Bridesmaid dresses get a bad rap — and honestly, they can be both an honor and a curse. As wonderful as it is to share in a truly special day in a friend’s life, we have all heard — or worse, lived — the horror stories. Sometimes, showing love for the bride on her wedding day means putting a major dent in your bank account and donning a bridesmaid dress that you’d rather not be seen, let alone photographed in. Ah, the joys of friendship.
Attire is by no means the most important part of the bridal party's job, but it is definitely among the most visible ones. While it can be stressful to find the perfect wedding outfit, times are fortunately changing. Nowadays, the options for where to buy a bridesmaid dress are no longer limited to bridal shops, and you can avoid waiting months for your order to arrive; it is a whole new sartorial world – one where locking down a frock can be more fun than frustrating.
Purchasing a bridesmaid dress should be about getting a special outfit rather than an obligation. Having had both experiences, I’ll just say that it is a lot easier to spend the money when you’re actually excited about what you’re getting. It really helps if you take advantage of useful tips for picking bridesmaid dresses beforehand, and if you know where to shop.
Whether you are a bride looking to make your squad happy or a bridesmaid trying to find something you actually can re-wear, keep reading for the best stores to meet your dress needs. Between them, you’ll be able to find the perfect dress for anything from a casual shindig in a barn to a full-on black-tie affair. Make sure you bookmark this page so that you can refer to it later.
Generations of bridesmaids past probably wish they had an option like ASOS. The online shop sells all kinds of different dresses, including a significant selection for members of the wedding party. Best of all, there’s a wide range of prices, with many that are relatively affordable. The majority of the dresses available on the website at the time of this writing are priced at $150 or less, and many of those fall below the $100 mark.
The ASOS selection has an eclectic mix of styles, which is important considering how different brides’ visions can be. Some of the options have a very traditional bridesmaid vibe, while others will appeal to even the more adventurous. They also cater to a range of different body types; there are curve (aka plus size) options as well as tall, petite, and maternity sizes.
Another major selling point for ASOS is that the website is shopper-friendly. Not only can you narrow your search down to only see bridesmaid dresses, you can specify your preferred color, price range, style, length, and more. If you’re not into combing through racks, you’ll definitely appreciate ASOS’s online shopping experience.
The downside to buying online, of course, is that you can’t try on the dress before purchasing it. Fortunately, ASOS helps you out, and there are ways to get e-commerce right. The website offers free shipping and returns if you spend more than $49. That makes it possible to try on multiple options (as long as you don’t mind fronting the cash), and then you can return whatever doesn’t work out. Just make sure you remember to return your rejects in time. Buying one bridesmaid dress is a big enough expense – no one wants to get stuck with extras.
BHLDN is Anthropologie’s wedding brand, and it is equally unique and lovely. Interestingly (and also thankfully), it’s more affordable than you might expect. Often, anything wedding-related is marked up big time, but BHLDN’s most expensive bridesmaid dresses are actually not as pricey as the most costly dresses at Anthropologie. Who’d have thought, right?
The store has quite the assortment of options from brands like Jenny Yoo, Adrianna Papell, Monique Lhuillier, and more. As its website highlights, it sells “dresses of all lengths and colors, from soft blush hues that complement wedding dresses to deep navy [and] blue tones (and even ivory [and] neutrals)!” Plus, if there is a color you’ve got your heart set on that is not available, it’s possible to order custom dyed chiffon dresses.
On top of all that, BHLDN is great for in-store and online purchases alike. If you there’s a location near you and you want the full experience, you can schedule an appointment, check out their selection in-person, and see how everything fits. Alternately, you make use of the powers of the internet. BHLDN lets you check out the different options from the comfort of your own home, and it’s easy thanks to subcategories like “modern” and “bohemian,” among many others. You can also order swatches if you want a better sense of the color and fabric before committing to an actual purchase.
Just in case you’re not already sold, BHLDN even says that its dresses are “100 percent wear-again ready.” Sure, that is a bold promise, but if you take a look at the selection, you may just become a believer.
