***Check out the other posts in this series, “Tying the Knot without Breaking the Bank.”
In the balancing act that is wedding budgeting, one thing that you don’t traditionally have to worry about is the bridesmaids dresses (or at least, that’s what Emily Post says). Of course, this doesn’t mean you should abuse your bridesmaids’ obligation/generosity. No one likes a Bride-zilla with crazy-town expectations, and since there are a bazillion ways to save money on bridesmaids dresses, there’s no need for this faux pas in the first place.
In my case, I wanted to find relatively affordable dresses that were unique to each bridesmaid. Though the whole every-girl-wearing-the-same-dress thing is a long standing and lovely tradition, I wanted a little more variety. I picked the color and material (a Kelly green silk from Aria Bridesmaids), as well as the length (tea length), but let them choose the style of the dress. This worked out beautifully because Aria Bridesmaids has many options fitting these parameters (it was also the only dress company of any kind that had multiple styles of dresses in that particular shade of green). And the dresses didn’t have one of those $800 price tags (I’m thinking of the movie Bridesmaids).
While I highly recommend Aria Bridesmaids (seriously, their dresses are gorgeous), there are also many other ways to save money yet retain the style that you’re wanting. Here a few tips:
- If you’re not set on a particular color like I was, then David’s Bridal is a great and affordable stop. Gone are the days of duchess satin in muted tones (though if you want that, they can offer that too). Now more than ever, they offer a wide range of colors, materials, styles, and price ranges (though by and large, they are definitely one of the most inexpensive companies out there).
- Instead of requiring your gals to buy a new dress, just request that they all wear the same color (or a specific pattern, i.e. polka dots, stripes, etc.). If you’re worried about clashing colors (there are at least 573 shades of red, after all), you can give them a fabric swatch or a paint chip so they have something tangible to compare. Maybe they’ll already have something in their closet!
- Don’t necessarily limit yourself to bridal stores. There are so many other places that carry formal dresses, including mall and department stores.
- If you’re wanting the all-the-same-dress thing, check out sales at a department store like JC Penney or Macy’s, especially after prom season (Macy’s actually has their own bridesmaids section now).
- Make them by hand! I have zero sewing skills, so if you’re like me, maybe you can enlist the help from someone else, like a mom! And if you buy all of the fabric at the same time and use one of those awesome 50% off coupons from JoAnn or Michael’s, you can stand to save even more money!