Following the lead of J. Crew, other mall stores like Urban Outfitters, Ann Taylor and White House Black Market are introducing off-the-rack wedding gowns and more.
J. Crew was the first to break the old-school by-appointment, elaborate gown shopping experience back in 2004 when it created a line of wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses, and just last week confirmed their first brick & mortar bridal outpost on Madison in May/June. Urban announced in early March it would be launching a bridal line -- now it looks like the brand will be debuting the new collection as an offshoot to Anthropologie on Valentine's Day, 2011.
Other mall neighbors are also following suit: Ann Taylor will offer a strapless tiered floor-length gown in navy blue for bridesmaids and ivory for the bride, while White House Black Market is currently showing on their website and major city stores a special bride's style, in addition to offerings for the maids. Though neither have reached the comprehensive level of J. Crew, which now covers everything wedding from dresses to suits to shoes, it seems likely that each will expand their selections by season.
The most appealing part of the chain store alternative to a stuffy wedding salon lies first and foremost in the price: Ann Taylor's and WHBM's dresses are both just a couple of bucks shy of $500, while Urban's is expected to range from $750-$5,000 and J. Crew's current collection goes for $395-$2,995. Besides affordability, online and off-the-rack presents another avenue to snagging a dress that's more convenient for the multi-tasking bride who's been raised on instant gratification.