Style

Let’s Find This Reader a Wedding Dress!

simple wedding dresses

Ladies, one of our own is searching for a simple wedding dress, but she’s stumped…

Q. “I’m eloping next year, and I cannot find a dress for the life of me. I don’t need a frilly floor-length thing, but I still something fancier than I’d wear to the office. I’m an older bride, so I want my arms covered, and I’d prefer a knee-length or midi hem. Of course, I’m trying to stay economical, but for a dress that’s not a Bridal Gown™, that ought to be manageable. In weddings featured on Cup of Jo, I often see brides wearing joyful dresses at their weddings — but where the heck are you guys finding those?” — Amy

A. Great question!!! We’ve got this, Amy! I scouted around the internet and found some pretty looks, below, in case any of them call your name:

Readers, please add suggestions in the comment section! (This is also really pretty.) And anyone else have a pressing fashion question? xoxoxo

P.S. 7 New York City Hall weddings, and 11 wedding dos and don’ts.

(Top photo by Melissa Milis Photography/Stocksy.)

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

  1. Trude says...

    I got my perfect knee length vintage style dress from Pinup Girl Clothing for about $135 four years ago. I’m still debating dyeing it so I can keep wearing it! Gorgeous quality satin and all it needed was a tiny bit of tailoring from a local lady.

  2. Hayley B says...

    Hi Amy, just wanted to chime in here with my two cents’ piece — which you should feel free to ignore if it doesn’t speak to you — that you might want to remain open to “fancier” wedding dress options. Not necessarily full-on pouffy Disney princess ballgowns, just more elaborate ones with more beading, lace, embellishments, etc. Simply because I’ve discovered many many times with the fickle Fashion Gods that if you’re fixated on One Type Of Dress, it suddenly becomes harder to find than an affordable place in Manhattan that isn’t a shoe box, but you WILL come across dozens of perfectly gorgeous examples of the type of dress you thought you didn’t want! If you’re looking for a midi length dress, you might for example find gorgeous full-length options. If you wanted something with sleeves, you’ll probably find plenty of sleeveless or bustier style options, that you might still be able to work with with a pretty shawl, or bolero jacket, or cardigan. And if you want something simple yet fancier than something you’d wear to the office, more often than not you’ll either find stunning full on black tie options, or too-casual summery cotton dresses! I understand the desire for a more understated dress that you can fancy up with elaborate accessories like necklaces, earrings or brooches, but unless you already have said accessories in hand, I’ve found that often that means you’re then stuck with another search for the right accessories! Sometimes if you keep an open mind and roll with the punches, you might find something totally unexpected within your budget that works like a dream for you. At least that’s been my experience as a shopaholic!

    I’m not recommending any more dresses here because the other commenters have done such a stellar job of finding the MOST fabulous frocks, but I do want to say I hope you’ll end up with something stunning and the wedding (and marriage!!) goes perfectly as well. We’re all rooting for you! ♥️ And congrats again!!!

  3. Saedi says...

    I would love to get mask recommendations! Now that we’re six months in, it’s time to lean into the fashion side of safety.

  4. Meg says...

    I vote for the fit and flare — always flattering, and the sleeves aren’t loose, which will allow you to wear a cardigan or light jacket and not have the think twice about wrinkling the sleeves, etc…bonus: the dress can be dyed for a different social event :)

    • Lauren says...

      Wow, that one is great!

  5. AM says...

    I really recommend you peek at eShakti if you haven’t already. Everything is customizable and really well priced. Fabrics range in basic cotton to nicer options. They have a bridal line that’s fairly new but the possibilities are endless: https://www.eshakti.com/Shop/Bride I’ve had several friends—who have eloped or hosted really small gatherings— love the end result.
    Good luck, and congratulations!

    • Cat says...

      Lovely!!!!! And so special!

    • Vee says...

      So pretty!

  6. Andrea says...

    Love the puff sleeve dress from Lulu’s! xo

    • Elizabeth says...

      Yes, love this dress!

  7. Needle and Thread has beautiful and unique dresses that are special but aren’t necessarily traditional.

  8. alison says...

    We just had a teeny tiny wedding over labor day weekend — I got my dress (it was the 3rd one I ordered, but so glad I kept looking!) from Sezane. I loved how vintage inspired it felt, and was still very special despite not being a “wedding dress.” I highly recommend wearing a dress that requires zero special undergarments. I felt like a human! :) here’s a pic! https://www.instagram.com/p/CEz6sTjHkM2/

  9. Liz says...

    BHLDN! I wanted to spend less than $300 on my dress, and there were over 40 (!) options in my range. If possible, I recommend making an appointment since they can pull all the options in your budget before you get there. Then, don’t look at the price tag and just try on – you know you won’t be going over your budget but will resist penny-pinching. My dream dress ended up being less than $200 and was simple, sleek and elegant. Congrats and best wishes!

    • Ali says...

      I got an on sale bridesmaid dress from bhldn (lavender) and bought a white lace top to go over it- it was a dream and the whole thing cost less than $300!

  10. Anne says...

    Hi all,
    I got married in my living room, and after hunting high and low, I ended up in a vintage white dinner jacket and silk pants. I spent very little $ on each, and spent a little more to have them tailored to fit perfectly. It was a great day – 25 years ago.

  11. Chelsea says...

    Girl I know this sounds insane but you have to get one made. I had the same problem – I eloped and was throwing a separate party / reception, and wanted to wear an insane colorful peplum bustier-type top to the reception with just like a simple, but nice, white long skirt with a tasteful slit. Was looking for something in the sub-$500 range for MONTHS, but nada. My options were literally Forever 21 or J Mendel. The industry sure does have a lock on white womenswear! Frustrated, I went to a local shop that is killer (I’m in DC, but I know you can find this in any city – and DONT go to ones specific to brides), and they custom made me a skirt in my ideal fabric (got to buy it myself) and style. For just about $250 / $300, all-in. It was the BEST decision I’d ever made, especially since I am hippy and also was picky about the fabric, how high the slit went, etc. Congrats!!

