Broke-Ass Tag: bridesmaid dresses


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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 cover the cost.

I’ve only stood beside one bride on her big day, and that was my sister. I did so in a custom-made boatneck frock with a mid-length flared skirt that cost me exactly $0 because my mom is a badass seamstress.

Real Bride Shannon custom bridesmaid dress

Thinking that was an excellent option because it A.) guaranteed a custom fit, B.) gave my mom a project, and C.) was a totally economical means of dressing my bridal party, my mom and I hit the pattern books and fabric bolts looking for something customizable since my three ‘maids represent three really different body types.

Uh, Dallas/Fort Worth, we have a problem.

We scoured every fabric store from the west side of Fort Worth to the Design District of Dallas and were coming up short on patterns that would fit the bill. And quality fabric? At as much as $45 a yard, this was looking less and less like something that would save money and more like a really expensive DIY that was going to cost my mother hours and hours of labor.

Abort mission.

My future husband and I had to put our heads together and look at the budget vs. what bridesmaids dresses actually cost. Since the general consensus was that we needed long dresses that were relatively formal, those dollar signs started racking up. At first, I tried the whole, “Just send me pictures of stuff you like!” avenue. This doesn’t work well. Your bridal party gives a shit about what you want, so giving them minimal guidelines can leave them feeling pretty overwhelmed. All those concerns you have about other people’s opinions totally come into play for someone charged with choosing something for your day. After pouting for a while because I didn’t think I was getting any help, I realized I needed to narrow the field. We determined we could spend $500 total on three dresses and I wanted them to be the same length and made with a flowy chiffon rather than structured satin. Ok. Now we’re getting somewhere.

I found the site For Her and For Him. The dresses were reasonably priced and there was a sale (there are frequently sales) that included a bulk discount and $10 custom sizing. Their color selection was killer and there wouldn’t be any problem coming in under budget. There is also a feature where you can send email invites to view a style board so I pulled a few designs that I liked and thought would fit my girls’ individual needs and we were off to the races.

Then there was the color conundrum. The primary colors in my palette are sangria and navy. While my sister agreed that navy dresses would make the purplish flowers pop, my bestie looks really, really good in that reddish-purple. My future sister in law just smiled and said she’d literally wear whatever I told her to wear. When the dresses had been chosen, I decided to go with three different colors because I can (dark plum purple with the sangria and navy). Everyone has a color that complements their skin tone. Everyone has a cut that flatters their respective figures. Woody and I came in $60 under budget. Win-win-win.

Real bride shannon multicolored chiffon bridesmaids dresses from For Her and For Him

Even though $440 plus about $600 for the groomsmen’s suits (which was as easy as asking for their measurements and ordering what Woody picked out) was a sizeable portion of our overall budget, there were still some Broke-Ass lessons in there.

Namely: Ordering in bulk offers discounts whether you’re footing the bill or each party member pays for their own. Logistically it’s great for matching colors because dye lots can have slight variations. We also made it clear to our attendants that this was our gift to them. I had dreams of getting custom etched Tiffany glassware or something else needlessly luxurious to say thank you, but picking up the tab for the biggest expense outside of travel (my girls are all local) was our way of saying “We love you,” through the whole process. It also evens the playing field if your party members have different finances. Your single sister with the killer job may have no problem dropping a couple hundred bucks on a dress that she probably won’t wear again, but your best friend who just had a baby might have to play budget volleyball to find an extra Benjamin.

Bottom line: you and your partner can handle it however it works best for you and your party, but they just might be Broke-Asses, too!

Are you using any wedding party costs to serve as a gift? Do you have other tips to make the experience more affordable? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 3/31

    As a Broke-Ass Bride I want to be as equally wallet conscious for my Broke-Ass bridesmaids. As much I love being in many weddings, I have been known to silently shed a tear looking at my bank account during wedding season. Between the dress, shoes, makeup, hair, bridal shower, bridal shower gift, bachelorette and wedding gift, it adds up. However, I am lucky that the weddings I have been in haven’t been extravagantly expensive (a friend of mine who was a bridesmaid last year had to spend $450 on a Marchesa dress!).

    After much deliberation I finally decided on four bridesmaids. These are my ride or die bitches — the kind of girls that you can be your absolute total gross self with and they still love you. Now that I had my girls I had to find that damn dress for them all to wear. I wanted something different and not your run of the mill chiffon dress. However, I didn’t wan’t my girls to spend more then $100 on the dress — a bit of a tall order. I scoured Pinterest but half those dresses I pinned were stupid expensive or I couldn’t find them. I went to bridal salons, tried on bridesmaid dresses myself and hated them all. I spent hours scrolling through department store sites. I considered renting them from a particular site but the Yelp reviews turned me off. I browsed through bridal store catalogs and magazines. Defeated, I eventually ignored my task of finding their dresses.

