13 Feb

Confession, I have nightmares of looking back at my wedding pictures twenty years from now and the pictures look like this....

So many people say that the bridesmaid dresses aren't that important, it's about YOU. But if we're being honest, they are going to out number me, they are going to be standing next to me and they are going to be in all of my pictures. Plus, I don't want to force them to buy and wear something that is unattractive, too expensive and/or flat out ugly. Second plus, I do actually greatly care for all of them!

I know the odds of them "wearing it again" are slim to none but I would like to find a nice dress that they will like and not mind wearing for the day!

I want to hear from the bridesmaids out there. Tell me about your favorite dress or dresses, how the bride picked them out and how much was too much to spend on the dress?

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  • Pingback: How to pick the perfect Bridesmaid Dress? | According to Nina « White Bridesmaid Dresses

  • http://www.3sonsandadaughter.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Congratulations on your engagement! When we were married, I had purchased the material and told all of my bridesmaids to select their own dress pattern. One was pregnant and others were different body types. This way everyone looked good because they picked out a style of dress that looked good on them and that they would like wearing. I still enjoy looking at my photo album 14 years later! Good luck with all of your planning~ My advice to brides to be is ALWAYS this: Don’t sweat the small stuff. The wedding does not make the marriage!! Have fun!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Almost complete half-bath project =-.

  • http://www.peace-love-lipgloss.blogspot.com Peace.Love.Lipgloss.

    You have great taste & you being considerate of your friends will help you pick out a classic style. I have faith in you & can’t wait to see what you decide on!
    .-= Peace.Love.Lipgloss.´s last blog ..You Look Gorgeous! =-.

  • greenapples

    Jcrew has some great bridesmaid dresses! You can 100% wear them many times again too :)
    I am SO enjoying all this wedding stuff. Thanks for sharing!

  • Emily

    Have you heard of the Company called Two Birds? My best friend is getting married and that is the company she is using. Check them out. It is basically one dress that can be tied into a dozen different shapes. (ie it can be strapless, one strap, two straps, have a low v in the front, be covered up). Hard to explain, but I LOVE them. They look great on all shapes and sizes and have a variety of colors.

  • http://www.pinkmapledesign.blogspot.com Pink Maple

    I agree with others who have said to be sure not to forget about the cost of shoes, accessories, hair, etc. I had to buy dyed-to-match shoes for a wedding I was in recently and though they weren’t expensive that drove me crazy because obviously I would never wear them again and no one could even see them because we had long dresses!

    For another wedding that I was in recently, the bride had us pick one of three dresses from an upscale bridal boutique. The dresses were all very flattering but because of some bridesmaids not being able to get to the store to get measured in-person, a lot of people had fit problems. If your bridesmaids live faraway, it’s a good idea to consider a brand that they can go try on in-person, like J Crew or Ann Taylor.

  • http://zubrowka24.blogspot.com/ Lexi

    I’ve been a bridesmaid four times. The first three times, the dress was the same color, by lucky chance. I wore the same shoes each time. The last time, this past October, was a totally different color. The bride picked out a very expensive dress and very expensive matching ugly shoes. I wasn’t pleased, but what can you do.

    I still have all of the dresses, though I’ve never worn any of them again. One of them, I keep telling myself to have hemmed to a tea length so that I could wear it again, but almost five years later, that still hasn’t happened. I’ll probably donate them to one of those groups that collects old formal gowns to donate to needy high schoolers for their proms!
    .-= Lexi´s last blog ..rumbles =-.

  • Andrea

    Your readers give good advice and these pics are priceless! LOL!

  • MaryAdelaide

    Congrats on your engagement! I’ve just recently begun reading your blog, and I love it!!!

    I’ve just gone through the whole bridesmaid dress selection process for my wedding, and it was probably the easiest part of planning I’ve had! I have 7 bridesmaids – all with very different body types. One has breast cancer, so I wanted to make sure she felt comfortable and had a dress with lots of structure and support; one walks with canes, so I wanted to make sure she didn’t feel like her dress was falling down all day; some are heavier and some are rail-thin.

    I asked several of the girls to try dresses on, and tell my their favorites. They ALL picked LulaKate as the designer, but each picked different dress styles for their top 3 favorites. So I picked a color and fabric, and let them pick from 3 different styles (2 in each dress, and MOH in her own).

    In the end, I realized that if they are comfortable in what they’re wearing, they’ll be much happier looking in pictures, and I won’t be worried that so and so’s dress is making her feel awkward or she’s not having a good time because of her outfit. Plus, on my wedding day, I want the people around me to have a great time…and that should start with my bridesmaids!!!