    • AM says...

      Gotta know – What shop in DC?!

  12. Amy says...

    The bride to be here–I’m still working my way through all the suggestions and comments in this wonderful post. Work of course went mega-hectic this week, and I don’t know when/if I’ll ever get through them all. But I just wanted to say how very much I appreciate everyone who weighed in with suggestions or just good wishes. I’m so touched and very grateful.

    • Alexis says...

      We had so much fun with City Hall! Highly recommend going for your wildest dreams – I wore white jeans, velvet heels with feathers, a silky peachy blouse underneath a white cape, my mom’s burgundy silk scarf, and a vintage fur from the flea market on W77th.

      https://www.instagram.com/p/BsQyQVeDLZB/
      If you need a photographer that is well acquainted with City Hall, I recommend Eileen Meeny. For easy hair and makeup done by pros: Glamsquad.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you look stunning, Alexis!!!

    • Dionne says...

      http://www.kamperett.com // theirs are so beautiful and versatile! congrats!

  13. Keri says...

    BHLDN has some beautiful simple wedding dresses. They have a hold category of “city hall dresses”
    My favourites are the Goldie Dress and the Caron Dress.. there’s even a few jumpsuits!

  14. Adriane M says...

    Anything Zimmerman!!!

  15. Rachel says...

    Hi! Bless you! I got married in a COVID-era zoom micro wedding last month and wore a Rachel Pally white caftan dress that was midi length. I got the long-sleeved version (they have a drapey sleeve version too) and felt like a queen. Mine was on sale for $80 on Amazon (gasp!) and I made my own veil using Youtube tutorials. You got this!

    • I’m a wedding planner in San Francisco and that find is GORGEOUS. Well done, B! It’s the stuff of dreams!

    • Alison says...

      I want to get married again so I can wear that dress!

    • Hayley B says...

      Oh my goodness B that is breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL. I love it!!! Totally third this for Amy!

  16. Alice says...

    Amy, I just stepped into 2020 and worked out how I can show you my dress! Here’s a link:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/6dhGMcJe9oDKQktc9
    COJ, this post and thread is what the world needs now!! Waves from Utrecht to all xxx
    PS Loving the general “home with kids how not to feel blah” chat – this is so important! 🎈✨✨

  17. andrea says...

    fashion question! On mat leave with a 3 month old and a 3 year old and want a “uniform” that isn’t just yoga pants (my go to!) and also isn’t jeans (too restrictive!). Looking to feel slightly put together but also very comfy. Thoughts??

  18. Camille says...

    I wore Elizabeth Dye’s Dunaway dress for my backyard Covid wedding and felt beautiful. I then changed into a Park and Fifth midi dress for the reception. Both with sleeves and very comfortable ! (No spanx required, but I did wear boob tape for both dresses). I hope you find your perfect dress and best wishes !

  19. I had my wedding dress made by Alice Walk – they are a small company based in the Northeast that makes “semi-custom” dresses that are very well-made in the fabric of your choice! My dress was knee-length, sleeveless and had pockets, and cost about $500. It was so comfortable and beautifully made, and felt special and perfectly fit for me without being too $$$!

    • Emily says...

      Omg so excited to hear you got your dress from Alice Walk! Emily Keneally, the founder, is one of my closest friends and I couldn’t be more proud and impressed by the quality of her dresses. I highly recommend for anyone looking to get a dress made by hand just for you (and at an affordable price point!). Her Instagram handle is @alicewalk if anyone wants to check it out. 💕

  20. Jenny says...

    I have a piece of old-fashioned advice for you, straight from my retired seamstress neighbor who grew up in Syria, keeps the cleanest kitchen imaginable, and has forceful, correct opinions. (She will also read your coffee grounds and inevitably predict your death, then laugh and say true for us all!) Spend money on a slip that really fits you, or have one made. It can elevate the fit of any dress, and add that glossy feeling of drape and swish that makes you feel pretty!

    • Meghan says...

      Oh my gosh, reading “that glossy feeling of drape and swish” made me instantly need both a well-fitted drape AND a new dress! Thank you for that bit of advice and that lovely wording!

    • Meghan says...

      Darn it, new *slip*! Typing while rocking babies…sigh.

  21. Martha says...

    This is fun! I got married 2 weeks ago in a very “COVID” style wedding (9 guests), and wore a dress from Park & Fifth, a great Canadian company! I wore the Galiano style dress which is sleeveless, but they have lots of other great dresses that do have sleeves….Good luck!

    https://parkandfifthco.com/pages/white-collection

  22. Sarah E says...

    Boy am I late to the party! But I still feel like I have something to share since people love love(and dresses)….

    The story of my elopement:
    My now husband and I were planning a family wedding but needed/wanted to get legally married sooner to get started on his U.S. residency(we normally live between Tanzania and the UK). Last November we travelled a long way to a small town in the beautiful desert canyons of the American southwest where we hoped to move one day, and the trip quickly became quite serendipitous. I hadn’t planned much, and found an officiant and location with relative ease, but we were still without crucial witnesses. I was seriously considering grabbing unsuspecting strangers off the street and asking them to be witnesses when our neighbor in Tanzania mentioned via text that he had an old friend living in town. So we met him for coffee, got on swimmingly, and had our first witness in the bag. He later introduced us to his neighbors who were kind and generous and may become instrumental in us setting up the kind of business we wanted to run there, but I digress…

    A couple of days later we were in the grocery store in town and my fiancé happened to see a water bottle with a very distinctive design sitting in the cart of a woman next to us(bottles with said design were imported to TZ by his company, and only distributed by two safari companies in the country). So he asked where she had gotten it, and it turned out that she and her family had recently been on safari guided by friends of ours in TZ! She lived out east and just happened to be in town visiting a friend of hers, and had almost left the bottle in the car. We chatted to her and her friend for a while and even attracted onlookers(“this sounds so interesting, how do you guys know each other?”). So now we had new friends and more than enough witnesses.