    In February, my six-month mark before the wedding, my bridesmaids told me I had to get my shit together and pick a dress. I finally found the dress through an online clearance event from David’s Bridal. I found out about it via a promotional email, the ones I normally trash right away. So always make sure you read through those emails when you are on the hunt for wedding savings. Then when you get what you want, re-route those emails to spam … I shouldn’t say that though since I am an a digital advertising professional … actually open those promotional emails and click on banners often.

    OK I digress. Anyway, I found a pretty dress on sale from $149 marked down to $79. Plus one of my crafty bridesmaids found a promo code for free shipping so I felt triumphant in my frugal find. It ended up being friggin chiffon but that’s OK. I have made peace with it.  To make it “different” I had the girls order two different shades of purple so they would have alternating colors. 


    My Bridesmaid dresses: David’s Bridal Chiffon Sweetheart Short Dress with Cap Sleeves Style F15406

    I nervously waited for the dresses to be delivered to my girls. I had read the reviews, which I highly recommend always reading, and saw it was a mixed bag averaging out at 3.5 out of 5 hearts. The dresses came in and yep, they were a solid 3.5 out of 5. I was disappointed when I first saw them. The picture showed an A-line cut with capped sleeves. In real life it is a bit limp and has more of a thick strap. I kept asking the girls, ” Are they comfortable? Do you like the color?” No one told me they hated them and they did say they were comfortable so I settled. I am ultimately happy with them, though. 

    My Advice: 

    *Be wallet friendly to your bridal party. These are suppose to be your bestest friends. You don’t want them bitching behind your back for making them spend $300 on a dress they will never wear again. You may not get to have them in your dream dresses but you’ll be sure to find something that will satisfy you.

    *Sign up for wedding email lists and be on the look out for promotions in your inbox. If I didn’t know about that clearance event from David’s Bridal I’d still be searching feverishly. 

    *Always Google promo codes before you order something online. (Or pay attention to BAB’s Ten for the Weekend column) You never know how much you can save!

    *BTW Did you know Target sells cute bridesmaid dresses?? None of the colors worked for me but they might work for you! Just search “Bridesmaid Dresses” on their website.

  • 10/29

    Oh, it's been a minute since we've had a giveaway, hasn't it? Well, TopWedding is here to change that. In honor of their beautiful new arrivals of bridesmaids gowns, TopWedding is giving away one of the sleek silhouettes, perfect for a formal affair or wintry bash. With a huge range of colors and styles available, and since they're manufactured overseas, TopWedding has dresses to complement…

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    Happy Friday, darlings! I'm pretty stoked about this week's Five for Friday, because the lovely, lovely peeps over at Unique Vintage and I schemed up something super special for you. In honor of this girl's 30th birthday (which, you guys, I've been waiting FOREVER for this), Unique Vintage is knocking a cool 30% off select styles this weekend just for you, BABs, which knocks most…

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    It's no surprise that I uber heart gold and pretty much anything black + white patterned. I mean really, it's kind of the perfect color scheme and can translate easily to almost any wedding theme. But what about wintry weddings that are trying to go a little more cozy than ultra-glam? Welp, plaid, my dears. Think about it: Sleigh rides, flannel shirts, fleecy throws. Plaid,…

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  • 5/13

    I gave my bridesmaids the most blessed gift of all: The Freedom of Choice. Please excuse me while I toot my own horn ... Honestly though, in my very own humble opinion, formal and official bridesmaids dresses are an extremely dated practice. Even if I did like the tradition, there is still no way in Hades that I would ever ask my girls to spend more than…

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    "Audrey," by Weddington Way

    Happy Friday, BABs! I scoured the Interwebz for five gorgeous and timeless bridesmaids dresses for you to ogle. Bonus: They're all $150 or less! Enjoy! "Elizabeth," by Weddington Way. D574 by Alfred Sung. D518 by Alfred Sung. D516 by Alfred Sung. "Audrey," by Weddington Way. Which is your favorite? What feel are you going with for your ladies? Tell us in the comments!

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    CONGRATS! You survived Thanksgiving Day sales and Black Friday sales (or maybe you opted out of them entirely!), but now it's CYBER MONDAY. Time to totally pretend you're working while secretly buying shizz online! We've rounded up a few of the BEST CM deals for brides from our friends, partners, and affiliates in the wedding biz. ModCloth is of course killin' it with Cyber Monday…

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  • 11/4

    Heads up, BAB brigade! For 48 hours only, ModCloth is putting their Party Dress selection on sale. Can you say "Perfect timing for all my holiday parties!"? Can you say "Perfect dress for my bridal shower/bachelorette/bridesmaids/after party/Tuesday?" Can you say "Gimme yer dresses, Modcloth!" Cuz, I'm all about saying ALLLLLLLLL a' that.  Head over to ModCloth and check out their incredible selection of cute dresses…

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