Photo: Caili Helsper
As a bride, you're well aware that being a bridesmaid definitely isn't cheap. But you also just can't help yourself: you really, really want your girls to look out of this world in their dresses. So what's a conflicted bride to do? Get creative, that's what! Turns out, there are tons of ways to help your bridesmaids save some dough on their dresses without sacrificing quality, a cohesive look or bleeding their bank accounts dry.
1. Let them choose their own dresses
Within reason, of course! Instead of picking out a specific dress for each girl, decide on a designated color (or range of colors), and give your bridesmaids the freedom to choose their own, suggests Emmy Award-winning stylist, David Zyla. This way, "Each woman can comfortably shop within her budget and feel so much more beautiful in a neckline, silhouette and fabric that really suit her."
To ensure everyone's on the same page, however, wedding planner Lynn D'Ascanio of D'Asigner Events advises hitting up your local paint store and selecting your color palette from the paint chips. "Then, give a color sample to each bridesmaid so she can choose her dress within the several shade variations on the paper strip."
2. Shop trunk shows
They're not just for wedding dresses! If you do your homework, your bridesmaids could score decent discounts on their dresses too. "What's great about trunk shows is that the entire collection will be on display so there will be more options to choose from," explains celebrity wedding and event planner Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design. "Bridesmaids can save anywhere from 10-20 percent off the dress if they buy that day."
3. Go the rental route
Why make your 'maids pay top dollar when they can rent their dresses at a fraction of the cost? "For the bridesmaid that can't imagine fitting another dress into her closet (and wants to save a little cash), give her the option to rent," recommends Weddington Way CEO Ilana Stern. We love Weddington Way, as well as Rent The Runway, Vow To Be Chic and Little Borrowed Dress.
4. Browse the end of season sales rack
Bridal expert and editorial director of You & Me TV, Anne Chertoff, suggests checking out stores like J. Crew and Ann Taylor, where you'll find classic looks in a range of colors and trends. "The prices are very competitive and they are national brands with an online component making shopping easy."
5. Try flash sales
If you only have a few bridesmaids in your crew, then flash sales could be the way to go. "Thanks to sites such as Gilt that specialize in higher end designers, if you're open minded and ready to purchase when you start searching, you can score some awesome deals," points out Dorian Smith-Garcia, founder of bridal and lifestyle website, The Anti Bridezilla.
6. Opt for short dresses
Go short or go home! Seriously. "Shorter-length dresses usually cost less than floor-length looks and bridesmaids appreciate them more since they have more wear again potential," notes Chertoff.
7. Have them purchase pre-owned dresses
Most girls literally only wear their bridesmaid dress once, so why not check out sites like Once Wed, Tradesy, or Preownedweddingdresses.com to score perfectly good dresses on the cheap?