Wedding Dress Roundup: Glittery & Festive

You guys may recall the other week when Meg mentioned that late pregnancy had her spending a fair amount of time on the APW Pinterest boards, optimizing our Pinterest strategy, and pinning the heck out of useful (and stylish) wedding garb for you guys. Well. About halfway through that process, we realized that a ton of the stuff we were pinning was only going to be available for a limited time, so the best way to make our research actually useful to you guys, would be to pull some of our favorite items together into a roundup and send you in the direction of awesome deals before they’re gone (think of it as Cliffs Notes meets Extreme Couponing, but for Pinterest). Of course, there’s more to it than that. So I’ll let Meg take it from here. 

—Maddie for Maternity Leave

When I started APW, I had a little bit of a… thing… about wedding dresses. I was frustrated with their limited style range (strapless, poufy, repeat) and by their totally nonsensical cost. I mean imagine this. You walk into your department store of choice, and tell them you want to spend $500 on a dress. What do you get? You get a nice ass dress. Now imagine you walk into a bridal salon and tell them you want to spend $500 on a dress. What do you get? Probably laughed at, and possibly some poorly made dress that you worry is actually going to fall apart when you take it off. (Your mileage may vary.) So we decided it was time to get old school APW and put together this indie wedding dress roundup. If you like a sparkly wedding dress (And I do. I’m still obsessed this dress, in one of the earliest weddings on APW ever.) now is the time to get in the dress shopping game, while holiday cocktail dresses are in stores. This roundup is glittery and festive: sparkly wedding dresses, short wedding dresses, and metallic wedding dresses. May it take you down a rabbit hole of magic.

GLAMMY: 1. Plus Size Tadashi Shoji Salon Z Sequin Mesh Gown from Saks ($488), 2. Adian Mattox Sequined Gown from Saks ($500), 3. Rebecca Taylor Frayed and Fitted Gown ($995), 4. Sandy B. Strapless Wedding Gown with Bolero Jacket in Nude Tulle via Etsy ($1,350)

SHORT: 1. Carol Hannah “Bellevue” ($1,075), 2. Anthropologie “Karinska” Tulle Skirt ($188), 3. BCBG “Charlize” Sequin Shoulder Cocktail Dress ($268), 4. Plus Size Tadashi Shoji Salon Z Embellished-neckline Side-drape Dress ($428), 5. Parker Fringe Beaded Dress via Shopbop ($385), 6. Anthropologie Sunday Dress ($228)

METALLIC: 1. Platinum Rhinestone Deep-V Satin Gown via EntreNousBridal’s Etsy Shop ($279), 2. Rebecca Taylor Lil Bit Strapless Gown ($695), 3. Alice + Olivia “Leighton” Embellished A-Line Dress from Nordstrom ($595), 4. Adrianna Papell Cross Back Sequin Blouson Gown from Nordstrom ($337), 5. Plus Size Sleeveless Sequin Lace Blouson Dress by Onyx from Macy’s ($97)

Editor’s Note: Didn’t find what you’re looking for in the roundup? There are a ton more dresses on our Glittery & Festive Indie Wedding Dresses Pinterest Board over here.

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  • Class of 1980

    That’s some fabulous pinning.

  • Oh wow. Short number 4 is sooooooooo my jam. What a great roundup! Also, what pretty graphic design!

    • Maddie

      Dude, if I were going for a short dress I’d be ALL OVER that one. So flattering, right? And the neckline is MIRRORS. I mean, it just makes my narcissistic little heart skip a beat.

      • I mean, I love my wedding dress. My mother in law found it at Macy’s on the sale rack and bought it for me “just in case,” and it ended up being perfect. I’m positive I will wear it again, even if just to anniversary dates.

        But that dress rocks. MIRRORS! Right?!

        And if I had any possible occasion where I could wear that, I’d snap it right up. (It only comes in “natural.” If it came in red or blue, I’d be fabricating fancy events where I’d rock the hell out of it!)

  • Denzi

    Umm, hello, Short Dress #2.

    …do you think I can convince my husband that we should have another wedding so I can wear that? (Especially with the shiny jacket and gorgeous necklace…)

  • CPM

    Awesome roundup– and timely, since I’m starting the dress hunt this weekend! Although I don’t think glittery will work for my summer Sunday brunch wedding, I might be in the market for a killer New Year’s dress, too…

    • Another Meg

      Word. This is the start of my hunt for a glittery NYE dress. It’s official.

  • April

    O M G. Metallic Dress #1. HEAVEN. Where was this when I was dress shopping 3+ years ago and hating everything in sight!!??!?!

