Today we’re sharing the best tips for buying bridesmaid dresses. If you’re buying bridesmaid dresses online or in-store, there are rules to follow so you don’t overspend, underspend, over-buy, under-buy, get ripped off, get ripped in — just kidding. There’s no such thing as ripped in.
But seriously. Purchasing a bridesmaid’s dress is a pretty tricky endeavor if it’s your first time doing it and, well, most people ARE buying bridesmaid dresses for the first time.
So, as a past bride and many-time bridesmaid (and Maid of Honor!), I’ll reveal the sneaky little secrets to know when buying dresses for bridesmaids so you don’t screw it up.
Let’s get started!
Tips for Buying Bridesmaid Dresses
We’ll answer the burning questions you have and give you the best tips for buying bridesmaid dresses, beginning with one of the most-asked question.
Tips for Buying Bridesmaid Dresses, #1. DON’T wait too long before buying bridesmaid dresses.
Most people ask… hey, when should you order bridesmaid dresses? And that’s a darn good question.
Waiting too long to shop for or buy your wedding dress is a big no-no. And that’s because of this: stores, whether online or in-person, have very specific ordering schedules. There are timelines, sizes, fabrics, alterations, shipping, and more to consider.
– shop for bridesmaid dresses (as in, browse online and pick out a few favorites, or try them on in-store)…
7 MONTHS before the wedding
– actually place your orders / buy bridesmaid dresses…
6 MONTHS before the wedding
This will give you plenty of time to ensure the dresses are designed, shipped, and sent to your door in time. In addition, bridesmaids will have enough time to get dress alterations completed, if needed.
Tips for Buying Bridesmaid Dresses, #2. DON’T buy bridesmaid dresses that are too expensive.
This is a BIG one! I hate to be the one to break it to you but… most bridesmaids are not that excited about buying bridesmaid dresses in the first place.
But keep this in mind:
-It has nothing to do with your wedding.
-It has nothing to do with the bridesmaid dress itself.
So, don’t take it personally.
This is one of the most helpful tips for buying bridesmaid dresses because many brides just assume it’s no biggie to buy the dress. Bridesmaids know they are going to have to shell out a ton of money for a dress, one they won’t wear again and isn’t flattering and needs to be altered and shipped. There’s a lot that goes into the purchase of a bridesmaid’s dress! Sometimes there are even added costs, like accessories, shoes, a purse, undergarments/shapewear, etc.
But if you choose a bridesmaid dress that is affordable? Cute? Can be worn again? Has POCKETS? Looks ADORABLE?! I’m just saying… you’re pretty much going to win bride of the year right there. :)
Tips for Buying Bridesmaid Dresses, #3. DO NOT buy bridesmaid dresses online without reading reviews.
Never, ever, for whatever reason.
This is oddly one of the most over-looked tips for buying bridesmaid dresses.
Bridesmaid dresses will usually have glowing reviews from its happy customers, a few photos, maybe even a few lines such as, “Wow, I looked great” or “Never have I loved a bridesmaid dress more than this”, yada yada yada.
If you want to buy a dress but it has ZERO reviews, that’s not a deal-breaker… just look for another product by the same seller and see what gives.
Maybe the shop is new, you’re the first sale, or no one has reviewed it yet.
However, if you are buying bridesmaid dresses online and the reviews are actually negative but you go along with it anyway, you’re just asking for a disaster!
Bottom line: online reviews are your pal and you should utilize them accordingly.
Tips for Buying Bridesmaid Dresses, #4. NEVER buy bridesmaid dresses only because they’re cheap.
Cheap = cheap quality, see-through fabric, short (as in, Meredith on The Office on casual Friday), low cut, no lining, poor shipping, weird smell.
If you’re buying bridesmaid dresses online that are on the more affordable side but you also really love the cut, color, style, length, and their reviews are stellar, that’s an entirely different story and you just won the internet.
Bridesmaid Dress Tips, #5. DO listen to your bridesmaids when choosing the dresses.
You’re the bride, so you pretty much have the final say on everything in your wedding kingdom. But srsly, please don’t let this go to your head.
Don’t be afraid to pass along the crown because your bridesmaids are pretty awesome and they deserve a say in what kind of dress they’re buying and wearing down the aisle.
As much as you might not want to give bridesmaids the total freestyle option and wear anything they like best, a little give-and-take will make everyone happy.
