Attire & Accessories Forum


I thought I had this whole budget wedding thing down, and then I discovered the reality of wedding costs. Most recently: bridesmaids dresses. Some of my girls are totally fine paying $250 for a dress, but that would be seriously stretching it for others (myself included if I was a BM). But I am horrified to find that all of the dresses I like are in the $200-$250 range. Is this normal? I was anticipating around $150 but hoping for under $100. I honestly don't think I would feel comfortable asking my girls to shell out $250 for a dress, but that seems to be pretty normal based on what I've found. I also don't want to stick them in a cheaper $100 dress that LOOKS like a BM dress that they'll never wear again. I want them to be able to actually wear the dress again. I guess my questions are:

1) What is an appropriate price for a BM dress?
2) Is $250 asking waaayyyy too much?
3) Would you as a BM rather pay a little more for a dress you would actually wear again or save your money and get a dress that you'll only wear once?

Re: Bridesmaids

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    David's Bridal has a whole section on their website for dresses under $100, not sure if they look cheap in person though.  My girls are wearing Bill Levkoff and those were in the $150-$200 range, depending on which exact style.  Also maybe try Alfred Angelo, I think those were around $150.  Good luck!
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    Oh and I totally skipped over your questions, oops.  

    1- I think you need to ask each girl privately what their budget is.  I think $250 does sound a little excessive, but you should talk to them.

    2- Personally I would probably rather spend a little more on something I'll wear again.
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    1) An appropriate price is what your bridesmaids tell you they are comfortable paying. Ask each of them this question privately, so they won't feel pressured to agree to a price they can't really afford. Then look for dresses that fit within the smallest budget.

    2) For some people yes, for others no. See my answer to #1.

    3) Honestly, regardless of what I've paid for a bridesmaid dress, I've never worn one again. I'm kind of picky though, so that's just me. The only situation I can think of where I would wear a dress again is if it the guidelines were very vague and I got to pick it out myself (ex -  if the bride told me just to get a black cocktail dress). This is probably another question you should ask your bridesmaids.
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    One more thing - your bridesmaids' dresses don't have to come from a bridal shop or bridal designer. Be sure to check out department stores too (I especially like Nordstrom's dresses). You may be able to find better prices that way.
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    My BM's dresses are Mori lee, and were more than $80.00 per dress more expensive in the bridal salon, as they were in a verified retailer that we found online. I ordered, they were shipped for free, and my girls got their dresses at a much cheaper price.

    I agree with finding out their budget, but also research a list of qualified vendors, and do price comparisons.  It saved us a bunch of money on the same dress.
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    Also consider not looking at "traditional" places for bridesmaids dresses. My wedding theme is 1940s old Hollywood and my bridesmaids dresses were purchased online from a retailer who designs vintage-inspired dresses. They were $100. I also think they are much better quality than some of the "bridesmaids" dresses and because their style isn't specifically "bridesmaid" the ladies will be able to wear them again. 

    Maybe if you give us a description of what you're looking for and maybe some pictures perhaps we can find you some alternatives?

    I also agree that you need to speak to each of your bridesmaids privately and find out what their budget is. 
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    You need to speak with each girl individually and ask them how much they are comfortable spending on a dress (remember that some styles might also need alterations, so you need to include that in your question) and then choose a dress that fits the LOWEST budget.

    Personally, although I could probably afford a $250 dress, that seems incredibly excessive to me and I would not agree to spending that much on a BM dress.  In my opinon, most "bridesmaid" dresses, look like BM dresses and aren't really appropriate for other occassions, so the idea of spending that much on a dress I'd never wear again wouldn't make me happy.

    If you'd like to keep the price down, I'd suggest looking at non-bridal stores.  It seems anything wedding related automatically gets a 100% mark-up, so you might be able to find very nice looking, budget dresses at a department store.  My BM dresses were actually from JC Penny and we happened to catch them on final clearence for only $35 (originally $90) and they worked out great!
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    I would be uncomfortable paying $250 for a dress but if all your girls are OK with it, it's no big deal. I was my sister's MOH and wore a very pretty dress but I have never worn it again. Even if my bridesmaids agreed to the price, I would still want to keep it in the $100-$150 range  if possible.
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    There are a lot of options in the 100-150 range.  If you ask your BMs to spend $250 on a dress, plan on the fact that they will likely need alterations, which may run them another $50-100.