Given that there are hundreds of Nordstrom locations across the country, we can safely guess you have heard of the department store chain. What you might not know, though, is that it is an excellent option for bridesmaid dress shopping. Nordstrom has a large selection, especially online.
When it comes to finding the right wedding outfit at Nordstrom, it is really helpful to at least start online. There, you can wade through its literal hundreds of options. The department store is able to offer a lot of variety. This applies to sizes, styles, colors, designers, and many other qualities. Price, for example, varies widely. You can find dresses in the $50-$100 range as easily as the $300-$500.
As for how to wade through the many bridesmaid outfits, the website allows you to see them all, and then you can filter your search by color, size range, sleeve style, and a host of other characteristics. Once you have found some contenders, you can check if any of the gowns are available within 25 miles of your chosen zip code.
The fact that Nordstrom has brick and mortar stores can be very convenient. Even if you’re not able to try on the dress you want there, you can always order online and do your return in-store if it doesn’t work out. (And speaking of returns, Nordstrom has a wonderful return policy.) Plus, for shoppers in the LA area, there’s a “get it fast” option on some items. If you choose it, you can either pick up items the next day in a store, or you can get them delivered to you.
Billed as “an easier way to shop for bridesmaid dresses,” Kennedy Blue specializes in dresses for weddings. And not just any dresses — reasonably priced ones. Keeping dresses affordable is a major tenet of the brand. All of the ones sold by the retailer cost less than $179, so you’ll definitely want to check them out if you’re trying not to break the bank.
Now, one thing to keep in mind is that Kennedy Blue dresses are made-to-order. That means you should plan for up to 16 weeks of production time, plus up to seven business days of shipping. The benefit, though, is that you’ll likely pay less than you would elsewhere, and you can get the dress you want in any of a host of colors. There are some three dozen shades to choose from for many of the different styles. (While there are in-stock options, they are limited in terms of size and color offerings.)
Buying online can feel like something of a gamble, but Kennedy Blue offers swatches as well as a great try-at-home program. Not every dress is part of it, but you can look through the ones that are available, and then request to be sent dresses in the styles, colors, and sizes of your choosing. You do have to pay $10 per dress to take advantage of the three-day try-on window, but that includes shipping. Also, as the website puts it, “your living room becomes a bridal boutique,” and doesn’t that sound convenient? If you’re curious how it works, this review explains more.
As a final note, a lot of Kennedy Blue’s dresses have pockets, and that’s always a plus to me. I firmly believe that more dresses should have them.
Another great online shop when it comes to bridesmaid dresses is Lulu's. That is especially true if you’re on a budget. Lulu's has numerous dresses under $100, and they are just as pretty as the more expensive ones you might find elsewhere. The retailer’s website explains that the company “[invests] in superior construction and high-end finishes to make your Lulus purchase a true representation of affordable luxury.”
Another positive aspect of Lulu's is that its pieces work for very different vibes. You can be partaking in a low-key beach wedding or super formal nuptials, and you’re still bound to find something suitable to wear. Truly, whatever the bride has dreamed up, there is a good chance you’ll find it.
Like others on this list, Lulu's has a very searchable website. It is probably best to use it, in fact, or you might find yourself falling in love with gowns that you don’t even need for your friend’s wedding. The filters let you drill down by color, price, size, neckline, dress length, and sleeve length.
If you buy from Lulu's, you won’t pay for shipping if your order costs more than $50. For items that don’t work out, you can return them for free as long as you postmark them within 10 days of the delivery date. It is a pretty great system – you just have to make sure you stay on top of it. Of course, it’s not the end of the world if you miss the 10-day window; you have 30 days for returns, but you do have to pay for return shipping if it is between days 11 and 30.
The Dessy Group has bridesmaid dresses galore and it carries the labels Lela Rose Bridesmaid, Alfred Sung, Dessy Collection, and more. With it being devoted specifically to wedding and special occasion attire, there are not only tons of gowns to choose from, they come in dozens of colors. Whichever shade your bride has selected, the retailer almost definitely has it.
