the summer and have every single one of these beauties. Also, that embroidered floral longsleeve maxi?! Wedding dress redo dreams.

  • Vanessa

    So pretty! I tend toward bright saturated colors so I wore a black dress with a large-scale floral pattern.

    But a bunch of these dresses also reminded me of these two hilarious articles about the recent off the shoulder/cold shoulder trend, and I thought you all would enjoy:

    http://jezebel.com/i-hate-these-goddamn-tops-1793262837

    https://www.thecut.com/2016/09/why-are-there-holes-in-my-sleeves.html

    • Ashlah

      Haha, thank you for posting! I was about to come down here to complain about the off-the-shoulder trend for bra reasons.

    • ssha

      these are amazing. thank you.

    • penguin

      “Then there’s the bra dilemma. Strapless bras were designed by men to keep women uncomfortable and less productive and are all personally sewn by the devil himself.”

      lol this is SO TRUE

    • Angela’s Back

      “Women should not be forced to display one random body part because
      somebody decided it’s the only one that doesn’t rot with feminine decay.
      Give us real sleeves.” lololololololol

    • Her Lindsayship

      Omg as a woman in need of much boob support at all times, the comments on the Jezebel article are giving. me. life.

      Why does women’s fashion seem to believe most women don’t have boobs? I’ve been looking for a rehearsal dinner dress since March and the entire Internet has been a flowy, cutout-and-one-shouldered sea of dresses I can’t wear with a bra. Granted, I’m going strapless with my wedding gown, but that is with the help of a corset, supportive bodice, and expensive tailoring. I can’t do that every time I want to go to a nice dinner.

    • Violet

      Thank you for posting these. I find the cold shoulder thing in particular so unattractive. Can’t wait for the trend to die, because it *does* make it harder to find tops/dresses when so many of them right now have that going on.

  • ssha

    You know you stalk BHLDN and Modcloth a weird amount when you recognize their models in a roundup post.

  • zana

    Is it unusual to just not buy any new dresses? I mean, I had two bridal showers and a rehearsal dinner, and I just wore ~2 (red) dresses that I don’t ordinarily have the opportunity to wear.

    It’s nice to window shop, but I’ve scavenged Anthropologie’s sale section for years and have some beauties that I never get to wear. Pre-wedding events seemed like the perfect use.

    • Ashlah

      I didn’t have a shower, but I absolutely wore an existing dress to our rehearsal dinner. For me, shopping for a new rehearsal dinner dress would have been extra stress on top of wedding stuff when I already had a dress I knew I liked. That said, I think it can be a good excuse for whatever feels more useful or fun to you–wearing a dress you have and never get to wear, or getting to shop for and buy a new dress. Frankly, I could use more opportunities/excuses for both!

    • Emily

      I used one of my showers and my bachelorette party as an excuse to raid my best-friends’s excellently curated closet, so not weird to not buy anything new

    • ssha

      I was also excited to wear clothes I don’t normally wear! Not weird in the least.

    • Violet

      I wanted to find a fantastic dress to wear to my rehearsal dinner, but didn’t find anything I liked enough to spend the money on. So I settled for a vintage wash tee and a black pencil skirt I usually wear to work. Oh well!

    • Kara E

      I don’t think I bought anything new for shower. I did buy a cute sleeveless dress for the rehearsal/ dinner – and since it was 50 degrees that day wound up wearing a LBD with sleeves (and tights) that day and wearing the cute one later (maybe for brunch that Sunday? Definitely for our summer reception. And several more times for stuff until I got pregnant/fat(ter)). Too many “must-buys” would have just added to my stress level. And I’d never (ever!) wear a white dress again.

  • K

    anyone mind giving their opinion on this dress (for a rehearsal dinner)?

    http://bit.ly/2sitTzj

    i just got it in the mail + i LOVE the sequins even more in person, but i’m not 100% sold on the drapey back

  • tripthelight

    In response to the poll question, this was such a big dilemma for me!
    In my Hindu family, white is the color you wear for funerals, so I knew my shower with my Italian American in-laws was my only chance to wear to do that thing all my friends had done – wear a beautiful white bride-to-be sundress to their shower. I stressed myself out beyond belief trying to find the perfect white dress I had in my head, to no avail. Finally I gave up, realizing that I was the only one trying to force myself into that box. I ended up spending my dress budget by splurging on really adorable patterned pants that I will totally wear again but would normally be out of my price range. I paired the pants with a white shirt for my in-laws, so I still kind of snuck in that western bridal theme, and I wore them again with pink shirt for my family because warm colors are auspicious in Hinduism. I was happy with how I looked and was feeling comfy at both of my showers!

  • Sarah

    I did RTR for bridal shower, bachlorette, and rehearsal dinner. Bridal shower was white, bachlorette was a white-ish silvery dress, and rehearsal dinner was going to be white until my now husband sent out the evite telling everyone that it was St. Patrick’s Day themed- and I had to change my dress up to green at the last minute. Not easy when 99% of the green dresses were already rented on RTR!

    I do think RTR is perfect for pre-wedding parties.

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  • Shawna

    I wore a little white metallic tweed dress to my engagement party (which wasn’t called an engagement party, but basically was one – it was for my parents to introduce my then fiance to their friends) because I wasn’t going to wear white for my wedding. And then I rewore that dress for my grad school graduation because I had just gotten married a week beforehand!

    I got it from Forever 21 for $30 and I still love it. http://cdn1.picvpicimg.com/pics/16492472/cream-slash-gold-forever21-pleated-metallic-tweed-dress-screen.jpg

  • Love all these pretty dresses, especially the Lily Pond Fit & Flare Dress.