Stunning and Budget Friendly Casual Wedding Dresses

Congratulations, you are engaged! One of the first things a bride does after the engagement (and sometimes before setting a wedding date) is beginning the search for the perfect wedding dress.

Unfortunately, this is when many couples and brides realize the sticker shock of all things wedding. After all, stories, shows and cartoons have drilled into our heads the need for everything expensive, fancy, and poofy for weddings since before we learned how to walk. In fact, showed that US couples spent over $2.5 billion dollars on wedding dresses in 2018! (No wonder wedding dress shows are so popular!)

No need to panic, there are options for those of us who rebel from the status quo and make our own decisions on what our wedding will look like, how we dress and how to best invest our income. Over half of the brides that I officiated for in 2018 wore some kind of casual wedding dress.

Finding “The Dress”

Now that you know the traditional wedding gown isn’t for you, you must ask yourself what dress is? Most brides decide that casual wedding dresses are the best option because they can serve more than one purpose. You can wear it more than once and it’s cost effective. If you have at least 3 months before your wedding day you will have more options to choose from. Here are a few places you can start your wedding dress shopping;

  • Online, many brides are purchasing their wedding dresses online. now offers a “try it before you buy it” option where you can order a number of different outfits and return the ones that don’t fit or that you don’t like. and offer dresses as low as $10. These sites ship directly from China so it can take up to 3 weeks to get your dress.
    • I have personally purchased clothing from all three of these sites. If you are hesitant about purchasing clothing from China and you live in the US, remember 80% of our clothing comes from China. So, why pay retail prices when you can pay wholesale for the same thing? My wedding party was all of our nieces and nephews, we purchased all the dresses from at $15 each. That was 3 1/2 years ago and the dresses are still in great condition!
    • Keep in mind, when you are making a clothing purchase online, READ REVIEWS, look at real customer photos of the clothing and become familiar with the return policy. Check out my post on what to know and where to go to purchase your wedding dress online.
  • Retail stores are great for a bride on a time crunch! Many retail stores stock casual and formal dresses throughout the year. If you are having a spring or summer wedding you are in luck because prom and graduation season goes from March – June. If you are having a late summer early fall wedding you can find those same dresses on sale. For brides having a wedding in the late fall or winter months there are many formal holiday dresses to choose from.
    • I had two dresses at my wedding. One for my ceremony and one for the reception. My ceremony dress came from a wedding retailer. I paid WAY too much for it (about $2,500) and the zipper busted 5 minutes before my wedding began. Thankfully my mother (a former seamstress) literally sewed me into my dress before I walked down the isle. My reception dress was purchased at a retail store and was SO comfortable! I was able to move, I looked GREAT and it allowed me to be present in the moment and enjoy my reception. Best of all I paid less than $100 for my reception dress.
  • Foreign retail stores are another great place to look for a dress. Think of a foreign market
    place or shopping mall. Many of these places offer beautiful casual and formal wedding dresses at a fraction of the price.

    • At the beginning of the year I partnered with local wedding vendors to launch my All Inclusive Mini Weddings service. One of the vendors is a beauty supply/ bridal supply store. They have a huge warehouse and from the outside you would think they just sell beauty products. But when you go into the store, you quickly realize that half of the warehouse is filled with beautiful dresses. Many of these types of stores sell quality wedding dresses for less than $200.

2 is Better than 1

If you choose to purchase a dress from a local store (US or Foreign) always ask about discounts or sales for multiple purchases. Many times if a company knows that you are purchasing your dress(es) and wedding party dresses they will give you some type of discount.

Something Old or Borrowed

Do you have a family member who has the dress they got married in and wants to pass it down? If
so, this could be a perfect option for you! Many brides wear their mothers, grandmothers or Aunt’s old wedding dress. A seamstress can create a completely new dress for the bride from the old dress. This is a great way to give new life to an old dress and keep it in the family. Prices to customize an old wedding dress can be as low as $80.

Color is IN!

White is not always right! There has been a trend for the past few years where the wedding party wears white or ivory and the bride wears the pop of color. So, unless you are stuck to white, for religious or traditional purposes, think outside the box (or color in this case). You can find the same dress for up to 50% less if it is not white.

Say “YES” to the Dress!

Bottom line, your wedding dress doesn’t have to break to bank or be traditional. There are many options for casual wedding dresses that are classy and beautiful! This is YOUR WEDDING, YOUR BODY, and YOUR OUTFIT, so be comfortable and confident in the clothing that you choose!

I would love to hear about the decision you made on you are wedding outfit. Fell free to leave me a comment or ask questions! And YES, you can wear a wedding jumpsuit!


11 thoughts on “Stunning and Budget Friendly Casual Wedding Dresses

  1. How useful information! Thank you for sharing it, it is nicely written and gives me some tips for my future wedding dress.

  2. So many cool ideas and options! Great insight into an industry that is sucking out so much of our money for 1 night of our lives! It is definitely an important night but if there are alternatives then why not save up some money?!

    1. HI Zissy,

      Thank you for your comment. I am glad you enjoyed reading this post. Your absolutely right, your wedding day is important and should be celebrated and cherished while saving money.


  3. Wow! I really love your article! First of all, I did not know about all those options, like Amazon, for Wedding dresses. And I love the personal things you have done for people you have performed weddings for. My favorite thing you said was about the bride considering a dress with color! I just think that is an awesome option especially if you aren’t wealthy & have a ton of money to spend on a dress.
    Every woman deserves to feel beautiful on her special day!
    Thank you for your post! I really enjoyed it!

    1. Hi Shiloh,

      Thank you for your comment. A lot of people think that spending less on a wedding is for monetary reasons. However, many times it is because the couple would rather invest their hard earned income on things that will help them in the future. Paying down debt, purchasing a home, saving for a family or even retirement are all things I hear from couples when they are looking for ways to lower their wedding cost. You are absolutely correct, every woman deserves to feel beautiful on her wedding day. I am just happy that I can provide alternative purchasing options. I am glad you enjoyed reading my post.


  4. Thank you for bringing out such hidden ideas some of us couldn’t think about when it comes to wedding dress. We spend a whole lot of money for a once in lifetime stuff meanwhile there are other things to do afterward and we can save some money to take care of those things by cutting down on wedding outfit.
    Thank you for advising. I see it as advise as some of us will always want to look higher, now we need to look lower a little bit. I have a friend whose wedding is coming up soon. I will share this with him to help him make the right choice.

    1. Hi Eric,

      Thank you for your comment. You are correct, there will always be brides that want to go all out and get that $20K wedding dress. And that is just fine by me! My main focus is for those who would like to make the most of their money. By providing them with alternative dress options they can still looking and feeing stunning on their wedding day while saving some cash.


  5. Hi Steph, I completely agree with you! It has never made any sense to me to buy a traditional, super expensive dress that I would only use once in my life. As you said, there are many options that are classy and beautiful. I also believe that a more casual dress that reflects your personality and style can flatter you even more than the usual, traditional, long, white dress!

    I am very curious about the “try it before you buy it” option by Amazon. I have a friend who is currently struggling with finding a not so expensive dress that she likes… I will share your post with her. Thanks a lot!!

    1. Hi Margherita,

      Thank you for your comment. I am glad that you can relate to this post. I am in the process of updating this post so that I can share direct links to some amazing online companies that offer traditional and casual wedding dresses under $200. So keep an eye out for the update. I’m sure it will help your friend when purchasing a wedding dress. Please tell her congratulations for me.


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