One Bride's Stress-Free Way to Finding the Perfect Bridesmaid Dresses

Alicia Menendez Bridesmaid Dresses

Photo: Courtesy of Alicia Menendez

Meet our newest guest blogger, Alicia Menendez, a television host and 10-plus years BRIDES subscriber. Alicia is taking us through the ups and downs of planning her wedding to her boyfriend of five years. If you love what you read, be sure to check out Alicia's show, Alicia Menendez Tonight, every weeknight on Fusion; and follow her on Twitter @aliciamenendez and on Instagram @aliciamenendezxo.

Bridesmaids dresses. They are so universally loathed that there is an entire movie dedicated to the horror of owning 27 of them. So instead of asking my best friends to spend a few hundred dollars on a dress they'll probably never wear again, I asked them to rent one instead. If you're into this idea you have a few options including Weddington Way, Vow to be Chic and Rent the Runway.

My matron of honor is my high school BF, Leah (seen in the above photo that was taken eight years ago when we were roommates). She lives in Los Angeles, runs a catering business, and is a busy mom of two. So when we were both in New York for Thanksgiving we carved out one hour to hit the Rent the Runway showroom to try on some dresses. Our other bridesmaid, Carlos' sister Sarah, couldn't join us but sent along one request: avoid strapless. (More about how Rent the Runway works here.)

In advance of our appointment, I used Rent the Runway's website to select a few options that might work and the stylist had them waiting when we arrived. Leah tried on a few dresses, but as with my ex-boyfriends, we'll focus on a few and pretend the rest didn't happen. We narrowed our choices to a navy lace fit and flare (though later when we showed the photos to her husband and my fiancé they noted that she looked like a mob wife at a funeral, which wasn't really what we were going for); a navy jersey Badgley Mischka gown that didn't look like much on the hanger but looked sophisticated and effortless on Leah; and a black strapless dress that defied our "needs straps" rule.

Leah chose the navy Badgley Mischka — maybe because she loved it, maybe because she's the best BF ever and knew how much I loved it. We rented the designer dresses for about half or a third of the cost of most bridesmaids dresses I've been asked to buy. And because the dresses are available in three different lengths: short, regular and long, no extra alterations are needed. They'll wear them for the wedding and then they'll return them in the mail and never have to think about them again. Amazing.

A few caveats:
Both of the women in our bridal party, Leah and Carlos' sister, Sarah, couldn't have been more easy-going. I imagine this would have been harder if we'd had more bridesmaids, or even just one very opinionated bridesmaid.

They'd both look great in a paper bag.

Sarah hasn't tried on her dress (I tried it on in her place) so this could all be a disaster, in which case I will be writing an update to this post when she actually does end up walking down the aisle in a paper bag. Wish us luck!

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