Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Although there are surely many more tasteful options for bridesmaids' dresses than there may have been a while back (if you go to www.uglydress.com, you'll see what I mean), I do believe that the dresses that brides-to-be tend to choose don’t exactly have the same level of practicality as, say, a cocktail dress we would choose to buy at Lord and Taylor.

I will acknowledge that this is not always the case, and one of the dresses I’ve worn has actually been cut down into a sundress, which I think looks quite lovely with a jean jacket. (See the photo on this post- don't you dig TallGuy's photoshopping abilities?). Too often, however, brides seem more concerned with what they want than with the women who are wearing what they want. In too many cases, cost seems to be a concern that is thrown out the window. My friend Rachel told me that “it was just tough to be a bridesmaid in two weddings at the same time when I wasn’t making a lot of money, and they were both asking us to buy some fairly pricy dresses that even though they said we could wear again, we clearly could not.”

There are an endless array of stories like these, where women are compelled to do what the bride says, which, in turn, kills their own wallets. My friend Kara was a bridesmaid in a wedding recently, and had to purchase a $400.00 dress. The gown was multicolored, had pieces dangling from it, and was simply something she would never put on her body again. The kicker? She had to buy shoes to match. The trick for brides to remember is this: DON’T lie to yourself, or to your friends. If you are asking your bridesmaids to spend a lot of money on a dress, you must make absolutely sure that they CAN actually wear it again. And again. And again.

Do you really want a friend to have paid an obscene amount of money for a dress you required them to wear, and they end up leaving it at the hotel room closet, after the wedding, on purpose? Isn't that a waste of their money-and your time and effort in choosing the dress?

This is what a friend of a friend did with a bridesmaid dress that was not only ugly, but itchy due to the gaudy beading that was digging into her armpits. Although I would have suggested to the girl that she stuff it in a ball in her suitcase and give it to the Salvation Army when she returned to her hometown, I truthfully don’t think many women in her position would blame her.

It’s important to note that it is still YOUR decision about what we wear, whether we like it or not. However, I have a few solutions to the bridesmaid-dress dilemma, which may make your choice more palatable--or at least more livable.

In order to properly provide the right level of excitement and anticipation, I'll stop here for now and continue tomorrow (with part 2: Solutions).

Have your own thoughts? I'm particularly curious about this issue.....

More tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

all the dresses i look at are under 100 and they could easily sell them as prom dresses. why doesn't everyone do that? :)

Bacon's Mom said...

I think it's really not the bride's decision if she's not buying the dress. And for the record, I'm a bride. I would never tell my minions what they could or couldn't wear unless I was prepared to foot the bill. Since I'm not, they chose their own dresses, and that's fine. Since they won't wear what they chose again, I'm making it for them for a third of the price.

A little practicality can go a long way to keeping everyone involved in a wedding happier - and a little recognition that this "MYYYYYY DAAAAAYYYYY" crap we're being sold is just that: crap, to get us to spend more money.

Excellent blog, BTW. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

My solution? My sister is my only bridesmaid (in my group, now that we’re in our 30s, its an honor to NOT be a bridesmaid) and she had her choice of 5 dresses from J Crew or AnnTaylor. The dress she chose (from the current AT holiday collection) is being worn to her company Christmas party. She’s several years younger than me and while she liked my selections she thought the dresses were a bit too grown up for her to wear again. Then she got her first corportate job. All I ask is that she dry clean it before the wedding. Other bonus: our mom bought the dress. And the shoes. I will of course pay for hair and make-up, but my sister thinks that my mom will pick up the tab.

If I had asked friends to be bridesmaids the AT plan would not have worked due to a few plus sized friends.

Anonymous said...

I'm being draconian and insisting on the color (royal blue) for my bridesmaid (sister) and maid-- no, oops, matron-- of honor. Unless it doesn't look good on the MOH (it is already known to look good on my sister). In which case we'll get another color. Probably another shade of blue that both have already indicated would suit them, since fiance likes all colors of blue.

But they get to pick the dress :)

The funny thing is, my sister (who may be a bridezilla, someday) will probably be more picky about the MOH's dress and shoes than I am!

jennster said...

