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From Wedding to Weekend: A Multi-Purpose Wedding Dress

Shopping

Multi Purpose Wedding Dresses

Dress 1 | Dress 2 | Dress 3 | Dress 4

Mica recently contacted me with a question.  See, she’s getting married in a few months but doesn’t want a big, fancy, traditional wedding dress.  In fact, she wants something she can wear to multiple events, wedding related or not.  The lucky couple is not only having a small main ceremony but then they are planning a cross-country road trip to celebrate with as many friends and family in as many locations as possible.

Mica also wanted to make sure she didn’t break the bank on a dress since they’ll need that money for their road trip! So, she asked me for some suggestions on places to find dresses that fit the bill.

dressing down a wedding dress

Earrings (L) | Sandals | Earrings (R) | Jacket | Shoes

My first stop is always The Limited just because it’s my favorite store.  This lace yoke dress with a bit of an a-line skirt would be perfect because it’s not so over-the-top fancy that it can’t be dressed down. And it’s under $100.

Other retailers such as Banana Republic and J. Crew also carry nice dresses but they tend to be more expensive.  The Limited has good prices and GREAT sales. However, if you find a dress at a store that you love but it’s out of your price range, check ebay! I once fell in love with a beautiful dress at J. Crew but it was way too expensive. And by the time it had dropped in price they were sold out of my size. So I wrote down the dress name and searched for it on ebay. A trip to the tailor and significantly fewer dollars later I had the perfect dress.

rewearing a wedding dress

Necklace | Sandals | Cardigan | Belt | Shoes

Other good options are department stores.  Yes, they can be overwhelming but they do have the best selection of different items. Which is why I prefer to order items online and then return them at the store! So much easier than trying to find an item in the store if the sales clerks aren’t helpful.  Nordstrom seems to have the best balance of price to customer service level, but Macy’s has the best sales. Which is why the rest of the dresses here are from Macy’s. However, if you have a Nordstrom near you then why not check it out?

In the mean time, the dress above is great because it’s cotton, has a small tonal print that makes it a bit more fun, and has the belt that can swapped out to be dressy or casual.

white sheath dress

Earrings | Shoes | Blazer | Bag | Sandals

A sheath dress would be perfect because in this white cotton eyelet fabric it looks great alone or under a blazer, jacket or cardigan. It could even be transitioned to wear in an office with the blazer and the nude peep toe wedges.  Many people don’t think they can pull off a sheath dress but it can be done and most women actually look great in them. And if it’s too big in the bust when it fits you in the hips, consider how much you paid for it.  Did you save enough that it would be worth it to get the top tailored?

casual wedding dress

Necklace | Sandals (L) | Earrings | Bag | Sandals (R)

Finally, this cotton eyelet trimmed dress might be my favorite of the four I’m highlighting.  Why? Because it just seems like the perfect, light, airy dress to wear when you’re getting married in a park. The wide waistband will work on just about anyone, the v-neck is flattering, you can probably wear a regular bra with it (hooray!) and looking at it just makes me happy!  Plus, I could easily see it with a cardigan or the denim jacket above to make it even more casual. And, like the others, it’s under $100.

Other great places to look for a dress?  Well, if you don’t mind a bit of a hunt, I’ve found amazing dresses at TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Burlington Coat Factory (yes, they are more than great coats).  However, there’s no guarantee they’ll have anything so you have to be willing to leave empty handed. Some people also swear by thrift or consignment shops for exactly this sort of situation but I’ve never been thrift-lucky.

However, since I know what size I wear in a few brands, I can use apps and websites such as Poshmark or Threadflip to search for items in my size and preferred brand and get good deals that way. Or, I can use my little online shopping secret: Shopstyle!

So, Mica, I hope you find the prefect dress for your needs!  Congrats on your upcoming wedding and be sure to send me some pictures!

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21 replies on “From Wedding to Weekend: A Multi-Purpose Wedding Dress

  1. Mica

    Yessss! Thank you so much! This is JUST what I needed, and I’m super excited about all the possibilities. You even allayed my fears of sheath dresses!

    I think my favorite was the last one (with the eyelets), too! It must be meant to be then!

    Thanks again!

  2. Betsy

    When I got married in the fall of 2011, I didn’t want a fancy wedding or dress either. I was able to find a pretty cream dress at Nordstrom Rack for $70. I haven’t had a chance to wear it again, but it’s definitely simple enough to wear to dinner and drinks. Great post idea!

  3. Anne

    I love this idea, especially the post-nuptial road trip celebration! I haven’t even been married 6 months and I’m already thinking we need a do-over 🙂

    I’ve been seeing a lot of super cute white lace dresses that are nice, but not overly fancy and could definitely be re-purposed. The Joe Fresh collection has one, and so does New York & Company (both are online too!), and they’re both around $60-$70.

  4. kelsey

    What an interesting post! I love this idea-wedding to weekend! I want to be bff’s with whoever this reader is! My kinda gal!

  5. Katie of Alaskan Weredork

    Wow, how awesome is Mica? That sounds like a really fun wedding and a really cool road trip I love that she’s buying an inexpensive dress so that they can have fun. (I’m sorry but I just can’t with weddings today. Paying between $25-$35k for a party? That’s just insanity.)

    All of these dresses are so cute and flirty,you did a wonderful job picking out really cute options! If I was getting married today I would totally go with one of these options.

  6. Lynn

    I am also getting married this June on a beach then having a reception a few days later with a wedding dress ( which btw was a 399 designer sample!). I just bought a little eyelet sheath for 39.99 at Marshall’s (same exact one is in a major dept store now for 130! I also bought the first option from the limited and I have decided I love it and will use that to get married in! The other eyelet sheath will not go to Waste as its very casual. Good luck and so excited for another non-traditional bride!

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