When I was searching through potential
plus-size wedding dresses under £300 for my own "big day" three years ago, I was brought to tears on several occasions. Not only were there almost no brick and mortar shops carrying my size (a 24/26) that also sold budget-friendly occasion-wear, but there were extremely limited options online, too. It wasn't the first or last time I felt completely invisible to the fashion industry, but it was particularly upsetting because I was trying to plan one of the most allegedly magical moments of my life. The lack of options for my body, and bodies larger than my own, seemed to suggest plus-size babes were not worthy of fairytale endings.
My partner and I were planning our ceremony quickly, and in the end, I just had to buy
something. It wasn't the "dream" dress — not even close. Instead, I settled for a not-totally-hideous turquoise and white number that I found in the back corner of a department store. As a result, I never got to experience "that" feeling: a feeling sparked by an outfit so quintessentially you. Something that makes you feel not only beautiful, but strong and capable and ready for a big adventure with your love by your side.
Three years on, however, there are undoubtedly more options than ever before. Plus-size brides-to-be may still not be able to walk into a vast majority of wedding shops and find something made with them in mind, but the internet is another story entirely. Not only are more and more brands coming up with gorgeous wedding dresses in extended sizes, but many are doing so with tight budgets in mind.
Marie Claire, the average cost of a wedding dress in the UK was approximately £1,385 in 2018 (and £1,677 in London), but many of us don't have that kind of money to spend. The gorgeous plus-size wedding dresses below are all under £300 (and some are far less), because having the "perfect" wedding day shouldn't require forking over a month or two worth of rent. "Hera" Dress (Sizes L to 5XL), £74.10, Loud Bodies
Aptly named after the Greek goddess of women, marriage, family, and childbirth, you will undoubtedly feel ready for a romantic celebration in this stunning maxi number. The ruffled sleeves and tiered hemline add volume and power to a dress that is still traditionally feminine and dreamy.
Chi Chi Curve Flora Dress (Sizes 18-26), £85, Chi Chi London
If you have long dreamt of looking like a fairytale princess on your wedding day, this Chi Chi London dress might be the perfect fit. The Baroque-inspired details and tulle underskirt are totally regal, while the shorter length adds just a touch of contemporary whimsy.
Scalloped Lace Neck and Train Bridal Dress (Sizes 12-32), £150, Scarlett & Jo
There is something delightfully retro about this gorgeous Scarlett & Jo gown. Featuring lace detailing on the chest, sleeves, and back, with a subtle yet striking train, it evokes 1950s glamour while not being too obviously retro.
Joanna Hope Lace Dress (Sizes 10-32), £31.20, SimplyBe
You may find that you don't want a whole lot of fanfare on your wedding day. Maybe you don't like maxis or ruffles or anything that's going to get in the way of going for a wee. This elegant yet simple cami dress could be the perfect solution.
Eternal Love Maxi (XL-XXXL), £87.79, Zelie For She
Maybe you're getting married on the beach. Maybe you hope to evoke some strong '70s vibes. Maybe you just love a good boho look and don't want to forsake that aesthetic on your wedding day. Cue the "Eternal Love Maxi," in which you'll no doubt feel glorious when celebrating the eternal love of your own life. Even with a £30 postage fee from the U.S., this dress will still be under £150.
ASOS Edition Curve Lace Long-Sleeve Crop Top Maxi Wedding Dress (Sizes 16-30), £120, ASOS
Dressing for your wedding day shouldn't have to mean sacrificing your favourite trends, and that includes crop tops. The cropped overlay of this head-to-toe lace beauty is so very "in" right now, and yet this is still such an utterly timeless piece.
Mid-Sleeve Mock Neck Pencil Dress (Sizes 14-28), £193.30, JIBRI
There is something almost futuristic about this JIBRI original, with its high neck, sleek fabrication, and form-fitting silhouette. While undoubtedly minimalist, it's also undoubtedly badass.
You'll want to tack on an additional £40 or so for postage, plus a customs fee, as JIBRI dresses come from the U.S. Still, the total shouldn't be over £300.