LOL- why do they always insist that you can "Wear it again" when you so clearly, can barely wear it in the first place!!?!??

A said...

I'm wait late to this party but here's my story. I've been in my share of weddings and no, you can rarely wear the dress again. However my cousin takes the cake. My cousin, K, asked my two sisters and me to be in her wedding party. Wonderful, happy to do so. However, among the many, many, many sins that were committed by this completely clueless bride (and her other bridesmaids who were idiots) she chose a Barney dress for us to wear. It was an eggplant, strapless ball gown - with a wrap in two tones (eggplant reversible to lilac). It was a monstrosity and it actually caused us pain as the boning rubbed to the point were my mom was desperately trying anything to buffer our chests from the chaffing. One year later, FI and I were looking for Halloween costumes when I remember the hideous gown. Cut to us in a bodega in the middle of the Village Halloween Parade, waiting to pay for our beer when a random woman exclaims, "That's a bridesmaid dress". My response, yup - and the King of Beers over here [my FI] is wearing the wrap.

the wedding fairy said...

A - never late, believe me! I enjoy getting comments on the earlier posts, as these are important subjects that I will definitely certainly revisit in the future. Welcome to the blog.

YIKES. That "Barney" dress sounds terrible! What was she thinking??? A Halloween costume is an inventive and sensible use for a bridesmaid's dress.

For those of you out there looking to "recycle" your dress, take A's lead.... Not into Halloween? Donate your dress to charities that help outfit underprivileged high school girls with prom dresses/accessories when they cannot afford their own, or even a high school drama department. All of these are proactive ways of "recycling" the dress. Or how about throwing it into your little sister/cousin/niece's dress up closet (so it may be a tad big, but does that ever stop little kids)??

Anyone else out there have crazy dress stories?

Cassidy said...

I'm actually a bride, searching for dresses for my 6 very differently shaped bridesmaids!

I googled "bridesmaid dresses under $100" just to see what I'd find. And it led me here to your blog! haha.

I am still on the lookout, but I am taking into consideration the price, dress cut, and color. I don't want to make my bridesmaids write a horror story about the dress I choose for them! :)

Phroot said...

And I'm even later than the rest! Go me!

Anyway, I'm getting married next month, and I'll admit, I got a little bridezilla for a sec over my bridesmaid.

Note: FOR A SEC. Also:

My criteria? Dark red, within their individual budgets, and something they felt comfortable in. In all honesty, I find this WAY more reasonable than other brides on TK or LJ.

BM#1 is making her own dress, as far as I know.

She told me she was willing to spend $60 or less on a dress. Okay, cool, at least I have a number, right? I went to stores and found dresses I liked for her, which she said were 'not her style'. I looked up dresses online (I still have 15 of the MANY dresses I found bookmarked) and she said 'well, there's no guarantee that they'll fit', so I told her to order it big, and we'll get my seamstress (a friend's mother) to take it in. 'No, that just sounds like a bad idea...'

So, she FINALLY sends me a text saying she found a dress. YAY! She sends me a photo, and it just barely covers her rear end, and the top plunges pretty low. UM WHAT?! I didn't say anything to her about it, I didn't really want to talk to her at that point.

Well, she finally picked a (different) dress. I wish it were longer, but at least she's not in the skanky dress.

Aaaand now she's gone and dyed her hair blue... /headdesk

Whatever, I give up at this point. At least her ass is covered, right?

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I came across this article, I feel so much better now. I originally told my friend I would be able to afford a dress max 300 bucks. Well just this past week she adds gloves and crinoline skit. Gloves and the crinoline are like an extra 100 dollars. Than the bachelorette party they want to rent a limo and go to a strip club which is going to cost me another 100 bucks, plus all the money to throw a bridal shower which is like another 100. Right there we are up to 600, not counting the makeup, hair, and hotel for two nights. This is just insane. I work full time! I can’t afford to spend almost 1000 dollars for a wedding. Friend or not if she really wants me to be in her wedding she would understand where I am coming from. FYI I just bailed out. I have to choice between paying my bills or to go to a wedding.