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Affordable Bridesmaid Dresses: Keep Your Wedding Chic & Cheap

You’ve said “yes” to the adorable “Will you be my bridesmaid?” gift from the bride, planning has begun, and the shower and bachelorette party ideas are all you can think about.

But…now you’re getting just a little queasy as you realize your loving commitment to support your friend’s wedding is also a commitment to picking a look together … and then paying for it.

Never fear! Beautiful designs don’t need to be expensive – and affordable bridesmaid dresses don’t need to be low-quality. I’ll prove it!

To start, I’ve picked out four awesome designs – two long, two short – that anyone looking for cheap and chic styles simply has to check out.

Next, I’ll dive into tips for the budget-conscious girl who already has the dress and wants those extra costs to be as low as possible.

 4 Affordable Bridesmaid Dresses to Shop First:

How did these four inexpensive designs make our cut? First, each dress is under $175. Second, each meets a standard for quality that means it won’t look or feel cheap despite the lower price tag. And third, each can be worn again – preventing you from having to spend more money later.

Of course, designs under $150 are great, and gowns under $100 are better, but laying out double digits can still be hardship. (There’s always that one college friend who graduates and gets married while everyone else is still buying their last round of textbooks ... in fact, I think I was that friend. Sorry, ladies.)

Never fear; we’ve got more tips for reducing the whole look’s impact on your pocket book!

Now, on to my budget-friendly finds!

Alfred Angelo 7172—$99

A bridesmaid dress under $100?! Yes, you read that right.

Alfred Angelo 7172 is a lightweight, chiffon look with flirty appeal. The sweetheart neckline is feminine and on-tend, while the halter straps will keep the girls supported all night. The band which cuts at the natural waist highlights that gorgeous figure of yours, and the pleating will camouflage any sensitive areas.

This design comes in a wide variety of colors, so you’ll be able to fit it into any big day. Go with this gown, and I guarantee you’ll have happy, confident ‘maids!

Alfred Angelo 7172 Kennedy Blue Harper

Gather and Gown Dallas—$145

Oh, the versatility of this inexpensive bridesmaid dress! The brief and flirty slip silhouette (complete with flattering front pleats) can go anywhere. Pair it with contrast tights and it’s a lot more casual, or add diamonds and a delicate stole and it can be worn for black-tie cocktails – and with those spaghetti straps, adding or removing a jacket or coat takes it from one season to the next.

Plus, since it’s not very tailored (and the loose chiffon pleats make for a forgiving fit), there’s less likely to be any outlay for alterations. There’s no point choosing affordable bridesmaid dresses and then discovering the seamstress’ bill – but Dallas is much less likely to give you unpleasant surprises.

If you want a waistline when you re-wear it, just cinch the chiffon with a cute belt at the natural waist, or below your bustline for an empire silhouette. (Careful with the bouquet toss, though: it’s quite short.)

Gather and Gown Dallas Gather and Gown Dallas back

Bari Jay 1471—$170.00

Long doesn’t always mean expensive! Suitable for your evening wedding, but lovely and modern, Bari Jay 1471 has clean lines and sweeping pleats, plus a high neckline that makes necklaces unnecessary … it frames the face just fine on its own! The long skirt allows for footwear freedom, too – no one will notice if the ‘maids are mismatched under their hems by the time they get to the front of the chapel.

Like the first inexpensive bridesmaid look, this one is chiffon – often considered the best fabric for indoor-outdoor wear because it’s so light and floaty, with a muted sheen that feels romantic and flatters the glow of skin in the sunlight. Even if you’ll be at an indoor wedding, this glamorous gown is easier to wear again because its fabric goes from day to night and from the park venue to the ballroom to the fundraising dinner.

Bari jay 1471 Bari Jay 1471 back

Mori Lee 31033—$150

Who said lace was out of the question? Mori Lee 31033 is a gorgeous little cocktail sheath with a keyhole back and a bit of sheer lace for elegance, but it covers enough that it won’t scandalize anyone’s dear old aunty. The wide tank straps mean it’s easier to shop for a bra that you can actually wear for the whole night, and the slight scallop around the bateau neckline is so sultry and gracefully designed.

This fabulous and affordable bridesmaid dress makes a great compromise between texture and sheen, too, since it has a full lace overlay but the waist sash is lovely, gleaming satin – a contrast which actually makes this little number look more expensive.

And trust me, you’ll turn heads at a post-wedding dinner with this dress – just pop on a coordinating blazer to hide the open back if you want a more sensible, professional take.

Mori Lee 31033 Mori Lee 31033 back

 5 Tips to Help Bridesmaids Save Even More:

Of course, designs under $150 are great, and dresses under $100 are better, but laying out double digits can still be hardship. (There’s always that one college friend who graduates and gets married while everyone else is still buying their last round of textbooks ... in fact, I think I was that friend. Sorry, ladies.)

Never fear; we’ve got more tips for reducing bridesmaid costs!

1. Keep alteration costs low.

While alterations will almost always be necessary, there are silhouettes you can pick that will keep costs low.

  • A-lines are universally flattering and allow for less alterations on the bottom half.
  • Adjustable straps will help out on top!
  • Two-piece bridesmaid dresses allow your ‘maids to choose the right sizes for their unique figure.
  • Pleating gives you wiggle room in those problem areas
  • Convertible gowns, like Dessy MJ-Twist2, allows your friends to create their own, flattering look!

Dessy MJ-TWIST2 Gather and Gown Perry

2. Plan to re-wear for another occasion. You might be paying $180 for your gown, but if you can wear it to two more weddings in two years, that’s $40 per formal outfit. Still steep, but not so bad!

If you’re absolutely confident you won’t wear the color again, you can still find space to save by picking accessories you’ll re-wear to make up the rest of your outfit. If you can rock nice, neutral shoes without sticking out from the lineup – or choose a neckline that shows off an heirloom piece of Grandma’s without spending a cent – you’ll make up some of the ground you may have lost on a one-time dress.

3. Concentrate the glam in your hairstyle, instead of in jewelry. A little time and some DIY embellished braid ideas from Pinterest might make a lot more impact than another fifty bucks’ worth of frosting.

If your bride is paying for someone to do your hair and makeup, ask if you can do inexpensive hair pretties and queenly updos instead of statement necklaces. If not … just make sure you practice before you break out the curling iron on the big day.

4. Let the dress be the sparkle. Shimmery, shining, or textured fabric also takes away the need for accessories – as does a high or complex neckline, or a pretty sleeve. If you need a detailed look, plan on putting more work into searching out an affordable bridesmaid dress with interesting details than you’ll be putting money into accents.

Angelina Faccenda 20477 Kennedy Blue Jodie

5. It’s okay to go long. It’s counter-intuitive – after all, many brides choose short bridesmaid dresses precisely because their attendants can rock the frock again without any alterations – but a long gown means plainer shoes look just fine! Perhaps a pair they already own. That’s $50+ bucks back in their pockets.

Do you have more tips to save or a few favorite affordable bridesmaid dresses? Share your thrifty magic in the comment section!

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