Budget Bridesmaid Dresses: Fashion Advice

Dear Budget Fashionista,

I am getting married in July – Yipee! I was wondering if you have any suggestions of where to locate bridesmaids dresses that will not take months and months to receive and can fit modest budgets.

Answer: It used to be that bridesmaids dresses were where good taste went to die. Any joy you felt for your friends pending nuptial was replaced by the dread of having to pay $300 to wear some ugly puffy dress. Fortunately, times have changed. Here’s some great options for bridesmaid dresses on a budget:

1. Coco Myles has great customizable dresses that are available in a variety of colors and sizes (from 2- 32). The dresses start at $125, which is a bit pricey, but it’s a great option if you have a wide variety of sizes and shapes in your wedding party.

2. You can also purchase formal dresses from the Merona Target line at Target.com. The big box retailer has a pretty impressive collection of formal dresses, most for under $50 in sizes 2-18.

3. You can also take a peek at this summer’s new girlie cotton dresses,  available at stores like Gap, J Crew, and Old Navy. Make these dresses bridesmaid formal by putting a wide ribbon around the waist and asking your bridesmaids to wear heels.

4. Also try stores like Newport-News.com, Spiegel.com, and Chadwicks.com

5. You can also go the traditional route by heading to a place like David’s Bridal. The store has a wide range of sizes, but the look can be a bit generic.

Last but not least, many brides are choosing to let their wedding party pick their own dresses.  This is perhaps the cheapest option, but you run the risk of your bridesmaids choosing a dress that may be a bit too casual.

Happy Shopping,

The Budget Fashionista

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    Catherine Brock

    As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine, DrLaura.com, Refinery29, Wellness.com and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.

    Blog Comments

    I have seen pretty dresses that would be suitable for bridesmaids in the Chadwicks catalog. 

    As for the bride letting the wedding party choose their dresses, this is what my sister-in-law did:  She chose midnight blue, and we all got Nicole Miller dresses, which turned out to be cheaper when ordered through the bridal salon where she bought her gown than if we’d bought them at the Nicole Miller shop. We all chose styles flattering to us, and we all looked and felt great. I’ve since worn that dress to six weddings, with different shoes and accessories, so I really got my money’s worth! 

    Another option, if you or someone you know is handy with a sewing machine, is to make the dresses.  My mother and sister made my wedding gown, my sister’s bridesmaid dress, my mother’s dress, and my niece’s flower girl dress.  My dress cost about $200 to make (15 years ago) and would have cost $2000 had I bought it.

    When I got married 2 years ago, I chose the colors and I let my bridesmaids pick their own tops (they wore seperates) b/c they were all 3 different sizes.  This worked out for me and we shopped at Group USA.  I even got my dress from there.

    Although I distain the store by me David’s Bridal has inexpensive bridemaids dresses. My wedding is in two weeks and my girls will be wear a tea-length halter dress in teal chiffon. The dress was $119 and some of the girls didnt even need alterations. You can often find sale dresses for $79-$99.

    I have a list of retailers that you might want to check out for “occasion” wear. Not all of them have formal wear, but they all have beautiful dresses that could work for you.

    http://www.JCPenney.com – gorgeous dresses and fabu prices for EVERY size
    http://www.coldwatercreek.com – good option if your ceremony isn’t formal
    http://www.QVC.com – great option if your ceremony isn’t too formal and plus sizes don’t have to pay extra
    http://www.HSN.com – another great option if your ceremony isn’t too formal and plus sizes don’t have to pay extra
    http://www.alight.com – if your party consists of voluptuous beauties that wear a size 14 or larger

    The nice thing about ordering online is that typically they will tell you then and there if the item is available or not. If you have doubts, call the store directly (the site usually has a toll-free number you can call) and you can ask the customer associate if the item is available now.

    Also, if you can place your orders soon, you might be able to catch shipping specials that in effect because of Mother’s Day coming up :c)


    I’ve also seen nice affordable bridesmaids dresses on Ann Taylor.com. I’m not sure if they’re available in-store.

    I got my bridesmaid dresses at Dressbarn. They were 39.99 but since i work there I got them for around 25.

    @cocomyles- you must have changed your prices recently.. regardless you’re a great site and option

    Hi!  Just want to point out that Coco Myles’ dresses actually start at $125.00.  Bride can choose the color and the the bridesmaids can go online and design the dress in any style they’d like.  Everyone’s happy!  Bride has the color she wants and her bridesmaids get to wear a style of dress that they feel great wearing!  Thanks for the mention!  We appreciate it.

    Also, sometimes economical and creative brides sometimes let the bridesmaids have free reign on dresses, as long as they follow a certain color pattern. You might want to try sites like ClosetShark to see what you can find for designer dresses for a fraction of the cost. You can sell previously once-used ones while you are on there as well!

    Hi! Just want to point out that Coco Myles’ dresses actually start at $125.00. Bride can choose the color and the the bridesmaids can go online and design the dress in any style they’d like.

    Love it, crazing! You did a great job of capturing her. Nice touch of including her…and wedding dress photoes!

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