    Ask each person their budget, (incuding alterations) and go from there.  I realize the dresses you like are more expensive, but you may need to sacrifice the "perfect" BM dress in favor of your friend's budgets.

    Also, if you post here what your favorite dress is in the $200-250 range, some of the folks here may be able to help you find a cheaper alternative.
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    I agree with everyone else in that you need to talk to each girl privately.  Nevertheless, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to find a dress you like that's significantly cheaper.  Even though I could afford a $250 dress, I would be pretty resentful if I was asked to.  I've never even spent that much on a dress I chose for myself (except my wedding dress).
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    $250 is a little much, I know when I told my bridesmaids we were all going shopping together to pick a dress they said it better not be to expensive... They flat out were like we are not going over 150, So I found these cute dresses at sears for like 30 dollars... But they chose to buy the ones at Davids bridal for 125...
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    Avion22Avion22 member
    5 Love Its First Comment
    edited August 2012
    I've never EVER spent $250 on a dress (excpet for my own wedding dress).  I will spend maybe $150 once or twice a year on dresses to wear to formal events, but I usually wear them multiple times.   I couldn't imagine paying $250 for a dress for someone's wedding.

    Ask the girls their budget.  Remember that their budget has to include a dress, alterations possibly shoes, and hair and makeup.  If you require specific shoes, then you shoudl pay for those yourself (same if you require your girls to get their hair/makeup done professionally).

    1.  I would feel comfortable paying around $150 for a dress  (maybe another $100 on alterations, shoes, hair, and makeup)

    2. If your BMs all independently say they can afford a $250, then it's not too much to ask.  But if you yourself couldn't afford a $250 dress, then it's probably too much to ask your bridesmaids to spend.

    3.  I would pay a little more if I was given some say in the style or color.  For example, if I was allowed to pick my own style in a particular color from a particluar designer.  This way I could possible wear it again.  But I would still probably top out at $150 for the dress....
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    $250 is a lot, especially if not all of your girls can afford it easily, plus they may also need to pay for alterations. The day should be about being with the people who are important in your life and I feel like you can still easily find a dress under $200 to accomplish that.

    I've worn a very pretty dress from David's Bridal that was $125 and my girls paid just under $150 for a DaVinci dress that they picked out.

    What are you looking for exactly? Do you have pictures/links of the $250 dresses you like? Maybe we can help you find something similar that is less pricey.
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    I've paid that much for a BM dress and to tell you the truth, I kind of resented it at the time and I never rewore it either, plus I had a bad experience with the shop I ordered from and had to pay an $150 for alterations because they ordered it 4 sizes too big. 

    There are plenty of options in 100-150 range from david's and Alfred Angelo.  Also try They sell BM dresses at wholesale prices.  I haven't personally used them, but thinking about for another wedding I'm in next year. The bride just gave us a color as a guideline. 

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    Thanks, all! My intention was NEVER to put any of my girls in something without asking their opinion so for those of you who seem to think I would have the audacity to ask my girls to shell out that much money to put on something they don't even like, rest assured. That was not what I was planning on doing. For those of you wondering which dresses I liked, I am really drawn to the J. Crew Silk Tafetta line. My first thought was to go to a JC Penney or other department store, but my girls are all drastically different shapes and sizes so it's difficult for me to do the department store thing because size selections are limited. I like the J. Crew line because I could give my girls a color and tell them to pick out whatever dress THEY like. I actually like the idea of mismatched dresses, but I would want them to at least be in the same color and fabric and this seemed like the best way to go about doing that that. Plus, most of the girls have already admitted that the J. Crew dresses are ones that they would wear again because they don't look like BM dresses (which is also what I am going for). I looked at David's Bridal but I don't think the necklines on those dresses would particularly flatter my girls and I do have some girls that have openly admitted hating the David's Bridal line. I also took to the Knot and searched for BM dresses on here and all the designers here seem to be pretty pricey as well ($200 range). I feel like I'm at a loss. I want desperately to find a dress as cheap as possible that will work on all of my girls.
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