    On the day of the ceremony we woke up early and greeted the day with coffee in the crisp air watching the sun move across the cliffs and into the valley. We went for a long trail run exploring a nearby canyon and savored the solitude. After my fiancé cooked us his special brunch, I got ready, we video called my parents, and drove out to our site. The chosen site was a wide ledge situated amongst ancient red sandstone towers, overlooking a valley with cliffs and the Colorado River in the distance. The late afternoon sun was growing long as we began in the presence of our witnesses, officiant and her dog, and the gods of space and time. We made simple yet profound promises to one another: to each give the other a partner who always listens without judgement, and a home where we never question our own worth. As we kissed, cheers erupted from rock climbers part way up the nearby towers. Afterward, we signed paperwork and sipped local beer with our new friends as we watched the sun sink into the golden hour. We continued socializing back in town and then headed off on our own for a delicious dinner before calling it a night. It was perfect and whimsical and spontaneous and romantic and all the things that we so often don’t get in this stage of life. I will savor it forever.

    Regarding the dress, I had the same problem while searching for my dress for the family event only worse because I didn’t want to wear white! My ideal color was emerald green, so I guess I was being particular. I scoured the internet to the best of my ability, feeling like Goldilocks or the bear from Old Hat New Hat(anyone else remember that book??). Everything was too short or too long or too sparkly or too shapeless or too revealing or too something. I thought of having something made but that would have been too pricy, and too difficult to do remotely. Then one day this one just happened to drop out of the sky and it was absolutely everything I wanted! I could hardly believe it.
    https://www.shopbop.com/sleeve-embroidered-cocktail-flowers-marchesa/vp/v=1/1511283039.htm?folderID=13351&fm=other-shopbysize-viewall&os=false&colorId=11852

    The family wedding was scheduled for April 2020 and now I have no idea if I will ever get to wear this dress. I will keep hoping. :)

    • Katherine says...

      This is such an incredible story!!! Thank you for sharing!! Sounds like it was orchestrated by God! ☺️

    • Kate says...

      Sweet Heaven that dress is incredible!

    • Karin says...

      What a truly, truly beautiful love story, thanks for sharing, and oh my goodness – that emerald dress is just beyond stunning! I wore one of her dresses to a friends wedding years ago (mine was full length black /gold) and I received so many lovely compliments. Her dresses are so divine and fit amazing well. So tempted to treat myself to this green dress now but when would I wear it! Damn…decisions decisions!!

    • Amy says...

      Amazing story, and incredible dress! I think you should not only wear this to the wedding but at every remotely plausible occasion thereafter.

  23. Love that idea of finding a joyful wedding dress — what a perfect way to phrase it!

  24. Ann says...

    I wore a white Lilly Pulitzer dress with sleeves at my tiny pandemic wedding in a park. I’d purchased a “real” dress and never wore it. We cancelled our larger wedding because we felt it was irresponsible to have our friends and family gather during the pandemic, but we still wanted to get married. I’m 40, so I guess that makes me an older bride, too! It’s the Aiden Mini Dress, was very comfortable, tea length, I enjoyed wearing it.

    https://www.lillypulitzer.com/aiden-midi-dress/003889.html

    • Robin says...

      This is soooo pretty! Great find! (And congrats!)

    • Amy says...

      Oh, that’s a good one!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love that dress!!!

  25. Tricia M says...

    I think I like the simplicity of the satin puff sleeve; I can see it with an eye catching bunch of flowers! Looking forward to hearing which one she finally chose.

  26. Kaye says...
  27. Teresa says...

    Hi! I got married in a smaller ceremony in 2015 – and like you I wanted a non-wedding wedding dress, and it was a winter wedding so I wanted sleeves. As others have noted just shopping was helpful. I ended up finding it at Barneys (RIP) – well actually my fiance found it!

    It was a simple wool shift, jewel neckline, bracelet sleeves, and I thought it was too plain, not enough to be a wedding dress, but I put it on with a pair of heels, and suddenly it hit me, it was simple yes, but sharp. Just right. But! I never would have known if I didn’t try it on – so if you’ve got a few months, try keeping an open mind and open eye.

  28. Kelsey says...

    Kara Thoms has some of the dreamiest dresses!

  29. Anjali says...
  30. AD says...
    • Susannah says...

      Ooh I love the Christy Dawn dresses! I’m getting married in a backyard ceremony next spring and these are great options! Thanks for posting!!

  31. Katie says...

    So… did we? Will we get an update?

  32. I just love this COJ community! Loved this post and also all the recommendations from everyone!

    Amy, quick question — are you set on white? I know we assume white when we think bride but just wanted to ask and throw out the idea that you could wear WHATEVER brings you joy and feels like a joyful dress for your wedding! I’m Chinese-American and red is a color that used often in weddings…so I’m actually contemplating wearing red versus white if we get married in a smaller ceremony! I may have just created even more endless possibilities, but I hope whatever you settle on is something that just brings you happiness looking at it!

    <3, Jess

    • Amy says...

      Not at all set on white! I’m rather pale skinned, so I worry about looking a bit like Casper the Friendly Ghost all in white. But I am torn between looking for something pale but in a definite tint (more bridal) versus going vibrant.

      Definitely wear red, if you feel joy at the thought!

    • AD says...

      Omg. I big SECOND this one.

    • Traci says...

      Same! Just lovely. Simple yet not.

    • Doris says...

      YES from me as well!

    • Amy says...

      That has a lot of charm, and it’s right in my budget…

  33. peach says...

    i love everyone helping….
    looking forward to seeing what she chooses

  34. peach says...

    I love this post and i love everyone helping….
    looking forward to seeing what she chooses

  35. JennX says...

    I hope others have said… design your own dress and get it made! I worked from magazine pictures, found a seamstress and spent about $300 for my very own custom designed/made/fit dress. So worth it!

    • Amy says...

