Saying yes to the dress should never mean breaking the bank. These are the high street and online retailers making dresses that are just as lovely as any custom-made gown.

Getting married can, very quickly, become a very expensive business. As any prospective brides and grooms know, the mere mention of the ‘W’ word can send prices sky-rocketing. For some, a custom dress will be the only option they will countenance, a fixed idea of what they’re looking for entrenched firmly in their heads for years and perhaps even decades. For others, however, a more relaxed attitude towards the dress – as well, of course, as budgeting necessity – means that gaily splashing thousands on a frock is simply neither possible nor desirable.

The good news is that the high street, as well as a good smattering of independent online retailers, have really upped their game in recent years, and are now awash with lovely dresses that look every bit as beautiful as their designer counterparts. All come in under £1k – and most significantly so – leaving room in your budget to spend on other things; to save for something non wedding related; or to splurge on the honeymoon. These are our picks.


Ghost has been rolling out the cream of high street bridal dresses for decades. Its classic shapes and riffs on 1940s style will never go out of fashion.

Laurel Dress, £495

Viola Dress, £495

Sylvia Dress, £225


Whistles may not chiefly be known as a bridal destination, but its collection is pleasingly structured and looks much more expensive than it is.

Juliet Wedding Dress, NOW £349

Mia Square Neck Wedding Dress, £499

Esther Bardot Wedding Dress, £499


Soft, pretty and ultra-feminine, Monsoon’s bridal range deserves all the plaudits it deservedly gets. It also stocks a good range of accessories and bridesmaid dresses, too, so you can get everything you need under one roof.

Sabrina Lace Wrap Crepe Bridal Dress Ivory, £249

Briana Button Sleeve Bridal Maxi Dress Ivory, £309

Tanja Floral Embroidered Bridal Dress Ivory, £499

Sister Jane

This whimsical, vintage-style London-based label is fun, romantic and very wallet-friendly.

Bridal Maxi Dress In Floral Jacquard With Bow Back, £105

Bridal Tiered Maxi Dress With Bow Shoulder Ties, £195

Sparkling Daisies Midi Dress, £89


None of this trio of dresses can officially be labelled ‘bridalwear.’ And yet you can rely on Anthropologie, that vast repository of fashion-forward frocks, to deliver whatever it is you’re looking for. For informal weddings, we love these ideas.

Maeve Tie-Waist Shirt Dress, £140

Maeve Seamed Contrast Mini Dress, £140

Broderie Cut Out Midi Dress, £138


‘Always inclusive, always empowering, we aim to create a fusion of original hand-painted prints and timeless silhouettes to flatter every woman, irrespective of age, season, size, nationality or time of day,’ say Rixo founders Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey. We love the duo’s vintage-inspired bridal collection.

Fleur Corded Lace, £650

Skye Silk Satin Nightdress, £275

Needle & Thread

There are few labels imbued with such romance as Needle & Thread. Anyone looking for layers of ruffled tulle – without stratospheric couture prices – look no further.

Willow Ruffle Gown, £450

Amalie Sequin V-Neck Gown, £450

Genevieve Ruffle Gown, £450

Ralph Lauren

It can’t be often said of Ralph Lauren that it is a wallet-friendly option. And yet its ready-to-wear Lauren label offers some excellent choices for bridalwear, from 1920s-style drop-waist simplicity to 1950s-style structured elegance.

Sleeveless V-Neck Satin Gown, £549

Jersey Off-the-Shoulder Gown, £219

Crepe Off-The-Shoulder Gown, £229

Jenny Yoo

‘I believe that while weddings are a tradition, rules can and need to be modified,’ says New York bridal designer, Jenny Yoo. Her designs are reliably elegant and classic, but always with a pleasing little twist.

Cowl Neck Satin Gown, £325

Raya V-Neck Satin Gown, NOW £200

Zara One-Shoulder Sequin Gown, £545

Chi Chi London

Chi Chi London was named the 49th fastest growing private company in the Sunday Times. Perhaps that’s because of its excellent price points and size inclusivity (as well as going up to a size 26, it also has a tall range). These are our top three picks from its bridal range.

Short Sleeve Embellished Waist Maxi Wedding Dress in White, £160

Flutter Sleeve Backless Lace Bridal Wedding Dress in White, £210

Petite Bridal Lace Bodice Maxi Wedding Dress in White, £248


Coast has always done an excellent line in affordable occasion wear – it is a long-time staple for bridesmaids’ dresses – and its bridal offering is no different. These are our three favourites.

Premium Long Sleeve Sequin Maxi Dress, NOW £191.20

Embroidered Georgette Maxi Dress, NOW £127.20

V Back Long Sleeve Dress With Trail, NOW £151.20

By Nancy Alsop
March 2022

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Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.