There will always be brides who feel it is fitting and proper to spend an eye-watering amount on the wedding dress of their dreams. But equally, there will always be brides who do not. Increasingly so, it seems.
These days, a great many brides-to-be want and need to be canny. Those saving for a deposit for their own home, or for a trip-of-a-lifetime honeymoon, or for a baby, may well not want to splash hard-won money on a one-time-only outfit. Even if parents offer to cover the cost, they still might prefer to use the cash to invest in their future, and who can blame them, when the first rung of the property ladder now seems so high to grasp?
Then again, no bride wants to wear a cheap-looking, hastily bought gown, even if she isn’t the fairytale princess type. Enter the High Street and the online fashion world, where well-known retailers have spotted the need for affordable wedding dresses with the high-end designer wow factor.
Next month both Topshop and Dorothy Perkins will launch their first wedding dress collections. Topshop is still keeping its five styles for brides under wraps, although the image it has released, featured here, shows a slinky bias-cut number – very Kate Moss. They will be priced from £350, and there will also be a large selection of bridesmaid dresses from £85, as well as shoes and lingerie.
Arcadia stablemate Dorothy Perkins will also launch its first capsule collection of wedding dresses with 10 styles, featuring vintage-inspired lace and embellishment, plus sheer, flowing fabrics. There will be mid-length gowns, perfect for a city wedding, fishtail dresses in satin finishes, structured long-sleeved gowns, Grecian-inspired designs and ones featuring retro sweetheart necklines and contemporary halter necks. There will also be bridal accessories and bridesmaid dresses in varying sizes and fits in curve, tall and petite, all in a colour palette of pastels, brights and classic navy, with the option of long or short lengths. Prices range from £85 to £175 in sizes 8-18.
Another brand that has stepped into the market is Whistles, which for this season has a collection including seven limited pieces it describes as “both timeless and of the moment”, offering long and mid-length dresses and also a lace culottes jumpsuit, bringing a ’70s-influenced contemporary alternative to a wedding dress. Prices are from £549-£699.
Then there’s Phase Eight, with its collection of wedding dresses priced at £275-£595, featuring styles for brides who love vintage design, including 1950s-inspired, shorter dresses, as well as for those who yearn for clean, contemporary silhouettes and classic floor-length styles.
Over at Debenhams, the Nine by Savannah Miller Bridal collection launched in January, bringing brides ethereal, elegantly bohemian designs in four styles, with delicate embroidery, flowing luxe sheer fabrics, and flattering fits, priced at £320-£420.
Little Mistress will launch its first bridalwear collection on May 17, promising 10 flirtatious, eye-catching numbers in tulle, lace and organza, priced from £100 to £250. Lipsy launched its first bridal and bridesmaid collection earlier this month, priced at £60-£220 – if you have a beach wedding coming up it’s well worth a look.
Throwing its bouquet in the direction of the older bride, online retailer JD Williams has just debuted its first bridal collection, designed with the 45-plus woman in mind, with the brand pointing out that weddings for women aged 55-59 have risen by nearly 10 per cent in recent years. It offers six bridal dresses as well as occasionwear, including a sequin maxi dress and others featuring corded lace and double layers of stretch satin linings.
Suzi Burns at JD Williams said: “Our bridal collection has been designed specifically for women that little bit older, who might not want to go all out with their choice of wedding dress, but still want to feel special on their big day, be it first or second time around.” The dresses are priced from £165-£250, and in sizes 10-32.
Not all brides will want an off-the-peg wedding dress from a High Street or online retailer, but these new collections do offer choice, with a wide range of styles, lengths, cuts, fabrics and attitude, all at sensible prices, and for women of all ages, whether it’s their first wedding or their fifth.
Worth considering for renewing wedding vows, too. Any excuse for a chic white dress.