      Someone else did suggest this, and I’m definitely considering it. Not only would it be what I want, but also it would be supporting a local craftsperson during a difficult time. This post may prove to be my well of inspiration!

  36. Klara says...

    outnet.com
    Gorgeous pieces!

  37. Meghan says...

    fun post! thanks for including us in the excitement. :)
    congratulations, amy!

  38. Maria says...

    Have a look at Dôen, their clothes don’t come cheap but are so beautifully made – really really great quality, timeless style, so flattering, and very versatile depending on accessories. There are some dreamy dresses that could work as a wedding dress for now, and styled more casually later on :)

  39. Lou says...

    I am 41, getting married for the first time, and just found my wedding dress! I was with a friend shopping at Housing Works in Chelsea (for those not in NYC it’s a thrift store with proceeds benefiting HIV/AIDS organizations). We were browsing when I started going through dresses. My friend jokingly asked, “oh are you wedding dress shopping?” And then BAM I pulled out a floor length champagne satin dress with cropped jacket. We both just stood there with our mouths agape. I bought it for $20! And it only needs minimal alterations. I tell this story because A) I was not wedding dress shopping (i was planning on making an appointment at a wedding dress designer’s showroom) And B) I wasn’t ever considering a floor length satin dress (always imagined something way less traditional). But when you know you know. Just like love.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is so incredible!!! congratulations, Lou!

    • Amy says...

      Awesome! I would wish for such luck.

  40. Stacy says...

    BHLDN!! 100% worth checking out. I purchased my dress from them but they have such an assortment of styles and coverage options- and they’re affordable! They also ship relatively quickly for bridal stuff so that’s a big plus! (And are returnable!) I’m linking some dresses that meet your criteria, but also keep bridal tops/toppers in mind! They’re like top piece that decoratively lays over the top portion of whatever high-waisted skirt or dress (likely something more simple and classic). It adds pizzazz and texture and allows you to find the perfect-fit white dress to go underneath it!! Linking some of them below too- good luck!! Use the money you save to get an amazing photographer! Elopement photos are so romantic. Congrats!

    Dresses:
    https://www.bhldn.com/products/gwenda-dress?via=Z2lkOi8vdXJibi9Xb3JrYXJlYTo6Q2F0YWxvZzo6Q2F0ZWdvcnkvQ0I3OUE5NDE

    https://www.bhldn.com/products/leyden-dress?via=Z2lkOi8vdXJibi9Xb3JrYXJlYTo6Q2F0YWxvZzo6Q2F0ZWdvcnkvQ0I3OUE5NDE

    https://www.bhldn.com/products/cailyn-dress?via=Z2lkOi8vdXJibi9Xb3JrYXJlYTo6Q2F0YWxvZzo6Q2F0ZWdvcnkvQ0I3OUE5NDE

    https://www.bhldn.com/products/patchwork-sequin-dress?via=Z2lkOi8vdXJibi9Xb3JrYXJlYTo6Q2F0YWxvZzo6Q2F0ZWdvcnkvQ0I3OUE5NDE

    Topper idea!
    https://www.bhldn.com/products/sariah-top?via=Z2lkOi8vdXJibi9Xb3JrYXJlYTo6Q2F0YWxvZzo6Q2F0ZWdvcnkvRjI1MzJBNTg

  41. Kari says...

    We will eventually need a follow-up to this post… what dress does she choose?!?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Amy said she’ll share her final pick! I’m so excited to see :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so beautiful, Ashley!

  42. Victoria Millar says...

    Congratulations!! My husband and I snuck off and got married without telling anyone six years ago. We’d been together for 18 years, had two kids and I was 42 and we got married on a Scottish beach so I didn’t feel like a proper wedding dress was the right thing. In the end I wore a knee-length cream silk Agnes B sundress I found in an outlet store and had it altered to fit (I never did find the right shoes for it and we ended up getting married barefoot!) I nearly went for a dress from Ghost though and they are very lovely – it’s a UK brand, I don’t know if they shop to the US but you could check them out – http://www.ghost.co.uk. But there are so many completely gorgeous suggestions here! Enjoy the planning and have a wonderful day!

  43. Elisabeth Mance says...

    To the reader looking for a dress, if you’re interested I have a Babaton white Pieter dress in size small, perfect condition (only worn twice and dry cleaned). It has sheer back and sleeves, accordian skirt. It really is beautiful. Fancy without being too “wedding gown.”
    You are welcome to it for the cost of shipping
    Let me know!

    • Suzanne says...

      Just a quick note, Elisabeth, to say that I love your generous spirit – and it will come back to you tenfold. That’s all. xo

    • Elisabeth, this is so kind! I love the COJ community!!! <3

    • Amy says...

      Thank you so much for the incredibly kind offer! However, the days where I could wear a small are — I was going to say “long behind me,” but the truth is more like “never actually existed.” But I truly appreciate your generosity and thoughtfulness.

  44. Quyen says...
    • Anne says...

      Ohh I love this!!

    • Meg.F says...

      This is SO close to my Zimmerman wedding dress! I could no longer find it online, so am glad to see this here. Mine had a stronger polka dot in the sheer outer and was elbow length but wow I felt so effortlessly beautiful and could dance all night without worrying about standing on my dress.

      And I am sure everyone says this, but I can’t wait to wear it again and again!

    • Amy says...

      That’s incredible!

  45. Rebecca says...

    I have that Madewell button-front dress and LOVE it! It’s so flattering, and the linen makes it a bit more casual while still being dressy (for the Midwest, at least).

  46. Jordane Lapierre says...

    Check out Boutique 1861. They’re based in Montreal, Canada, but their online shop is great. They have very low price as well. :)
    Got my own wedding dress there myself.

    • Emma says...

      Fellow Montrealer seconding Boutique 1861. It’s mostly polyester or cotton (no silk), but the prices are cheap and the styles are very cute.

