15 fabulous short vintage 40s/50s style wedding dresses for £350 or less

I’m going to let you into a little secret – I’ve already chosen my wedding dress! And I’m going to tell you one more… I completely blew my budget. It’s a long story and one that I can’t tell until after the wedding next year, but before I did that I was genuinely sure I was going to have a dress that cost less than £500. And you know why? Because there are some amazing bridal dresses out there that don’t cost a fortune.
If you opt for a shorter length dress, you’re particularly spoilt for choice. I found so many amazing dresses that I couldn’t keep them to myself and had to share them in what is my first wedding themed post. If you’re already married or have no intention of tying the knot, I hope you’ll indulge these pretties anyway…
I’ve stuck specifically to new rather than vintage for this post, but not because there aren’t some amazing bargain vintage wedding dresses out there because there definitely are! Etsy is a goldmine for them. However, I’m just sticking to what I know and I think the benefit with buying new is that you don’t have to fix the colour (a real concern if a dress is meant to be white and it isn’t!) or any bust seams, torn lace etc.
6 short vintage 50s style wedding dresses under £150
Isn’t it incredible what you can get for less than £150? I’ve always loved Unique Vintage’s Garden State dress, and the ivory colour way is bridal perfect. That neckline and those cute sleeves, plus the cute polka dot overlay you can’t see here really make it for me. Another favourite of mine for budget but beautiful wedding dresses is Honeypie Boutique. Their styles are made to measure for a low price and you can opt to add sleeves and overlays and even make them long length. I’m not personally a fan of sleeveless dresses, but with how easy they are to customise through the site I could have happily worn the dress above with a bit of tweaking. Of course, no budget vintage style round up is complete without Lindy Bop – the cute flower appliqué on this style is particularly lovely, but another favourite of mine for amazing occassionwear for less is Chi Chi London. In fact, here’s another secret – my bridesmaids’  dresses are from this shop! They often pop up on ASOS who discount them now and then, so in fact my bridesmaids dresses were a total bargain even if my wedding dress wasn’t!
5 short vintage style wedding dresses for £150-250
Another shop that offers made to measure dresses for bargain prices is Inspiration Bridal. I am hugely impressed by the range this shop has – I love the above dress for the detail on the bodice (it’s worth clicking through on the link to see it properly), but I could have included so many of their styles in this round-up. I have no idea what the quality is like and you’d expect it’s not amazing, but they sure look good in the pictures. I would have risked it would a good tailor on hand to fix any problems with fit. Two offerings from the UK high street here prove there’s some great off the peg bridal ranges – and ok it’s the least ‘vintage’ here but I love the unusual dipped hem and subtle stripes of the Coast dress (and it has my favourite kind of neckline). Trashy Diva’s dresses have likely graced many a retro wedding in their time, but I would expect not so many people know about Bettie Page’s new bridal range. It only has a few styles, but they’re all very pretty and great for those working within a tight budget.
4 vintage style short dresses for £350 or less
I’m going to hold my hands up here and say my favourite dress is in this group – can you guess what it is? It’s of course that absolute beauty by The Pretty Dress Company. It wouldn’t suit every wedding, but if you wanted something quirky, yet elegant and beautiful, I don’t think you can go too far wrong with this dress. I’ve only heard good things about their quality, despite not having any of their styles myself. Kitty & Dulcie have a great range of more 50s/60s inspired styles while Dig for Victory have some fab 40s dresses – the bust on this dress here is really lovely. Monsoon are always worth keeping an eye on for their bridal range – this dress featured is perhaps the least ‘wow’ in a 2D image but being made out of silk, I bet it feels lovely and drapes and moves beautifully.
So what do you think? Would you wear a budget wedding dress that’s not made by a boutique bridal brand? I honestly would have gone this route if I hadn’t found my dress in one (and in fact, I’d pegged this dress years before I knew I was going to get married as the only boutique dress I 100% loved!). I hasten to add I actually bought a sample on knock-down, as even I think £2k+ is mad for a dress you wear for less than a day.


  1. July 10, 2016 / 10:38 am

    Ah, the blog post that I never got around to!! You have picked all the best deals though from places I researched too. I think there really are some great bargains out there if you want to go 1950s style, because it's so popular these days and hence there's a lot of choice. Honeypie boutique particularly impressed me with their choice and price range. I really cannot control my excitement over what you've picked for your own dress, I'm sure it's absolutely amazing! Do you think it would be wrong for me to buy another wedding dress even though I'm married?! I'm thinking that a nice '50s style one with some colourful accessories would be nice 'date night' material for our 1 year marriage celebrations… Lovely roundup! xx

    • July 10, 2016 / 4:35 pm

      I had a feeling that I'd overlap with your planned posts 😉 I think you can *definitely* justify a white dress for your first anniversary. I love that idea 😀 totally yoinking it xx

  2. July 10, 2016 / 10:06 pm

    So many really great options. A dress should portray an element of your own personal style, so these options would all be great for a vintage loving girl. Equally for a prom, they are all great, or a big birthday.

