saving money on bridesmaid dressLooking for bridesmaid dresses was one of the more challenging tasks of planning my wedding. How to find a budget bridesmaid dress that looks classy, and ways to save money if you have a specific bridesmaid dress to buy.

Bridesmaid dress savings checklist

All my bridesmaids live out of town and I wanted a dress that would fit everyone’s body style. I had to accomplish that without ever seeing the dress on them prior to my wedding day. I wanted a light dress because the wedding was on the beach in August and one friend was 9 months pregnant. I also wanted something reasonably priced because as much as we all think we’ll re-wear a bridesmaid dress, it rarely happens.

I started my search online, but that turned out to be a futile task because the majority of the dresses I liked were not in the store. I tried several stores looking for the dress I wanted, but I never found it other than on the Internet. Save yourself some time, and visit a few retail stores rather than online stores.

1. Shop for bridesmaid dress in department stores

Department stores offer value. The dresses may not be as fancy as a bridal store, but you won’t break the bank. Plus, department stores get formal gowns and dresses in the spring for prom and in the winter for formals.

Some retailers even have wedding lines. The choices are limited, but that’s something else to explore.

2. Forget maternity dresses

If you have a pregnant woman in your bridal party, you don’t necessarily need a maternity line of dresses. By the way, there are very few. My friend just ordered a size she knew would fit with her belly, and I made sure I picked out a dress that would give her room in the belly for her cute baby bump. Just talk to your friend who is pregnant and find out what type of dress will feel most comfortable. If you pick a flattering style for a belly, you don’t have to limit yourself to the few companies that have maternity size.

3. Choose one bridesmaid to try on the dress

Whether it’s color or fit that you are worried about, choose one bridesmaid to try on the dress.

I had a big problem finding just the right color. I knew I wanted something bright and in the fuchsia/bright pink shade. The colors I liked were not in the store, so I often had to rely on a swatch. The swatches are so small and so difficult to tell the true color.  In this case, it helped to have bridesmaids all across the country because one of my brides was able to try on the dress in one of the targeted colors.

After many stressful weeks, I finally decided on a color and dress style. I was so nervous because a cell phone photos was the closest I got to seeing the dress in the right color and on one of my bridesmaids. I was very relieved when I finally saw the dresses in person.

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4. Look for online discount store

Once you decide on your dress, look for ways to cut the cost. If you know a good seamstress, you might consider ordering it online. There are many discount sites that sell some of the styles online. Get measured in store, and then order online. Just choose a reliable retailer. Check reviews before ordering because this can be risky if you don’t know anything about the company.

5. Ask the bridal store for an online discount

Sometimes the bridal store will sell the dress at a discount online. With this, you have to find your own seamstress.

My friend ordered hers from R.K. Bridal in New York City, and then ordered it for a cheaper price from their website. She paid $20 for shipping, but she still saved money off the store retail price.