  47. Kimber says...

    I did an NYC City Hall wedding and loved the dresses I got from Rent the Runway. Their wedding concierge service meant I got to try on options ahead of time, and I got two different dresses, one for the ceremony atone for the party we had at our favorite restaurant that night. I think it only cost about $200 a few years ago.

  48. Annie says...

    Oh my goodness, did you see Lily Allen’s dress for her Las Vegas wedding? Could be great inspiration.

  49. Kate says...

    Roland Mouret for the win. Always.

  50. Ryan says...

    Try Zappos.com! Best filters out there. Did a search for fun, dresses, white, with a sleeve, and not floor length. Returned about 100 results! And their return policy is literally the BEST so order away with no fear of the return going awry. Good luck!!

  51. Ana says...
    • tina says...

      Those whistles dresses are amazing, especially the tiered one!

    • Jessica says...

      OK, I’ve always wondered about Whistles. We don’t have it in the US as a retail store and it doesn’t tend to get advertised here much, but British folks are always linking to them. What’s the equivalent here? It’s so hard to tell quality and target audience online. It looks sorta young and trendy, but not cheap, like Reformation?
      TIA!

    • Lydia says...

      Yes! I was about to send Whistles links :) :)

  52. Amy says...

    Congratulations!!

    • Amy says...

      Thank you!

  53. Adrienne says...

    Not my personal style, but I’ve always thought Christy Dawn has really pretty dresses – and lots of midi length!

  54. Katrin says...

    I think French brand Sessún has super pretty wedding dresses that would fit your bill – you can find them on Sessun.com.
    I wish I‘d known this brand when I got married, but instead, I just wistfully look at their respective new collections! They are so pretty and elegant.

  55. Christa Hagens says...
    • Amy says...

      That first one is pretty amazing.

    • Andrea says...

      Oooh I love the third!

  56. Erica D says...

    I had the same dilemma when I eloped, and ending up finding a dress I loved at Stone Cold Fox. Check them out online!

    • gloria says...

      Ooohhh, beautiful dresses on this site! Bookmarking for future reference!

    • Amy says...

      Definitely bookmarking this site!

  57. Mary says...

    Congrats firstly! I got married at city hall in New York nearly three years ago. Oh the memories. Def best day of my life. We eloped and I had two weeks notice we were getting married, and after the hotel and flights were booked about seven to ten days to organize a dress. I did manage it! On the third day looking around I came across the perfect one – in a department store ! I don’t know if they have anything white in this year or season but the brand was Ted Baker. It’s a UK brand. I spent about €260 on it. And then I bought some cute blue shoes to wear with it. You’ll find the best dress for you, I’m sure of it. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness! Xx

    • Alex says...

      Wow it’s gorgeous!

    • Libby Monaghan says...

      I love how the name of that dress is “Second Date Dress” in this particular context.

    • Michelle says...

      I love this so much!

    • A says...

      So lovely.

    • Amy says...

      Really lovely!

  58. Amy says...

    Before I dive into this absolute treasure trove of responses and suggestions, I just want to say THANK YOU both to Cup of Jo for hosting the original discussion and making this post, and to absolutely everyone who’s replied to either. A work deadline has been eating my life but I’m checking absolutely everything out. Thank you, again, seriously. Since we’re eloping, I’m not getting to do as much fun planning with friends, and group events are a no go–so it’s really touching to have so many strangers helping out and wishing us well. You’ll never know how much I appreciate it.

    • beth says...

      Congratulations, Amy!! I was hoping when I saw your original comment that this would become a post of its own. I am sure your dress is going to be magical!

      ps When my husband and I eloped, I wore the red silk skirt that I wore on our first real date, ha!

    • Rue says...

      Just got engaged this weekend, so the timing of the post is perfect for me too. Congratulations and here’s to making community when we need it!

  59. Amy says...

    I hate to interrupt these beautiful dress suggestions with my request but here I go anyway.
    I’m homeschooling this year and like so many people, I’m home most of the time. I have my cute shirts and jeans that I wear when I venture out. I also have workout clothes. I really don’t know what to wear at home though. I do like comfort and would not wear jeans at the house. But I hate wearing my workout clothes because I feel like I’m unkempt all day that way. I feel like I need a comfortable but presentable home uniform. It’s just me and the littles, but I want to look nice for me :) Thank you!!

    • K says...

      My go to uniform for home are a comfortable pair of leggins and a simple dress.
      As comfortable as workout clothes but also fully dressed.

    • S says...

      I have a recommendation because I’ve found my perfect home uniform and am very excited about it. It is… a simple, easy linen dress. You can layer with sweaters and leggings as the weather gets chillier. My favorite dresses are from Pyne & Smith (they make the archetypal “dress” imo) and Not Perfect Linen (Etsy). Pricey, but worth every penny. I actually feel like this is my uniform, period. I could easily wear these dresses to the office or out to dinner, if those things ever start happening again!

    • tina crisas says...

      Check out oysho.com!

    • Maria says...

      I second the linen dress suggestion, and also, Thai fisherman pants (you can pick a fabric that works for your style – linen looks great, and cotton is really comfortable) which can be worn with quite literally anything as a top (vests, t shirts, sweaters) as long as the colours coordinate. I’ve been living on these two variants since March!

    • Jaimie Pruden says...

      Check out Beyond Nine! They’re a British company that makes clothes for pregnant and non-pregnant folks. Their jumpsuits are incredibly well-made, flattering, and ridiculously comfy…a little bit pricey but I’ve already worn everything I’ve bought from them 1,000 times and the quality is great. Also, they’re a small, woman-run company who work really hard to source and manufacture items ethically and sustainably. A win-win-win!

    • Diane says...

      I’m in my 7th year homeschooling, but I remember this exact conundrum when I began – how can Iook nice for me but still take a walk, or play at the park with my kids? My solution has been Outdoor Voices, their cloud knit pant or rec treck pant. In the fall/winter I pair these pants with knit sweaters, usually from Everlane, usually in a monochromatic pairing. A trench or top coat for more warmth. In the Summer, I pair them with button down cotton or linen oxfords, or cropped tanks. Shoes, I swear by Cole Haan Grand Pro “Converse looking” white leather sneaker. Hope that helps!

