Luxe For Less.

My biggest issue with a lot of the budget savvy high street W-day gown campaigns was always the styling, it was always a bit….naff. And often made the dresses look well….a bit cheap. Now I realise I sound like a bit of a contradiction here as this post is after all, about finding frocks that don’t break the bank, but what I mean is this – it’s easy to be put off what might be a beautiful bargain when first impressions are far from fabulous.

Luckily for you lovelies some high street stores are really pulling out all of the stops to make sure their pretty is exactly that – Pretty. As you would have seen from the recent Monsoon post, these “under £500” numbers can appear just as catwalk-worthy as a designer version with the right accessories and photography.

One of my favourite collections at the moment is from Coast, synonymous with supplying maids across the nation with elegant and sophisticated loveliness they are now trying their hand at the ultimate big day prize, kitting out the bride.

From Top:

The Avalana, if you your legs are your best asset then seriously – what’s not to love? maximum pin-flashing potential meets frill-seeking frockalicious. £450.

The Venetia, A whole lot of slinky style for £395. And I’m loving the champagne hue of the chiffon with the co-ordinating belt detail.

Coast are also delivering on the short and sexy front:

The Freyja, would work for a stunning city civil, a stylish second dress or as a really generous treat for your best girls.

The Petunia, ridiculously feminine with a sweet heart neckline, full A-line skirt and laser-cut applique florals.

Both are just £295 each.

Loving the statement ( but bargain basement) jewels on the bridal models? well that’s good, because you can purchase those from Coast too.

Clockwise From Top Left:

The Tallulah Cuff £30 , the Amanda necklace £50, the Pearl Flower cuff £28, the Tallulah necklace, £38

I am all about the arm and the neck candy this year. Especially if it’s this delicious and this purse friendly.

Of course it’s not just Coast that have some truly lovely items in stock at the moment, check out your local department stores for glamorous gowns and an abundance of awesome accessories…..

Have you seen Anoushka G at House of Fraser?


Well then, you should go have a sneaky peeky. The bejewelled bodice and feathered skirt of the “Cher” and the vintage-inspired silhouette of the “Louisa” are definitely worth a butchers, particularly considering they are only £450 a pop.

So lovelies, do tell us whether it’s under £500 for you come W-day…..

We love to share.

Big Wishing I was Wearing Any Of The Above Instead Of Jeans Love

Charlotte xxx

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

36 thoughts on “Luxe For Less.

  1. I am loving the House of Fraser ones. All I need is for John Lewis to do bridal (I HEART JL) and the dream *shop in one place forever* dream would be a reality.

    I’d hold the kitchen aid in cream as an alternative to a bouquet.

    The one with the feathers? Makes me wish I had done more than five years of age 5-10 ballet. I would totally wear it to work with a suit jacket and some killer heels?

    Offi-adal? Yah sure. New. Saw it in vogue darlings. Did you not KNOW?

  2. On a day when it’s wet and cold and I’m already at work and soooo tired the phrase ‘ridiculously feminine’ has brightened my morning. It shall be my mantra for today. So thank you x

  3. I love Freyja and the idea of a ‘second’ wedding dress – why didn’t I think of that before! Especially as I have actually bought 2 veils for this Friday, on the basis that when will I EVER get to wear a veil again? So a long one for the church and a shorter embroidered one for the reception!

    Venetia also caught my eye and I’m wondering if I missed a trick with the less expensive options as our honeymoon budget is a mere £500 as we (read I) had to make room for the dress… x

  4. That Anoushka feather dress is so gorgeous! Loving the high street post as am currently looking for a reg dress… Xx

  5. Morning Luxe Lovers 😉

    Rebecca – JL do bridal, not a huge selection but there are a few on-line.

    rachel – I tried to dress that way this morning but gave up due to how cold I was, it’s jeans and a superdry shirt – completely the opposite of ridiculously feminine if fact, must try harder!

    Cathy – oooh two veils! sounds fab, make sure you send in pics…..

    Robyn – Anoushka has some beauties, you must have a look, also some nice ones in French Connection and on ASOS.

    Charlotte xxx

  6. I’m also feeling all kinds of love for the feather dress. Reminds me of the roaring 20’s and makes me want to do the charltan!

    I do love Coast dresses, they really do offer a massive selection and style of pretty, the only weeny criticism that I have of them is that they arent necessarily designed for the more curvier and larger chestage among us, which is a shame really as they are so gorgeous.


  7. Loving the budget wedding dress posts! After trying on several expensive and non-expensive gowns I had kind of given up finding one that looked good on me. After a quick search on line for one I had seen on an actress, I found a company in china that would make it for under £100. I was a bit nervous about ordering but for that price iit was silly not to try! Well, it arrived last week & apart from a having to get a slip (as its a bit see through) it is absolutely beautiful. It’s the only dress that’s made me feel good in the whole wedding dress shopping experience. I don’t think it’s how much you spend, it’s how good you feel in it! X

  8. I’m currently hunting for a beautiful lace dress under £500…ambitious I know but the new Phase Eight bridal range is being launched this month and I have my fingers tightly crossed!
    These dresses are gorgeous.


  9. I looked at Anoushka G and plumped for a Monsoon in the end. I tried mid-range boutique dresses (approx £1000-1500) and TBH found many of them less design-minded than the shops you named above!! It was like ‘plain grecian or a-line and NO lace/embroidery’ if you wanted a strucured bridal boutique one or lovely embroidered evening dress from Monsoon, Anoushka G or Coast.

