Going Against the Gown

tea length dresses

The Beverlywood – Available through Dolly Couture

Before I tried on a single wedding dress, I knew the traditional long gown wouldn’t be for me. For starters, I’m just not a particularly traditional bride. My personal style has always been a little offbeat, a little vintage, and a whole lot of ME. I also know my limitations when it comes to fit and fashion in relation to my body. I’m considered plus size by all major labels, and, being on the petite side at 5’3″, I’ve always felt swallowed whole by long dresses.

I immediately gravitated toward tea length dresses, loving the vintage vibes and playfulness that come with them. During my first of only two dress hunting excursions, I tried on a couple of long gowns. My preemptive feelings about them were vindicated — I felt boxy, shapeless, and not at all like the bride I wanted to be. As soon as the attendant put me in a tea length, I felt at home.

tea length dresses

Oleg Cassini Style CPK437 – Available at David’s Bridal

Shorter length dresses aren’t for every bride, I know. Some of us have been dreaming about that princess ball gown or sexy fit and flare since childhood. But for me, a tea length dress means freedom — freedom to dance, to show off my adorable, carefully chosen shoes (which I still need to carefully choose!), to use the bathroom unassisted.

Now going the non traditional route comes with the issue of lack of choices. Unfortunately, not all designers and retailers are on the same wavelength as us tea length gals. Out of over 400 styles of wedding gowns David’s Bridal has in stock, a mere 12 of them are tea length. And I tried on most of them. There were a couple of contenders in that small selection, but, ultimately, I decided that the boutique designer route would be the path for me.

tea length dresses

Oleg Cassini Style CMK513 – Available at David’s Bridal

While scouring Pinterest, I stumbled upon Dolly Couture, a small designer with boutiques based out of Los Angeles and New York City along with in-home boutiques in various cities around the US, including Chicago. A quick call to their customer service line, and I was put in contact with the lovely lady in my city who carries several styles of DC dresses. We exchanged e-mails, set an appointment for my friend and me to try on dresses in her apartment, and went from there.

Though their locations are currently limited, they do much of their business through their website, so even the most isolated bride can purchase a Dolly dress for her wedding. The styles start at an affordable $495 and go up to $995 though if you’re in the market for a custom creation, the price could go a tad higher. My custom gown came to about $875 with a holiday discount and free shipping. I’m sorry that I can’t provide more specifics, but my fiance reads my posts. I don’t want to ruin the surprise for our first look!

tea length dresses

The Moon River – Available through Dolly Couture

Don’t be afraid to turn your back on tradition if it doesn’t feel right for you. Choosing an unconventional gown can do so much and not just where fashion is concerned–It can help set the tone for your entire wedding!

Blogger note: I received no compensation for promoting Dolly Couture. Just thought it was a resource worth mentioning to other brides!

Favorite Wedding Dresses from BHLDN


Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here

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