    Now that I’m done with that narrative, try LulaKate. You’ll love it!!!

  • http://preppynewlywed.blogspot.com Lauren

    Amen for admitting that no one will probably wear this dress again! I wore a red strapless dress with a train in one wedding and someone said we could wear them again… Where? A Gone With the Wind party? I paid $200 for the dress and shoes and I donated them to charity.

    For my wedding, I picked a few black silk cocktail dresses from Ann Taylor and had my bridesmaids pick the one they liked best. I had a coupon, so the dresses came to around $140 each. I asked my bridesmaids to choose their own shoes and jewelry. I have three bridesmaids that I know of who have worn their dresses again. J Crew did not have a line of formal dresses at the time, or I would have looked there as well.

    Good luck with your search!
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry with Mushrooms =-.

  • http://www.kappaprep.com Kappa Prep

    LulaKate is the way to go! They have SO many color options and every single style they offer is to die for and CAN be worn again. They are AMAZING!
    .-= Kappa Prep´s last blog ..One Year later =-.

  • Holly

    I was recently in a wedding and all the bridesmaids got to pick any black dress. It ended up working out perfectly and everyone randomly ended up wearing different styles. Someone actually came up to me at the wedding and asked me where our dresses were from. The bonus is that we will all be able to wear them again! So it was nice to be able to spend the money on a black dress that will definitely be worn again :)

  • Jennifer

    Depending on how concerned you are about colour, the coolest thing I’ve seen for bridesmaids dresses is when the bride sets the colour (and length,) but then lets each person pick their own dress – that way, the bridesmaids can determine the price, whatever they’re comfortable with, and they’ll each get a dress that they feel comfortable in. But then you can pick out matching shoes for them ;)

    It definitely involves giving up a little control, but… It’s definitely turned out cute before!

  • http://www.charmville.blogspot.com Allison

    I chose Jenny Yoo for my bridesmaids and I think they were all pretty happy about that. Each wore the same color, but a different style.

    I hate matchy-matchy and felt so unattractive and unhappy when my sister required a matchy-matchy look for her wedding. I agree with Allison– leave styling choices to the bridesmaids. I let mine choose hairstyle, shoes, nailpolish, and makeup, though I did give them earrings to wear.

    As for color… think about what most people generally look good in and what will photograph well. A lot of people have mentioned J.Crew, but your color choices are so limited there.

    I purchased my dresses from Carrie Karibo Bridesmaids in Cincinnati; I know you live elsewhere, but take a look at the lines she offers– all sleek, stylish, and super customizable: http://www.carriekaribo.com/bridesmaidmain.html
    .-= Allison´s last blog ..Wedding Details =-.

  • http://savingbestforlast.blogspot.com MCW

    I have been in a few wedding and dislikes every dress. Main reason is because I have a large chest and they brides always choose strapless and I was so uncomfortable the entire time!
    How many bridesmaids are you thinking of having…it is such a hard choice! I am sure whatever you pick will be perfect.

  • http://rantsandraves-rebekah.blogspot.com/ Rebekah

    I’ve been a bridesmaid only 3 times and have worn one of them after the wedding (formal dance in college). I think that no matter how hard you try to find a dress that is wearable after the wedding…it’s usually not possible..no matter the length or how cute it is. As long as the dress isn’t too spendy, I think the bridesmaids should consider it an honor to be standing up for you on your big day…whether they can wear the dress again or not….that shouldn’t be a factor. Have fun planning your wedding!
    .-= Rebekah´s last blog ..let in the sunshine =-.

  • http://thisisallisonwonderland.blogspot.com Allison

    The first piece of advice I have is if you are going to go with floor length, I think black is the ONLY color choice that would ever be worn again. But, I like that you’re being honest with yourself that they probably won’t actually wear it again.

    Keeping that in mind, I think YOU are in the best position to determine an appropriate budget for your girls. I am only 23 and still a student so if someone asked me to spend more than $150 on a dress that I’ll never wear again, I would be a little peeved. However, if you think your friends can comfortably afford it, I think $250 is a good limit for most people with jobs.

    That said, I think it would be pushing it if you pick a dress that around $250 and they STILL have to purchase new shoes/accessories and/or plan to pay for any beauty expenses for the big day (i.e. mani/pedi, makeup, tanning, hairdo) for the wedding day. As someone already mentioned above, I think brides often forget all of the other “stuff” your bridesmaids are already paying for such as hotel rooms, flights, showers, and gifts.

