Belle’s Favorite Dresses for Spring Weddings

The number of weddings I must attend every year shrunk considerably when I turned 30.  But this year, several younger law school classmates and a few of K’s friends are getting married.  So I have a decision to make:

  1. Do I rent dresses from RTR?
  2. Do I buy a couple of affordable dresses that I can wear on dates and to other gatherings, but I will probably tire of after a season?
  3. Or do I splurge on one or two pricey dresses that I really want and will love for years?

Here are a few dresses that fall into each of those categories.  Choose the solution that works best for you.


Sangria Claire Dress ($112) // Theia Midnight Sheath ($100) // Blue Swirl Dress ($175) // Cupcake Bow Back Dress ($128)

Rent The Runway offers dresses from various designers at rental prices that range from $30 to several hundred per rental.  Tips for getting your money’s worth out of the service?

First, order from the new arrivals to get the freshest-looking styles.  RTR does a good job of keeping the dresses clean, but older dresses can look a bit haggard.

Second, if you can afford it, spend a bit more.  If you have a special occasion, there’s something to be said for playing Cinderella in a very special, designer dress.

Last, if you more than three events in a condensed period, subscribe.  RTR offers an “unlimited” subscription for $139 per month.  You can rent three dresses at a time, and switch them out frequently.

Looking for something under-$50?  This Finders Keepers Marsala dress is very sophisticated.  For something playful, this hot pink Dvf dress is lovely.  For a mix of both, try this Tulip Dress from Cynthia Rowley.

 Plus-size?  I like this pewter-metallic dress from Yoana Baraschi.  This cobalt flounce dress from ELOQUII is really interesting.

After the jump, some affordable dress choices for buyers.  Also, a few dresses for those looking for a splurge they can wear for years to come.


ASOS Ruffle Neck Dress ($76) // Way-In Strapless Maxi ($52) // BB Dakota Rhianna Dress ($98) // London Times Mesh Inset Dress ($88)

There are many places online where you can find wedding attire in the $50-$100 range if you know where to look.  ASOS is one of my favorite spots.  This ruffle-neck dress is lovely and unique.  I also like this berry-colored, maxi wrap dress.  I also like this drape-front dress in pale lilac.

Nordstrom always has a wide selection of dresses in all price ranges.  The other three dresses in the set are all from Nordy’s, which is my preferred place to shop if you need a specialty size.  The dress on the far right is plus-size.  If you’re petite, this Adrianna Papell lace dress comes in a wide selection of colors.

Other options include: Last Call, Off5th, and Dillards.


Halston Heritage Striped Dress ($295) // Ted Baker London Eleese Dress ($279) // Elizabeth and James Phoenix Dress ($365)

Every woman should own at least one dress that when she puts it on, she feels like a million bucks.  A wedding can be a good excuse for buying such a dress.  I still own the dresses that I wore to the weddings of my closest friends.  And I still think of them every time that I wear them.

If you want to get the most wear out of a dress, I would recommend black or navy.  This Byron Lars sheath mixes the best of classic style with a modern look.  Navy is a versatile choice for any season.  I like this J.Crew Cadenza lace dress for something classic.  For something modern, try this Belleville 2.0 dress with a unique look.

Color is a good choice for weddings; it just feels festive.  The dresses above all showcase the best of spring color.  If you’re plus-size, this coral Adrianne Papell dress is a lovely choice.



  1. Mel says:

    I’d absolutely recommend RtR. It has never failed me and I always get a ton of compliments on the dresses.

    Weird side note, but the lighter blue dresses you shared seem a little too light for a wedding. Every wedding since mine, I’ve noticed that there is always someone in a dress that may seem a little too white-ish (looks white in a certain light).

    March 24, 2016/Reply
    • Elle says:

      Agreed that the light blue dress would be too light for a wedding. Any other spring event, go for it.

      March 24, 2016/Reply
  2. Anna says:

    I’m all for RTR for wedding dresses. The last few times I’ve splurged on a dress that I SWORE I had multiple uses for, I’ve never worn it again. RTR lets me get a more interesting and expensive dress than I would otherwise buy and I don’t have to worry about it taking up space in my closet and basically gathering dust. I mean, how often do you even re-wear date dresses?

    March 24, 2016/Reply
    • Anna says:

      Also, forgot to mention, the Pro Membership is totally worth it. It pretty much pays for itself after two dresses, or in my case a dress plus two jewelry rentals, plus you get a free birthday dress (a perk they’ve seriously cut back on for regular members). And for DC-based ladies, there’s now an RTR store in Georgetown where you can try on some of their dresses, rent same-day, and for those of us without a doorman or who want to scope out jewelry first-hand, pick up your rentals.

      March 24, 2016/Reply
  3. pilates princess says:

    Another vote for RTR and RTR Pro.

    March 24, 2016/Reply
  4. Anna says:

    I am loving that Ted Baker dress. Way out of my normal price range, but it’s gorgeous.

    I have about 5-6 dresses that work well for weddings. I’m started to get tired of them after a few years, but still love them enough not to discard any of them for a newer dress.

    March 24, 2016/Reply
  5. Alison @ jolie x laide says:

    My vote is one or two good dresses that you’ll love and wear for years. It’s easy to find dresses that you look good in but hard to find ones that make you look amazzzzing. So I’m always on the hunt for the latter because when you show up at those weddings/parties/events, all that people will remember is the amazing.

    March 25, 2016/Reply
  6. Coco says:

    I have a RTR pro membership and for the most part, I love it. Wearing a dress in which I feel and look like a million bucks (and probably would never buy) is totally worth it to me. I’ve had one too many party dresses that never saw the light of day again after one, maybe two uses.

    That said, my tip is to make your rental dates at least two days before your event (RTR offers either four or eight day rentals). I learned this lesson the hard way; last spring, I one or two unfortunate experiences, where the dress(es) I had rented were, at the last minute, unavailable for whatever reason (the dress was returned late or in bad condition).

    In one instance, because of the timing (and because I live on the west coast, I think), a RTR stylist selected another dress, which I received the night before my cousin’s outdoor Southern California wedding. The dress was pretty but not what I had in mind or wanted to wear. We were in the middle of a heatwave and the dress was a thick brocade material. I spent the morning of the wedding at Nordstrom’s and Macy’s. Luckily, I found something but it was not easy because I’m petite and can easily look like I’m a kid playing in my mom’s dress. Long story short: get the rental two days before the event and have a back-up plan, just in case.

    FWIW, RTR did make it up to me and subsequent rentals for holidays parties and New Years Eve went off without a hitch.

    March 28, 2016/Reply
  7. Kristen says:

    Based on this post and comments I have decided to use RTR for two upcoming weddings. I had no idea what I was going to wear and now I have SO many options. Thanks for posting this.

    March 31, 2016/Reply