Broke-Ass Category: Bridesmaid Dress Shopping

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Danielle's bridal party invitations

“Will you be my bridesmaid” card I made

Bridesmaids. This single word can hold so many emotions, meanings, joys, and nightmares. I have a whole gang of important women in my life that I want to stand by me on my special day. My fiance, Michael, has a lot fewer friends than I, so I’ve always known that the number of bridesmaids I had would be dictated by how many brothers he could rally to his side. Even numbers are a must in my book.

After Michael popped the question, I asked my sweetie to go out and find himself five groomsmen. We had already discussed making his older brother his Best Man and my little brother one of his groomsmen, that left him three gents to hunt down. Needless to say, I was a tiny bit peeved when Michael called me and happily declared that he had rallied all six of the groomsmen. Six … that number doesn’t at all sound like five. They don’t even start with the same sounds … how could you not underst- … *SIGH* yes, thank you dear. *Quietly grinding teeth*. Yeah, it’s a bit tacky to “unask” a guy to be one of your groomsmen so, I had to go rally another bridesmaid.

I had taken pains to ask all of them individually in a unique way to be my bridesmaid. I had a lass in mind, but it was legit MONTHS after I had asked all the other girls to be my bros. How do you ask a lass to be your wingman without making it look crazy obvious that you need her to fill a quota? Then, how do you tactfully drop the, oh by the way, we have an appointment this weekend to go look at bridesmaid dresses, I hope your Sunday is open?

A huge smile, a tiny bit of groveling, and a really nice card (with a killer presentation) help along your case if you land yourself in the same spot. She took it well, didn’t even blink or bat an eye when I gave her the card I’d made. Panic levels? Dropping back to manageable levels. Oh yeah, and thanks for saying you’d be a bridesmaid Ashlee, did I mention that we are going dress shopping in four days? Got plans this Sunday? *Panic-meter jumps* What? No plans you say? Great, meet you at David’s Bridal at 10am then.

Danielle's troupe goes bridesmaid dress shopping

My junior bridesmaid begging for a dress

For the complete trainwreck asking my girls to stand with me was, I’m surprised at how well they all got along while we went dress shopping. We hit David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo that day with a lunch break in between. I had asked them all to look at some dresses beforehand so we had some ideas of what they wanted. I secretly wanted everyone to pick the same dress, but as long as it was the same fabric and color, it didn’t matter. They all have vastly different body shapes, especially my just recently flowered junior bridesmaid who’s only 11. After at least 20 dresses and two stores, they were all leaning towards one dress that I pretty much hated but they all seemed rabid over … or so I thought.

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The dress we all apparently hated

We decided to order that dress in March to give some of them a chance to finish their weight loss plans. Weeks crawl into months and one by one they casually mention to me how much they also hate the dress. Seriously y’all, why didn’t anyone say something in the store? One of my ‘maids is a bit more … outspoken, than the others and must have led them down that path of least resistance. So … we find ourselves back at square one again. My sister, Angela, and I went out over Christmas break and picked a fabric, color and two designers. I think this time I will just pick a handful of dresses that I don’t think suck and just ask them to pick one from that selection instead. This way, if they hate the dress, they are the ones who picked it. I made it super clear that if all the ones I picked suck, to let me know and I can hunt out another dress they’ll like. I love all of them, but picking a dress is apparently like herding cats.

What about you, any bridesmaid moments that make you want to scream and pull out your hair?

  • 7/6

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewThere is no question that bridesmaid dresses have come a long way. Hello, 1980s: you were cruel and unusual Even so, choosing the right dress for your girls can be daunting. Everyone has their own style, their own body type and their own budget. The more ladies in your wedding party, the more difficult it is to find something that works for every girl — so naturally I decided to have seven bridesmaids. Turns out I actually caught a break, because my little sister/maid of honor isn’t a dress kind of gal. I suppose I could have insisted she wear one, and it probably would have been hilarious, but I’m not that mean. You’re welcome, Caty! Anyway, I digress. I had six girls who needed to look fabulous on my wedding day, so I started looking for options that I thought would work for everyone.

    Planning a wedding makes you acutely aware of money, and how precious it is. I knew I didn’t want my girls to drop a lot of cash on something they may never wear again, so that was my main requirement when it came to looking for dresses. I’ve actually lucked out in every single wedding I have been in when it comes to buying a dress: My friends have either picked a very affordable option, chipped in or outright purchased the dresses I’ve worn, and I couldn’t be more thankful. Let’s face it — being in a wedding can be very expensive, so I love that my friends and I share the same views on the whole thing. We see bridesmaid dresses that are hundreds of dollars, and we’re like um, no. More often than not, you’re never gonna wear the thing again, so why break the bank?

    Style-wise, I knew I wanted something fairly casual. No ballgowns, sequins, crystals or the like. September in Ohio is tricky. It could be 50 degrees, or it could be 90, so long or short would have been fine. Short just seemed more cute and casual, so that’s what I focused on when I searched. I was fine with either pink or aqua to go with our colors and theme, but I had a feeling pink would be easier to find.

