Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates. For her column for Brides.com, Jen answers a fellow bridesmaid's burning question:
My friend is getting married and she asked me months ago to be her maid of honor. I agreed. Now I'm no longer working. She asked us all to get the same dress from one location in Ohio. I honestly don't have much money to spend right now, and this dress will cost me over $200, plus alterations. I have one dress that fits the theme, but it's not identical to the others. If I can't wear that, can I at least try to find the dress some place cheaper or something similar to their dresses but cheaper? Do you think it should be understandable or should I step out of this?
I've been there before. Counting my pennies but also trying to spare a few of them to spend on items that I committed to, like the bridesmaid dress and the bachelorette party and some kind of substantial gift to hand over to a good friend of mine who was marrying the absolute love of her life. It's stressful enough being someone's maid of honor, let alone doing that with a piggy bank that screams in your face when you try to shake it for some cash. The first thing you'll want to do is get the make and model of the dress. Write down all of the information about the dress she wants you to buy, including the exact color. Then, search on Google. See if any other stores in the country sell it for less or even sell it used. She's probably asking you to buy it from that one particular store because it's more convenient, rather than having all of the girls search for places. They may even offer a discount if you buy the dresses altogether — be sure to ask about this! If you can find the dress for less or used somewhere else, let her know that you're going to buy it there.
As for the dress you already have or buying another dress that fits the overall theme, bring this up to her ASAP. The sooner you tell her this, the sooner she can perhaps plan to scrap the whole matchy-matchy bridesmaid dress idea and have all the girls wear something similar instead. That's more in style these days anyway!