The website is another that is highly searchable. If you have a clear idea of what you want in a dress, its filters make finding it simple. There are the usual ones, including color, length, and size, and then there are even more specific filters, such as fabric, details, and even back style. Given the number of shades and styles, it’s a great shopping destination for bridal party’s that are looking for different dresses in the same color.
The Dessy Group’s gowns are available in numerous sizes, from 00 to 30W. You can also choose to get extra length if you need it. If you do place a special order, you’ll have to account for an extra nine to 10 weeks for production. Also, keep in mind that such purchases are final sale. Otherwise, in-stock dresses are another option. They go out in about three business days and can be returned with 30 days of the order date. For anyone in a time crunch, The Dessy Group may be possible to provide a rush order.
While there are stores that sell cheaper dresses than The Dessy Group, the prices are by no means unreasonable. There are numerous dresses priced between $100 and $150, and few cost more than $300. Additionally, there’s a sale section that’s worth checking out, whether or not you’re on a budget.
ModCloth does not have as extensive a selection as some of the options on this list, but those that it does have tend to be very affordable (not to mention adorable). If you are looking for staple or on-trend colors, it is a good option. Those aren’t your only choices, though; there are plenty of prints, too, which are not always easy to find in today’s world of mostly solid bridesmaid dresses.
For a better sense of what the brand offers, it describes its fashion as “inspired by vintage style and informed by today’s sensibilities.” That translates into very unique and beautiful dresses. That said, the color selection isn’t extensive for every dress, so if your bride has an unusual color scheme, you may be out of luck. However, if you need a more common color, you should do well here, especially if you want a full-length or knee-length dress. The retailer has both of the latter options in abundance.
ModCloth is also great when it comes to its size selection. Most of its dress styles come in sizes ranging from XXS to 4X, or 0 to 26. The website also has a plus-size bridesmaid dress section, making it even easier to find the right dress, no matter your size.
There are some FitShops where you can try on ModCloth’s dresses, but they are located in a limited number of cities. The good news, however, is that you can get free shipping on orders of at least $75 and returns are free as well. Plus, if you miss the 30-day return window, you can still do an exchange within 90 days of your original order date.
With more than 1,000 stores across the United States, TJ Maxx may be a convenient option for you. The selection can vary pretty widely per store, but there are even more online. While only a portion of those are tagged specifically as bridesmaid dresses, there are others that will still work for the important occasion. Shopping via the website is a great alternative if combing through TJ Maxx’s racks overwhelms you. (And let’s be honest: It can be a lot.)
TJ Maxx is known for selling brand name and designer items at more wallet-friendly prices, so you can expect the same from its dresses. As such, prices range from very low to very high. While some sell for less than $20, others go for upward of $1,000. Fortunately, searching their website makes it easier to stick within your budget and find true contenders, not to mention score some awesome deals.
As with the other brick and mortar stores on this list, part of the beauty of buying from TJ Maxx is that you can shop online with the option to return in-store. You can also browse the other way around, if that works better for you. You could, for example, find a brand you like in a TJ Maxx store, and then check out the company’s website to see what else is available from the brand.
For online orders, standard shipping takes five to 10 business days, and TJ Maxx accepts returns within 40 days of your order date. You can bring items to a store near you, or mail them back, provided they’re eligible for return.
Amazon has a lot of options for every product, and bridesmaid dresses are no exception. There are literally thousands to choose from. It is frankly a little daunting how many options there are, but fortunately, if you have at least a color or length in mind, you can narrow down the options substantially. In this case especially, filters are your friend and thankfully Amazon has many.
For all that the scale of the online giant might be overwhelming, there are benefits to shopping there, not least of which is price. It’s possible to find attire that is much less expensive than what you’d find elsewhere. Additionally, many vendors offer a wide range of sizes, including for petite and plus size builds.
Another plus to Amazon is that you can read a lot of reviews. If you have never bought from a particular brand before, you might be a little worried about what to expect. However, you can make a more informed decision with the help of hundreds — and even thousands — of past buyers and their opinions.
