Affordable Wedding Dresses

Fashionable doesn't always have to mean expensive. Designer gowns are obviously not within most brides' reach, but that doesn't mean you have to forgo the latest styles. Here are some great options that won't bust your budget.

Encore by Watters

Don't get hung up on marketing. The Encore by Watters dresses are billed as rehearsal dinner, exit and destination wedding dresses but there's absolutely nothing wrong with choosing one as your wedding dress. These stylish – and very affordable – dresses are perfect for the bride looking for lace, a shorter skirt or a more casual look. Think of them as the anti-ball gown. They range from about $250-$500, with the majority falling somewhere around $350 or so. Most have skirts that fall at the knee or a little bit above, though there are a few full- and tea-length options. Plus, if you're looking outside the box of traditional white, then you're in luck. Many of the dresses in this collection offer a wide range of lace, ribbon and lining color options.

The Catania lace dress has popular three-quarter length sleeves and v-neckline that channels the recent trend of plunging necklines while remaining modest. Peplums are in. Get this fashionable look with Palm.

The Coriander has a modest neckline with a stylish open back. This particular dress has a number of lace, ribbon and liner color options as well, as do many of the Encore by Watters dresses.

The simple, sweet and romantic Messina with a dramatic illusion back.

In addition to longer sleeves, short and cap sleeves are also gaining popularity. The Palermo offers a wide selection of lace, lining and ribbon colors. Channel a little retro flair with the tea-length Rho.


J. Crew

The leader of preppy chic, J. Crew, has a full wedding department including menswear, bridesmaid and wedding dresses. These are a slight step up in price from Encore by Watters with prices ranging from around $300 all the way up to $2,200. The majority, however, run about $500-$700. This collection will appeal to the bride looking for a simple, sophisticated and sleek style. The minimalist nature of J. Crew is a fantastic opportunity to glam up your look with statement jewelry.

The Heidi gown has a flowing silhouette with a flattering crossover neckline. The Jillian is inspired by vintage style and features a curve-hugging fit and an open back. Slinky, simple styles like these are definitely in.

This scallop lace dress is a classic shift with trendy illusion sleeves. The Juliette is on the higher end of J. Crew's price range, but if you're looking for an affordable gown that features the tiered look, then this is a great option.


Ann Taylor

For anyone who has a closet stuffed with Ann Taylor and Loft outfits, rejoice! Ann Taylor now offers both wedding and bridesmaid dresses that offer a bit more glam than either Encore by Watters or J. Crew. Though the collection does feature some shorter (and casual) styles, there are a number of floor-length gowns for those who are looking for a traditional look. Want more good news? The majority of Ann Taylor's dresses are priced at under $1,000.

This lovely illusion neckline features a big trend in the wedding fashion world – bold, dramatic detailing. The Gemstone Yoke Trumpet Gown (there's another fashionable component) also has a keyhole back. A romantic gown with delicate lace cap sleeves.

A classic strapless gown with an updated look thanks to the textured jacquard. Another classic strapless dress gets a modern twist with a peplum. Made from duchess satin.


David's Bridal Designer Lines

Fine. So you have your heart set on a designer label. A good – and much more affordable – place to start is David's Bridal. They recently introduced several designer collections that are much more accessible for brides on a budget (or for those who just aren't willing to break the bank on a dress). Try White by Vera Wang, Truly Zac Posen, Oleg Cassini, Melissa Sweet, Galina Signature and Galina. Prices range from around $300 (Galina)-$1,900 (Vera Wang) depending on the collection. You'll find a wide range of prices within each collection.

White by Vera Wang. Organza ball gown with a draped bodice and tulle skirt. Organza ball gown with metallic flower details.

Truly Zac Posen. A lace mermaid gown with stylish oversized rosette ruffles on the skirt. Fit and flare lace gown with flutter cap sleeves.

Oleg Cassini. Foral jacquard gown with a tiered back. Opulent A-line gown with illusion sleeves.

Melissa Sweet. Soft ball gown of point d'esprit with lace banded tulle overlay that features beaded lace appliques and a high illusion neckline. Corded lace strapless gown.


Galina Signature. Lace sheath gown with a dramatic capelet embellishment. Chiffon sheath gown with a touch of old Hollywood glam and sequin tulle bodice.


Categories: Gowns