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What is acceptable? Mostly everything is strapless, and I am working with a very tight budget, so making mine is out of the question. Would wearing a bolero be acceptable? There are several that I like that are made of lace, but I'm not sure if the see-throughness of them would be ok.

This is getting frustrating. :(

A bolero would be fine. I, personally, see nothing wrong with lace sleeves and neck (such as Princess' Grace's beautiful wedding gown), but you can always ask the priest for guidance.

You can try thrift stores and vintage clothing stores. Sometimes they have beautiful wedding dresses from a while back when sleeves still existed, the price is modest, and they are usually in good condition, having been worn only once.

You can try shopping for something marketed as a "formal" rather than a wedding gown; you can find some different options this way, and many of these gowns come in white, ivory, or champagne. And are cheaper.

If you or anyone who loves you can sew even a little, there are simple patterns of beautiful vintage styles that can easily be used for wedding dresses. This is what I did, but my mother used to be a seamstress/costume maker. She made me a gorgeous medieval-style gown, and all I had to pay for was the silk. I see you wrote that making your gown is "out of the question" because of a tight budget; do you mean paying someone to make it? Because making the dress yourself is only as expensive as the kind of fabric you choose. There are places where you can get relatively inexpensive white silk.

I had a lovely wedding for about $2,000, so I'm your girl if you want to talk about how to make things cheaper.
I am also looking for a wedding dress and find that 90% of them are strapless or have those thin spaghetti straps, or are completely backless.  I think a jacket would be perfectly acceptable if you are comfortable with the dress.  I personally won't wear strapless because I would worry all day that it's going to fall off. 

I don't know how to cut and paste links but if you search this forum there was a thread about modest wedding dresses.  I think I found it by typing in "wedding" in the search box.   In the thread there were a couple of links to websites that sell modest wedding dresses.

I have asked my mother to make my wedding dress but if you go to the fabric shops and look at bridal sewing patterns, they are also mostly strapless. 

We are solving the problem by using a wedding dress pattern for the skirt but a regular dress pattern for the top so I can have sleeves and a neckline.  It helps that my mom is talented enough to do this and it will save me a ton of money.  

I would second looking at thrift shops, consignment shops, even ads in your local paper.  Or



The cheapest conceivable way is to find a dress in a thrift/consignment shop or on eBay - the good news is that since modest dresses are no longer in vogue you can get them cheaply.  I've seen some for as little as $40.  Then perhaps you can find someone to alter it inexpensively?  Lots of women work from home doing this  - check bulletin boards at craft/fabric shops, maybe even call your rectory and see if anybody knows someone.  I know a girl who sewed two dresses together to make one she liked and the whole shebang came together for less than $400 (including shoes).
I bought mine for 50$ at a fancy bridal store... it has sheer sleeves, but enough fabric (if I use the train) to make opaque sleeves. I went into the store and told the lady I wanted only sleeved gowns. Including cap sleeves I had several choices (yes, 90% of the store was strapless, but 10% wasn't) Cap sleeves would be easy to switch to full sleeves, all the structure in the bodice would already be there.

If you look in the early spring, all the winter wedding gown samples will be on sale. And second hand bridal gowns are totally a buyers market (and "only worn once!" as all the advertisements say)

Also, seamstresses are quite good at making sleeves for strapless gowns, because it's an understandably common request.
Interesting (maybe) side note:  I have a client who owns a group of wedding-related web sites, and while doing search engine keyword research for them, I found that the phrase "modest wedding dress" gets a ton of searches, but is found on very few web pages, comparatively speaking.  So a lot of women are looking for them, but not many are advertising or talking about them.  The demand definitely seems to be exceeding the supply, for some reason.
The best place to find modest wedding dresses that are not hideous is on the LDS websites. I bought mine from and it was beautiful and fit well even though I never had a fitting (check the sale section). Also, David's Bridal sells sleeves and thick straps by themselves that you can have them attached to a dress that is lacking in that area.
My bridesmaids and I wore bolero jackets. They were made by the woman who altered our dresses. They looked great. We purchased the fabric from the company that made their dresses, and the patterns were purchased at our local fabric store. I know there are some bridal companies that are able to custom make a dress by taking one they already produce and adding sleeves, different styled tops, etc.

Here are some pictures and websites:
[Image: photo.php?pid=30129809&l=3e495&id=1279110038]

and just for fun:
I have a size 20 modest wedding dress that I'd like to sell.  It's quite ornate, and I'm told that it was originally purchased for around $1000 in the 90s.  It's got pearls and sequins, a train, and lace windows in the front and back.  Anyone around size 20 interested?

Edited to add: I'd let it go for $200 plus shipping.
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