  10. These dresses are all gooooorgeous – and the perfect antidote to a rainy Tuesday morning.

    And Rebecca – your kitchen aid reference made me laugh out loud as I am DESPERATE to own one of those shiny beauties and am trying to think of a way to turn it into a wedding gift despite the fact that we are asking for vouchers towards our honeymoon!

  11. Gorgeous! If I hadn’t already blown the budget on my dress I would certainly be tempted by these lovelies. Wondering now whether I could persuade H2B that I NEED the Freya dress for the honeymoon as I think it would be a great little going away dress. Maybe if I hadn’t already blown the budget he would fall for that one! lol

  12. If I was doing the whole ‘find a dress’ thing again, I would sooo be more organised about the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, I heart my dress, but I get the distinct impression that I have missed out on a good many shopping trips and eye candy!!

    still, the whole ‘going away dress’ idea is one I am rapidly getting on board with!! Thanks Lady L!! x x x

  13. Charlotte – what are you doing to me? Normally when you post gorgeous designer dresses, it’s just a case of ‘oohhh, lovely, but I think I’m going to choose eating for the next year over the cost of these dresses’. Then you post these. Beautiful dresses, in shops nearby (and with websites I can access right from my desk). At prices I could put on my credit card.

    I love MY dress, I LOVE my dress, I love my dress… And repeat: I do not need these…

    My friend who recently got engaged, however, DOES need these!


    P.S. Sooo with you on the Kitchen Aid love!

  14. Brilliant post! Love both the Anoushka dresses and now feeling VERY smug about my gorgeous Whistles feather dress that I managed to bag half-price in the ASOS sale (£350 to £175!)
    ( if you’re feeling nosey) :0)

    I had been feeling all shades of envy for blog brides in beautiful dresses that cost more than my car ….but this post-shaped ray of sunshine has made me feel proud as hell to be a bride with an awesome budget dress!

  15. Charlotte – Thankyou! And hells yeah I’m wearing it to get married in!! 7 weeks 4 days and 1 hour to go…. xx

  16. totally agree re: the styling. Some of the traditional designers photograph their wares really badly, and it puts me right off. I have noticed this a lot with bridesmaids – dresses that are perfectly lovely photographed on models with loads of slap on (even the flowergirls!) with old-fashioned hairstyles, shot in a studio with a blue background (like a school picture from 1986) and worst of all they are all holding matching satin drawstring bags…seriously the most offensive accessory I have ever seen! (I think Denise Royle had one to put her fags in on her wedding day).

  17. Penny – what an A.MAZING dress! A brave and beautiful choice! I’m with Charlotte, I will also cry A LOT and it won’t be pretty (blotchy face, snot, the works) if we don’t get to see the pictures!!! hehe! xox

  18. Liz – yes yes YES, the Biba Bride dresses are totally gorgeous. I want to have a second dress just so I can wear one (I shall refrain of course). And have you seen the marabou cape?! Insanely prettiful.

  19. Liz H – Yes have seen, loving the long sleeved gown. So very 70’s!

    Kathryn – I just laughed my socks off, you are so right. I remember the first bridal mag I ever bought and there was a double page advert of various shiny bridesmaids gowns in frightening colours. The girl models ( who were what – twelve?!) had blue eyeshadow, frosty pink lipstick and weird plastic flower bouquets….not to mention the hairspray…. so much product!!!!

    I remember being really REALLY appalled and thinking ” I am NEVER making my friends look like that!!”

    Charlotte xxx

  20. Penny. You are my new she-hero. Seriously. What a dress!

    Er…if Cher fits me and doesn’t make me look too matronly-with-feathers, I might buy it for my 30th. I wish it was called something else though!

  21. I love these, but it’s Avalana that’s doing it for me. I once saw a bride on a US blog, might have been Ruffled, that wore a short front, long back number and I’ve not gotten over it since.

    I would seriously love to own that in another colour.

    Love the feathers too… 😉

    And, I can vouch for the Kitchen Aid. Rebecca, I’d lend you mine, but it’s a tad heavy for bouquet duties I think!!


  22. Oooh Charlotte there are some really pretty dresses in fcuk! Plus they are so reasonably priced. What a great excuse for me to ‘pop’ to the shops after work. Tee hee! Xx

  23. Penny that dress is gorgeous!!

    Girls, while you are browsing pretty high street dresses – if you happen to find one that is pretty, cream, v-neck if poss (with big boobs if I go for anything too high necked I look ridiculous) knee-length or slightly above…..for approx £50 I would be amazingly grateful! I have a daft idea that I may take my veil with me on honeymoon to get some pics on the beach but there’s no way I’m carting my wedding dress with me so thought I’d look for something short and summery to wear instead. Much obliged 🙂

  24. I LOVE the Venetia. Although sadly, like Mahj, I have too much of the curve going on to fit into any of the Coast dresses…sigh.

  25. I’m getting married in the longer version of the feather Anoushka G in June – I fell in love with it as soon as I put it on 🙂

    So good to have a budget wedding dress guide though, I found it hard to find something unsual and not too ‘wedding-dressy’ for under £1000.

    Hope anyone who’s looking finds a gorgeous dress soon x

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