    On a final note, based on my personal experiences as a bridesmaid, I have to say that what has ALWAYS annoyed me way more than an ugly dress are the “mandatory” styling choices such as matching updos and nail polish colors (bridezilla much?!? haha). You can always try to sell a dress or shoes you don’t like on ebay after a wedding, but you can’t get back the $$$ you spend on “primping.”
    .-= Allison´s last blog ..He Thinks He’s Hiding… =-.

  • Katie

    Another idea you might consider. I picked a slightly darker shade of pink for my maid of honor. It just happened to be that 3/4 of my bridesmaids were blonde and my maid of honor was olive complexion with dark hair, so the darker shade complimented her more. It also made her a big more special and the two shades of pink were stunning together. It also went with my color scheme (shades of pink and gold). I think it’s important to use shades of colors instead of two solid colors. It’s more chic.

  • http://thecompanyshekeeps.blogspot.com BLC

    As an 9 time bridesmaid vet, I think I am qualified to write a book on this subject! My advice:

    1. Don’t take allll of your bridesmaids dress shopping — they will never ever agree and that will just confuse you. I did this and wolf was it bad!!!!

    2. Consider your bridesmaids hair color, body type, and personal styles so that they feel comfortable. Remember Jennifer Lopez’s plunging v-neck dress by Donnatella Versace? Well, I had a very similar bridesmaid dress and the whole day I had my flowers carefully positioned to avoid any peek-a-boo mishaps. Talk about uncomfortable!!!

    3. Pick something you like!!!!! I picked a Nicole Miller dress and I still covet one for myself.
    You have the vision of how YOUR day will be. Their dress will ebb and flow with your flowers, colors, church/reception, time of day, season, indoor/outdoor, etc.

    Don’t expect them to cut it off and wear it again … because a bridesmaid dress is always a bridesmaid dress!!! While I probably will never re-wear any of the 9 dresses I wore as a bridesmaid, I do have all 9 hanging pristinely in my extra closet — and they make me happy there because it was such an honor to stand by the bride on her big day!!! Those dresses will always have fond meaning to me (even the one with the plunging neckline). Best of luck hunting for their dresses! Xoxo-BLC
    .-= BLC´s last blog ..Intermission =-.

  • Katie

    Vera Wang makes amazing bridesmaid dresses. My girls wore a blush color empire waist knee length vera bridesmaid dress. They were like 250, but my parents bought them. Still, I thought that was very reasonable and they all looked stunning. Even cheaper brands are going to cost you 200 plus and the quality and style won’t be there. Melissa Sweet also makes classic gorgeous bridesmaid dresses.

  • http://upnorthpreppy.blogspot.com Up North Preppy

    I was in three weddings last year. One dress was so hideous my husband LAUGHED at me when I put it on. The other two I’ve already worn again. One was from Ann Taylor and the other from Aria. Both are 100% silk and gorgeous. The navy long dress from Aria is probably my favorite of the two and needed very littler altering for a long dress. They have tons of choices in style and color, and I would highly recommend them. The girls in my wedding wore the Lyndsey dress in Navy from JCrew. It was perfect for our lakeside summer wedding. Three of the four have worn it again, and it seriously looked good on all of them.

    Good luck in your search! It’s not easy!
    .-= Up North Preppy´s last blog ..Weekend fun!! =-.

  • http://worldofjaime.blogspot.com Jaime

    I was recently in a wedding and wasn’t given any say in the bridesmaid dress. The bride called me, gave me the designer and style (and the colors) and I had to find a store that carried it and would ship it to me. The closest store was 3 hours away. Needless to say, I hated the dress. The color was fine (I used the same exact designer and color for my wedding two years ago) but the style was not something that flattered every shape. The bride even told me at the reception, “MOH told me that she’s going to wear her dress to a Christmas party. So you can definitely wear the dress again!” Um. I felt like a hooker in the dress, and there was no way I was going to wear it out again.

    The dress cost around $150. That part didn’t bother me too much, but when I had to end in the multiple plane tickets, hotel rooms and car rental (plus shower and wedding gifts) I spent over $1500. I wouldn’t have minded spending a lot more than $150 on the dress…if I was going to wear it again.

    Talk to your bridesmaids and see what they feel most comfortable in, and how much they are comfortable with spending on a dress. I think you’re already headed in the right directions seeing that you’re concerned about the dresses at all!
    .-= Jaime´s last blog ..The ‘Hood =-.

