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Dear Budget Savvy Brides,

I know what it’s like to be a bridesmaid. I know what it’s like to pay nearly $150 for a dress that – in my opinion – is uncomfortable, ugly, and unflattering.

While hanging up my old bridesmaid dress that has still not received any hits on Craigslist, I knew that I would not do that to my ladies.

Since I've had a longer engagement than some (currently past the 17 month mark), I knew I had a long time to look for the perfect dress for my bridesmaids on a budget. I wanted the dress to be beautiful, sophisticated, comfy, wearable more than once, liked by all – and budget friendly.

This was not an easy task as several big-named stores were carrying dresses from anywhere to $50 – $300+. While $50 was more manageable, the dresses were very plain and hard to come by in every size.

I spent months looking online trying to find dresses that could work, but I was leery of these websites and their return policy. While their prices were often cheaper, I wanted to find something even more budget friendly and less risky (girls always need a good return policy as a backup!).

Like many things in life, good things come to those who wait (and often unexpectedly). One of my favorite stores to shop is the good ol’ JCPenney. They’ve been around awhile, and in my experience, they have a good return policy too. (Many bridal stores do not). Anywho – I knew that JCP had bridal/bridesmaid apparel, and I attempted to check out what was in stock. I found that the bridesmaid dresses were typically on the more affordable scale, but they still did not fit my ‘real budget friendly' category.

I decided to go “outside the box” and look at JCP’s everyday dress stock. I narrowed my search results by the color I was searching for, and I arranged the results by the lowest to highest price. Many of the search results turned up to be possible contenders and I picked two of my favorite choices. I logged onto Facebook and sent the dress link to all of my bridesmaids.

All of my ladies said “Yes!” to the dress!

Here’s a breakdown of the categories:
Beautiful: √
Sophisticated: √
Comfy: √
Wearable more than once: √
Liked by all: √
Budget friendly: √ (After the $10 off coupon, the pre-tax total of the dress was $30!)


This isn't my bridesmaid dress — they no longer carry it online or in the store- however, this dress is somewhat similar. 


The total my ladies spent on their dresses was equivalent to the amount that I spent on one bridesmaid dress. While I can't wear my old bridesmaid dress again, I am proud to say that these ladies will have many opportunities to look fabulous in the future!

As a Budget Savvy Bride, I take pride in the fact that I am stretching others budgets further, too.

Blessings to you,


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About Kelsey

Kelsey is a young bride (18) seeking to create an elegant wedding on a dime! She's a college graduate, future law school student, follower of Christ, lover of books, "couponer", foodie, and high school sweetheart to Joel. Kelsey was born, raised, and currently resides in Southwest Florida. Joel and Kelsey have "saved the date" for the fall of 2013!

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  • Heather

    Great idea!! I’ve been checking Kohls & Nordstroms, but hadn’t thought of JC Penneys!

  • I looked around for ‘normal’ dresses, too! It’s so wonderful when they can be worn again. Great job!

  • Sadia

    Sometimes, Forever 21 carries fancy dresses! For example, this dress is GORGEOUS:

  • So cute, and what a great deal! Smart shopping!

    Since my ‘maids and I went with a more ‘traditional’ style dress (but not your typical unfortunate bridesmaids ensemble!) from a bridal designer, I opted to purchase their dresses for them. While this is certainly not an ideal option for everyone’s budget (I trimmed in other areas to afford this cost), it was especially important for me to make being a part of my wedding as affordable as possible for my ladies (I have two bridesmaids and a MOH, and three of us live in NYC). Not to mention that when you’re not shelling out $175 for a dress you’re much more likely to donate it after. Since I bought the dresses in multiples, I researched the best price online and then coordinated a discount with the best reputable seller. I’m so glad I asked for a bulk discount, because I saved more than $50 on each of their dresses!

  • Beechwood Hotel

    I think normal dresses are really more the thing to do. It saves everyone money and the variety is often much larger.

  • Christie O. {Mountainside Bride}

    I love that you are so thoughtful and considerate of your bridesmaids. So sweet! And great advice!

  • Kelsey Scarbrough

    Hi ladies! Thank you for your sweet comments 🙂 I appreciate the feedback — and I’m excited to hear that many of you feel the same. Like Sadia mentioned, Forever 21 is a great place to look, too! Unfortunately, we don’t have a store that is very local, and I wanted my bridesmaids to try on their dresses in the store. You will be amazed to find what looks good online, but not so much in the mirror :-/ Yikes — it’s all a part of being a girl, I guess! Anywho, good luck to all in your dress endeavors! Blessings ~

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