The average bridesmaid dress in the United States costs $150 before alterations. Since I just dropped $300 on a bridesmaid dress for a December wedding I was in, I know prices can vary. In addition to dresses, bridesmaids are often expected to chip in for a couple of parties for the bride as well – so it’s definitely considerate of the bride to consider the total cost associated with being a bridesmaid, and to find bridesmaids dresses that are both beautiful and affordable for her wedding party.
Contrary to popular belief, there are many ways to find a bridesmaid’s dress that costs 50% or less of the national average. You just have to know where to look, and think outside the box. Here are some suggestions:
Tips for Finding an Affordable Bridesmaid Dress
1. Look outside of the ‘bridesmaid’ label.
The first thing many brides do is go right to Google and type in “bridesmaid dress.” However, if you know the color you’re looking for, you can have your bridesmaids purchase a cocktail dress from any retailer, including big-box stores like Target or even department stores. If your bridesmaids are local, you can scope out different options at the mall.
It doesn’t need the “bridesmaid” label to look great in your wedding. And unlike a glossy, satiny bridesmaid’s dress, they’ll actually be able to wear it again in the future.
2. Ask your bridesmaids about their budget.
I’ve never seen a bride ask a bridesmaid whether she was comfortable spending a particular amount, but it would be thoughtful to do so. Let’s hope your bridesmaids accepted the job knowing there would be expenses — but if you know their budget is $100, for example, and not $200, you can at least keep that in mind when choosing a bridesmaid dress.
3. Look off the rack.
Just as you can save money on your wedding dress by buying off the rack, you can do the same with a bridesmaid dress. If you know the style and type of dress your bride wants you to get, call around to various stores to see if any of them have it. Offer to buy it in cash right then and there and you’d be surprised how willing they might be to work with you.
If the dress doesn’t fit perfectly, try to calculate how much it will cost to have it altered and then decide whether the cost savings are worth it.
If you need help finding the perfect bridesmaid dress for your wedding, or aren’t sure if dresses $75 and below are viable, look no further than the gorgeous (and affordable) selection of dresses we’ve curated below.
Affordable Bridesmaid Dresses
All the bridesmaid options below come highly rated by customers and are sold through reputable companies. We know how important it is to get all the details right on your special day, so rest assured others have ordered the dresses below and been satisfied. The best part is that every dress listed here is priced at or below $75, a full 50% less than the U.S. average.
Option No. #1: The ‘Already Owned’ Little Black Dress
One great way to ensure your bridesmaids love you forever is to let them wear a dress they already own. Since colors can vary — you could end up with six shades of blue — you can always choose black to make sure your bridesmaids look uniform. That way, your bridesmaids can wear something they love, that fits their shape, and that they can wear again.
Option No. 2: The One-Shoulder Dress
This one shoulder dress is classy and elegant. It’s great for a bride who wants her bridesmaids to wear a long dress without the high cost (long dresses are usually more expensive than short ones). With 191 reviews averaging 4.5 stars, it’s clear this one is a winner with a ton of different options to suit any bride’s wedding colors.
Option No. 3: The Beaded Stunner
This dress is actually labeled as a prom dress, but I’m 29 and I’m trying to think of a fancy occasion to attend just so I can get it! I just love the design and the bead embellishments. It comes in a variety of colors and can be customized for you. At the time of this writing, the purple one is the least expensive at $75, but the others are all under $100, which is a great price, too.
Option No. 4: Long Floral Lace
It’s hard to believe this long, lace dress is under $50. It’s gorgeous, and it comes in three colors: black, blue, and red. All brides say they will pick a dress that their bridesmaids can wear again, but rarely is it true. I believe you could wear this dress again and again. As evidenced by the more than 550 positive reviews, this one is definitely a crowd-pleaser. Plus, it’s unique and stands out.
