Take it from me, cheap bridesmaids dresses do exist. How do I know? I purchased five bridesmaids dresses for under $50 each. Cheap bridesmaids dresses do exist. Do not let the bridal stores, magazines and Pinterest lead you astray. If your goal is to find affordable (or at least “reasonable,” depending on your perspective) dresses for your bridesmaids to wear, follow these steps to success. (Plus, check out 16 of my own picks above!) I guarantee your wedding party will love you for it.1. Keep Your Wedding Party Small: The more ladies in your bridal party, the harder it will be to coordinate bridesmaid dresses. I recommend five as the maximum.
2. Discuss Size And Style: Consider what fabric and colors you prefer. Then discuss fit and concerns with each bridesmaid. It is very rare that all of your bridesmaids are the same shape and size. In some cases they will even be vastly different ages. Try to pick a couple lengths, shapes, and styles everyone can feel comfortable with.
3. Get Their Sizes: Get their current size in juniors, petite, and women’s so when you find the dresses you like, you can confirm all of their sizes are available. Remember some stores like Forever 21 are juniors and run short. If it says mini, anyone over 5’6 should not wear it to a wedding. Unless your bridesmaids are Pamela Anderson, Snooki, and Courtney Stodden.
4. Don’t Limit Yourself: Anything labeled specifically for “bridesmaids” will cost you over $80 unless it’s on clearance. Instead, go to sites like ASOS, Dorthy Perkins, Modcloth, Zara, Macy’s, JCPenney, Piperlime, etc. and search by price, style, and color. If you are looking for more than one dress in the same color or fabric, stick to one label and color.
5. Be Flexible On Style: Don’t get stuck on one specific dress or color. You are at the mercy of the department stores. Whatever style or colors are in this season are most likely to be available. If your heart is set on matching the exact color of your fiancé’s green eyes you will likely be shit out of luck.
6. Take Your Time: Check your favorite stores once a week. See what new dresses are in stock. If there is a dress you love that is over your budget, bookmark it and check to see when it goes on promotion.
7. But Don’t Wait For A Markdown: Usually by the time a dress gets marked down, there are limited sizes available. Instead look for promotions coupons which can be applied to full price items.
8. Check Return Policies: Only purchase the dresses if they are returnable. Double check the specific item isn’t on final sale.
9. Have A Credit Card Ready: When you find the dresses, be ready to purchase all of them for your bridesmaids. Ship or bring them all to one location and have the ladies over to try them on. This will allow your bridesmaids who requested the wrong size to try someone else’s dress and allow you to picture the finial results. Returns and exchanges will be simple since there is only one to coordinate. If you have someone out of town, coordinate with that person to place their own order or ship it to them after all the others have confirmed it is a winner.
10. Have Fun: Planning your wedding should be fun. Don’t stress over finding the perfect dress. Instead pour a glass of wine and see what’s available. If one option doesn’t work, pour another and try again.