Soon after establishing major details, many brides turn to one of the most personal of wedding planning choices: what to wear. In interviews I conducted for an upcoming wedding planning book, brides shared thoughts on choosing attire.
Budget and Timing
Most bridal shops recommend ordering the dress at least six months ahead of time. If possible, try to shop during the annual sales when stores clear the way for new merchandise. While the range might be more limited, you can save substantially.
Since bridesmaids are typically expected to pay for their own dresses, most brides allow them input. While you might have definite idea ahead of time, be flexible. Be willing to consider, for example, adding a bolero jacket if your bridesmaids feel too exposed in a sleeveless top.
Shopping in regular department stores can also represent big savings. One bride allowed her bridesmaids to choose any semi-formal tea-length dresses, as long as they were the colors of fall leaves. They went perfectly with her cream-colored muslin dress. A male cousin who represented her on the bride’s side wore a three-piece suit.
My sister saved money by wearing a white bridesmaid’s dress. She told me, “Any dress, basically, can look like a wedding dress, if it’s in pure white.” She searched online for designers that offered white bridesmaid dresses, then located the local stores that sold them.
Other brides have found eBay to offer great deals, with one friend buying two dresses — one for the ceremony and one for the reception — and spending less than for one dress in a bridal shop.
Another bride had her mom make dresses for her and the bridesmaids. For about the same price as renting a tux, her groom bought a dark suit he’s since worn to other events.
Some brides thought outside of the box.
One bride, a seamstress, made her wedding party’s clothes. Since their wedding had a “Babylon 5” theme, she sewed herself a dress based on Embari clothing: flowing with long triangular sleeves. Her groom and the bridal party — men and women — wore the dress uniform, with suits based on a McCall’s pattern.
Another bride took inspiration from a TV show, having a seamstress alter her dress so that it had a removable skirt. She then played a practical joke on her groom, pretending to step on the skirt and tear it off during their photos. He found it be the “funniest, sexiest thing ever,” she said.
Other wedding planning articles by Alyce:
Wedding Planning: Questions to Get You Started
Wedding Planning: What Should Your Planning Timeline Be?
Wedding Planning: Selecting a Theme