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Q. I’m getting married in a few months and I’m on a very strict budget. I don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a bridal gown. Can you tell me where I can find more affordable wedding dresses?

A. Believe it or not, there are some truly beautiful - and affordable - bridal gowns available. The Limited and J Crew recently launched wedding departments, and Anthropologie plans to join them next year. We also found some relatively inexpensive gowns at Nordstrom, Dillard’s, eDressMe and Lord & Taylor. Here are two of our favorites that cost $298 and $198, followed by many more affordable options for you:

To finish off your look, here are some pretty bridal accessories, all under $100:

Q. I’m going to a wedding in Aruba and I’m not sure what to wear. Any suggestions for a Caribbean Chic or Beach Formal wedding?

A. Sounds like fun! Beach weddings are the perfect opportunity to invest in a pretty summer dress that isn’t so formal, so you’re more likely to wear it again. Embrace the island locale and search for a dress that is light, airy, colorful and unstructured - dresses that are too stiff or formal will look out of place in the tropics. Anything goes when it comes to length, from soft mini dresses to flowing maxi dresses, and don’t be afraid to show a little skin - even if it’s just a bare shoulder.

Pair your pretty dress with sexy metallic sandals or wedges and summery jewelry.


Q. I’m going to be attending a wedding this summer that is at an extremely formal/fancy venue. Although they didn’t list attire, I am told by the bride that a long dress would be the most appropriate. Knowing this crowd, the guests will be dressed to the nines so I want to make sure I don’t look out of place. I want to spend $120 or less if possible, but I know it is hard to find an evening dress for that cost that doesn’t look like i’m in a cheap fake satin prom dress. I also don’t want to buy something that I’ll never wear again. I’m 5’3, small chest, tiny overall. Please help!

A. I’m not sure I agree that only long gowns are appropriate for a formal wedding; an elegant cocktail dress is usually appropriate as well. However, since the bride specifically mentioned a long dress, it’s best to accommodate her wishes if possible. The good news? We found several options in your price range that won’t look like you’re wearing a cheap prom dress or a tacky bridesmaid dress. The bad news? There’s a good chance you won’t wear your dress again - at least until you receive another invite for a formal affair.

Our favorite pick from the options below is a simple, classic strapless long dress. We found two options that are under $100 which leaves some extra money for a fabulous necklace and some chic shoes. The silhouette and dark color make even a simple shape and not so expensive fabric look elegant, and you’ll be more likely to wear it again than a more fussy dress.

Q. I bought this dress to wear to a June wedding. The wedding is at 11 am in a church, and the reception outside in a garden I believe. I didn’t want something too flashy or colorful, as the wedding will be conservative and indoors. My question is, how to dress it up to look a bit more fancy? Thanks!

A. Don’t you love a dress that can be dressed up or down for a variety of occasions? The most obvious way to make this look more fancy and appropriate for a daytime wedding is with your shoes and jewelry. Look for a striking statement necklace to add interest to the otherwise simple and monochromatic dress. Finish it off with a bold cocktail ring and dressy shoes. Here are some suggestions:

Q. What do you recommend wearing to a Spring/Summer wedding that isn’t a destination wedding, isn’t a Yacht Club wedding, is really just an afternoon church wedding (4:30), followed by a reception at a local golf course country club? I know that It isn’t too formal, nothing evening like.

I guess my real confusion is that with all of the bright florals, geometric prints, black, white, red and animal prints this year, is that really appropriate for an afternoon wedding? Is that too bold? Any help you could offer on dress, shoes and accessories would be great. I’m about 5’9”, hourglass figure, blond hair, brown eyes - and will have a good tan after a week on vacation. I was thinking a nude shoe - but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I always love being fashion forward (the bride is a fellow fashionista), but also want to be appropriate for the crowd/event.

A. Great question: can you wear bold prints to a semi-formal or non-formal wedding? Yes, absolutely! An afternoon wedding followed by a country club reception is the perfect opportunity to wear a pretty dress in a fabulous print or bright color. Actually, the dress code is quite similar to the options we suggested for the yacht club wedding. Your choice to wear nude colored shoes is perfectly appropriate and on-trend as well.

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