Modest Wedding Dresses

Crystal Schwanke
wedding dress with long sleeves

While many modern wedding dress styles are revealing, the modest wedding dress is not a thing of the past. Many brides today still choose modest gowns over more provocative ones for a variety of reasons. Today's brides can be rest assured there are plenty of options to find the modest gown of their dreams without sacrificing style.

Shopping for a Modest Dress

You can find a modest dress in almost any wedding shop, but a few stand out:

DressSale

You'll find very reasonably priced gowns at DressSale (less than $300 in some cases), and since you can choose the venue, it's easier to narrow the choices down to some of the more modest ones. You'll find high collar necklines, wide shoulder straps, and even a Grecian style that doesn't leave too much skin exposed. The company ships to 200 countries worldwide and they run their own factory, which keeps their prices down. One potential down side is that they won't issue a refund if you change your mind. However, they will allow returns or exchanges in the case of a problem with the size, color, or quality.

Alta Moda Bridal Boutique

Alta Moda Augusta Jones modest wedding dress
Alta Moda Augusta Jones Wedding Dress

Alta Moda Bridal Boutique has a whole category for modest wedding dresses. This is a Utah-based store that's been around since 2005. You'll need an appointment to try on dresses, and the prices range from $1500 to $8000. Style examples available from Alta Moda include:

  • The Tiered Modest Wedding Dress has elbow sleeves and a tiered skirt.
  • The Slim and Silky Modest Wedding Dress is fitted all the way down without being too revealing.
  • The Silk Satin Ball Gown has a retro feel with elbow-length sleeves and a row of tiny buttons up the back.

Beautifully Modest

The name says it all when it comes to looking at gowns from Beautifully Modest. You'll be hard-pressed to find a dress here that reveals so much as a shoulder, and they're all gorgeous.

  • The 3547M style is a satin sheath cut with a square neckline and petal sleeves.
  • The 3938M has a stunning, rippling train, babydoll sleeves, and bead work.
  • If you're looking for a long-sleeved classic style that incorporates lace, the B3113 may be for you, with its Queen Anne neckline, long 3/4-length lace sleeves, and A-line taffeta skirt.

Unfortunately, the sizes on this site seem to be very limited. Some styles have been discontinued and have only select sizes left for online ordering. However, you can find the Beautifully Modest line in stores across the US and in Canada.

David's Bridal

David's Bridal Short Sleeve Satin A-line Gown
David's Bridal Short Sleeve Satin A-line Gown

David's Bridal probably comes to mind for most brides, at least in passing even if they don't have one locally and never make it to a store. There's a selection of modest dress styles on the David's Bridal website, like the Short Sleeve Satin A-line, with its high, square neckline and the Short Sleeve Satin Gown with Beaded Lace Style that's very similar, but with beaded lace appliques. You can order from David's Bridal online or shop in one of the stores across the country.

Latter Day Bride & Prom

Latter Day Bride & Prom has a wide selection of modest, beautiful dresses designed with LDS brides in mind. All types of styles are available, like:

  • The Lorenzo, with the feminine lace and high scalloped neckline
  • The beautiful ball gown with an understated V-neckline, called the Pietra
  • The more fitted Bonfilia, with its tiered mermaid-style skirt, short sleeves, and romantic vibe

Pricing is only available via phone for some styles. The store is located in Salt Lake City, Utah, but you can place an order online or by calling.

Modest Dress Features

What defines a modest wedding dress may vary slightly from bride to bride. However, there are several features of a wedding gown that are typically considered less modest than others. Plunging, deep V-neck, and halter style dresses are generally considered more provocative. Backless, strapless, and off-the-shoulder-gowns are also often placed this category. Length is another consideration -- with the increase in informal, summer, and beach weddings, shorter gowns are seen more and more.

Avoiding the more provacative style choices, however, still leaves many options for brides. If opting for a modest wedding dress, you may want to consider the following features of your gown: neckline, sleeve style, length, back design, and cut.

modest neckline

Necklines

The jewel neckline is a very modest neckline. Versatile and popular, the jewel neckline is also very elegant. The bateau, or boat neck, is another modest neckline choice, fitting across the chest slightly below the collarbone. Square, sweetheart and scoop necklines are slightly lower cuts than jewels and bateaus, but are still modest and beautiful neckline choices.

Sleeve Length

If a strapless or spaghetti strap gown is not what you're looking for, three-quarter length, short, and long sleeves come in many styles for a lovely modest wedding dress. Romantic puffed or poet sleeves, elegant tapered or fitted sleeves, dainty tulip or cap sleeves -- these are just a few choices in sleeve styles that can be alluring without showing too much skin.

Back Design

scoop back dress

Full back coverage is used in many wedding dress styles, often in conjunction with jewel or high-necked gowns. Keyhole and scoop back designs are also considerations that are stylish and yet still modest.

Length

While recent times have seen a rise in informal and often shorter wedding dress styles, the bride seeking a longer dress can rest assured that such styles still prevail. Lengths varying from floor length to tea length are still extremely popular.

The Right Fit

If you are looking for a modest wedding gown, you don't have to necessarily dismiss the idea of a fitted gown. Many fitted gowns are elegant and tasteful. If a more free flowing gown is your choice, however, you can choose a fitted bodice with a ball-gown, ballerina, A-line or other skirt style. For a whimsical and romantic look, an empire waist with flowing skirt is a popular choice.

Modest Vintage Gowns

For a chic flashback from the past, vintage wedding dresses are a prime choice for a modest gown. Vintage clothing stores may offer the perfect dress, and perhaps at a fraction of the cost. Some bridal shops even specialize in vintage looks from previous eras, like the 1940s or 1950s. If you can't find the exact style you want at a vintage clothing store, many dressmakers are willing to recreate vintage style gowns to your specifications.

Choosing Your Dress

Choosing the perfect dress can be difficult. The perfect modest wedding dress should showcase you and all your bridal beauty. If you are having your dress made for you, be honest with the dressmaker about exactly what you are looking for in a modest gown. Similarly, be upfront with the salespersons at bridal shops with your dress desires; they are there to help you.

Modest Wedding Dresses