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How to Save on Bridesmaid Dresses

You don’t have to overspend to support the bride.

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You can probably find your bridesmaid dress at a discount.

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Last week we looked at a few different ways brides could save when purchasing a wedding dress, and this week I thought it was only fair to share a few ways to save on bridesmaid dresses, too. While some brides might claim that dresses can be worn again when justifying the cost of a bridesmaid dress, I am guessing that most women never actually wear their dresses again. Many dresses just have a “bridesmaid look” about them.

Nobody wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a dress she’ll only wear once – except for the bride, of course. To help bridesmaids save, here some places to shop for a dress for less:

1. Ebay:

I was in a wedding a few years ago where the bride wanted us all to wear brown dresses from J.Crew. While I knew the dress would be lovely, I was not looking forward to paying top dollar for my dress. Luckily, there is a healthy resale market on eBay for J.Crew bridesmaid dresses, so I was able to get my barely-used dress for about half-price.

I was in another wedding where we were asked to wear red dresses from David's Bridal. Since the bride's request was a little more specific, I purchased my dress from the store, and then listed the dress on eBay immediately after the wedding and was able to recoup 80 percent of my purchase price! Depending on your dress requirements, I highly recommend making eBay your number one destination for discounted bridesmaids dresses.

2. Dress rental companies:

While I did not recommend dress rental as a viable option for brides due to the personal nature and perfect fit required of a wedding dress, online dress rental companies can save bridesmaids quite a bit of money. There are quite a few companies specializing in bridesmaid dress rentals these days. With Rent the Runway, you actually rent your dress for the day and then send it back to the company after the event. The cost varies based on the designer of the dress, though most dresses on the site cost $150 or less. Rent the Runway recently introduced plus-size styles to its line-up, so now all bridesmaids can rent their dresses (including identical dresses) from this service.

Vow to be Chic specializes in bridesmaid dress rentals. Dress rentals start at $95. Approximately two months before the wedding, the company sends the dress desired in two sizes so that an at-home fitting can be done. After determining the size needed, the dresses get returned to Vow to be Chic and then they'll send it back one week before the wedding. All dresses from Vow to be Chic come dry-cleaned, and they will take care of dry cleaning post-wear as well, which is very convenient.

While Rent the Runway and Vow to be Chic are perfect for bridesmaids who get to choose their own style of dress, Little Borrowed Dress may be a better option if a bride desires a more uniform look. This company offers 18 dress colors to choose from as well as a selection of dress styles. Each dress costs between $50 to $75 to rent and dresses will be delivered a week before the wedding date.

3. Online stores:

Oftentimes brides will have to shop at a bridal salon, but that isn't true for bridesmaids. My recommendation if you are looking for a specific dress is to try it on at the store, and then search online for the exact dress for less. There are quite a few online bridal salons that often have sales or offer coupons. If you are looking for a J.Crew bridesmaid dress, wait for a J.Crew coupon to become available and then combine that coupon with a cash-back shopping site like Ebates.com for maximum savings. If you are absolutely not able to find the dress you want online for less, you can always return to the store later.

While serving as a bridesmaid in someone's wedding can be quite expensive, luckily there are now a few different ways to save on bridesmaid dresses. When planning to be in a wedding, every little bit of savings can help.