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Has anyone done the bridesmaid's-dress-as-wedding-dress thing?

Hey guys,

I'm seriously considering ordering an ivory/white bridesmaid's dress and maybe jazzing it up with a "bridal" sash or something to save some money. Has anyone done it? Do the salons let you do that (most would be pissed missing out on the money they could've gotten for a wedding dress, I'd think)? Did anyone find a fabric quality that was better than paper towels? My dress isn't the most important thing to me on wedding day - venue is - so I don't mind sacrificing a little bit of quality for a lot of savings.

Thanks!

Re: Has anyone done the bridesmaid's-dress-as-wedding-dress thing?

  • I have a short, white Mori Lee dress that I used for a pageant, but was a bridesmaid dress.  It's really well made and looks nice.  It was $150-ish dollars.  If you find something you like, go for it.  There are so many chiffon bridesmaid dresses, that it shouldn't be very hard.
  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    What is your budget?  I ask only because there could be "bridal" dresses in that budget that are still your taste, depending on your budget and style.
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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    What is your budget?

    And no a salon should not be pissed that you want to purchase a more simple gown from the bridesmaid selection.  If they do show that they are pissed then that is not the salon for you and you should walk out.

  • Our total budget is $18,000 after a lot of saving. However, venue is taking $10,000 and I'm worried that 8,000 is not gonna be enough left over to cover food, dress, bridal party, centerpieces, florals.. all of those little things that add up. I could technically spend $1,000 on a dress but I just want to build myself a cushion.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    elienne said:
    Our total budget is $18,000 after a lot of saving. However, venue is taking $10,000 and I'm worried that 8,000 is not gonna be enough left over to cover food, dress, bridal party, centerpieces, florals.. all of those little things that add up. I could technically spend $1,000 on a dress but I just want to build myself a cushion.
    Hold up, you are paying $10K for just a venue?  That doesn't include catering?  What does that price include?

    As for your dress, have you looked at Ann Taylor or Nordstrom or any other department store in their formal dress department?

    I am not sure of your style or what not but here is a dress from Nordstroms.  It is a Monique Lhuillier bridesmaid dress for $400.  And I am not sure about the strap construction but I have a feeling that could easily be removed if you didn't like it.http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/ml-monique-lhuillier-bridesmaids-pleated-one-shoulder-tulle-trumpet-gown/3841227?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=IVORY&resultback=300&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_1_C

    And this one is from Ann Taylor for $550.  It is very simple but could easily be spruced up with a sparkly sash and some banging jewelry.  

  • The price includes the scenic view (in the woods of PA) and tables/chairs/linens. We're also on a Saturday, which is more expensive, and during the "normal" wedding season in September so that's an extra charge.

    But really, we're paying for scenery.

    That Monique Lhuillier dress is cute! That's totally the right direction, thank you!
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    elienne said:
    The price includes the scenic view (in the woods of PA) and tables/chairs/linens. We're also on a Saturday, which is more expensive, and during the "normal" wedding season in September so that's an extra charge.

    But really, we're paying for scenery.

    That Monique Lhuillier dress is cute! That's totally the right direction, thank you!
    Wow, that just seems obscene to me.  That scenery better be the best scenery in the world.

  • I agree with Maggie about the venue.  It just seems strange to me.  It's the first time I've heard of one that doesn't at least include food, and usually also a beer and wine service (included spirits are rare at Australian weddings unless they involve a cocktail reception).  Mine includes everything but BP stuff, and has fantastic views of Sydney harbor.  It's still coming in at less than $10,000.  I really hope your venue is super magical, and is nothing but charming to you throughout all your dealings with them.

    On the dress front, have you considered hiring a dress?  Rent the Runway had some options that were definitely wedding appropriate.

