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15 Wedding Dresses That Aren't Actually Wedding Dresses

Harriet Davey

If you’re getting married in the coming months, or you’re just one of those organised people who likes to get well ahead, then you've probably got a lot on your plate right now. The venue is booked, the band is pencilled in – now for the most important aspect of wedding planning: the dress.

If you still haven’t found the one (again, we mean the dress) then we’re here to open your eyes to options you may not have thought of. Before you head for the nearest bridal boutique to try on every OTT gown in sight, or go full Monica Geller and wrestle your way to a sample sale bargain, consider this: a wedding dress that isn't a wedding dress.

Yes, they're a thing. They’re the frocks that aren’t technically bridal; dresses you can pick up from your trustiest high street brands (including Zara and Mango) and which every modern bride can pull off on the big day.

Whether you're a boho bride in lace with flowers in your hair, a diehard minimalist or concerned about sustainability and the environment, we’ve found 15 of the best could-be-bridal dresses, starting from just £29.99. You can thank us with a slice of wedding cake.

If you’re more of a minimalist than a maximalist, you’ll want this dress by Zara’s sister brand, Uterqüe. It’s all about that waist tie detail and retro halterneck.



Uterqüe Dress With Neck Detail, $260, available at Uterqüe

Galvan gowns have an instant place in any girl’s wardrobe. This lace insert slip is a go-to for any fuss-free bride-to-be.



Galvan Windmill Lace-Paneled Crepe Gown, $1750, available at Net-A-Porter

Not just for wedding guest looks, Reformation is the sustainable hero brand nailing dresses for brides, too. Be a Bardot babe in this lace dress of dreams.



The Reformation Merlot Dress, $535, available at The Reformation

Break with tradition and opt for a mini dress. The puffy sleeves and embellished belt detail is 2019’s answer to a winning outfit combination.



Zara Voluminous Dress With Belt, $29.99, available at Zara

We usually associate Aussie brand Zimmermann with beach-ready dresses but this one wouldn't look out of place floating down the aisle. Tulle – tick. Flattering midi length – tick. This season’s key polka dots – tick.



Zimmermann Polka Dot Mesh Dress, $1050, available at mytheresa

Boho brides, listen up: the high street has your back. Mango’s fluted sleeve, button-down maxi dress comes in at under £50. You’re welcome.



Mango Embroidered Detail Dress, $49.99, available at Mango

We usually go to Ghost for wedding guest dresses and bridesmaid gowns but they do bridal looks, too. We love the detail on this satin beauty, and you'll get wear out of it after the big day.



Ghost Ceilia Dress, $165, available at Ghost

If understated isn’t in your vocabulary, look no further than Staud’s all-over sequin gown. No accessories needed with this one.



Staud Pearl Sequin Dress, $510, available at Moda Operandi

Classic brides look away. This sleek wrap dress is ideal for nuptials in warmer climates – the midi length will show off a killer pair of shoes while the side split will keep you cool.



Nanushka Subah Terry Cloth Dress, $280, available at mytheresa

High street wedding dresses are no longer taboo; in fact, some are so fabulous that you'd struggle to tell them apart from a boutique designer find. French Connection's 3D floral number is a firm favourite.



French Connection Manzoni 3D Floral Lace Maxi Dress, $195, available at French Connection

Les Rêveries, known for creating multiple It dresses, has ventured into bridal territory with an exclusive eight-piece capsule collection. This vintage-style one-shoulder beauty has stolen our hearts.



Les Rêveries One-Shoulder Ruched Silk-Jacquard Gown, $810, available at Net-A-Porter

& Other Stories answers our fashion prayers on any occasion, all year round. Here, they’ve unintentionally dipped into wedding dress territory and we can thank them all over again.



& Other Stories Floral Jacquard Overlapping Midi Dress, $110, available at & Other Stories

Part of Net-A-Porter's new Net Sustain edit, Maggie Marilyn’s belted dress is a guilt-free style that’ll suit a city affair. Add gold jewellery and multi-strap heels for an effortless feel.



Maggie Marilyn Looks Like We Made It Belted Satin Maxi Dress, $405, available at Net-A-Porter

Embrace your inner Beyoncé with a major thigh split. The high neck and draped back keep it chic.



Harvey Nichols The Evelyn Dress, $215, available at Harvey Nichols

If your wedding vibe is casual but cool, head straight to Free People. We’re picturing wild flower bouquets and tousled hair with this tiered lace winner.



Free People Midnight Medley Lace Dress, $478, available at Free People

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