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How to Find Bridesmaid Dresses

Your Guide to Finding Bridesmaids Dresses in NC

If your best friends are serving as bridesmaids, it’s safe to say that you need to give them some helpful instructions about the dress code. From vintage elegance to bohemian chic, there are various wedding styles – and there are bridesmaids dresses in NC to go along with any look you choose!

The wedding party should blend into the overall look of the event, as well as contribute to it. A bridesmaid dress in Raleigh-Durham NC can be as casual as it gets or as formal as your crew likes. Here are some of our favorite tips on deciding on a style.

If you’re a bridesmaid reading this article, we have some tips for you as well.

Fashion Timeline: How Far Ahead of the Wedding Should I Order Bridesmaids Dresses?

Here in NC, wedding fashion is usually one of the first items on the agenda for newly-engaged couples. The short answer is, look into bridesmaids dresses / wedding party attire as soon as you have your own wedding look locked in. But the real answer is a little more complicated. 

Bridesmaids dresses have traditionally taken almost as long to arrive after ordering as the wedding dress itself. Think: 2-3 month timeline plus weeks of padding for any necessary alterations. 

However, with the rise of big box retailers in wedding fashion, there are many locations that now have a very quick turnaround – because they have mass produced the inventory. So in fact, the real answer is that if you want a custom fit or designer gown for your squad, shop several months ahead of the wedding. 

Here’s a checklist of what you should have a handle on BEFORE you shop for your bridesmaids dresses:

  • Have a chosen color palette for your wedding. 
  • Decide on the level of formality of the occasion (ie, cocktail or black tie)
  • The couple’s wedding looks (dresses/ suits/ tuxes) should be selected.
  • A price range that meets the comfort level of your wedding party.

How Much Do Bridesmaids Dresses Cost in Raleigh NC?

Bridesmaids dresses, rompers and suits are all formal occasion attire. Just like any clothing with fine fabric and craftsmanship, the price point is higher than casual ready wear. But there is a wide range of prices, based on the designer, fabric, quality and whether or not it is made to your measurements. On average, bridesmaids dresses are in the $250 range, plus alteration costs.

The cost of bridesmaids dresses is actually not super specific to Raleigh, Durham or Charlotte NC. Even the local wedding dress and bridesmaids dress shops in the Triangle Area of NC and beyond are connected to the designers they carry.

We are major proponents of every engaged couple shop in town for bridesmaids dresses as opposed to ordering them online. Here’s our case:

  • Shopping locally supports our local NC businesses and our community. 
  • You and your wedding party will receive much better service if you shop through a local store rather than simply ordering online.
  • Working at a shop that specializes in bridesmaids gowns means endless options – and a stylist who helps each wedding party member feel their best. 
  • We all know that clothing rarely looks the same online as in person. A wedding is too important of an occasion to rely on digital imagery. 
  • Sizing for bridesmaids dresses varies by brand so it’s hard to know which size to order without trying on. 
  • Shopping together as a wedding party to try on bridesmaids dresses is FUN! Plus, it’s great bonding time. 

Other Considerations When Choosing Your Bridesmaid Dresses

Even if your friends already have their hearts set on a certain look and style, you’ll want to make sure the dress is right for them and the occasion! There are a few things you should look for when buying bridesmaids’ dresses. 

The Venue sets the tone for the level of formality. 

  • Dress length says a lot. Floor-length gowns (and tuxedos or fine suits) are typically chosen for black-tie weddings. Cocktail and outdoor weddings often do best with shorter criteria for bridesmaids dresses. 
  • Bridesmaids dresses Fabric – Make sure the fabric is appropriate for the season and event. Your bridesmaid stylist will be able to guide you based on the season, as well as whether the event is indoors or outdoors. Fabric can make a long dress go from formal to bo-ho. 
  • Bridesmaids Dress colors can be matchy-matchy, a range within a palette, or even patterned. Nothing is off-limits. In fact, sometimes, the bridesmaids even wear white. 
  • Shoes and Accessories are indeed a part of the bridesmaid look, but usually not assigned. We recommend giving your bridesmaids an easy-to-achieve assignment such as “neutral and close toed” or “black and strappy.” If you know you are going to want the wedding party to wear matching accessories, consider gifting them. (And if you do that, let your friends know ahead of time not to buy anything!)
  • Co-ed or LGBTQ+ Wedding Parties are an opportunity for a mix of fashion. Take consideration of your wedding party and how to make the process easy for each of your besties. That could mean choices of a suit with matching lining – or just opening up the range of attire styles to fit the preferences of everyone. 

Wedding and Bridal Party Etiquette – How to Keep Your Bridesmaids Happy 

If you’ve ever been part of a wedding party before, you know that it is a big time and financial commitment. Traditionally, the wedding party pays for their own attire. They also often contribute to shower(s) or engagement parties and the bachelor/bachelorette parties. Add to that any travel associated with the wedding or any of these events. 

With that in mind, we advise that you consider all of these costs ahead of the “Will you be my Bridesmaid?” ask. If you and your crew go big for all of the weddings, and you know everyone is financially flexible, this may not be a huge concern. But, if you have some friends who you know will be strained, you might consider the following: 

  • Ask your wedding party members how much they are comfortable spending on their attire.
  • Make it a bit easier for your friends to find dresses by giving them a few options in not only style but price point. 
  • Another popular solution is to give your wedding party color / formality direction and let them choose a great purchase or rental that fits their budget. However, we tend to think this can sometimes make life even harder for the bridesmaids! And rentals have issues due to overuse and color inconsistencies. So we do advise selecting bridesmaids dresses, at least for more formal and/or traditional events.
Find the Perfect Match

Ready to Find Your Bridesmaids Dresses?

Find the Perfect Match
Ready to Find Your Bridesmaids Dresses?