Affiliate Disclosure Statement

Hello dear BABs! I’m Lisa, the newest Broke-Ass Bride team member, and I’ll be your tour guide today in the Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! I’m psyched to be helping out with these posts every other week!

This week’s CAI/GOI request comes from Anne, who has superb taste in gowns, I might add. She’s fallen in love with the Ersa Atelier “Melisse” gown, and who could blame her? With its frothy tulle skirt and delicate lace bodice detailing, I find myself wanting to twirl (dance, prance, float) around in it, too! (I also have an inexplicable desire to eat the gown … I swear it looks like fine spun sugar and cotton candy! YUM! This must be what Sugar Plum Fairies look like!) Anne likes sweetheart necklines, lacy sleeves, and beautiful backs.

Anne, honey, you’re in good company! Like I said, superb taste! But Anne’s gown budget is maxed out at $1,000, so the search is on!

It just so happens that the very details Anne is drawn to are also the same classic features that designers have been using to woo brides for decades. Sleeves are just beginning to make a comeback in modern wedding gowns, but if you’re looking for a princess-inspired gown like the “Melisse,” you’ll find a wide variety of unique, affordable options in vintage ’50’s and ’80’s styles, when lace sleeves and sweetheart necklines were also quite popular (and stunning!). If you find a gown that has great “bones” you can always have it altered to look more au courant, too!

Can't Afford It




Ersa Atelier “Melisse” (Collection ranges from $7,000-$12,000)

Get Over It

  Etsy Sweetheart Hollywood 03.05.15

Vintage Embroidered Lace Gown, $650 by Etsy seller Merletto

1950s Lace Tulle 03.05.15

Vintage 1950′s Lace and Tulle Wedding Dress, $198 by Etsy seller LaceAndYarn

Vintage Embroidered 03.05.15

Vintage Embroidered Lace Gown, $299 by Etsy seller Foreverus999

Princess Style Handmade 03.05.15

 Princess Style Wedding Dress with Lace Sleeves, $898 by Etsy seller bridalblissdesigns

Lace Keyhole 03.05.15

Lace Keyhole Back 03.05.15

Lace Wedding Dress with Sleeves and Keyhole Back, $898 by Etsy seller bridalblissdesigns

How gorgeous is that back!?!?

Bride of Frankenstein 03.05.15

Bride of Frankenstein Inspired Long Sleeve Lace Wedding Dress $898 by Etsy seller bridalblissdesigns

My personal favorite option for you, Anne, is a two-parter. In the 1950s (and as early as the 1920s and 1930s), many gowns were made to be worn again later as evening dresses, so they came with a removable lace overlay. I think this option could really work well for you!

First, find a plain-ish strapless or spaghetti strap gown in the silhouette and price range you love. There are tons of options with sweetheart necklines and flowy tulle skirts! Like one of these:


Dessy Ivory 1027 03.05.15

After Six Wedding Dress 1027, $275 at Dessy

Dessy 1049 03.05.15

 After Six Wedding Dress 1049, $525 at Dessy

Avery 03.05.15

Avery, $799 at Kennedy Blue

Mignon Dillards 03.05.15

Mignon Strapless Chiffon Gown, $398 at Dillard’s

BHLDN Annabelle 03.05.15

Annabelle, $260 at BHLDN

Alyce Claudine 03.05.15

Claudine Wedding Dresses Style 7003, $275 at BestBridalPrices.com

Then, add the BHLDN Marnie Topper! This gorgeous lace cover-up ($220) can be layered over virtually any sleeveless style gown to achieve a similar look as the Ersa Atelier “Melisse” inspiration gown. Check out that deep-v back!

Marnie Topper 03.05.15

Marnie Topper Back 03.05.15  

Marnie Topper, $220 at BHLDN

 If that topper’s not quite your style, I’ve got others!

  Celine Bolero 03.05.15

Celine Bridal French Lace Bolero Cover-Up Shrug in Ivory, $320 by Etsy seller girlwithseriousdream

Dessy Lace Top 03.05.15

Lace Top, $40 at Dessy

So Anne, I hope I’ve helped to solve your Can’t Afford It dilemma with some Get Over It wedding gowns. How’d I do at finding alternatives? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Bonus Pro tip: When ordering from an online retailer, sign up for their email updates and wait for the discount codes to come rolling in! But I’m sure you savvy BABs already thought of that. 

