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How to Find Cheap Bridesmaid Dresses

Getting chosen by a friend to serve as one of her bridesmaids is exciting…. in theory. The parties and showers, the shopping, the photos– all of this is a blast. But then reality sets in when said bridesmaid realizes she’s got to buy a dress, and not just any dress, a possibly unflattering (read: frumpy) dress she may never wear again.

But the bride’s fairy-tale ending doesn’t have to be a horror story for her maids. With our help, you can find cheap bridesmaid dresses that are cute, re-workable and best of all, budget-friendly.

How to Find Cheap Bridesmaid Dresses

Mix it up

One of the big trends with bridal fashion lately is having each maid select a dress that works for her. You can still have a coordinated, classy effect without putting the girls in matching ensembles as long as each dress is of the same color, length and/ or fabric. Many retailers use the same fabrics and hues in their clothes for each season, so this is surprisingly easy. Go shopping together and let each girl find a dress that flatters her figure and fits her budget. If you all shop as a group, you can find cheap bridesmaid dresses that looks and feels great on each individual as well as the whole group.

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Skip the bridal boutique

Bride and bridesmaid dresses are more expensive just because they’re for a wedding. In fact, many seamstresses and tailors will prorate their pricing for any work related to this special day. To avoid over-spending, search other retailers such as Ann Taylor, Express or White House Black Market for a cheap bridesmaid dress option. You’ll want to shop Dillard’s and Nordstrom, too. You may also try looking online at Asos, eDressMe or BlueFly. Just make sure you’ll be able to return the dresses if they don’t work out.

Shop Off-Season

Retailers often raise prices during prom season, but lower them significantly afterward. When you see those clothes hit the sale racks, it’s time to pounce. Just make sure you allow yourself enough time between the date of purchase and the date of the wedding. Rush-ordering a dress from a boutique or giving the tailor limited time-constraints could result in expenditure of twenty percent or more than you’d pay otherwise.

Rent a Bridesmaid Dress

Like renting a tuxedo, bridesmaids can also borrow a dress for the big day and this perhaps our favorite way to score cheap bridesmaid dresses. Many bridal boutiques don’t offer this option, Rent the Runway Weddings and Wear Today Gone Tomorrow are great places to find gorgeous dresses online.

Go simple

Especially with a formal wedding, a bride wants every aspect of the event to have the “wow” factor, including the bridesmaid dresses. But the more glamorous the dress, the higher the price, not to mention the fewer chances the maid will have to wear it again. Save money by selecting a simpler dress and accessorizing it for a cheap bridesmaid dress option.

cheap bridesmaid dress

Satin Sheath Dress, $49.99 at Ann Taylor

A simple sheath dress won’t cost much, and the bridesmaid can wear it to other occasions post-wedding. To add some oomph, try adding a rhinestone brooch, statement necklace or hair accessories such as flowers or combs. Another great option is to buy some fabric at your local fabric store and create sashes or bows to tie around the waist or shoulder of the dress. A large bow can add a lot to an otherwise simple dress.

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David from

Tuesday 7th of June 2011

Searching for you ideal bridesmaid dress is really hard especially if you don't have enough budget. thanks for sharing these tips.

Shiny Orb

Friday 25th of February 2011

Great advice, Ashley. Building on your tip for shopping in the off-season, I'd highly recommend making sure to *order early* -- like 4+ months in advance if you can. This will help you avoid the heavy rush-order fees. In particular, many bridesmaid dresses are manufactured in China these days, and because these manufacturers take almost the entire month of February off for Chinese New Year. This creates a backlog of dresses that need to be made and shipped. And, this adds extra delays that you may not have accounted for when ordering between Feb -end of Marchish. As we're a search engine for bridesmaid dresses (not a retailer), we know from working with so many brands that even if you're buying directly from an American retailer, many dresses are made abroad these days, so make sure to order early!

Nicola - Cheap Wedding Ideas

Thursday 24th of February 2011

Some fab advice here. It is definitely easier to find affordable dresses if you have some flexibility in your style and colour scheme.

Wedding Fascinators

Tuesday 22nd of February 2011

Loving the "mix it up" colours - the lime green especially looks stunning with all the whites and ivories. Don't forget to complete the outfit with a wedding fascinator - all the trend for 2011.

Computer Repair Woodbridge VA

Monday 21st of February 2011

My wife has to be the bridesmaid in her friends wedding in a few months and she's been stressing about buying the dress. I searched the web and found your article, which is great. She's showed it to her friend who is going to check it out and they might do it the way you suggest - she likes the sheer!

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