Monday, January 14, 2013

Non-"Bridesmaid"-Bridesmaid Dresses

Something I discovered a while back is that when something is "Wedding" Fill-In-The-Blank, it just means that it is going to be overpriced and generally lesser quality.  My mom helped me learn that lesson.  For instance, when renting a limo, the "wedding" package is going to be the same exact thing as an everyday rental, but it will be priced higher so that you think you are getting something really special.  You can buy "wedding" cocktail napkins for a ridiculous price, or you can find a bulk napkin printer and get your last name printed on there for a much better deal.  Same thing goes with "bridesmaids" dresses.  Essentially, they are dresses, just like you would buy at any store.  BUT you get to order them in bridal sizes (which by the way make you feel like you are 6 sizes bigger than you thought), pay a lot of money, and not necessarily have a quality dress that you would wear again.

For my wedding, and for my sister's wedding, my mom and I happened to find beautiful dresses at regular stores, NOT labeled as "wedding" dresses, for a great deal and a unique look.  I love that NO other bride will use the same dresses/style/color/etc as I did, because I found them in a non-bridal shop.  Here is my/our advice on how to accomplish this:

1. Decide on the type/color of dress you want.  If you want super formal long dresses, you may have a harder time finding them at regular stores.  If you want cocktail style dresses, there will be a plethora of options out there for you.  Try to be open when it comes to the shade/style you think you want.  I thought I wanted a lighter purple, but the dress we ended up choosing was darker and I am so glad for it.  My sister wanted a charcoal grey but the black dresses we chose looked classic and perfect. 

2. Start online.  Go to websites for Macys, Nordstrom, Belk, Lord & Taylor, etc.  Then check out places like,, for even more options.  These types of sites typically offer discount prices on designer dresses (though they may be "last season"... alas).

3.  Go shopping!  My mom came across the dresses for my wedding at TJMaxx.  Have I mentioned that I love TJMaxx? You have to check back every few weeks, but most have great dress departments and you can find some great options. For my sister's wedding, we went to the outlets, and got the dresses at BCBG for a crazy low price.  We are talking like $40 for both of these dresses (regular prices over $100).

4.  The hardest part is committing to the dresses, and making sure you can find a dress in every size needed.  This means getting dress sizes (normal, not bridal) from your friends and buying them a dress sometimes without them seeing it first.  It happens. They just need to trust you and be your friend.  For my dresses, we needed 5 sizes, so we actually had to go to multiple TJMaxx's and buy 1 or 2 online (I think at bluefly?  They all blend together now).

5.  Okay, the actual hardest part is being patient if you have been searching online/in stores for weeks/months and you still can't find anything.  If you have time, wait until the new season of clothes comes out.  If you don't have that much time, keep looking, or resort to the bridal shop if you must.

We happened to find success!  Take a look at the unique non-"bridesmaid" dresses below!

Dresses from my wedding- originally found at TJMaxx- Designer: Max and Cleo.  Actually, those straps were made and added by my crazy talented mother.

Dresses from my sister's wedding- originally found at the BCBG outlet- Designer: Max and Cleo (I guess we had a thing for Max and Cleo dresses... they are great quality though!)
So many newly engaged brides-to-be fall into the "wedding" trap where they think if it is a wedding, they better be buying a "wedding" item.  I want you all to know that it is possible to think outside the box- for dresses and beyond! Not to diminish those who want traditional bridesmaid dresses- if that is your vision or it is the easiest thing, etc, go for it!  Just know that there are other options out there for  affordable, want-to-wear-again, unique dresses!  Happy searching :)

1 comment:

  1. Nothing wrong with the use of non-bridesmaid dress in the wedding event. The engaged people should make use of this information when planning their dream wedding. For searching the best dress vendors is easy using the wedding planner iPad apps for free and also get gain from the wedding planning.