"Gabrielle" Bridal Dress (Sizes L-5XL), £87.75, Loud Bodies
According to this dress' product description, Loud Bodies "designed The Gabrielle while having the nostalgic woman in mind, someone who’s dreaming about a time that’s well passed, when entertainment was not dry humping in clubs, but a much more elegant and organised form of group dancing."
The Gabrielle dress does, indeed, evoke vintage elegance, but the high leg slit and silky material evoke modern coolness, too.
Special Occasion Ivory Lace Capelet Formal Gown (Sizes 14-34), £136.03, Torrid
These capelet sleeves appropriately call to mind a certain story of star-crossed lovers. In this beautiful lace maxi, you may feel just as in love as Juliette, only your love story is sure to have a much happier ending.
Again, Torrid is a U.S.-based brand, so keep in mind a £46 postage fee plus custom charges.
Joanna Hope One-Shoulder Sequin Maxi Dress (Sizes 10-32), £120, Marisota
Sometimes one single detail is enough to elevate a dress from ordinary to extraordinary. Such is arguably the case with this sequinned maxi. The one-shoulder look is not often used in wedding-wear, and yet it is so, so striking.
Floral Lace Bridal Dress (Sizes 10-24), £69.99, Curvissa
This voluminous gown will no doubt make you want to dance throughout your whole ceremony. Its V-shaped neckline and A-line cut are classics for a reason.
Little Mistress Curve Spot Mesh Wrap Dress (Sizes 18-26), £85, Very
Not all weddings need to be super fancy. If you're more of a cocktail dress kind of person than a gown person, consider opting for a far less formal white, off-white, or cream-coloured party dress. This Little Mistress piece will make for a memorable ensemble that's just a little easier to rock while walking down the aisle.
Chi Chi London Plus Lace Pencil Midi Dress in White (Sizes 18-28), £65, ASOS
Big, fluffy princess dresses are only one type of style when it comes to wedding-wear, even if we're often most funneled toward them. For some brides, however, there's nothing more perfect than a form-fitting bodycon with all-over lace detailing.
Joanna Hope Beaded Bridal Maxi Dress (Sizes 10-32), £140, Marisota
The beadwork on this maxi dress is simply exquisite. The overlay is a bit boho in nature, but the gown will work regardless of your wedding destination. Whether you're tying the knot at the beach, in a chapel, or in the forest, it will look divine.
Joanna Hope Jewel Trim Bridal Dress (Sizes 10-32), £175, Marisota
For brides who can't get enough jeweled detailing in their lives, this jewel trim bridal dress by Joanna Hope is sure to be the one. Pair it with some equally bedazzled earrings and you will shine all over.
Embroidered Bridal Dress (Sizes 18-32), £120, Curvissa
Something about this bridal dress feels almost prom-like, in the best possible way. There is a youthfulness to the swinging silhouette and chunky sleeves, a sentiment you may want to evoke if your love makes you feel like you'll be young, wild, and free forever.
Special Occasion Ivory Lace Mermaid Formal Gown (Sizes 14-34), £160.10, Torrid
From afar, this gown may look like quite a simple cami style. Come closer, though, and you'll find pearl straps, beaded buttons at the back, an optional sash, and a mermaid silhouette that will truly make you feel like a mythical being.
ASOS Edition Curve Embroidered Flutter Sleeve Maxi Dress (Sizes 16-30), £110, ASOS
The disclaimer on this dress says it all: "may induce tears." With its fantastical flutter sleeves and gentle floral embroidery, you'll truly be the star of your own fairytale.
Floral Appliqué Bridal Dress (Sizes 18-32), £140, Curvissa
Although there is something undoubtedly classic about this dress, it kind of proves why certain traditions become, well,
traditions. The princess feel is unbelievably dreamy. Floral Lace Bridal Dress (Sizes 18-32), £120, Curvissa
One might actually call this dress a little bit sporty, due to its rounded neckline, the way that it seems to fall so effortlessly, and the airiness of the whole design. It's the kind of thing that'll make you feel dolled up and elegant, but still totally in control of your movements.
With a dress like any one of these, you will be ready for a truly glorious day — and you won't have to break the bank in order to get there.