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When it came time to find a dress for my wedding, I gave myself a challenge: find one under $350. I wasn’t looking for a super traditional wedding dress, so it seemed feasible. But after scouring the Internet and finding a bunch of really great options, I found myself questioning my goal. Could a dress that wasn’t expensive (by wedding dress standards) or wasn’t technically a wedding dress really be special enough? But I quickly snapped out of it because here’s the deal. That shit was all in my head. No one would ever know how much my dress cost, and more importantly, if I felt awesome AF wearing it, price didn’t matter.
Often, lower-price dresses can lack in #slay factor. They probably aren’t going to be head-to-toe French lace or crystals and beading. So how does one make a dress under $350 feel special? Answer: styling and confidence. (Mostly confidence.)
Our friends at ModCloth are pros at dressing you on a budget, without compromising style. They’ve been killing it at the bridal game since their collection dropped last year. Not only do they have great options that pack a punch in the sparkle department, but they also have tons of simple looks that allow you to layer on your own details. Lucky for you, we have confidence, solid styling skills, and good lighting. (Good lighting is also key for feeling good about yourself, always and forever.) Here are six of our favorite dress finds for any style and budget.
Guys, this dress kills. It’s $300 and it kills everything dead. The joy on Meg’s face there is not staged. She actually kept this dress, and is now trying to figure out how to wear it to formal events. Because it’s BLUSH amiright? (TL;DR if you want a dress that you can wear again, this might be it.) This gown has a sort of grown up ballerina look, in a way that’s effortless and glamorous (for real).
This is one of those super minimal hip looks that usually costs a fortune, but this time does not. (SHHH, WE WON’T TELL.) Also, unlike those zillion dollar hip minimal dresses, this one is flattering AF.
Keep things modern with killer geometric jewelry and a nude heel. Or, if you’re looking to go more-is-more, you can easily add a belt or a topper, and pair with a flashy shoe. A bright, large bouquet will look so amazing with this dress. (The Essence of Enchantment Maxi Dress in Taupe, Jenny Yoo, $300)
What? You want old Hollywood champagne charm on a beer budget? We got you. Sleek lines make this dress perfect for a city hall elopement or an evening wedding.
With a high neckline, you don’t want to do too much in the accessories department (stay away from the necklaces, is what I’m saying). We went with a statement earring and bold lip to keep this feeling classic yet modern. BUT OMG, did we mention the back. Because the back is everything. (Magnificent Mrs. Maxi Dress in White, $275)
This pastel gown isn’t your typical wedding dress, and that’s exactly what makes it special. (Plus, it’s a little bit glittery.) We paired it with modern earrings and a statement bracelet. But since it’s on the minimal side, you can easily bring a belt to this party or add a pair of metallic shoes and not overwhelm your look. (Enter Etherial Maxi Dress, Jenny Yoo, $325)
You want to know how to make a wedding dress special? Add a PATTERN. And just in case you were thinking, “Well that’s probably enough then, right?” Wrong. Sometimes more is more. We added a belt and statement jewelry to up the formality level on this dress, and then kept the hair soft and flowing. Your garden wedding awaits.
Plus, this dress is the ultimate for twirling. And twirling makes everything more special. Boomerangs for days. (A Matter of Magnificence Maxi Dress, $300)
Finding a lace dress without breaking the bank can be tricky. Finding a lace dress that looks banging with curves is even harder. This dress hits both marks, and is particularly great for larger busts.
The nice thing about a v-neck (as my ample-busted friends should know) is that it draws your eye up to the neck and face. So if you’ve got jewelry you’re in love with, this will show it off. We added some blingy earrings and bracelet and metallic peep-toe shoes. And since this lace is interesting without being super overwhelming, you can even have fun with a pop of color in your shadow and a bright bouquet. (Memorable Matrimony Maxi Dress, ModCloth exclusive, $250)
You don’t really need to do much to this dress when it already has ruffles and sparkle, but we added some killer earrings and a pair of metallic heels to amp it up. Want some sparkle, swagger, and retro vibes? Soft waves pulled to the side along with a classic pink lip color will give you the perfect old Hollywood look. Also, guys, this dress is the most fun to dance in. (Celebrating Innovation Maxi Dress, $200)
The real secret to making a $350 dress feel special is just to bring yourself to it. Also hair and accessories go a long way, y’all. You can make a basic ball gown look edgy with the right combo of both. If you’re looking outside the box for wedding attire, ModCloth has you covered. With over seventy dresses under $350, you can find a killer gown at a price that won’t make you cry. Plus you can almost always find a picture of an ACTUAL HUMAN wearing the items you’re shopping for, so it’s easy to get an idea of what things look like IRL. And if you’re worried about finding something in your size? ModCloth carries dresses up to a size 26 and has lots of options curvy brides (as in, more than just a handful of plus-size dresses).
And feel free to keep the price tag a secret, since you’ll look like a million bucks. Or brag about it to everyone, if that’s your thing. (It’s ours.)
This post was sponsored by ModCloth. ModCloth’s wedding boutique offers stylish wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, shoes, and accessories at prices that you can actually afford. Click here to browse the new collection and experience some of that undercharge/overdeliver magic for yourself. Shop all these looks below!