Monday, February 27, 2006

I HAVE TO SPEND HOW MUCH ON THAT DRESS?!?!: Solution #4

I'm going to be blunt: bridesmaids dresses are ridiculously expensive, and it's very difficult to find cheap ones that don't, well, look cheap.

HOWEVER, I wanted to return to this theme (which I had addressed in earlier posts), as it's important to realize that you CAN find quality AND dresses that don't break the bank.

I received a question from a reader, which I'll restate here:

I am planning a May '07 wedding... I have been seeing more and more wedding parties that have similar, but not identical bridesmaids dresses. I would like to find a way to pick a fabric and color and let each bridesmaid pick the style of their own dress. And if at all possible, I would like to keep the dress reasonably priced, since most of my bridal party will be poor college students...Any ideas of where to look for something like this?

As I thought this question was a good one, and relevant to many readers, I decided it may be useful to share my answer with everyone:

CHECK OUT FABRIC STORES IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD...

Whether you live in a big city or a small town, fabric stores are a great place to get inspiration--and a good starting point. Many fabric stores (good ones, at least) will have a rainbow of colors and fabrics (i.e. raw silk, chiffon, satin), and you and your bridesmaids can determine what colors look good, and which fabrics are plain unflattering. From there, you can get a sense of what you are all looking for--even if you don't want to have identical dresses. You'd be surprised, but even small towns have fabric stores--check out the yellow pages, and start your journey!

SURF THE WEB -- WEDDING WEBSITES ARE AN INVALUABLE SOURCE OF INFORMATION!

Many of these sites feature dress designers--for example, if you go to www.weddingchannel.com, you'll see a category called "Gowns and Photo Galleries" -- if you click on bridesmaids dresses, you'll see a TON of designers, including ways to select dresses by style, price, etc. What's even cooler though, is that you can find these companies' websites through The Wedding Channel. Therefore, utilize the wedding websites (like The Wedding Channel, The Knot, etc.) for all of the tidbits of information you can glean. They're a really good source of information.

As I've mentioned before, some of the GREAT options are those that are re-wearable. Ann Taylor has some very pretty bridesmaid's dress options that could easily be worn again to another event--and the website highlights all the variations of dress, color, style, etc.

I stated this above, but unfortunately it's very difficult to find dresses that are "cheap" -- the dresses on Ann Taylor's website are about $178--perhaps this is pricey, perhaps not (depending on your budget), but it's definitely not as bad as it *could* be (When you see dresses that cost more than a really good piece of jewelry, you really start to wonder!)


There are other viable options that are less expensive than that too--look around on these websites (if you go to J. Crew, there are a few options for $150), and the wedding channel website features certain less pricey options--just search by price. One thing to keep in mind is that the quality goes down when the price goes down... so just be careful when you look on websites because of this quality issue.


GO TO ANY BRIDESMAIDS' BOUTIQUES (BOTH BIG AND SMALL) IN YOUR AREA - YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU'LL FIND!

Obviously, websites are great, but if you can't try on the real thing, that can be a problem. (though tailoring is always an option). If you can go to the actual stores that carry some of these dresses you've seen on the websites, then you may be able to get a better sense of what works/doesn't work.

You can also call some of the stores you see on the websites, and see what they carry in your area, and where you can go to see the real thing in person.

Bridesmaid's dress shopping is never easy--although the hard part is finding a dress that you and your bridesmaids are happy with (and which don't cost a small fortune), some of the above routes may be helpful in your quest.

Good luck and stay tuned!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

a friend of mine told me about www.bridesave.com and it is fan-freaking-tastic. i found a dress in a shop that was 1500...and found it on that site for about 800. they have bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses, shoes, undergarments, links to other sites...love it.

Anonymous said...

David's Bridal! They have sales a lot. My bridesmaids got their dresses for about $95, what with the 15% off and all. Which is not too bad for a dress, although I know it's possible to do better.

Anonymous said...

Also try www.netbride.com

They sell dresses from many top designers. Pick a designer from a list and you'll be redirected to the designer's site. Note the style number of the dress or dresses you are interested in and fill out the price quote request form (maximum 4 dresses on one quote request.) Someone will email you a quote within 48 hrs. The prices seem quite good.