    Having purchased three dresses at David’s Bridal in the past, I was fairly confident that they didn’t have what I was looking for, but it would have been silly not to at least look. They are popular for a reason — they have tons of styles and colors, and it’s easy for people to find a store near them to order from. After browsing their website, I didn’t find anything I loved, so I decided to move on.

    I looked at local bridal shops to see what designers they carried, but most of them were out of the price range I had set, so that was out. I looked on Storenvy, department store websites and at local boutiques. I found shops on Instagram and while browsing on Pinterest, but nothing jumped out at me.

    Throughout all this, I searched on Etsy a few times a week. There are soooo many shops and so many sellers that it’s easy to spend hours at a time browsing, and you still won’t get through them all. A few weeks into the process, I came across a dress I really liked. It fit the budget — $78! The style complemented the fun, casual wedding carnival we’re planning and the color seemed just right. Plus, it had pockets! Every girl loves a dress with pockets.

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    Dress available from Etsy seller ShopApricity

    After checking the shop reviews (they are fantastic), I messaged the seller to get all of the details. Since we’d be ordering without trying on, I wanted to check on the return policy, the sizing and the options for ordering a large quantity. Once I had the particulars, I emailed my ladies and asked them their thoughts.

    They had some very understandable reservations. It’s tough ordering something without trying it on first, but there was a detailed size chart, plus the material is stretchy and forgiving. Add in that the seller accepts returns and exchanges, and I thought it was worth the risk. My bridesmaid Adrienne (who is also my roommate), volunteered to order one first so we could see how it looked in person. She placed her order that day and the dress was at our house a few short days later. We both agreed that we loved it even more in person. The material is high-quality and it’s super well-made, plus it’s a style that is flattering for almost any shape. Once we had her dress in hand, we made arrangements for my other girls to try it on if they wanted to, and then it was as easy as pie ordering the rest of them. The seller even made sure to send us the longest medium dress she had in stock since one of my girls is a tall, long-legged beauty. A+ for customer service.

    All in all, I am completely thrilled with the end result. We love the dress, and it was affordable for everyone. I can’t wait to see all of my best gals looking fabulous on our wedding day … like for real I can’t stop imagining the amazing pictures I’ll have for the rest of my life. Yay!

    How did you end up finding the right attire for your crew?

  • 6/3

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    As a special treat this month, we're partnering with David's Bridal to bring you four special edition Can't Afford It? Get Over It! posts, featuring their very own gorgeous styles. David's Bridal, a name synonymous with affordable wedding gowns in a huge variety of styles, has been dressing women for all types of special occasions for over 60 years -- in fact, 1 in 3 brides…

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    3/11

    Courtney Gown by Donna Morgan, available at Vow to Be Chic

    Happy Friday, Broke-Asses! Let's talk bridesmaids looks this week, shall we? We love our girls -- love 'em so much, in fact, that we've asked them to stand by our side on our wedding day. Shouldn't that love also translate into loving their bank accounts -- no matter how empty they may be? We think so. Which is why we try v. hard to provide…

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    7/30

    Real Bride Shannon custom bridesmaid dress

    Many a friendship has suffered some scrapes and bruises over bridesmaids dresses. Much like diamonds, dresses come with a handful of “C’s” to consider, too: color, cut, cost … you get it. I never felt too picky about what my ladies were wearing; I just wanted them to look good and feel good, and knowing the cash wasn’t exactly flowing for anyone, I wanted to…

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  • 7/21

    Gown WG3532, Headpiece 35986C001, Bracelet 9721|| David's Bridal Busts Out A Big Ol' Heaping of Savings

    It's Christmas in July! No, not really, but pretty damn close, y'all. David's Bridal is having their hugest sale of the season. And by huge, we mean RIDICULOUS. For serious. From wedding dresses to styles for your entourage to all those pretty little sparkly adornments, prices are slashed across the board: * Wedding dresses that were originally $300-$600 are now as low as $99, with…

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    4/24

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    Sure, the Lily Pulitzer collab and it's stoopid-fast sellout might be all the buzz surrounding Target, but the retailer is one of my favorite go-tos for picking up a cute outfit quickly and on the cheap. For Broke-Ass Brides, Target is also a great resource for pretty dresses for your crew that you can totally buy -- or not feel guilty about asking them to…

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    4/14

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    We're pretty pumped about Real Bride Elissa's very vintage color scheme. Her pretty palette takes shades of cool green-blue and contrasts them with warm orange and red for a sweet look that screams for some retro-feeling style. We're thinking demure A-line gowns and lovely lace for your best girls with plenty of punchy accessories that give a nod to traditional looks without being generic. One…

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  • 4/8

    Photo: Two Sparrows Photography They said it couldn't be done. They said it was a ridiculous idea. They said, frankly, I was nuts. They were wrong. I am talking, of course, about finding mismatched high-street bridesmaids dresses. And we did it! Fellow brides, there is a LOT of pressure to buy bridesmaids dresses from bridal stores, and the mark up on those bad boys is…

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