3/5 Can’t Afford It? Get Over It! Ersa Atelier “Melisse” Inspired Gown Under $1000

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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.
Lisa Paladin is the owner of Event Plan-It, a wedding planning and design company located in The Heart of It All. Lisa loves helping creative couples to plan EPIC weddings without any highway robbery, and believes there is no such thing as too much glitter. Or color. Or animal print. Lisa is a volunteer cat/kitten foster mom, a collector of neon things, an Argentine Malbec aficionado, a treehugger, a dabbler in all things crafty and a word nerd (despite excessive use of exclamation points and parenthetical statements). Follow Lisa on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, or email Lisa at info (at) eventplanit (dot) com about your Cleveland wedding or The Walking Dead.