Sunday, 21 October 2012

Dress Shopping - Part 1 - Bridesmaids

There are a few decisions to be made when it comes to bridesmaids and their dresses. One of the first decisions is whether or not you are paying for the dress or whether you are going to ask your bridesmaids to buy their own. There is nothing wrong with asking your bridesmaids to buy their own dresses if money is tight, but if like me you wanted to choose the dress yourself or if you don't feel comfortable asking them to pay then it's time to check the bank balance as you need to pay for the dresses your self.

If you are asking the bridesmaids to buy the dresses themselves then you need to be a little flexible and allow the bridesmaids to have a say in the dress. For example you may pick a style of dress, or length of dress you like, tell them which colour and then give them free reign to choose the dress within your set parameters.

If like me you pay for the dresses you could still do the above suggestion, but as you are paying you do have more control over the choice. I picked the same dress for all my bridesmaids, but I chose a dress flattering to all my bridesmaids shapes and sizes. Just remember these are your girls and you want them to look good. OK so you don't want them to outshine you, but they won't. Being the bride you will be centre of attention, so don't sabotage your bridesmaids. No ugly puffy dresses!! If you feel comfortable sabotaging them you may want to reconsider having them as part of your bridal party... chances are you don't actually like them all that much!

Once you have chosen who your bridesmaids are, who is paying for the dress and the style of dress/colour you want it is time to go dress shopping. This is a great opportunity for all the bridesmaids to get to know each other so make a day of it. Get familiar with the bridal shops in your area and plan a route around these shops to avoid time wasting. Once you get to the shops let your bridesmaids flick through the rails with you and start looking for various dresses they can try on. Get every one involved trying them on and let them tell you what the think about the quality, shape etc. If you have plenty of money in the wedding pot then by all means order the dress and pay the prices in the shops.

If however you too would like to be a budget bride, enjoy the day of trying on dresses, making sure the style you choose fits and then go home sit down in front of your computer and open up  Find the dress you wanted in their extensive collection, pick the colour you want and have them custom made to your bridesmaids measurements. It's a lot cheaper and the quality of these dresses are absolutely incredible!


  • I 100% recommend you invest in the £3.89 swatch book. Make sure the colour is what you want before you order and take it along to the suit place and anywhere else you go to buy things in the colour of your choice. You want to avoid too many variations of the same colour if possible.
  • Pay the extra for the custom size (I think it's £11 for this) It is well worth it to have the dresses perfectly fitted.
  • Get someone to help with the measurements and confirm them, follow their measurement guide to make sure you are measuring the right areas.
  • Shipping - this is usually around £15 to the UK on expedited shipping. Due to the 70% off they usually have on the shipping it works out cheaper than normal shipping.
  • Their dresses are constantly on offer, so do not rush to buy it because of the countdown in the corner... I love JJS dresses and have been on and off this site constantly for 22 months and have only seen dresses fluctuate by £10/£20, they never go up to the full price!
  • Please bare in mind these are coming from China and so you will have to pay customs on the parcel. To give you an idea of shipping costs, my very large and very heavy wedding dress was about £17. Four floor length heavy bridesmaids dresses was £65. So add this on to your overall cost to avoid nasty surprises. In the UK the courier is DHL, they have a tracking service and when the dress reaches the UK your customs fee should be payable via the web page.
  • If you can leave it until about 6 months prior to the wedding to order the bridesmaid dresses and 4 months to order yours. Otherwise you will pay a fortune getting them altered. Try to maintain your weight and dress size once the dress is ordered.
  • As soon as the arrive try them on without taking off the labels. You should be over the moon with your dress, they are amazing quality. If not do not be afraid to send them back. Hang them up safe and avoid creasing if possible!

Another similar site is I am making it clear though, I have never purchased a dress from lightinthebox but I have heard good things.

In terms of JJS dresses, they are so beautiful and well made. So much so that after buying my bridesmaid dresses I went on to buy my wedding dress. I am not ashamed to say it saved me a fortune!!! The dresses I liked for my bridesmaids were £250 each in the bridal shop (excluding alterations), which would have cost me £1000 for all of my bridesmaids. I had all four, including customs and shipping for £370 of the website, and the dresses are identical. £97 each for custom made dresses is an absolute steal. 

My wedding dress is identical to a dress I saw for just shy of £800. I paid including customs and shipping £178 for my dress. The quality is amazing and I am delighted with my dress and the bridesmaids dresses. I have the exact dresses I wanted so I haven't compromised. If you want to pay £800 or even £1000 in some shops for the dress then that is entirely your choice, but as a budget bride it made no sense to pay the extra when it didn't compromise the quality or beauty of the dresses.

So that's my bridesmaid dress tips. Up next wedding dress tips, which I have started to cover here but have plenty more to share. Thanks for reading Bloggers!! :)

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