How to find elegant inexpensive bridesmaids’ dresses that are affordable yet stylish
Elegant bridesmaids dresses on a budget
While it is an honor to be asked to be a wedding attendant, the pleasure of being a bridesmaid quickly wears off as the costs start piling up. The greatest expense associated with being a bridesmaid is the dress, which can cost hundreds of dollars (not including any shoes, handbags and gloves or wraps that are also bought as accessories). However, a bit of creative shopping can save your bridesmaids money and make sure they are still your friends after the ceremony.
Tip #1: Choose a color, not a dress
Bridesmaids gown are often chosen to reflect the style and color theme of the reception. However, it is rare to have a group of bridesmaids with identical body shapes, which can make it difficult to find a single dress that will flatter all of the women. A solution to this problem is to choose a single color, such a navy or hunter green, and give each bridesmaid a swatch of ribbon in that color. If you choose a basic color, like black or dark green, you will often find that many of your bridesmaids will already have a dress in that color, thereby relieving them of the need to purchase a dress at all.
Tip #2: Consignment, resale and thrift shops
Bridesmaids’ dresses are like bridal gowns: they are usually worn once, then put in the closet for posterity. This means that, just like bridal gowns, you have a good chance of finding bridesmaid gowns at consignment and resale clothing shops. These shops sell gowns that have been professionally dry-cleaned and are in good condition, often at a fraction of the original cost. When shopping at a resale store, be sure to ask about the return policy in case you find a flaw with the gown after you bring it home. Thrift shops are also a good pace to look, especially if they are run by a charitable organization that often accepts end-of-season merchandise from department stores. If you are lucky enough to find such as shop, you can usually buy gowns that have never been worn for a fraction of the original cost. While this can be a great way to save money, it is often difficult to find several gowns in the right size, style and color. However, if you have a single maid of honor, take her shopping at a resale store to find a real bargain.
Tip #3: Prom dresses
After prom season has ended in the late spring, prom dresses go on sale at deep discounts. Take all of your bridesmaids shopping at the same time, and look for a dress on the clearance racks of major department stores and stores that specialize in evening wear. Not only will you have a fun day of shopping, your bridesmaids will get a dress at a great price.
Tip #4: Go online
Just like the resale and consignment shops, there are also a large number of dresses sold online that have never been worn or worn only once. Just like thrift shops, a bit of searching will often turn up a seller who has a lot of dresses of the same style in different sizes, which can be a great find. However, the major drawback of shopping online is the inability to try the dresses on before you buy. Be sure to ask about the seller’s return policy in case you are unhappy with the dresses.
Tip #4: Use that discount!
When you purchase your wedding dress, ask about discounts for purchasing bridesmaid dresses at the same location or same chain of stores. You will often find that stores will give a 10-15% discount on the purchase of bridesmaids’ dresses. While this approach many not save you as much money as shopping at resale stores or online, it does have the advantages of a wider selection of gowns and the assurance you can find numerous gowns in the same style and color.