The Finding a Modest Wedding Dress /Bridal Gown guides include sources of actual dresses (not just ideas) available in the categories of ready-to-wear, made-to-order, made-to-measure, customizable, custom made, custom designed/bespoke, used, and vintage. They do not include every possible option for what you could get married in. Rather, they feature more typical bridal wear in bridal colors (white, ivory, etc).
Coverage by Country
What is available in one country isn’t necessarily available in others so I make separate lists for each country. It’s probably a good idea to look at the other country listings if you don’t find what you are looking for on yours. Some sources may do business with/ship to your country that didn’t get listed on your country’s page.
I will try to update guides every six months or so ~ but I shan’t promise. You can always find the latest guides below if you don’t catch them any other way:
~ Updated, Spring 2015 ~
If your country is not listed you may submit a request or suggest sources. Do keep in mind, however, that I only read and write English so the sources do need to be in English in order for me to evaluate them for listing and the guide will be in English!
I have come to realize that my standards of modesty are quite high and that there are many people who value modest dress who don’t see things quite like I do! I use a more liberal definition of modesty when making these guides to accommodate a broader audience. However, I am sure that quite a few of you would readily wear things that I don’t include in these listings. And, on the other hand, I’m sure many of you will quickly pass by some of the dresses in these sources.
While these guides can’t, of course, be tailored just to your needs, I do hope they are helpful. Here are the guidelines I use when evaluating sources/dresses for inclusion:
- The dress is not particularly low-cut in front or back
- The dress has an actual neckline (no strapless or strap dresses)
- Both shoulders are covered at one point or another
- The dress doesn’t have cut-outs (except in perfectly sane locations such as just below a jewel neckline).
- The dress isn’t particularly and provocatively form-fitting
- The dress is no shorter than just above the knee
- The dress doesn’t have a high slit
I also especially look for:
- The dress doesn’t show even a HINT of cleavage
- The dress around the neckline and shoulders is not sheer
- The dress is not complicated, extravagant, wild, etc. in design.
- The dress is not shorter than just below the knee
- The dress is not form-fitting over the hips, etc.
- The dress does not have a slit above the knee
I will usually describe the degree of coverage in some way. You will see things like:
- Cap sleeves
- Sheer sleeves
- A bit low-cut
- Possible options
- Lace upper bodice
- Lace back with significant coverage (meaning a lace that covers more than it reveals)
In connection with dresses that are modest according to more liberal definitions.
You will see things like:
- Sleeves, some sleeves
- Short sleeves
- Long sleeves
- Very modest
- Excellent selection
In connection with dresses with more typical modest coverage.
What These Lists Include
Companies/Designers ~ bridal gown designers, companies that represent several designers, or companies that design/make gowns and sell them through bridal shops (and sometimes websites). If you want one of these dresses you will most likely need to order at least six months in advance. You may be able to find something off-the-rack (locally) or ready-to-ship (online) but your choices will be much more limited.
Designers/Dressmakers ~ people who make dresses (handmade rather than manufactured). They may sell ready-made dresses, make dresses to order or measure, or make custom or customized dresses. They generally sell them directly through their own shop or website. Often, bridal wear is their specialty. The dresses are usually designed by themselves. They are not just dressmakers who take your pattern and your fabric and make you a dress. Sometimes they offer custom/bespoke design.
Online/Mail Order Sources ~ online retailers of wedding dresses.
I only include:
1)Shops that specialize in modest gowns and appear to be offering them mail order due to the difficulty of finding modest gowns locally
2) Designers that mail order their own dresses
3) Designers/dressmakers who do business long distance
4) Or some special resource that seems to demand listing
Purchasing online should be done as a last resort, especially if your dress is not made-to-measure. I make every effort to avoid fraudulent websites (such as those that claim to sell designer gowns but really don’t).
Bridal Shops ~ local bridal shops that stock modest wedding gowns.
Used/Vintage ~ sources of used gowns, in many cases from the 1970’s or earlier. These are online retailers.
Other ~ anything that doesn’t quite fit in the above categories, such as ordinary ready-to-wear that would be suitable for bridal wear.
Prices range all over. Many of them are far too high to be favored by the average bride who values modesty, practicality, and simplicity. However, you may not be average. I’m quite sure I have no idea what is *reasonable* to a millionaire, so mostly I just ignore prices! Happily, the dresses designed to be modest are not among the most expensive.
*Meant-to-be-modest* means that the dresses I am pointing you to were intentionally designed to be modest (it doesn’t, of course, mean that they meet your standards or definition of modest).
*Exclusively Modest* means that a source offers only modest dresses. That doesn’t mean that their ideas of modesty match yours (or mine) it just means that they intentionally sell dresses made with modesty in mind.
*Plus Sizes* or *Some Plus Sizes* means just that! Please note that some sources may offer plus sizes yet lack this note. I don’t necessarily look into sizes but do try to make this note if plus size offerings are obvious.