    • July 12, 2016 / 12:10 pm

      Or as Porcelina says, wedding anniversaries <3 it's a shame white dresses are so associated with weddings though, as you kind of feel like you can't wear them at any other time for appearing too 'bridal'…

  3. July 11, 2016 / 12:17 am

    Congratulations on picking a dress! I notice your favorite dress here on this list has red in it 😉 Can't wait to see what you picked out AND how you style it.

    • July 12, 2016 / 12:10 pm

      It does indeed – and you're observant for thinking red might play a part in my wedding day 😉

  4. July 11, 2016 / 8:31 am

    My dress only cost £85, but it was vintage (30s ivory silk). I reckon when you've found The Dress, you know it, and it doesn't matter which firm makes it or what the price is, you know it's The Dress.

    • July 12, 2016 / 12:11 pm

      That's how I've had to justify the spend on mine to myself, to be fair!! I didn't really know it was The Dress at first, because it was the very first one I tried on so I had nothing to compare it to. But the more others I put on the more I realised none of them came close…

    • July 13, 2016 / 9:35 am

      You're only going to do this once, so you might as well get it right.

      Seriously, I have been kicking myself for 16 years about not being firmer about the music I walked down the aisle to. Go with your heart!

  5. July 11, 2016 / 11:36 pm

    I wish we could hear the story of your dress now! But I suppose we'll have to live with a list of gorgeous shorter wedding dresses instead. 😉 I'm absolutely in love with the one from The Pretty Dress Company, it's so beautiful! I would love to wear that right now, frankly, wedding or no wedding.

    • July 12, 2016 / 12:12 pm

      Ha me too, but I'm trying to avoid a certain person getting any kind of clue to it and said person has been known to read my posts… Although sometimes I think he fibs about this so maybe I would get away with it…

  6. July 12, 2016 / 6:51 pm

    These are so lovely! If I get married, I would love a shorter dress too. My Grandma had a tea length dress with a tulle and lace skirt and matching lace jacket (in 1955) and I've always loved the look of it. I can't wait to see your dress, next year is a long way off!
    The Artyologist

    • July 17, 2016 / 6:16 am

      I love that look too with the matching lace jackets – so chic!

  7. July 14, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    Enchantingly gorgeous selection! Now granted, I tied the knot nearly 12 years ago, so am not in the market for such a frock (as fun as it would be to wear one of these beauties!), but if I were, I would have zero qualms rocking a budget-friendly, non-actual bridal brand like this. If anything, they appeal to me more actually because they're not such. I've always liked marching to the beat of my own style drum and think that going down an alternative wedding dress source path can certainly jive with that philosophy.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful list with us. I'm sure many a bride-to-be will find it hugely helpful.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

    • July 17, 2016 / 6:17 am

      That's true, they appeal to me for not being part of the over-priced bridal boutique market too. I'm a bit annoyed with myself I got suckered into said market, but console myself with the fact my dress was on knock down and a sample… xx

  8. July 15, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    When you said your favorite dress was in the group I knew it that it was the Pretty Dress Company dress. Somehow, that dress just screamed your name to me! Can't wait to see what you ended up picking as your dress! So exciting, looking for and finding the one! <3

    • July 17, 2016 / 6:18 am

      It's so unique and so beautiful! I'm not sad that my search for my dress was so short – I much prefer to work things out quickly well in advance then take my time!

  9. Anonymous
    July 16, 2016 / 10:45 am

    Such a cute selection of Dresses <3
    I don´t know which Dress you choosed as your wedding Dress but I´m sure it is "the one" that catched your eye first.
    You´ll be a gorgeous bride, I´m sure of that.
    About wearing White Dresses in the UK, yes, saddly they are associated to weddings, but if you go on Holidays to the mediterranean see and put some deep blue accessories, you´ll be fine!
    In Spain, Greece, Italy and the rest of the countries around the Mediterranean white is associated with summer 🙂
    Eva (from Luxembourg/Germany)

    • July 17, 2016 / 6:19 am

      It's funny how right you are when you say it caught my eye first – all will be revealed next year 🙂

      I didn't realise that white dresses were considered more ok in the mediterranean – that's a really good tip 😀

  10. August 16, 2016 / 11:13 pm

    30 years ago I bought a 20s style dress, could not find a 50s style, off the rack and on sale….I loved it and felt pretty….in the end my wedding was a complete disaster except the fact that I married my husband …if you love the dress and how you look and feel in it, that's what matters most.

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