Anyone who’s ever been in a wedding dress shop knows that the options for dresses can be a little overwhelming. There are different styles, fabrics, and price points, and it can be difficult to know where to start! Not to mention that wedding dress prices can go up to $4,000 – so if you’re looking for the perfect dress for your elopement, but don’t want to break the bank, here are my tips for finding an elopement dress, without sacrificing the gorgeous bridal look.
What’s the difference between an elopement dress and a wedding dress?
Brides wonder this all the time – what do I wear for an elopement? Does any wedding dress work? Elopements are a fairly new concept – so if you don’t know anyone who’s eloped, it can be hard to know where to start!
Every elopement dress can be a wedding dress, but not every wedding dress can be an elopement dress! With an elopement, you’ll likely be doing a lot of moving around, hiking, climbing, and adventuring, so some wedding dresses aren’t ideal for elopements.
Ideal Elopement Dress Styles
Since you’re eloping, it’s important to pick a dress that lets you move! Mermaid style dresses aren’t ideal because they’re pretty restricting and notoriously difficult to walk in. My favorite styles for an elopement dress are A-line and fit and flair, which are fitted on top but have flowy skirts that are easy to move around in like the images below.
As far as color goes, don’t forget that you DON’T have to have a white dress. Black, multi colored, solid colored, and even ombre wedding gowns are available. Have the wedding dress you feel most drawn to!
Best Fabrics For An Elopement
If you’re doing a lot of hiking on your elopement day, or you’re anticipating warmer weather, I recommend opting for lightweight fabrics like tulle, chiffon, and lace! These fabrics are easy to move around in, and as an added bonus they look beautiful in the wind, or when the sunlight peeks through.
Heavier fabrics like silk and satin create a beautiful texture, but they are a little bit warmer – which is perfect if you’re eloping somewhere chilly!
Consider Weight and Packability For Your Elopement Dress
Do you want to hike with your wedding dress, or would you rather wear hiking clothes and change once you get to your destination? You can totally pack your dress and strap it to the outside of your backpack! I recommend getting a garment bag to keep it safe, so that you can (carefully) fold and pack your elopement dress. When dress shopping, keep in mind that heavier dresses will, of course, be heavier and a little more difficult to hike with. The best fabrics to prevent wrinkles are crepe, tulle, and lace.
budget-friendly Elopement Dress Options
Many couples cite saving money as one of the reasons that they chose to elope – but whether or not that’s the case for you, spending several thousand dollars on a dress that you’re only going to wear once can sound unappealing to a lot of people. But there are tons of options out there for people who want a gorgeous wedding dress without breaking the bank.
Amazon really does have everything – and wedding dresses are no exception! You can buy a handmade, boho lace wedding dress like this one, or even a simple convertible dress that can be worn several different ways. Amazon is a great place to find cheap wedding dresses, and who doesn’t love that fast shipping? As an added perk, Amazon has a great return policy, so you can try on a few different dresses and return any that you don’t like.
Check out this bride’s elopement dress from Amazon:
A really good way to save money and to find really cute, alternative wedding dress styles is to look in the bridesmaids section! Remember that white dresses are another tradition that you can give up when you elope, if you want to! Black dresses, as well as fun colors and funky dresses, are becoming more popular for elopements, but you can often find bridesmaid dresses in ivory and off white as well. BHLDN is a popular wedding dress brand that makes gorgeous gowns, but their wedding dresses retail for an average around $1,000. Their bridesmaids dresses, however, are mostly under $300 and come in lots of different styles and colors, from boho beaded dresses to elegant silk gowns.
Lulus is a trendy women’s wear boutique that has a bridal section with many options for cheap wedding dresses, many of which are under $100! There are lots of options from elegant gowns to boho lace dresses. Lulus is perfect for brides looking for an elopement dress that’s budget friendly and adventure-ready.
Azazie is one of the many online wedding and bridesmaids dress shops, but i was genuinely surprised how lightweight and beautiful this gown was. The bride said she bought it around $150!
Forever 21, H & M and ASOS
When you’re looking for an elopement dress, sometimes it’s great to look at dresses that aren’t made for weddings at all! Forever 21, H&M, and ASOS have tons of white dresses, and their casual and boho styles are perfect for elopements on the beach! These dresses are designed for everyday wear, so they’re bound to be comfy, and you’ll get to rewear your wedding dress whenever you want!
This is actually the place I acquired my own wedding dress for under $600 with shipping. It was customized to my measurements and I got to pick out the style and material. Etsy can be such a great option for customized wedding dresses! Here is the exact shop where I purchased my wedding dress.
Elopement Dress Rentals
I know you may be thinking, but I don’t want to rent I want to keep my dress. Well, these rental shops do allow you to actually purchase their dresses at a lower cost because they have been worn before. Some even offer customized dress designs. Check out Reclamation, Daci Gowns, Flutter Dresses, and Sew Romantic Designs.
Favorite Bridal Shops for Gently Used Elopement Dresses
There’s nothing like being able to snag an amazing deal on a designer dress. These websites and bridal shops have made it so that those designer wedding gowns are affordable because previous brides donate their dresses. Not only can you save money, but you are recycling material and making your wedding more eco-friendly. So, if you are looking for bridal shops that offer amazing sales you need to check out:
- Brides For a Cause
- Adorned in Grace
- Alta Moda Bridal
- PNW Bridal
- Borrowing Magnolia
- Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses
- Still White
- Bravo Bride
- Loved Twice Bridal
Don’t Forget About Elopement Wedding Suits
There’s something special about a bride wearing a suit. They ring with boldness and beauty. We should really stop pressuring women to wearing only dresses on their wedding and I can’t wait to see more brides wearing suits because they want to. So, if you’re looking for a wedding suit – be sure to check out BHLDN, David’s Bridal, REISS, BridesMaids World, Anthropologie, and my personal favorite: isadoranim (who specializes in non-binary suits!).
Shopping for Elopement Dresses and Suits
There is definitely a lot of pressure and expectations when it comes to traditional weddings, and by choosing to elope you’re letting go of a lot of it – but it can still be easy to forget that you can do whatever you want, and that includes your dress too.
Whether you want to wear a dress that isn’t white, a style that isn’t traditional, or just don’t want to blow your elopement budget on a dress that you’ll only wear once, elopements are all about doing what feels right to you, and the dress is no different. These alternative and cheap wedding dress options are a great place to start as you shop for your elopement dress!
Ask your elopement photographer
If you need a person to help you through the process of finding a budget-friendly wedding dress, don’t be afraid to ask your photographer! I absolutely love when i get to help my clients pick out this fun detail in their elopement.
If you want to get in contact with me, you can reach me here!