Wedding Style: Guest Appropriate Dresses for Under $50

Today I wanted to pop in and share a special guest post I did for Maggie over at Maggie's Misc. Events! I first met Maggie, a wedding planner, through a shoot with Jenny McQueen of Capture Photography (that lovely photo is of Maggie and her husband Don, taken by Jenny and styled by me!) and let me tell you, Maggie is as nice as she is beautiful - she's a genuine person who cares not only about her clients, but everyone around her - something you see through her blog, her interactions with others, and her work with her clients.

Maggie is a wedding pro and not only does she plan events, but she blogs about all things wedding related and I'm excited to be sharing a round up of great dresses for wedding guests for under $50 for all of her blog readers (as well as you all!). 

So do me a favor and pop on over to Maggie's Misc. and read the post!

EDIT - I've now updated this post to include my original content, keep reading below!

Original content by Sydney Lester of Chic Stripes, first published as a guest blog feature on Maggie's Misc. Events.

It’s nearing the end of June and by now we are deep into wedding season, but more than likely, you still have a few more weddings to attend this summer and into the fall. If you are like most guests, you’ve got dress fatigue, both in trying to rework pieces you already own and in buying new dresses, and spending loads of money, in an attempt to keep things fresh. Today, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you and have rounded up some of my favorite wedding appropriate dresses - for under $50 (or nearly!) - and provided a few easy styling tips to help you choose a dress that looks expensive, even when it’s not.


●      Know your setting - the very first thing you should do when searching for a dress is know what kind of wedding you’ll be attending - indoors, outdoors? Morning, afternoon, evening? Grass, beach, or dance hall? These things will help set the tone for the dress you choose and how you will accessorize it.

●      Sales count - a great way to snag a dress for less is to shop the sales/clearance sections. Many times you can find a dress that is half the original price!

●      Low to high - when searching for dresses online, sort low to high. You’ll come across a gazillion not-fit-for-a-wedding type dresses, but more than likely, there will be a few gems thrown in if you just search, and know what to look for (keep reading for that!).

●      Length counts - when opting for a more inexpensive dress, the length will help make it wedding appropriate. Look for hem lengths that hit just above the knee (one inch or less for more casual weddings), right below the knee (for more formal weddings), or mid-calf (perfect for outdoor weddings).

●      Avoid juvenile-esque details - baby doll or empire style dresses (dresses with a really high waist) can make you look younger. Pastels and smaller prints can also make a dress appear like it’s for juniors instead of a woman. Never, ever, wear a dress with sheer panels or cut outs. Avoid descriptions like “ribbed”, “body con”, or “tank dress” as those are immediate call-outs that the material will be too snug and casual for a wedding.

●      Go for the gold - there are so many things that can make an inexpensive dress perfect for a wedding. Look for details such as a fit and flare dress, bold or graphic prints such as watercolor designs, or go for dresses in rich hues. Lastly, focus on material - a thicker or lined dress will provide structure while a dress in flowy (think chiffon) material will be more dressed up than something in jersey, for example.

●      Style it right - solid dresses can often be inexpensive and when accessorized with the right jewelry, shoes or bags, it can look like a million bucks. Helpful hint - a great solid color dress can be worn to multiple weddings simply by switching out your jewelry, shoes or bag!

Lulus is known for their juniors style and array of dresses, but when you take the time to sort through their stock, you will find a few amazing show stoppers that look and feel more expensive than they are. At the time of writing, they had nearly 700 dresses, all under $50.

  1. Lulu's, A Peony Earned. Go ahead, click on this dress, zoom in, and take a peek - how adorable! Everything about this dress is wedding perfect - from the sophisticated v-neck to the longer sleeves, to the multiple ruffles and design of the dress.
  2. Lulu's, Everything. She Does Red Midi Dress. A great fit and flare dress in a vibrant red will have you standing out while not overpowering everyone else. Change up the style of this dress by adding a slim belt and pearls for a classic wedding or tone it down by adding a floral blazer and white pumps for a summer garden affair.
  3. Lulu's Royal Luxe Dress. THIS DRESS! How great is this black and white design? It's so chic and striking that you could almost get away sans accessories. Finish your look with black pumps and a handbag for something formal, sandals and colorful jewelry for something more casual.

Mod & Soul is the cutest boutique with a huge following and a relatively new brick and mortar store right here in Richmond, Virginia. All of their unique pieces are $100 or less and they offer some great wedding dress options that will have you looking fresh while keeping your wallet intact.

  1. Mod & Soul, Black Print Midi Dress. A slightly unconventional dress, the strap and neckline shape make it a great choice for a more casual wedding. Up the ante in your styling by adding a belt, an up-do, or great shoes. 
  2. Mod & Soul, Day to Night Wrap Dress. This dress would be beautiful for an evening wedding and could translate into a corporate or business setting as well. Double the dress power! [NOTE - this dress is no longer available at Mod & Soul, but this style is always classic!]
  3. Mod & Soul, World Print DressThis dress is a very versatile buy as it can be easily dressed up or down. Imagine it with a cardigan or blazer, belt, hair down and curled with simple pumps or thrown on dressy sandals and understated jewelry - so chic and different.