Being an Amazon Prime member makes the shopping experience even more convenient. Some dresses qualify for free one-day shipping, for example. There is also a program called Prime Wardrobe in which you can try before you buy. Not every item is eligible, but for those that are, you can choose between three and eight items, have them delivered to you at home, and then you have seven days to choose which to keep. Any you decide to return can be shipped back for free, and then you are only billed for what you keep.
Dress designers have been working to make plus-size options better for brides, and the choices are improving for bridesmaids, too. The online retailer ELOQUII focuses specifically on women’s plus-size fashion. As its website points out, “fashion doesn’t stop at size 12,” in spite of what some other brands seem to think. To that end, it carries clothing in sizes 14 to 28, including a number of dresses.
ELOQUII does not currently have a bridesmaid category, but its party and occasion dresses encompass wedding party attire. There is a vast selection, and it features a range of styles, colors, and prices. Fittingly, you can search by those subcategories, too. Being able to find what you need is important, and ELOQUII facilitate the process.
One aspect that deserves to be highlighted is the affordability of the retailer’s dresses. The majority of them cost less than $150, and dozens are priced under $100. Regardless of price, they are stylish and worthy of wearing to an upcoming event.
Another cool thing about ELOQUII is that the company takes your feedback into account. It describes itself as “fit-obsessed” and explains that there is a team that works to get it right. “After our clothes hit our site and stores, we read your reviews and keep working towards the best fit,” the website says.
ELOQUII does have locations in a limited number of cities, so you can physically visit a store and try items on, but the retailer makes shopping online easy. Standard shipping is a flat $7.50 for orders up to $125, and then it is free for anything that costs more than that. Orders arrive in five to eight business days. Shipping on exchanges is free, but you will have to pay $7 for any returns.
Macy’s has a huge number of dresses, and while they are not all specifically meant for bridesmaids, many of them will work for your trip down the aisle — and look fantastic during it. There are more than 800 Macy’s stores across the United States, so again, you can opt for making a purchase in-person or online. As with the other brick and mortars on this list, the store’s website has a larger selection, so it is definitely worth taking a look.
Macy’s caters to shoppers with different budgets, and as a result, its inventory has quite varied price points. For every high-end designer item you see, you can expect to find affordable alternatives as well. Whether you plan to spend a lot or a little, though, the store tends to have coupons and offers for its cardholders; if you are one, you may be able to get additional discounts.
Like the others mentioned above, Macy’s has a user-friendly website. There are useful filters to help you close in on the ideal dress. On top of that, you will find a wide range of sizes, as they go from XS to XXL and 0 to 20.
Another easy part of shopping online with Macy’s is the option to order online and pick up in-store. Alternately, the store offers quick shipping. Items typically arrive within three to six business days, and there is no cost if your purchase is more than $99. The store also has a great return policy. You can return your purchase within 180 days, either in-store or by mail, so you can take your time making up your mind.
Once just a shoe retailer, Zappos has grown and now sells clothing as well. As part of that, the online store has a noteworthy dress selection. While it doesn’t allow you to filter specifically for bridesmaid dresses, you can find the potential contenders by going to the wedding category and then drilling down to women’s dresses.
Just like the other stores mentioned here, Zappos has a lot of very pretty dresses. They range from casual to fancy, and their price tags vary accordingly. Luckily, price is one of the filters, alongside options like brand, dress type, theme, and more.
Zappos does offer some specialty sizes, including plus, petite, maternity, juniors, and misses. Additionally, sizes range from XXS to 4XL, and from 00 to 24. That said, not every dress is available in every size, but there are a lot of options.
One of Zappos’ big selling points is that the company prioritizes convenience. You get free shipping both ways, and stores with free shipping always get bonus points. It’s nice not to have the added expense, and to know that you can change your mind without a cost. As another plus, you have 365 days to return items you ultimately don’t want, and shipping takes only four or five business days.
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