When I look back at my 20s, I'll remember the event that swung through my life the most during those years — weddings. But aside from remembering the awkward dance moves I'd bust out when the wedding band played a Bruno Mars song, I will remember how almost all of my disposable income went toward one thing, and one thing only: bridesmaid dresses.
When I clean out my tiny New York City closet, which I do only once or twice a year, I always find a pile of old bridesmaid dresses that I'm too attached to and can't seem to get rid of. It's not that those dresses breathe memories of some of the greatest nights of my life or the dresses are so gorgeous they should be displayed in a museum and admired by strangers from around the world. It's because, to me, they are what I spent all of my money on.
I don't have a 401K, a savings account with more than four digits in it, or stocks. But I do have a closet filled with bridesmaid dresses that cost between $160-$350 apiece. I learned, the expensive way, that bridesmaid dresses don't have to cost a couple of hundred — they can cost zero dollars. Here are five ways to make that happen.
1. Borrow Your Dress
You may wonder who in the world has the exact bridesmaid dress you need, in the right color, the right size, and the right style, but you would be surprised. There are a couple of main designers that a lot of brides choose when selecting their bridesmaid dresses. You can ask around your immediate friend group to see if they have the dress or even post it on social media.
2. Rent Your Dress
Thankfully there are bridesmaid dress companies now that let you rent the dress from them. This will cost you a little more than $0 — but it's a better option than buying the dress new for a couple hundred dollars.
3. Wear Something You Already Have
Speak with the bride early on and see if she's open to letting the bridal party wear a dress of a certain color that they already have. That way, you can grab something from your closet and don't have to worry about spending a dime on a dress or alterations.
4. Sell Your Dress After the Wedding
So let's say you do have to buy the bridesmaid dress and the dress costs you a couple hundred dollars — don't think that after the wedding, there's no way to get your money back. Instead of having the dress crumpled up in the back of your closet or underneath your bed, there are websites and companies that will buy your used bridesmaid dress. This is a great way to earn back some of that cash or make all of your money back.
5. Get Involved in the Bridesmaid Dress Process
When the bride is starting to decide what dress she'd like all her bridesmaids to wear, jump in and ask if you can help her make that decision. This is a good way to keep the cost low, or even the right time and place to ask her if the bridesmaids can just wear a dress they already have.