Got a gown that you just can’t get off your mind? We’re happy to help you get over it! Just tell us in the comments below! Please remember to include the budget you’re working with so we can find you the best alternative for you.

*As always, please do your own research before buying a gown online. Team Broke-Ass is here to provide you with inspiration and resources, but it is up to the consumer to know what they’re purchasing.
  • 3/4

    Have a few spring weddings to attend? Dress for the Wedding compiled some gorgeous dresses for those nearing nuptials.

    This UP themed wedding on Inspired by Dis is just ridiculously awesome. The Dolly Couture dress, the sprinkle cake … and look at her ring!

    Inspired By Dis Up Themed Wedding

    Photo: Chris + Jenn Photos 

    On Hey Wedding Lady, a husband surprises his wife with a vow renewal on a lake, a gorgeous gold gown and a freaking flower crown. Guys, take note.

    You guys know I have a thing for mugs. Aisle Perfect found 10 more liquid of life (read: coffee) delivery vessels to show off your status.

    Want to seriously save on your wedding flowers? Kiss My Tulle has a great step-by-step on how to makeover those supermarket bouquets.

    Kiss My Tulle Supermarket Bouquet


    Credit: Kiss My Tulle

    One of our tried and true BAB tips is to opt for a sheetcake vs. an ornate tiered wedding cake. The BrideLink has a great tutorial for a faux tiered cake for display.

    If you’ve thought about convertible bridesmaid dresses for different styles but the same color scheme, check out this post on Emmaline Bride that breaks down why it may be your best option for your gals.

    For a whole ‘nother twist on bridesmaids bouquets, check out these great options on Chic Vintage Brides.

    The Budget Savvy Bride offers up another one of her brilliant budget tips.

    BSB Budget Tip #24 Credit: The Budget Savvy Bride


  • 3/4

    Ok, BABs. I did a very not-Broke-Ass thing. Confession is good for the soul and all that, plus, what I did was soooo pretty.

    I blew a lot of money on a pair of shoes for our wedding. At first I was kinda wringing my hands wondering how I was …

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    I’m kind of a huge fan of a bride and groom rocking sunglasses on their wedding day. Now, not necessarily during the ceremony or during some of the more sweet, serious moments, but certainly while hanging around at cocktail hour and of course on the dance floor and photo booth because, …

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    Brides Against Breast Cancer

    The Broke-Ass Bride is proud to partner with Brides Against Breast Cancer, turning gently used designer gowns into a beacon of hope in the worldwide fight against breast cancer. If you’d like to donate your gown, here’s how. If you’re in need of a gown, Brides Against Breast Cancer

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  • 3/2

    bb877597343463c61847feda89f725a9 2

    We’re all here for the same reason. We all want to find the best ways pinch pennies while planning our weddings, because let’s face it: Anything with the word “wedding” tacked onto it is going to cost you a lot more than it normally would. My current favorite instance of this …

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    1. Calling all geeks! ThinkGeek is taking 30% off all apparel until 3/1 when you use code DRESSUP.

    2. Rue La La has some stellar deals right now, complete with winter close-out gear starting at $20 and some Kate Spade NY goodies.

    3. BAB favorite Fab.com has an ongoing list

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    RubyMay Etsy

    For you brides that got engaged over the holidays and are looking at a wedding this summer, you’ve very likely starting to put your feelers out for invitation styles that you enjoy. As I’ve sat browsing through some of the new styles this season, I keep finding myself drooling over bright, …

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  • 2/26

    SOTTERO and MIDGLEYwww.sotteroandmidgley.com

    Hello BABs! It’s that time of the week again where I make someone’s wedding dress dreams come true!  This week we’re helping Nickie who had a few dresses in mind and finally narrowed it down to the lovely Sottero & Midgley gown, “Simone.” This gown features gorgeous swarovski crystals, something Maggie …

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