Option No. 5: Red Sweetheart Dress
I’ve always been a fan of the sweetheart neckline on dresses, and this one is very affordable with four stars on Amazon after over 100 reviews. It’s one of the most affordable long bridesmaid dresses that I’ve seen when researching this topic, comes in about a dozen different colors, and seems like it could definitely be worn again in the future.
Option No. 6: Chiffon One-Shoulder Dress
Did you know Target makes several bridesmaids dresses? This one is among the highest-rated and comes in a few different colors. Also, chiffon is a great choice for a bridesmaid dress and one of the most popular fabrics for weddings.
At $79.99, I’m going over my $75 limit; however, if you use your Target Red Card to get 5% off every purchase, it brings the price down to $76 — close enough for me!
Option No. 7: Sleeveless Lace Gown
This sleeveless lace dress has a halter back that makes it pretty and unique. I love the deep, dark colors, which would be great for a fall wedding, and at $43.99 with the option for free two-day Prime shipping, you can just buy it to see whether or not you like it, and send it back if you don’t. You probably won’t have to, though, since this one averaged 4.5 stars from 200 customers.
Option No. 8: Vintage Polka Dot Dress
Isn’t this dress so fun? So many brides love the vintage vibe these days, and their wedding decor often reflects this. If you’re one of those brides who likes to hark back to earlier eras, this dress will be perfect for your bridesmaids. You can get it in solid colors and just have a vintage silhouette, or go for the fun polka dots to really drive home your theme.
Option No. 9: Gorgeous Cap Sleeved Dress
This pretty dress can be worn to a variety of occasions. Reviews posted pictures of women wearing it at social outings and even at the Kentucky Derby! The delicate bow adds a touch of class, making it the perfect choice for a beautiful summer wedding.
Option No. 10: Long Dress with Pickups
David’s Bridal is constantly running sales. At the time of this writing, this beautiful long dress with pickups was only $59.99, but prices fluctuate depending on the time of year. David’s Bridal is a pretty much a wedding fashion factory, but they know what they’re doing — I’ve found them to be very reputable over the years. If the price is too high when you check it, try waiting a few days or weeks for a sale or other promotion.
Other Ways to Cut Costs on Bridesmaid Dresses
1. Buy your own fabric and have dresses made. For my wedding, my mom purchased a huge bolt of red raw silk fabric and then each bridesmaid paid $100 to have their dress tailor-made to them. I didn’t want my bridesmaids to spend a fortune on their gowns, and this enabled us to help them with the purchase a little, buy high-quality raw silk fabric, and have a dress that didn’t need any alterations before my big day. Not only that, but we had a lot of fabric left over that my mother-in-law used to make a dress for herself after the fact.
2. Limit the number of bridesmaids. This will allow you a lot more options in terms of choosing a bridesmaid’s dress that’s affordable and works for everyone. For example, if you have two bridesmaids, you can go to the mall with them and have them search for dresses on sale that match or are similar. Or you can have them pick out two completely different dresses but get them in the same shade of blue. Basically, you have more options the smaller your wedding party is.
3. If you pick a pricey bridesmaid dress, make that your gift. Bridesmaids typically pay for their bridesmaid dress, a bachelorette party, and sometimes even the bridal shower. If you add a wedding gift on top of all this, it can be really overwhelming. One way to ease the cost burden on your bridesmaids is to let them know that their presence is enough of a gift and that they don’t have to bring a present to the wedding. This will offer a bit of financial relief for your bridesmaids, and allow you to pick a pricier, fancier bridesmaid dress without bankrupting your friends.
A Final Note
When you choose your bridesmaids, you select them because they are your closest friends or family. However, in all the excitement of planning the perfect wedding day, many brides forget to consider their bridesmaids’ feelings — and their checkbooks. If you’re a bride, take the time to consider affordable bridesmaid dresses.
Even if your bridesmaids can afford a designer dress, it’s very considerate to shop around and try to find the best deal. After all, this leaves more money in their pockets to treat you to a nice bachelorette party!