    Otherwise, I love Dolly Couture for inexpensive wedding dresses.  I did visit their showroom in NYC, and found that the quality was good (though not so nice as the Justin Alexander dress I'd looked at, which is why I didn't buy my wedding dress from them, and as I bought the sample of the JA gown, it ended up being only a small difference in price and within my budget... but, that's all very tangent-ish).  They have a very specific look, but they could be worth checking out.  You can often buy sample or unworn, returned dresses from them at a much lower price than made to order dresses; it's just a matter of checking the website frequently.  I did end up buying something more casual from them though.  The customer service was wonderful, even though I purchased one thing in the store, and accessories online.  Both of the women I dealt with were very helpful.  Just a thought.  

    Have you looked at Tradesy or Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses?  You can often find lovely things there at a low price.  And some designers definitely make dresses that come in around the $600 price mark.  I want to say that I found a few lovely Maggie Sottero dresses in this price range, but it could have been someone else.  Doeydo will know more about this.

    Good luck in your search!
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  • I paid $250 for a wedding dress at a sample sale at a bridal salon near me. Another $300 for an amazing sash as the dress was a little plain for my taste. You don't have to sacrifice bridal just because you're on a tight budget.

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  • Hit sample sales if you can, you can score an amazing deal!  No one believe what I paid for my dress and it was a total IKEA "Start the car!" moment.

    Keep an eye out too for pop-up wedding gown stores they offer dresses at a large discount and depending on the one you are at there can be lots of choices.
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  • labrolabro Hotlanta member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My BFF got a really adorable reception dress from a BCBG outlet for something like $50 on clearance. It was a really soft almost chiffon like material in ivory with lace cutouts around her waist and back. You could also try checking out some bridal stores that sell second-hand or sample gowns. You can usually get great deals. We have one in Atlanta where you can buy bridal gowns off the rack for less than $100. 



  • elienne said:
    The price includes the scenic view (in the woods of PA) and tables/chairs/linens. We're also on a Saturday, which is more expensive, and during the "normal" wedding season in September so that's an extra charge.

    But really, we're paying for scenery.

    That Monique Lhuillier dress is cute! That's totally the right direction, thank you!
    That view better include a show of unicorns dancing to the light of mystical rainbows.  That is crazy.  
    Maggie0829missdelilahKnottie96559854
  • I went to a bridal salon and the consultant actually pulled bridesmaid dresses for me because she thought it seemed to be what I was looking for. However, they seemed sort of cheap. I second the sample sales! And look for salons that strictly sell sample gowns. I went to one and they had a great selection of deeply discounted quality gowns. And who cares about how you divvy up your budget. If you love your venue and it was worth the price then good for you. I feel like most brides splurge on at least one thing!
  • amelishaamelisha Canadian Texas member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    I looked at bridesmaid dresses because I wanted something extremely simple, but I ended up lucking out with a David's Bridal clearance sale and snagged a bridal gown I was okay with for $100 online (regular $500). It's not fancy and it's obviously not designer, but it fits, it's a wedding dress, and my fiancé likes it. Clearance is out there if that's a route you want to take or are an uncommon size. I was lucky in that I'm a 0 in lots of the DB brands and often only the smallest and largest ones are left, so it worked for me.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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  • For my wedding (I'm on here bc we're renewing our vows after 20 up and down years in 2017) I wore a Watters and Watters bridesmaid's dress in white that I had a sweep tulle train and bow added to.  It was beautiful and OOAK.  I say go for it!
  • My best friend did that and has no regrets! Her dress was only $110! 

    It was a simple & beautiful sleeveless satin gown with a short train. She didn't add anything to it and got so many compliments. 

    Not all bridal stores have this option. DB, for example, will not let you order in white (or at least, a few years ago they didn't). 
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  • I tried on one of the davids bridal collection (whatever their low end collection is) and it was a bridal dress but apparently also offered as a bridesmaid dress because the consultant was going to pull a smaller size for me and they only had the colored BM version Check out macys online. They have some inexpensive dresses that would be good for outdoor site for under $200. Not to mention they have coupons and returns back to the store so you can order without worry
  • I cannot get over the fact that you are spending over half of your budget on just the venue.  That is insane, in my opinion.
    Maggie0829
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