When I got married, I was looking at wedding dresses under $500. And I try not to have any coulda woulda shouldas about our wedding (because spoiler alert: they’re not timeless, y’all). But sometimes… sometimes I wish I got married now instead of five years ago. Not because we’re more mature now than we were when we got married (we are). Not even because we could afford a nicer wedding (we could). No, it’s because 2015’s affordable wedding dresses are so much cooler than the dresses in 2009, and I’m jealous.
Anika Tulle Skirt & In Perpetuity Camisole via BHLDN ($160-500)
When we got married, the most expensive dress I’d ever purchased before my wedding dress was my prom dress (for a whopping $75 dollars at Marshalls, thankyouverymuch). So the idea of spending a few hundred dollars, forget a few thousand, on a wedding dress was just out of the question, logistically and emotionally. I might sing a different tune now, but that’s neither here nor there. At the time, there were maybe a handful of wedding dresses under $500, and most of them were a knockoff of Cinderella’s ball gown (aka not for me). But lucky for you, the future is now, and affordable wedding dresses have exploded the market. So today, we’ve rounded up forty of our favorite wedding dresses under $500. But first, a few tips before you buy:
- There are lots of reasons wedding dresses cost what they do, but two of the most important ones are structure and support. If you’re buying a dress from this list, keep in mind it might not have the same built-in structure as a proper wedding gown (I’m looking at you well-endowed ladies). You may need to invest in either a slip, or having a tailor sew in a lining (nothing puts a damper on your day like being able to see that fancy undergarment you just bought).
- If structure and support matter, opt for a bridesmaid dress in white, or get yourself to a place like David’s Bridal. Whereas of-the-rack dresses may have nicer fabrics and more embellishments, bridesmaid dresses and David’s Bridal dresses are meant to be worn for formal occasion, and usually have some boning or other structure already sewn in. That slinky number from Neiman Marcus? Not so much.
- Keep an open mind. Nine times out of ten, wedding dresses (and formal gowns in general) look significantly better on real bodies than they do on models (particularly if you’re not six-feet-tall, that dress will actually hit the floor). So if you like the general look of a dress, but aren’t sure how the fit would work on you, give it a try. You’ll surprise yourself with what you end up looking good in.
Even though I can’t go back in time and throw sequins at my former self, the sheer number of badass wedding dresses that show up in our real wedding submissions each month makes it all worth it. And if I see just one of these come in this year, I’ll consider my work here done.
Wedding Dresses Under $500
Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaids One-Shoulder Draped Tulle Gown via Neiman Marcus ($238)
Brianna Gown via J.Crew ($149)
Appliqued tulle dress via The Outnet ($193.60)
Illusion Neck Beaded Gown via Neiman Marcus ($495)
Annabelle Dress via BHLDN ($260)
Sequin A-Line Gown via Nordstrom ($358)
Isabel Dress via Reformation ($173)
Fleur Dress via BHLDN ($250)
Annabelle Dress & Marnie Topper via BHLDN ($220-260)
Alyse Strapless Ruched Skirt Dress via BCBG ($236.60)
Closet Tie Front Dress with Kimono Sleeve via ASOS ($29)
Metallic Lace Dress via ASOS (on sale for $109)
Clara Gown in Silk and Chiffon via J.Crew ($354)
Long Mesh Dress with Illusion Beaded Neckline via David’s Bridal ($179.95)
Chloe Dress via BHLDN ($120)
After Party Vintage 54th Street Satin Jumpsuit via NastyGal ($178, currently out of stock, but worth getting on the waitlist for)
Strapless Ruched Gown via Bloomingdales ($219)
Lace Cape Dress via BCBG ($68.99
Lela Rose Crinkle Chiffon Gown via Joielle ($300, available in sizes 00–30)
What are your favorite wedding dresses under $500?