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The best wedding dress shops for guest attire in NYC

Got your wedding invite, but need an outfit? Score bargains or splurge for the perfect wedding staple at these dress shops.

By Jennifer Picht
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Wedding season means a slew of fun parties and celebrations. What’s not so fun is the amount of dough you’re likely to drop on a wedding guest getup (not to mention all those gifts you’ll be buying at the city’s best department stores and gift shops). If you have a bunch of friends and family members getting hitched this year, you need to find a cheap wedding dress that’s thematically elegant and fun. That’s why we scoped New York’s stores to find the best frocks, ranging from those in the more affordable spots through to noteworthy designer stores. From outdoor beach weddings to indoor affairs, we've ranked the perfect stores by price point so you're bound to find the perfect style for that special occasion.

Wedding dress shops for guest attire

Macy's

Shopping Midtown West

It may not be as glamorous as New York’s other famous stores, but for sheer breadth of stock, the 34th Street behemoth is hard to beat. You won’t find exalted labels here, though—mid-priced fashion and designers’ diffusion lines for all ages are its bread and butter. From Calvin Klein floral A-line scuba dresses ($67) to Style & Co. handkerchief-hem styles ($29), this is the spot for chic, affordable wedding looks.

COS

Shopping Womenswear Soho

Folks in the fashion crowd are obsessed with H&M's pricier sister brand. The first NYC location finally opened in December 2014, and it looks like it was worth the wait. The 4,950-square-foot modern retail space features four floors filled with sharp, minimalist separates for men and women. But we think this is the perfect spot to nab the perfect wedding getup. We have our eye on pieces like a navy-blue sheer-hem dress ($115) and a water color–print round-shoulder frock ($87).

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Photograph: Courtesy of Mango

Mango

Shopping Midtown West

Mannequins modeling trendy ensembles invite shoppers into this Spanish brand’s store, a good place to snag well-priced goodies that are a step up from Forever 21. Fitted dresses go as low as $40, but satin striped frocks ($100) and long pleated dresses ($150) are a worthy splurge on someone’s special day.

J.Crew

Shopping Womenswear Soho

J. Crew is a perennial ruler of the American apparel game, with good reason. Its trusty, exquisite pieces radiate the relaxed propriety of Stateside elite with just the right amount of trendy tangent. Recent forays into evening and wedding attire also have been brilliantly successful. Need a bridesmaid dress? The brand has sweetheart neckline, strapless dresses in multiple pretty hues ($­109–$200) as well as long chiffon one-shoulder gowns ($385).

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Rent the Runway
Photograph: Courtesy Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway

Shopping Boutiques Midtown West

After spending time as a shop-in-shop at Henri Bendel, this popular high-end dress-rental service is branched out with its first freestanding store. For $25, you can book an appointment and meet with a personal stylist who’ll help you find the perfect designer dress for your next big event. The store features a rotating selection of dresses from more than 200 designers like Opening Ceremony, Vera Wang and Marchesa. And wedding parties also can rent out the shop for the day.

Century 21

Shopping Department stores Financial District

A Vera Wang silk dress for $250? An Armani sheath frock for less than $300? No, you’re not dreaming—you’re shopping at Century 21. You may have to rummage to unearth a treasure, but with savings from 25 to 75 percent off regular store prices, this is a gold mine for wedding guest attire.

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Reiss

Shopping Womenswear Upper West Side

This British label stocks posh wares—tailored pieces for day and saucy staples for night. Both blokes and dames can pick up the fashion-forward garb, shoes and accessories for a fancy shindig. We suggest that the ladies go for something elegant but understated, like a Melba metallic-detail jacquard dress ($207), or opt for a cool-girl frock, like a black, cutout detail, Felicity style ($294).

Zimmermann

Shopping Womenswear Soho

The high-end Aussie label moves its NYC flagship to this 3,800-square-foot space in a historic cast-iron building. Ladies will find flirty apparel ($80–$2,600) and accessories ($125–$550), including asymmetrical dresses ($325–$625) that are boasting some serious downtown-cool bridal party vibes.

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Photograph: Sean Ellingson

Rebecca Taylor

Shopping Designer West Village

This New Zealand designer boutique is adorned with murals of fairy worlds and butterflies—a fitting backdrop to her super-girly, often-embellished confections, like sequin-bedecked jackets and frothy dresses. If you’re willing to splurge, we recommend nabbing a tiered Flowerpress-print maxi dress ($399) or a super-flattering orange V-neck dress ($209). While we don’t condone overstepping the bride in the style department, these frocks will make a statement at the reception.

Fall fashion inspiration from stylish New Yorker Chloe King
Photograph: Rayon Richards

Tibi

Shopping Designer Soho

Gorgeously feminine and unafraid of color and print, Tibi gives New Yorkers delicious alternatives to the all-black uniform. The flagship is as well designed as the clothes themselves, which also hang on the racks of such department stores as Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel and Scoop. We’re currently drooling over silk strapless towel dresses ($685) and silk pleated halter gowns in pastel colors ($795), but more affordable items like a silk halter dress ($298) are just as captivating.

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