    • Amy says...

      Thank you ever so much K, S, Tina, Maria, Jaimie, and Diane!!!!! These suggestions are so helpful and things I hadn’t thought of! I’m shopping now and have gotten a new dress and leggings so far. So grateful for you women!!! 💕 Big hugs from me!

  60. Jen W. says...

    My recommendation is to look at bridesmaid dresses. I had the same problem searching for a wedding dress. I wanted something simple and elegant, but without a train as we were getting married on a mountaintop. Also, I was older and (of course) wanted to look stunning but did not want to blow the bank. I went to store after store and had no luck. I also ordered several gowns online to try at home, only to get more and more dismayed with my search. I finally went to a local gown boutique and, after hearing the sad tale of my wedding dress saga, the saleswoman recommended I look at bridesmaid dresses. I was blown away by the selection of dresses that fit my criteria and looked amazing, and I was able to order the color, length, etc. that I wanted. Wish I had known earlier and saved myself time months of dress-failure heartache!! Good luck!

    • stacey says...

      Wow!

    • Christina says...

      I recommended this dress too, its gorgeous!

    • Jessi says...

      Megan,
      I saw a wedding on June Bug wedding’s website recently and saved it because I loved the brides style so much! If it was you, you looked amazing & it looked like such a fun day! Love this dress so much.

    • Amy says...

      So glamorous!

  61. Sara says...

    I’ve been trying to find pull-on/elastic waist jeans that are not skinny jeans. Straight leg, not boot cut. So hard to find!

    • Kate the Great says...

      Have you tried Catherine’s or Fashion Bug?

  62. Nadine says...

    I am in the exact same boat as Amy, thank you all for these amazing comments and suggestions!! I haven’t found my dress yet, been have been really intrigued by shops on Etsy, FYI. A lot of them can be custom made.

    • Amy says...

      I love the cape dress on that one! Thank you!

    • Cheryl says...

      All of these are gorgeous.

  63. JR says...

    I second this!

    • Lauren says...

      Amazing!!!

  64. MJ says...

    My fashion question: How does one start building a simple (mix and match) athleisure wardrobe? I’m not workin any more and need cute, comfy clothing items to wear around the house or running errands or kids to practices. I can’t envision a scenario where I’d be wearing jeans anytime soon! I have a bunch of workout clothes but those are for the gym. I’d like someone to help me pick out 5 or 6 or 8 pieces i can pull together to look sporty and feel comfy!

  65. Annelise says...

    Highly suggest browsing Sezane for beautiful, feminine dresses!

    • Missy says...

      Simple and beautiful!

    • Amy says...

      Ooooooooh, gorgeous.

    • Sloan Chouest says...

      LOVE this dress!!!!

    • Rue says...

      Came here to recommend Park and Fifth too! I just got engaged (eeee!) and I have been eyeing their dresses for a WHILE now. And there are options with sleeves!

    • Elsa says...

      Yes!

  66. Jessica says...

    OK, I’m not seeing many modernist/minimalist choices in the comments, so I’m going to suggest a few along those lines:
    With sleeve flair, from COS: https://www.cosstores.com/en_usd/women/womenswear/dresses/product.dress-with-sleeve-ruffles-white.0872351002.html
    A little bit of sleeve puff with great stitching detail, from the Frankie shop: https://thefrankieshop.com/collections/dresses-1/products/contrast-stitching-belted-dress-cream
    A sturdy but great choice from Toast (I own this dress in navy and it is the most flattering thing – like everything from Toast. I get sooooo many compliments): https://www.toa.st/us/product/womens+dresses+and+tunics/c1mbo-c1ndq/cotton+linen+wrap+front+dress.htm?clr=C1MBO_Putty_sw
    Simple wrap from Babaton: https://www.aritzia.com/us/en/product/slit-wrap-dress/70955.html?dwvar_70955_color=3030
    And let’s not discount wearing a skirt! From Modern Citizen: https://www.moderncitizen.com/collections/skirts/products/lorraine-linen-asymmetric-skirt-linen

    • Nanaka says...

      Minimalist style lover here: Love all of these!!! :-) Especially that COS dress: it’s a statement, yet not “impractical”.

      I also love the idea of a white wide legged jump suit, no frills, made of heavy and silky fabric… Would be my personal dream “dress” for my wedding. :-)
      Basically one of these:

      https://ivy-oak.com/collections/jumpsuits?filter_by=color_white

    • Tamara says...

      That Toast dress makes me want to get married again just to wear it!

    • Sara says...

      Oh my gosh, that COS one, SO pretty. Good find!

    • Amy says...

      Thank you–I needed to look at some more minimalist choices too!

    • Jessica says...

      Tamara, it comes in two other colors! And it works two ways – belted/figure flattering and unbelted it is all tenty and like those tiered dresses that have been so trendy this summer.
      BUT, the thing that really sells me on Toast (because lord knows they are pricey!) is all three things I’ve bought from since I discovered the brand are wear-every-darn-day comfortable and in super sturdy, washable fabrics. They are more hip than the rest of my clothes AND I can wear them with my 4 yo and not sweat the spills! If I could afford to, I think I might just buy my whole wardrobe from them for the rest of time.

    • jane says...

      pretty

  67. Essie says...

    Congrats on your elopement! I eloped also, and I found dress shopping to be the most difficult part of the “planning” process. I had imagined I would just whimsically see the perfect dress at a flea market in my size. But in reality, it took a lot of effort to find something that felt special but was still simple and affordable. After returning at least half a dozen dresses purchased online, I ultimately found my dress at a Nordstrom location with a bridal suite. It was one I never would have thought to try on, but for the saleswoman putting it in my room. It was a bridesmaid’s dress so it was much simpler and within my budget. I used their tailor, and was even able to bring the dress downstairs to the shoe department to try on shoes, then jewelry to find earrings. It wasn’t a fancy “Say Yes to the Dress” experience, but it was practical. Oh, and my friend also eloped and she used Rent the Runway for her dress- I wish I had thought of that! Best of luck!!!

