Bridesmaid Dress Shopping 101: 6 Tips for Bridesmaids to Follow while Shopping for their Dress

Congratulations! You were asked to be a bridesmaid! Being a bridesmaid is so much fun, from bridal showers and bachelorette parties to standing next to your friend on her wedding day. It also means you get to wear a beautiful new dress. So, whether you’re excited to be a part of your friends special day or dreading having to spend money on a dress and accessories you’ll wear for one day, we have come up with some tips for you to follow when shopping for your bridesmaid dress.

1. Remember it’s Her Special Day

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Whether it’s the style, color, or fabric of the dress you’re not that into, try to keep an open mind and give it a try. You never know, it may look great on you! If you do try it on and it’s still not working out, hopefully, the bride will realize that it may not be the best choice. If she doesn’t, try not to get defensive and keep the strong feelings to yourself. Explain what you love about the dress first and then ease into what may be bothering you or find a way to improve what you may not be comfortable with. For example, if you feel that the dress is too revealing, try to suggest an alteration that may help cover up some skin or if you don’t like the color, suggest a different shade.

2. Have the Bride Set Some Guidelines

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If the bride is letting you browse around to help her get some inspiration or letting you pick the dress you like, ask her to set some guidelines to follow. Is she looking for a specific silhouette? Does she want floor-length or a mini dress? Is there a specific color palette she wants you to stick to? Does she want everyone in a certain fabric? If she’s just looking for some ideas, go ahead and look at a silhouette she may not have thought of or a dress in some complementary colors. If she’s letting you choose your dress in a certain color or shades of a color, try and get more detailed guidelines to follow.

3. Know That Your Dress Most Likely Will Need to be Altered

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Sizing for bridesmaids dresses run smaller than standard clothing sizes. Sizing is based on 3 measurements: bust, waist, and hips. Designer bridesmaid dresses are also not custom made to your exact measurements, so due to varying body shapes, a perfect fit before alterations is rare. If your measurements fall between 2 sizes, we would recommend the larger size because a dress fitting too big is preferred over a dress that is too small, as it is much easier to take in a dress than to take it out.

4. Don’t Beat Around the Bush When it Comes to Money

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Being a bridesmaid isn’t the most affordable bridal job to have. Bridesmaid dresses can cost over $200 each and alterations are usually not included in the cost of your dress. If you have any financial difficulties you might come across with your dress or any added accessories, make sure you let the bride know and the sooner the better. You may be able to find the same dress on a resale site, but make sure you place an order in time to receive it by the wedding date.

5. Know Your Time Frame

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Not only do you need to know the date of the wedding, you need to know the date you need to have your dress ordered by in order to have it in time for the special day. Bridesmaid dress orders typically take 3 to 4 months to deliver from the time that the order is placed. We suggest having it delivered at least 4 to 6 weeks before the wedding so if you do need any alterations, they can be done before the wedding day. Bridesmaid dresses are also all made to order. Bridesmaid dress designers don’t make thousands of dresses in all the different colors and sizes. If all the bridesmaids are ordering the same style dress in the same color, we also suggest that you place one order for all the dresses. This way you can avoid having any color variances between dresses since they will all be cut from the same section of fabric.

6. Know What to Bring With You

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If you know that you are going bridesmaid shopping, remember to take a nude colored strapless bra with you. You can also choose to bring a regular, push up, or both depending on the dress styles you’ll be looking at. Also, try to wear a pair of nude or light colored underwear so if you try on dresses in lighter colors no one will be distracted by any underwear showing through. If you have already ordered your dress and are going to a fitting, remember to bring the shoes you’re wearing to the wedding so if you need a hem done, you can do it to the correct length with your heels on. You can also bring any accessories you’ll be wearing so you can try on everything together and get a taste of what your wedding day outfit will look like.


We hope you found our tips and tricks helpful. Please like our post and comment any tips you may have for bridesmaids shopping for dresses!

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