  • KB

    WORD!! Metallic #1 is SO up my alley. Maddie, I also have to second the frustration that there is a glut of wedding dresses that look EXACTLY the same. When I was dress shopping, I went into three boutiques and told them I wanted something with short sleeves or straps, and, not kidding, all of them asked me if I was religious or if it was for “modesty reasons.” Um, no, I’d like cleavage, thankyouverymuch – I don’t think non-strapless is THAT radical.

    • Sure, I like cleavage. I just don’t want to worry about exposing said cleavage with an errant arm move. Sleeves and straps keep the girls under wraps, thankyouverymuch. It’s totally not radical.

      • KB


    • Alexandra

      I love that one too. As soon as I saw that dress, it got repinned to my own board.

    • KC

      Non-strapless: for when you don’t want to even think about hitching the stupid thing up *all the time*.

      Strapless dresses can fit like a dream and not require continual surreptitious adjustment, but… I had a black strapless dress that used to fit like a dream (could dance in it, limbo in it, reach for things, bend over, etc, without any adjustment needed)… and then I lost some weight. It still *mostly* fit, and I still wore it to a friend’s evening wedding, but added a sweater over it halfway through. By the time I left, and sat down in the car in the dark and investigated things, the bodice, despite decent boning, had slumped down and was all around my *waist*. Fortunately my hips kept the rest of it from migrating southward and the sweater concealed the evidence, but there was still hysterical post-event laughter in the car when I realized exactly how far my dress had escaped.

      I suppose not wanting to be accidentally topless at an event where grandparents are in attendance could be loosely classified as “modest”, however? :-)

      (one can also just prefer the look of straps or sleeves. But, personally, I love-love-love wearing things that I don’t have to pay attention to if I don’t want to; fancy dresses should make me smile when I think of them, not panic; so any strapless dress that does not fit like a *glove*, and a comfortable glove at that, is absolutely out.)

      • Jo

        Hey, and sorry, some people (like me) just don’t look good in strapless! Or I just don’t like it when headshots look naked. I’m just not into the strapless look. But yeah, it sure seems to be THE THING these days.

        • Another Meg

          If I see one more strapless dress with a sweetheart neckline I’m going to scream.

          • One More Sara

            Can we please stop all the strapless/sweetheart hating? My dress is a sweetheart strapless, and I happen to really like the way I look in it. I understand not everyone likes it, but that’s why you are free to buy other dresses. You shouldn’t need to put down others choices to validate your own.

          • KC

            I think the problem here is not that strapless/sweetheart dresses exist (they exist! they can be gorgeous!) but that it can be really hard for people who are looking for something else (straps/sleeves, esp.) to find something else; if 98% of the dresses in a store are strapless, and you’re looking for something not-strapless your odds of finding something you like… well, the odds aren’t as good. (for gluten-free people, possibly “if one more caterer offers us a menu with fancy pasta as the only vegetarian option, I’m going to scream!” might be similar; it’s really not anything personal against fancy pasta, but the predominance of fancy pasta as a vegetarian catering alternative can make it hard to find, say, a vegetarian curry or a crustless quiche or really *anything else* without paying a lot extra)

          • One More Sara

            I’m not saying that the lack of options isn’t a valid complaint, because it is. But there is a fine line between complaining about the lack in diversity, and making people (like me) who happen to like the trends feel really small. There is a difference in saying “If I see one more strapless dress with a sweetheart neckline, I’m going to scream!” and “If someone suggests I try on one more strapless dress with sweetheart neckline, I’m going to scream!”

        • KC

          Yes on the prefer-headshots-not-to-look-naked thing, too. I had forgotten about that (or possibly repressed that memory…).

          I think it may be that it’s more possible to alter strapless dresses than dresses with integral (non-spaghetti) straps, and wedding dresses are a big alterations market? Or maybe it’s just an everyone-does-it-so-everyone-does-it-so-the-market-changes thing. I don’t know. I do know it seems silly that 90% (or more) of “regular” wedding dresses are strapless, though, given the not-flattering-to-everyone, often-need-hitching-up, naked-looking-headshot issues all put together…

      • KB

        Exactly! I think sleeves/straps actually emphasize and frame nicely, rather than downplay…

  • kyley

    I just messaged the etsy seller for #1/metallic. That dress is literally everything I have been walking around saying I wanted, including the sparkly shoulders, v-neck, non-white color, and the unreasonably low price tag.

    • Rosie

      The price for that dress is UNBELIEVABLE!

  • Emily

    I wore a gold sequined dress to my wedding 2 months ago and I was really happy with it. See pic here:

    It was $450 at Nieman Marcus, the designer is Aidan Mattox. I would highly recommend department stores like NM, Lord and Taylor and Bloomingdales. They have beautiful gowns that are actually cheaper than wedding gowns from bridal stores generally.