    • Amy says...

      I’ve definitely considered buying something *almost* right and getting it tailored. That might be the smartest way to go if I can find a tailor. I thought because we’re being very breezy and low key with the elopement, I wouldn’t be terribly picky about a dress, but wow, was I wrong. Then again, this is a very fun thing to be picky about.

  68. Emily L says...

    I remember seeing Amy’s comment on a post and I LOVE that the whole CoJ community jumped on board to help her out! Amy – PLEASE show us the final pick when you have your elopement next year! We are all invested!

    • Amy says...

      I’ll do it! Right now we don’t know whether it will be March (hoped for) or October (emergency COVID backup plan), but whenever it is, the dress will be revealed. :)

    • Amy says...

      That’s actually right around the top of my budget–a lot to spend on an ordinary dress, but still pretty inexpensive for anything bridal! Thanks for turning me on to this designer.

    • Alex says...

      omg I love this one

  69. Jessie says...

    The options everyone has given already are absolutely lovely! I find myself wanting to buy one to go to a far-in-the-future wedding or play. Sigh! Browsing these suggestions was such a wonderful way to start my morning. I think it’s sweet how gracious everyone has been with sharing their time, dresses, and excitement for the bride-to-be. Cheers, Amy! I hope you find the perfect dress and have a wonderful wedding day!

    • Jessica says...

      Oooh, I didn’t know about this designer before. THanks for the tip! Great looking stuff (if not cheap).

    • jane says...

      Beautiful !

  70. Sarah says...
    • Teresa says...

      Love the shopbop post, but the dress I liked was on the lower right. It’s Named “Mathilde”. I think it’s beautiful and has all the features that Amy mentioned.

    • Jessica says...

      That Kaarem dress is TO DIE FOR! Wow.

    • jane says...

      I love that Garmentory dress for a wedding – it’s so womanly.

    • Nanaka says...

      That Kaarem dress!!! It’s gorgeous!!!! Would totally wear for my wedding. No worries about dancing, moving, eating in this, either… (I refuse the thought of wearing spanx underneath a wedding dress. I’m all about a comfy fit!) :-)

    • Amy says...

      That Garmentory dress is kind of amazing–thank you!

    • Vittoria says...

      What a stunning dress!!

    • jane says...

      YES! Absolutely perfect! I think this is my fav but there are so many good ones here. Going to bookmark it in case I get a proposal haha.

    • Sarah says...

      WOW this is gorgeous!!!! We had a very small wedding last week and I’m saving this link for our future yet to be scheduled big reception!! Our plans also changed numerous times… hang in there, I know it’s a good problem to have but definitely challenging <3

    • Sarah says...

      WOW this is gorgeous.

    • Amy says...

      …I may have had this favorited for a couple of weeks. Definitely under consideration!

    • Amy says...

      Oh, that’s LOVELY.

  71. Julie says...

    I wore a dress by Ulla Johnson, it was perfect… simple but beautiful and intricate details and so comfortable. It was more than I would pay for an everyday dress but much less expensive than traditional wedding dresses.

  72. Kaitlin says...

    Fashion question: Many of our bodies are changing because of the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. I would love a series or a post on how reall women have adapted their wardrobes. More specifically, I’d love a how-to on taking your measurements for online shopping.

    • Jamie says...

      Seconding a how-to on measurements for online shopping! This is so desperately needed!

  73. Julia says...

    Not sure anyone posted this one yet, but I love love love Sessun’s wedding collection: https://en.sessun.com/catalogue/sessun-wedding.html

    They are so lovely, but not over the top and very affordable. I wore one of their dresses from a previous collection for my Berlin wedding, and it was the best choice. I could not have been more happy with it <3

    • Abbey says...

      OMG. As a lifelong never-getting-married kind of person, these dresses made me want to change my mind. Haha :) GORGEOUS.

    • Jan W says...

      These dresses are gorgeous!

    • Julia says...

      Haha, Abbey, this is just how I felt too.

  74. Catie says...

    This is more midi length, but could be hemmed:
    https://thestonecoldfox.com/products/sugar-maxi
    plus it’s custom made and at decent price point as far as wedding dresses go.
    Wishing you the best of luck and a beautiful wedding day!

    • jane says...

      LOVE

    • jane says...

      double love!! sooo many great ones in these comments!

  75. D.Morgendorffer says...

    Kittygirlvintage on Etsy has amazing vintage. You can find reasonably priced stuff: https://www.etsy.com/listing/719699690/1960s-averardo-bessi-silk-jersey-dress?ref=shop_home_active_51&cns=1
    If you want rare couture, you can get that as well https://www.etsy.com/listing/724708528/couture-1960s-maxwell-shieff-brocade?ref=shop_home_active_5&frs=1&cns=1 Just be sure to ask the proprietor, the amazing Wendy, to put it on hold if you’re interested because her stuff can move quickly.

  76. Susan says...

    Wow, that RL dress is gorgeous. So many lovely details

  77. Katie says...

    I am 100% in this reader demographic and just got married in March (in under the wire). I got my dress from https://www.eshakti.com/. You can customize every aspect from sleeves to length. I was very happy with the outcome.

  78. Rachel says...

    This is the best, I’m over here clicking all the links, imagining different types of weddings, and thinking about how lovely it is to share and celebrate these parts of our lives. Thanks you Joanna and lovely community for bringing me so much joy this morning.

  79. Lauren says...

    I rarely shop at fancy places, but went to Bergdorf’s this past weekend and the sales are insane! I am not getting married, but kept pulling out amazing dresses telling my friend they would be perfect for a bride. Most were under $300 (again, the sales are amazing), one was a beautiful, simple Alice and Olivia silk sheath, that was heavy and would be incredible flattering.

