Wedding dresses are insanely expensive. I learned this four years ago when I worked at New York Magazine; one of my internal side hustles involved handling the fashion for New York Weddings, which meant styling wedding dress fashion shoots for the bi-annual magazine. Though I was already numb to the kinds of price tags that come with designer clothes, I couldn’t get over a $10k sticker on a white gown that you’d wear once. Granted, $10k was reserved for the really dramatic, big-train editorial ones, but it was such a prevalent number, $5k options started to feel reasonable. Working in fashion skewed my outlook: I didn’t love the look of a traditional, proper, formal wedding dress. My mind was focused on the runway. In the context of the actual average cost of wedding dresses in the US ($1,546, according to The Knot), you’re left with few options that feel special.
The more affordable (“affordable”) dresses ended up being the kinds of pieces that, under any other circumstance, you might scoff at. A $2,000 dress on Net-a-Porter becomes a bargain — especially when it makes you feel like yourself and not, like Ali MacGraw said, a face being worn by a gown (as opposed to you wearing it).
A recent perusal of white dresses online proved that this truth still holds. Scroll through for 10 could-be-but-technically-are-not wedding dresses with price tags that won’t make your eyes pop out of your head. The highest hit is a puff-sleeved Markarian gown for $2,250 (but you’d pay half now, half when it arrives, like my laser beams); the lowest is good old Topshop coming in hot at $170. (By the way, they actually have a whole bridal section now. Don’t forget Reformation does, too.)
And for everything else, there is quite literally Mastercard. I’ll rob a cake shop with you, though.