Broke-Ass Category: Bridesmaid Dress Shopping

4/3

Did you miss Part I? Catch up here.

Printable sign available from Etsy seller MonCheriPaperie

Here are a few more bridal party norms in place that I’ve observed, which are also huge money suckers for both the marrying couple and the attendants:

  • Bridesmaids and groomsmen must all wear the same dress/suit, and the bride/groom gets to choose it, and it must be expensive-looking and formal. This usually meaning it must be purchased or rented for the purpose of the event, and likely means it will be worn only once.
  • Bridesmaids should have their hair, makeup and nails done professionally, and in more or less the same way.

I know there are varying schools of thought on who foots the bill for the above two points. However, in either case, it is a heckuva lot of money. If the bride and groom pay, that’s the cherry on top of a gigantic bill for their wedding. If the wedding party members pay, it is a gigantic cherry on top the costs of transportation, lodging, gifts, babysitters, lost wages from missing work, etc.

For ease, and with respect to experience level, I’ve left Ev in charge of coordinating the outfits of the suit-wearing members of our wedding party, while I’m navigating the needs of the dress-wearing group. My bridesmaids, and Evan’s groomswomen, are all gorgeous and stylish people. They’re also delightfully unique, which is what we love about them, and they feel comfortable wearing different things. So, why would we want them to all look the same? I believe that have the capacity to pick their own dresses and choose what hairstyle, and amount of (if any) makeup they want to wear in my wedding. That way, I know that they will both feel comfortable, and look fly as hell.

However, I also know that getting all dolled up together can be a fun, de-stressing, bonding time for all of us. So, I’ve struck a balance. I have requested that they choose own dresses, but they can choose one that fits their personal style — I just ask that it be a shade of my chosen wedding color. Then, they can wear it again!

I am willing to pay for hairstyling, unless someone doesn’t want it done. The cost of hair and makeup combined is cheaper than each separately, so I told each of them that if they wanted to have their makeup done, they could just pay the difference in upgrading from hair-only to hair and makeup. They are free to choose whatever style makes them feel comfortable and pretty. As for shoes? Nails? Meh. Up to them.

In the end, maybe my expectations are low, but to be honest I’m just grateful that they’re going to be there. The last thing I’m going to notice in the photos, when I look at them in 20 years, is if all my bridesmaids look perfectly done-up and identical to each other … rather, I will probably be remembering how much fun we had that day, and how much I love them.

How have you approached the look of your wedding party? Do you want a uniform aesthetic or are you more laissez faire about it?

 

  • 1/2

    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.

    20160904_131433

    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

    There 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 --…

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    6/3

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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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