It is easy to assume that you need to spend a fortune on your dresses or have them made to order but I can tell you that is definitely not the case. Also, and I realise that I might offend a few people by saying this but your bridesmaids are probably never going to wear their dresses again. So it does not make sense to break the bank on this one. And no, it’s not about whether they are pretty or not, it is more about the fact that most of us don’t have formal events to attend every other weekend.
When I first got engaged, I assumed I would have all my bridesmaids dresses made, by a South African dressmaker even though half my bridal party live in the UK. Guys, they didn’t argue with me when I told them this – saints I tell you! I was charging into this mission, full steam ahead, looking for dress inspiration when I discovered that you can buy bridesmaids dresses on Amazon. I was a little sceptical at first but I read basically every single review of the dress I had earmarked for my Maid of Honour and based on the price, I thought it would be silly not to at least give it a try!
My future sister-in-law and I found a dress we liked for her from another seller on Amazon and ordered her’s first and it was a disaster! To be honest, we didn’t do our research properly and after it arrived I realised that there were no reviews on the dress. Lesson Learned! After this, I decided to stick with the one seller I found who had a huge range of dress styles, colours and most importantly – reviews. So again, we ordered her dress first. This time it was a success! After this, I ordered all of my other bridesmaids’ dresses. I had to exchange my Maid of Honour’s dress because of a size chart misunderstanding but all in all, we have had no problems with the dresses. Each bridesmaid did have to do some minor alterations but mainly for length.
My best friend had much the same experience ordering dresses off of Asos for her bridesmaids with little issue too. The point of my story is, you don’t need to look for or buy your bridesmaids dresses in obvious places and you will likely save some serious money looking elsewhere. The biggest thing that I have learned about weddings is that wedding tax is a real thing (unfortunately). Any shop or service specifically marketed at brides and weddings will charge you a lot more for something you can essentially buy in a normal shop.
I realise that many of you will be thinking, “really – you want me to buy bridesmaids dresses off of Amazon?”. Well no, you should only buy your wedding paraphernalia from a shop that you are comfortable with but I am suggesting that you consider it. I am very happy with the dresses I found oon Amazon and I think my bridesmaids are too (if they are not, they are doing an excellent job at hiding it from me!). However; it would be remiss of me to encourage you all to jump in and buy your dresses online without some advice I learned along the way:
Read the size chart!:
As previously mentioned, we had a hiccup with my sisters’ dress. The size chart itself had US and UK measurements and she worked her US size out, which I then ordered in the UK. Big mistake! If at any point you are confused, double check and if it still does not make sense, contact the seller for clarity. If they do not respond, do not use them! If they can’t respond to you before you have made a purchase, a potential customer, they are certainly not going to respond to you if you have a problem post-purchase.
Read as many reviews as you can:
We made this mistake once, learn from us! We returned the dress so it was not a big deal but it could have been. If you love a dress and there are no reviews yet, make sure there are free returns. However; I wouldn’t recommend buying a dress without reviews. I know that someone has to be the first but it doesn’t have to be you when you are purchasing something for your wedding.
I repeat, free returns. Don’t even waste your time otherwise.
Seek out established brands:
After my first dress disaster, I decided to stick with one brand (called Ever Pretty) selling on Amazon as they seemed to have the largest stock and a huge customer base. I also Googled them and discovered they had a separate online store and did not solely rely on Amazon. They were also affiliated with Amazon Prime. My best friend used Asos, which is a massive international online store. The fact that they are established gives you confidence that they must be doing something right and also that they will respond if you end up with a problem.
Consider alteration costs:
I will admit, we got lucky in this respect as most of us could have alterations done in South Africa, where the cost is significantly less than in England. If you will have to have a lot of alterations, consider returning the dress for a different size – especially if it is free. The cost of alterations can add up and quickly end up costing more than the dress itself.
And that is it! I hope that I have given you something to think about or perhaps convinced you to give the more non-conventional and (hopefully) slightly cheaper sellers a go. After I purchased my dresses, I happened upon this BuzzFeed list that explores more than just the one seller I used.
I promise to update this post with pictures of my beautiful bridesmaids in their dresses after my wedding. In the meantime, if you purchased bridesmaids dress online for relatively cheap, let me know in the comments!