    • Amy says...

      Might have to mask up and check out the fancy shopping center nearby–

  80. Roberta says...

    I got married in a beautiful, simple, practical dress and ivory cachemire midi coat from Max Mara Bridal (I still wear the coat, of course!). I love their dresses. This one is gorgeous and fits all requirements ;) https://world.maxmara.com/p-8221130206001-ara-white

    • Emily L says...

      OMG I want this.

  81. Tess says...

    These comments make me want to get married all over again! Dang, you all come up with such amazing choices. Where were you nine years ago, hahaha!

    • jane says...

      That is amazing for $86.

  82. Liz says...
    • Rachel says...

      I have a black halo dress and every time I wear it I feel so chic, they are so well made! I was going to suggest the same exact one as you!

    • Amy says...

      Black Halo is now in serious contention!

    • Tracy says...

      Liz, I’ve loved looking at all of these dresses so much, but your RL dress pick is SO beautiful. I would almost get married just to have a reason to own this dress!

    • Beautiful! Definitely wedding worthy.

  83. Alison D says...

    My biggest suggestion is to look for a bridesmaids dress that is in ivory or cream. This is becoming so trendy so it’s not as hard to find as it used to be and these are so much more economical than “bridal” dresses. This is one of my favorites on BHLDN https://www.bhldn.com/products/thompson-dress-ivory?via=Z2lkOi8vdXJibi9Xb3JrYXJlYTo6Q2F0YWxvZzo6Q2F0ZWdvcnkvNDkxRUFCNDk
    Also this one https://www.bhldn.com/products/leyden-dress-oyster?via=Z2lkOi8vdXJibi9Xb3JrYXJlYTo6Q2F0YWxvZzo6Q2F0ZWdvcnkvNDkxRUFCNDk

    • that is beautiful!

  84. AM says...

    On a slightly related note, I am selling a brand new/unaltered wedding dress that is still in its original package for half of the retail cost. If someone needs a classic, elegant wedding dress quickly, let me know. Happy to ship or deliver locally in the NYC/NJ area.

    kellyfaetanini.com/collections/fall-2018-brides/phoebe/
    Size 0

  85. Sarah says...

    Congratulations!!! This may be more “wedding dress” than you are looking for, but I just wore it our small celebration last week! It covers your arms while framing your collarbone in a beautiful way. (Also if any upcoming brides are interested, I’m looking to sell my dress at a substantial discount! Size 4/6 normal clothes, the dress is an 8 and it’s been tailored and bustled).

    https://www.bhldn.com/products/blake-gown?gclid=Cj0KCQjw-uH6BRDQARIsAI3I-UfQGJma9iA6GNPs0OojZkSp13Af6bOBPN-I8lhhOSYX9W_E4BCBuogaAqkYEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Whoa so beautiful!

    • Gemma says...

      oh I just had to say I LOVE THIS DRESS SO MUCH! (Also congratulations!)

    • Sarah says...

      Omg thank you Joanna and Gemma!! <3

  86. mcb says...

    try leinstudio – made to order!

  87. Mary O says...

    While I was looking for wedding dresses (I had similar things I was looking for!) I came across this one and loved it! It’s not a short or midi hem but it’s pretty casual in the realm of wedding dresses and SOOOOO comfy! I ended up going with something different but loved the flow and ease of this dress! It’s less than $200 which I was amazed by. https://www.davidsbridal.com/Product_flutter-sleeve-stretch-satin-dress-with-ruffle-hem-sdwg0825_all-wedding-dresses

    • Anon says...

      So pretty!

    • Lindsey says...

      OMG this is so chic

    • Julia says...

      Wow this one is amazing!

    • Sarah says...

      This is the one! So perfect!

    • Kim says...

      omg….WINNER!!!! So fabulous!

    • Amy says...

      Gorgeous! And very much my style–

    • Hayley B says...

      This is STUNNING! We should have “Like” buttons enabled on these comments because this dress would for sure get thousands of likes! CoJ team, can we get a Like button for the comments pls? At least for posts like this where ppl are voting on which dress/option to choose!

  88. Kathryn says...

    Jo– last night I read through this whole comment section because this is THE BEST POST EVER. I just saw someone was disappointed in your choices you put forward and I would just like to counter that by saying *my* first thought was, “Dang, I wish I would have asked CupofJo for help picking out my dress from a few months ago!” Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion, but just wanted to send a counteractive compliment your way:)

  89. Abby says...

    Can we please have a follow up to see which one she chooses :)

  90. Leena says...
  91. Lauren says...

    I wore this exact dress for my COVID elopement and I felt so romantic and special:

    https://yumikim.com/products/woodstock-maxi-1

    Yumi Kim has so many cuts and gorgeous romantic fabrics. You can definitely find something to make you feel like the bride you want to be!

    • Rachel says...

      Beautiful!! Congratulations on your elopement ❤️

  92. Jasmine says...

    Why not try a secondhand wedding gown? The wedding industry is one of the highest waste producers out there with everything used just once (ideally, you don’t have to get married more than once!). I know this is a bit trickier but this boutique always has the prettiest dresses that brides have sold to the store. Could be worth a look! If not, you know where to give your gown after your special day is over :)

    https://www.instagram.com/emeraldcitygowns/

    • Liz says...

      LOVE LOVE LOVE Tadashi Shoji!!

    • kb says...

      that looks so great!

  93. Alexis says...

    I vote for more of these kind of posts. Loved checking out everyone’s suggestions in the comments (even though I am not in need of a wedding dress). It’s like a personal shopping army. What else are people having a hard time tracking down? xo

    • Emily L says...

      I’d love some help with a decent pair of pajama pants! haha
      (No joke – honestly this has been way harder than I anticipated.)

    • jane says...

      I guess I’d say the same – I’m actually about to sew my own due to the difficulty!

    • Ker says...

      Nice! I never even thought to want pockets in my dress but it’s such a valuable feature. #pocketsagainstthepatriarchy :-)