  • http://elefantitasalegres.blogspot.com Kate

    I’m been in a lot of weddings and I’ve had an equal number of dresses I hated and dresses I actually felt attractive in. I’ve worn none of them again – even the basic black ones and even the ones I liked, so I think you are being realistic when you say that they probably won’t wear these dresses again! My thought is always this: No matter how cute the dress is, in the back of my mind, its always My Bridesmaid’s Dress from X’s Wedding.”

    Honestly, I’m a pretty laid back bridesmaid and won’t complain about any dress so long as its not ridiculously expensive! Bring on the Butt Bow but leave the $300+ price tag alone! I was in a wedding last summer and the dress was $300, plus I had to have $50 worth of extra length added, plus $25 shipping, PLUS alterations because (surprise, surprise!) the dress ended up being too long! The damn thing was almost $500 when all was said and done! So definitely keep alterations and shipping in mind when you are thinking about price!
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Favorite Things: February =-.

  • http://www.forthelove-mb.blogspot.com melissa

    My favorite bridesmaid dresses I have worn have been from J. Crew and Ann Taylor. I’ve much preferred them to dresses that come from traditional bridesmaid dress manufacturers. I think you can find nice bridesmaid dresses from high end bridal designers, but they’re usually very expensive. And, this is just my opinion, but I really prefer short bridesmaid dresses to long. I can see why someone might pick a long dress for a black tie evening wedding, but in most situations I think a short dress looks much better.

    I choose the BM dresses for my own wedding by asking the girls to pick any style dress they liked from J. Crew in a certain color. They said they were happy with the dresses (maybe they were just being nice.)

    In the end, I’d tr to take your bridesmaid’s opinions and budgets in mind when choosing, but it’s hard to please everyone. Someone may not love it, but they’ll probably still wear it. Good Luck!
    .-= melissa´s last blog ..shopping. and not the good kind. =-.

  • Maureen

    I had nightmares about picking the right dress for the girls in my wedding party too.
    I was lucky though because they were my sisters and sister-in-law.
    The dress I picked out was a cocktail dress right off the rack from Bloomingdales and Nordstrom from Tahari. There were short sleeves and it was a slik blend . It is a dress that I am sure they have all worn again. (I have seen two in in again). It was just a classic navy dress. It cost maybe 145.00.

    I wish you much luck in your search.

  • Melissa

    I have to say my favorite bridesmaids dress was one I wore last year and the bride picked it from White House Black Market. It was a knee length black cocktail dress and I have worn it to various events a few times since then. The $150ish (I think) price tag didn’t make me cringe, since I knew I could and would wear it again.

    However, I have also been forced to buy a couple of doozies that I really did not like but of course I bought and wore without complaining. However, at $250+ a piece I hated that the brides were really disillusioned that we would wear those things again and that’s an expensive (to me!) donation to My Sister’s Closet.

    Honestly, I don’t think anyone likes spending $250+ on something that they will knowingly not wear again (though maybe in certain economic situations, people wouldn’t mind), but if it is truly wearable again, the price may or may not be AS important.

  • http://southernandpreppy.blogspot.com Preppy 101

    My daughter has been in 13 weddings. We were preparing script for a movie, but someone beat us to it! haha

    She has never used a bridesmaid’s dress “again”. And some of them were quite chic, but they were still a bridesmaid dress. {We have donated every single one of them to a “prom closet” for girls who cannot afford a dress at a local h.s.} And she was fine with this. Her opinion was “this is ______’s wedding and I will wear whatever.” All of these girls are sorority sisters so she loves them dearly.

    The dress that she chose for her bridesmaids is a short one. It is from J. Crew. She gave them the color and fabric and let them choose the style that they want to wear. Her color is Navy Blue so I could see the girls wearing these again.

    I’m sure you will pick something precious that could be worn again. Your taste is exceptional!! xoxo
    .-= Preppy 101´s last blog ..Living Green Makes Me Blue =-.

  • http://www.barefootbird.blogspot.com barefoot in the park

    i’ve been working on the same thing! i’ve found a few companies i love through bella bridesmaid. coren moore, simple silhouettes, & a few others have great things! im going with a simple silhouettess one i thinki!
    .-= barefoot in the park´s last blog ..Just One Click =-.

  • http://www.truebritt.blogspot.com Brit

    When it came time to chose bridesmaids dresses for my wedding I ordered a few from JCrew and let them choose which one they wanted to wear. In the end they all chose the same one, the Lorelei style. I wanted them to wear different styles, but in the end I wasn’t going to force them to buy a dress that they didn’t like especially since they were spending $200+ on it.

