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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!

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About Casey

Hello lovelies! I'm Casey, a 25-year-old farmland transplant and former corporate coffee minion, currently living in Chicago. My fiance, Travis, proposed to me in November 2013 after four years together during our anniversary vacation in Cancun. We're now in the thick of planning our offbeat September wedding at a historical homestead near our hometowns in west central Illinois.

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  • Laura W

    I love when a bride wears a shorter dress. I tried one on and loved it…I felt like a ballerina. Unfortunately I didn’t think it fit with our overall wedding. I love all of these you shared!

  • Trena

    I think these are absolutely darling! But I knew I always wanted a long, big dress though. I can wear shorter dresses all the time! But how often does a woman get the chance to wear that amazing long gown with a train?? Since I don’t see myself becoming famous and walking the red carpet anytime soon, I was totally ready for that long gown! It definitely was NOT “traditional” looking either, long does not equal traditional in my eyes. 🙂

    PS, I was still able to pee alone, dance my heart out, and frankly didn’t care what shoes I wore.

    I love that brides are picking styles (and colors!) that fit better with them though! 🙂

  • I love these! I am also going against the gown. I have my heart set on a tea length or high-lo style dress. I’m a whopping 4’10 tall and I’m getting married outdoors. Last thing I want is to be dragging a dress around in the grass.

  • Sarah

    I love the styles available now in short dresses!

  • These are SO cute!! I would totally consider wearing a shorter dress now- wish I’d considered it when I was planning my wedding!!

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