Inexpensive Options: Bridesmaid’s Edition

One of the oldest wedding jokes is how traditionally awful the bridesmaid's dresses are. Sitcoms have based entire episodes around it (remember Rachel's awful Bo-Beep get-up for ex-Barry's wedding to Mindy?) and Glamour has even had a contest about it for their Do's and Don'ts page.

Here's the deal, Brides.

1. Take into account your wedding party's coloring, sizes, and shapes. Is one girl a blonde Glamzon and another an Italian curvy queen? The same exact dress will not (no, trust me, it will not) work on both ladies.

2. Think about the season and where your ceremony and reception will be taking place. A cotton minidress may look cute for your ultramod wedding but not so much if it's held at an open air venue in November and your 'maids are a-shiverin'.

3. Be honest about how much your wedding party can spend on a dress. Yes, you may have found the perfect option (great color, beautiful fabric, looks good on everyone) at Vera Wang but, honestly, very few people can afford the fee (or want to).

4. Don't fool yourself. The dress will never get worn again. Really.

So, how does a bride deal with the above in the classiest way and still achieve the look she's hoping for?

1. Pick a choice of colors and cuts. Stick to 3 of each and work with the group to make sure you get a pleasing finished look. Every party has that one girl who looks great in anything so I'd concentrate on clothing the "harder" bodies (i.e. pregnant, very tall, curvy, etc) first. Just a note, pencil or A-line skirts look great on everyone, as do wrap dresses and tailored shirtdresses.

2. It's important to match your attire to the season and it will make budget dress hunting easier for you and your 'maids. Still dying for a minidress in November? Pick one in a heavy material (wool blend, sweater-y, etc) and pair it with knee-height boots and tights. And possibly a shawl or wrap.

3. Budget. Just because you've alloted $100 per bridesmaid outfit for your ladies does not mean that they can swing those funds. Have an honest conversation with each lady individually about how much you were thinking of as an outfit budget and what types of clothing you are considering. Someone might have a part of the outfit (i.e. knee-high boots, a cashmere wrap, etc) already in their closet. Someone else moght be able to do a little browsing and find budget options below your original estimate. But sometimes, someone simply cannot afford to be in your wedding. And that's okay.

4. Seriously, never again. Stop dreamin'.

I decided to browse around and find pretty and seasonally appropriate (in this case – reds and pinks) bridesmaid outfits (top to bottom) for under $100. Here's what I came up with:

Option #1 (Total Cost of Outfit – $100.96):

A classic bridesmaid color in a classic bridemaid's shape. Uber flattering and incredibly comfy (I own 2!).

Target Hypatia Jewel T-Strap Platform Sandals in Black – $13.99

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Photo Courtesy of: Target

These slightly strappy heels are a nice compliment to the subtle sexiness in the dress. A little cleavage and a little toe…nice.
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Photo Courtesy of: Sephora
A tiny clutch (actually a chic make-up bag) that is a great option for the 'maids. It's cute a shiny but the small wrist strap allows your attendant to, well, attend to things and not lose track of her personal items.
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Photo Courtesy of: Old Navy
**Paired With**
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Photo Courtesy of: Old Navy
Diamond sets are a timeless look – and so are carefully done cubic zirconia sets. The trick is to stick to small studs and simple pendent style necklaces.
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Photo Courtesy of: Target
This last purchase will put you over your budget by a buck but it is a sweet little detail – either tied around the waist as a sash or worn in the hair as a headband.
Option #2 (Total Cost of Outfit – $86.98):

Target Limited Edition Cowl Neck Dress in Scarlet – $34.99
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Photo Courtesy of: Target

Nice and demure. This is a perfect dress for many body types and great for a wedding in a church (or for more conservative people).

Payless Kassie Pointed Toe T-Strap in Black – $22.99

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Photo Courtesy of: Payless

Let your bridesmaids add a little bit of sex with this patent leather, T-strap pump!

Target Frame Clutch in Black – $14.99

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Photo Courtesy of: Target

Follow the lead of the slightly sexy shoes above and pair them with a slighty sexy satiny clutch!

Old Navy Faux-Pearl Choker – $9.50

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Photo Courtesy of: Old Navy

**Paired With**

Old Navy Faux-Pearl Stud Earrings – $7.50

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Photo Courtesy of: Old Navy

A classic pairing (and so inexpensive that you could gift these to your wedding party as a special thank you!).

Option #3 (Total Cost of Outfit – $95.56):

Target Strapless Ruffle Front Dress in Deep Love – $39.99

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Photo Courtesy of: Target

Short and sexy – this dress is for the more modern and playful bridal party! Love the frothy layers and the incredible color (please note: this dress is NOT for busty 'maids!).

Payless Karols Dress Sandal in Gold – $14.99

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Photo Courtesy of: Payless

This type of dress begs for a sexy little heel. But the key word is LITTLE! anymore than a couple of inches can quickly change sexy into skanky and it's a fine, fine line…).

Target Cinched Clutch in Black/Gold – $13.59

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Photo Courtesy of: Target

Just little cutesy can go a long, long way. This "almost a bow" clutch is really roomy (for tissues, make-up, and schtuff) but the light gold band (which totally coordinates with the above strappy shoes) holds it's shape well.

Target Hoop Goldtone Earrings & Wire Necklace Set – $10.49

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Photo Courtesy of: Target

I love the idea of setting of the super cuteness of this outfit by pairing it with this chunky (but delicate) necklace and earring set.

J Crew Flower Headband in Fuschia – $16.50

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Photo Courtesy of: J Crew

Whee! Sorry, had to add this awesome little headband – a floofy topper for a great floofy outfit!