    You have the right attitude on wanting your bridesmaids to look great on your wedding day! I never understood brides putting their BM in ugly dresses so that they could look better. If they look bad they are going to ruin your pictures. Just my opinion:)

    Let us know what dresses you decide on. You are so put together and cute, I just know you are going to have a fabulous wedding!
    .-= Brit´s last blog ..Our New Adventure =-.

  • http://zachandstefanieclark.blogspot.com Stefanie

    I let my bridesmaids pick their own. I gave them a color, I gave them a designer and I told them to pick what made them happy! That way they dictated the amount of money they spent on the dress, and I’ve actually had a couple of my girls wear their dresses again.
    The look is still cohesive and yet allows each lady to feel like she’s still herself in the dress.

    But I had to wear a peach and pink prom concoction for my cousin’s wedding that was a disaster, simply because they were trying to cut costs. Bridesmaids dresses… it can be such a slippery slope!
    .-= Stefanie´s last blog ..sweetheart’s saturday =-.

  • http://spottyprep.blogspot.com Spotty Prep

    I love the JCrew Sophia dress- I wore it as a bridesmaid and then chose it for mine in a different color! (No one was in both weddings, so it worked out). It probably is on the pricier side, though. I think $180 would be the max price, but I know a lot of people would consider that high. A friend is wearing a great dress from black house white market in a wedding next weekend- I think choosing a mainstream store for dresses rather than a typical bridal brand is a great idea for more classic, re-wearable-ish dresses!
    .-= Spotty Prep´s last blog ..Our Wedding Album is Here! =-.

  • http://thisminneapolislife.blogpost.com Chelsy

    I’m getting married in June but have been a bridesmaid many times before. (And never liked any of the dresses I had to wear!) I decided to let my girls pick their own knee-length, black cocktail dress…within a set of guidelines, and I had to approve it before they purchased it. This allowed them to spend as much or as little as they wanted, get a style that flatters their body types, and pick a dress they really would wear again.

    In an ideal world I would have had them all wear different Simple Silhouettes or Jenny Yoo bridesmaid dresses, but the price points were just too high to ask everyone spend that much and then possibly have alterations in addition to the cost of the dress. I personally would not have a problem spending $250 on an awesome LBD that I’d wear again…but I didn’t feel comfortable asking everyone else to do that.

    Happy shopping!

  • Tracey

    I never cared if I was going to wear it again…I just wanted to look good the one day, especially since no matter how cute or ugly, it always was one of the most expensive dresses I bought.

    If you go with a classic style (sheath, strapless a-line) and stay simple (and do not get too trendy with color), you will not be embarassed years later. I could still wear my bridesmaid dress from my sister’s wedding today (12+ years after the fact)…unfortunately, I cannot say that about the rest of the dresses.

    For my wedding, I ended up going with Jenny Yoo…I was an older bride, so most of my friends could afford it and I subsidized my younger family members’ dresses. Before I picked them out, I sent a couple of choices out to the girls.

    Nina–you are a stylish, classic woman…you will do great picking out the dresses…cannot wait to see them!

  • Shannon

    I have been a bridesmaid more times than I would like to admit! My favorite dresses were all strapless satin or brushed silk, either floor length or tea length with a simple silhouette. I think this type of dress is flattering for all body types and by keeping the bridesmaid dress a simple yet classic design you can really allow your wedding gown and flowers to stand out! I think anything over $250-$300 is too much to ask your bridesmaids to spend on a dress that realistically they will be wearing one time. I do like the JCrew line as the previous poster stated and I have worn the Sophia dress in weddings before. If your bridesmaids are from all over the country a widespread mainstream store may be easier to order dresses. Good luck and have fun!!

  • http://ruffleswap.com Sam {from Project: Ruffle Swap}

    I think you hit the nail on the head here. So many brides want the same things as you. And I commend you for being honest about them never wearing the dresses again. My sister and I were inspired by this exact thought and started http://ruffleswap.com, a website where you can “swap” dresses with other bridesmaids across the US!

    But I think besides buying used or selling your dress afterward you have some other options as well. I am seeing that a lot of girls doing the mismatched dresses and even going to department stores, like JCrew or White House Black Market. Of course, price is a another matter! I think simple is always best, so when you look back they won’t look like these hi-lar-ious pics above! I think it’s so sweet of you to be concerned with this. As a past bridesmaid, I didn’t care about what the dress looked like (although I was lucky enough to get a nice one), I just cared about standing next to my friend on her big day.