What girl hasn’t dreamed about her wedding dress for years? So of course, after I got engaged, one of my first thoughts was to find my wedding dress. I knew exactly what I wanted and envisioned a modern fit and flare gown with a scoop neckline and short sleeves. If you’ve done any amount of dress shopping, you’ll know what I was up against.
I spent weeks scouring the internet, searching for modest wedding dresses, finding nothing. My sister and I visited multiple bridal salons and browsed hundreds of gowns on the rack. Each salon I visited was super generous and accommodating but I didn’t find anything that fit what I had in mind. The first shop had two dresses that were similar to what I was looking for but when I tried the first one on, it scooped too low. The second dress had a three quarter sleeve and scoop neck but reminded me of something out of the 1800’s and it wasn’t a “cute vintage 1800’s.” No thanks.
Driving to the next shop we found a softly lit white showroom filled with lace, chiffon, tulle, and sequin gowns in every fit a girl could dream of. “This is more my style,” I thought excitedly. But as we browsed through gown after gown, two things became very clear to me. Although these gowns were stunningly beautiful, I knew they were out of my budget and I hadn’t seen anything that resembled sleeves in the entire showroom. After speaking with the bridal consultant and discussing several alteration options, she gave me a list of designers that fit my description and we said goodbye. After grabbing lunch, we decided to call it a day and I continued with plan B.
I followed a photographer from across the country on Instagram and noticed many of her brides wore modest gowns. I decided to send her a DM and ask for recommendations. She responded and linked to several Etsy sellers that her brides had a good experience with. I did a quick search and thought I found “the one.” Most of the gowns were made to order and could be customized to fit specific needs. I found several dresses that were perfect for a romantic bohemian bride but I decided I was looking for a more elegant modern gown.
Several days later I came across an outdated blog post from two modest fashion bloggers who had listed their favorite sites for modest clothing, from swimsuits to wedding gowns. Although some of the links were broken, many of them were still active and led to some interesting new sites. It was through this blog post that I discovered the wonderful world of LDS fashion. Although I don’t support the Morman religion and belief system I appreciate their value for modesty. With the center of Mormonism located in Salt Lake City, Utah, the surrounding area is a treasure trove of boutiques and shops that cater directly to LDS modesty standards.
TIP– If you’re having a hard time finding modest clothing off the rack, seek out an online LDS fashion boutique with a style you love.
With a little bit of research and some tip offs from the blog post I found, I finally found “THE DRESS.” I did spend a more than I had hoped to but I fell in love with the dress and decided that spending a little more on a modest gown was well worth it to me.
To help you skip the hard work and hopelessness of ever finding a classic and modern gown you feel comfortable in, while fitting into various budgets, I’ve partnered with Kristiann Photography and we’re sharing our favorite resources for modest wedding dresses below. I’ve categorized these sources by price starting with the lowest priced dresses first.
Sew it Yourself – If you want a simple gown or know a very talented seamstress, you have the option to sew your dress yourself or have an experienced seamstress friend sew a more complicated design.
Local Bridal Shops – Although finding a modest gown off the rack is rare, I have friends who have found their dress this way. It’s a little like finding a needle in a haystack but if that sounds like an adventure, go for it! If you have access to a local designer, you also have the option to go completely custom but this quickly becomes very expensive.
Take a Roadtrip – If trying your dress on and seeing it in person is important and you have a hard time trusting a photo online, you might want to take a road trip or make a quick weekend flight to Salt Lake City. Catering to LDS fashion standards, the surrounding bridal shops are full of beautiful modest gowns.
Etsy– Many Etsy seller’s gowns are made to order and they are often willing to customize a design to make it more modest at no extra charge. Some of my favorites are recommendations from Kristi of Kristiann Photography. Bridal Garden Studio has several modest designs and many that could be customized. Alex Veil Bridal along with others offer complete custom designs or alterations to a design to create your dream gown. Prices vary from $300 +
Used Wedding Dresses – Buying a used wedding dress gives you a designer dresses for much less than the original price but again this is very much a hit and miss when looking for modest gowns and prices vary greatly. Nominated by The Knot for the top spots in used wedding dress sites, Nearly Newlywed, Tradesy, Still White, and Preowned Wedding Dresses offer thousands of dresses to start your search.
A Dressy Occasion
Located in Salt Lake City, A Dressy Occasion also has an online store featuring stylish modest gowns for the modern bride. Specializing in romantic lace gowns in classic A-line and Fit and Flare silhouettes from designers such as Allure Modest, prices range from $200 – $1000 +
Latter Day Bride
Another LDS bridal shop, Latter Day Bride offers several hundred modest gowns in every fit, style, and design you could wish for. From lace fit and flare and fluffy tulle ball gowns to edgier lace bohemian gowns, you’re sure to fall in love at Latter Day Bride. Starting at $325, prices range up to $1750 + competing with mainstream designer prices.
Elizabeth Cooper Designs
Located in Utah, but with their designs available in multiple bridal shops across the country, Elizabeth Cooper also sells directly to brides via their online store. The mother/daughter designer duo create their modest wedding dresses to be unique and fashion forward while still being affordable. Their gowns include customization options such as gown and sleeve length, color, lining options customizable to your comfort level, and zipper or corset closure. To help you feel more comfortable buying online, they offer the option of free exchanges if you don’t love the gown. Prices range from $990 – $1,430