    A lot of women I know seemed initially surprised with my choice but I think came to the realization that there’s no set in stone law that you have to wear white!

    • Maddie


      • kyley

        Your dress is gorgeous! A woman working at one of those high-end department stores told me that in January the stores get hit with a bunch of white and white-ish colored dresses, so that’s a good time to check them out!

    • Emilie

      your wedding looks ridiculously classy and fun. and your dress is smashing.

    • Hannah K


  • I seriously considered that #1 Tadashi Shoji sequin dress for my Vegas elopment. Nice work, guys!

  • I remember that 2008 post! I still think about that dress (more than I probably should).

  • Ana

    Thanks APW! My fiance is looking for a sparkly, slim gown with straps and this round up is PERFECT.

  • liblady

    So I’m not currently in the market for a wedding dress, but I love love love that you included a plus size dress in each category. Searching for a comfortable, stylish dress that felt like me and actually fit was one of my biggest wedding planning headaches. (Like when the salesperson asked my sister why I didn’t just buy the super-itchy dress because ‘it looked ok’. Not what I was going for.)

    Not that I would expect anything less than this level of awesome from the APW team!

    • KC

      Okay, in my book, “mildly itchy” is enough to totally disqualify a dress. Let alone “super-itchy”, let alone “it looks ok” (not great! ok! seriously?!).

      Really, even just “this is not the dress I want” is enough reason to not buy the dress. Yes, it’s harder to find things in some sizes, but that is not a good reason to compromise if you don’t want to. Bah, humbug to unhelpful salespeople!

      (I also think it is fantastic that there are plus-size dresses in the lineup *and* that a bunch of the other dresses would not require someone to be stick-thin to look good in them)(short #5 is probably a gorgeous-but-flat-chested exception, but I also can’t figure out how one would sit down in that without extremely complicated leg-crossing maneuvers, so I’m satisfied with just going “oooh, glittery!” and moving along…)

  • Bryna


  • Caroline

    Thank you! This is awesome. I would love to see more if these in other styles (metallic is not really my thing but it is so nice to see actually affordable options that aren’t like every other dress. Even though these aren’t my style ( but they’re super hot for ladies who it is their style!), it’s such a helpful reminder that the dress options are not actually limited to 1)spend far more time than I have sewing or 2) spend far more money that I have or 3) buy something that looks and feels cheap and poorly made and even that is more money than I have.
    It’s so easy to get caught up in “we’ll, dresses just cost that much, so since our budget is tiny, the dress will just have to be an unreasonable portion of it. Sad face”. When no, not really. Seriously, I could get a smashing silk non-wedding dress for 200-300 dollars, why are they so dang expensive?

  • dj pomegranate

    This is a lovely, useful, and beautiful roundup. I am just now starting my search and am already tired of the sweetheart strapless numbers everywhere!

  • mimi

    Love this post! Keep these round-ups coming! I’m not planning yet, but *hope* to be planning soon, so these will be really useful. I already used the engagement ring round-up to get some ideas :)

  • mimi

    Also I just checked and I pretty much match the measurements for Glammy #4…

  • Laura

    Yes yes yes yes!!! This is genius! While I’d already paged through the disappointing “bridal” sections of a bunch of department stores, it somehow hadn’t occurred to me to just look at their normal *dresses* (evening gowns, whatever). And. Gahh. The non-wedding dresses are so so much more interesting and awesome and non-hideous than every single “wedding” dress I’ve found! And at 1/3 to half the cost. Um and yes to sparkles. My life has been changed.

  • OOOH… Sparkly! I LOVE THESE! 4, 5, 1 in order of boards….YUMMMMMMMM! Makes me want to have another wedding! I liked my dress fine, but never fell head over heels with it. That has left a part of me that still looks and longs… sick eh?

  • Meredith

    I had been thinking about the first Tadashi dress for a few months now, but worried that it wasn’t bridal enough. Way to allay my fears! I think it is a strong contender for my January (2014) wedding.

  • Moe

    A plus-size dress? OMG, it’s almost as if you’re aknowledging that not all brides are a perfect size 2.

    *end heavy sarcasm*

    Thank you, all the dresses are fantastic and a departure from the typical dress the WIC endlessly promotes.

  • MissStumptown

    Ah I’m loving this! I was completely determined to have a gold, sparkly, non poofy, short wedding dress, and surprisingly I ended up with a short, ivory, polka dot confection from Sarah Seven (that was totally on sale!) that I am in love with. Still, I’m dying for these dresses and hope someone finds their absolute dream dress in this roundup!