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Like any smart shopper, I love a good deal. But, even I wouldn’t have guessed that my wedding dress would only cost $250.
I love scoping out sales, but the actual act of shopping — entering a store, elbowing people out of my way, and trying on items under fluorescent lights while aggressive salespeople inspect each look — is enough to make me break out in anxiety hives. So, when I got engaged, I knew that visiting Kleinfeld with an entourage was out of the question. I’d need another way to find an ensemble for my City Hall nuptials, so I turned to the Internet. I impulse-ordered a white, lacy frock from Anthropologie and hoped it would be The One. It was not. I sent it back and tried again, this time at Yumi Kim. While I didn’t find a gown, I did fall in love with a white-and-gold beaded jacket, which I determined would be perfect over my yet-to-be-purchased dress — so I bought it. Unfortunately, then I was limited to options that matched a glitzy, Gatsby-style topper — not easy and not wise for somebody trying to avoid shopping. After several fruitless trips to department stores, I hung the sparkler in the New-Year’s-Eve-Only section of my closet and gave up.
For the next few months, I ditched "wedding dress" shopping altogether, and instead focused on filling out the rest of my closet with online purchases, which eventually led to the purchase of a beige, flowing Band of Outsiders maxi-dress perfect for my summer adventures. When it arrived, I tried it on and realized: THIS IS IT. Somehow, without trying, I had found the perfect thing to wear — and it wasn’t a wedding dress at all.
So, if you’re also hoping to avoid that whole fuss (and ultra-formal frocks that scream “BRIDE!”), I want to save you from the anxiety, panic, and impulse-buying I suffered in the name of finding a dress. Great non-wedding-dress options abound — and, as a bonus, they’re usually significantly cheaper than anything labeled “bridal.” Ahead, 17 picks pretty enough to wear for your nuptials — I promise. I do.