For instance, instead of picking one dress and demanding everyone love it, why not pick one color and let everyone choose a style in that exact shade? Places like Dessy, as one example, offers a mix-and-match bridesmaid dress offering, where you can choose a color — i.e., sofia blue — and then choose a bridesmaid dress in different lengths, cuts, styles, and silhouettes for her individual style.
Since every bridesmaid is unique and body shape is different, choosing a dress that really flatters her body will make her feel beautiful on your wedding day. And that is a great thing!
You can shop their mismatched dresses section here to see what I mean. I wore a few of these for bridesmaid dresses in the past and they were always my favorite dresses. One of them even had pockets (true story! and that’s because the bride, my sister, is a gem!)
Bridesmaid Dress Tips, #6. DO shop around and embrace online bridesmaid dresses.
Back in the day, you HAD TO go to a store to buy bridesmaid dresses. Now, with your bridal party around the country — or even in your own town — everyone is busy. Schedules get tight. Store try-ons aren’t as much fun and prices at big-box chains can be downright expensive.
But when you’re buying bridesmaid dresses online, you’ll save money and you’ll definitely save time; plus, you can sometimes cut costs by using discount or promo codes, or buy dresses all at once and get free shipping.
There are many places to buy bridesmaid dresses online and sometimes you just don’t know WHERE to go. Here’s our list of favorites: some are in-store, some online only, and some stores offer both options.
• Dessy – Dessy has a fantastic collection of bridesmaid dresses. You can try on some styles in-store, but you can buy anything they offer online, too. They use a cool virtual fitting room so you can see what it will look like on you before you buy it. How genius is that?! Shop Dessy here.
Plum Pretty Sugar
• Plum Pretty Sugar – Did you know the site that used to only offer robes and pjs (the cutest, btw) now offer bridesmaid dresses? You can buy the prettiest floral print maxi dresses, sundresses, and more here. They’re adorable.
• Etsy – You can shop a ton of bridesmaid dresses on Etsy. Some of the top designers that come to mind — and boast great reviews, as mentioned earlier — are Coralie Beatrix, DCDress, The Dainty Yard, and Renz, I Do Crew Design, and AtomAttire, just to name a few.
I love the infinity dresses at Coralie Beatrix, as they’re always stunning when we see them in Real Weddings. The “Octopus” infinity dress is their signature design and it is amazing. Here’s an example:
See what I mean? Stunning!
• BHLDN – Anthropologie’s wedding store, BHLDN, offers some incredible bridesmaid dresses. (Remember that time I wore this dress to a wedding?!) They always look like a fun dress to wear and, despite what I said earlier, bridesmaids may actually wear them again! The pricing is a bit higher than other stores, but it really depends on the dress and style you’re going for. Browse their latest bridesmaid dresses here. OH! And you can totally buy guest dresses and use them as bridesmaid dresses — I won’t tell! No one will know the difference.
• ModCloth – Did you know ModCloth sells fun everyday clothing AND bridesmaid dresses AND guest dresses AND even wedding dresses? I didn’t know, either! Plus, we love their extensive sizing collection with plenty of plus-size options and affordable pricing across the board! (Yay!) You can browse their bridesmaid dresses here.
• Amazon – Yes, you can buy bridesmaid dresses on Amazon! Yes, you can read reviews. Yes, you can receive a dress that looks nothing like the picture, or you may luck out and LOVE it. It’s anyone’s guess, but there are TONS of gorgeous styles available for you to try here. Read reviews. Make sure you get everyone’s order at once. And for the love of all things mighty, be sure to read the size charts! They tend to be a little ridiculous sometimes. :) If it helps, I’ve read good things about MIUSOL, KOH KOH, and Ever Pretty, and you can get actually buy some David’s Bridal dresses on their marketplace, too.
Here’s an example of a maxi dress by KOHKOH:
Bridesmaid Dress Tips, #7. DO take measurements before buying bridesmaid dresses online.
Proper sizing is the big difference between a dress that works and a dress that gets returned, especially when buying online. You can take proper measurements of your bust, waist, hips, height, etc. by using this helpful guide. This way, you can be sure the size you’re ordering will fit you like a glove. And you can always get a few alterations, if needed, but it will be as close to perfect as possible.
And if you are taking measurements at home, make sure you have a trusty one of these. I swear by mine, especially when ordering any clothing online!
And there you have it: the best tips for buying bridesmaid dresses! What do you think? What would you add to our list?
What’s the WORST bridesmaid dress you’ve ever worn, or the BEST one? Tell us in the comment box below! :)
Happy Planning + Bridesmaid Dress Shopping!
P.S. Here are affordable dresses you’ll love!