Social norms surrounding weddings look a heck of a lot different than they did in our grandparents’ (and even our parents’) days. Unions now come in more forms than ever before and for those of us that still opt to go this route, so do dresses. In the words of the great Leandra Medine: “Wedding isn’t code for vanilla ice cream in the proverbial sense of that phrase. Wear what you want, be who you want, refrain from sex as long as you want.”
We’d like to reiterate that point: The dress does not the marriage make — the partner does. So whether you’re looking for affordable wedding dresses because A) you’re saving the extra cash for that honeymoon in the Maldives, B) you’ve never met a glass of champagne you couldn’t spill or C) you’re certain there are a plethora of gowns sans Marchesa tags in which you will look breathtaking, we hear you. Knowing that some rituals (like seemingly everyone tying the knot during the warm weather seasons) do remain the same, we’ve rounded up the coolest summer wedding dresses (and brands) for you to peruse — all costing less than $500. Click through the slideshow above to unveil the goods.