In honor of Independence Day here in the the US, we thought we’d reflect on why it’s good to declare your independence from the typical bridesmaid dress cycle – which is to buy it, wear it, forget it. We’ve been so happy to help women buy and sell dresses for weddings this summer, and we’re looking forward to fall and winter weddings, too!
Why do we love to operate Bridesmaid Trade? On average in the United States, 4 bridesmaids participate in each of the 2.1 million annual weddings in the US annually. That’s right: around 8 million women are bridesmaids ever year.
We couldn’t believe it either!
Some of the dresses they need to wear are not so fabulous. Un-tag thyself and make that dress a Halloween costume! Some of these dresses, however, are cute and come in trendy styles and colors from national bridal retail chains. The key: while one woman might not want to wear her dress again, it’s very possible that another bride has asked her bridesmaids to wear that exact same dress for her wedding. Or, perhaps, circumstances change. Colors change, the sizes bridesmaids need change (babies happen!), or the wedding party might change altogether. Often though, some chains’ “no return” policies mean that bridesmaids are stuck with NEW non-returnable dresses.
What kinds of new dresses might be for sale? This amazing brown dress from Ann Taylor:
New Ann Taylor Celebrations dress on Bridesmaid Trade
Or these 5 new amazing BCBG dresses:
BCBG Tiered dresses
The bottom line is that we think these bridesmaids should be able to sell these dresses to each other. Sure, sometimes the dress colors or styles change from season to season (yes, be suspicious of why this happens so often), there have been alterations, or someone drops a dumpling, spills some wine, or snags the hem in the car door. But more often than not, these dresses are in great condition and can certainly be worn again (and again). For us, its common sense not to pay $200 for something we can buy for $100. It’s also common sense for us to think that if we connect this network of 5 million women who are in the same predicament, creative alternatives will emerge.
We founded Bridesmaid Trade because we wanted a more affordable, eco-friendly way to find the exact bridesmaid dresses we needed and a way to “recycle” them when the wedding was over. We wanted shopping for bridesmaid dresses to reflect the same values that guide us everyday – friendship, frugality, and taking care of this good earth. Thanks for checking us out! Questions? Comments? We’d love to hear from you at administrator(at)bridesmaidtrade(dot)com.
Get out there and see some fireworks already! If you need a fireworks fix, we send you off with this video of the fireworks/sparklers for the wedding of our good friends Grey and Mike. It was shot by the one and only Ryland Brooks (Grey’s brother). Happy 4th of July, everyone!
(Warning: that’s not smoke in your eyes. Those are tears. This video is wonderful. A whole lotta joy.)
Today’s post is from Bridesmaid Trade co-founder Kathryn House.
A few weeks ago, we had the privilege of entering a sustainable fashion contest in Jamaica Plain, MA (Bridesmaid Trade homebase!) called Project Jamaicaway. The even was organized and hosted by the amazing Jamaica Plain Forum and funded generously by Jamaica Plain’s Boomerangs and Goodwill. As designers, we were given gift certificates totaling $50 and just a few days to refashion secondhand finds in to fabulous new frocks.
After deciding on a bridesmaid dress theme and recruiting friends Xochitl and Daryn as shopping and sewing collaborators, we scoured the racks for dresses we could dress up (or deconstruct). Here are some of our Goodwill finds:
And us as we consider some options…
Hmm... what do we think?
Daryn and I had a lovely time, sewing, unstitching, re-stitching, and crossing our fingers that if we just followed the YouTube video, we could, indeed, use an elastic hair band to ruche a dress. A day before the show, we were asked to recount our adventures and misadventures in shopping and designing. Here’s our video featuring most prominently a shoe with a velvet sock *attached* that you have to see to believe.
The show was so. much. fun. As much as we enjoyed doing our little turn on the catwalk, it was also awesome to see other designers’ creations. Here’s a look at our final designs! Daryn (L) is wearing a black dress (successfully ruched with the headbands, oh yeah!) and a silver belt-turned-cute-ribbon-detail. My dress (R) is the combination of a silver curtain, a dress, and two shirts.
Bridesmaids (slightly rogue...) Photo courtesy of Goodwill Boston
JP has some amazing designers! Group shot:
Project Jamaicaway designers and models (Photo courtesy of Goodwill Boston)
Congratulations to GeorgeAnnette Chatterly, who turned a garment bag in to a jacket (what?!? I know!) I would wear in a heartbeat.More information and photos about the event available in the Jamaica Plain Gazette or on Goodwill Boston’s Facebook page. Thanks again to the sponsors and the other designers for a great event!
Today’s post is from Bridesmaid Trade co-founder Kathryn House.
We love a good t-shirt. Whether it’s a strange-but-endearing consignment store find or one of the many you’ve collected from various school events or sports teams, a favorite t-shirt can’t be beat…until you end up with a drawer full of favorite t-shirts. Enter Project Repat. Project Repat upcycles t-shirts in to fabulous bags, blankets, ties, scarves, even undies.
Image from Project Repat (http://www.projectrepat.org/products/custom-bag).
As it turns out, I had ALOT of t-shirts (also, I am apparently sentimental), so I’m turning them in to a blanket. Here they are before:
T-shirts in the sunshine
And soon, they’ll look like this:
T-shirt blanket from Project Repat (http://www.projectrepat.org/collections/blankets/products/5x4-blanket)
These would be perfect for weddings, too. Maybe you and your bridesmaids have played in the same soccer league for years, amassing stacks of t-shirts? Have them each pick four of their favorite t-shirts, hand them over to Project Repat, and a few weeks later, you’ve got a perfect bridesmaid gift. Or if you’re a bridesmaid, and the bride never met a t-shirt she couldn’t resist, you and the other bridesmaids can join forces for a one-of-a-kind gift. Choose a blanket size, have your friend pick out her favorite t-shirts, and voilá: a present she’ll use again and again. *Plus!* you can use the promo code “bridesmaidtrade” to get $10 off any order!
High fives all around to Project Repat for their work, and we hope you check them out soon. You can reach them at email@example.com or give them a call at 617-800-9390.
It’s is officially summer now that the June 21st has come and gone. Longer days, juicy watermelon and sweet corn are in season, and best of all the smell of fresh cut grass is the constant outdoor aroma. Sage, clover, honeydew, forest, lime, apple and grass are the shades of green that we adore. They are bright, summery, happy and our number one choice for a bridesmaid dress for a summer wedding. Looking for a shade of green for your summer wedding? Take a look at our affordable choices of this happy hue.
You know when you are the ultimate party-goer when you have been to 22 weddings in the past 5 years, have 10 weddings in just 2012 alone, and are a bridesmaid in 3 out of four weddings, just this summer!
Meet Colleen. The description above is her life….and we consider her to be the ultimate wedding guest. Because of her wedding expertise, we asked Colleen for her tips for being the best bridesmaid.
Colleen’s best bridesmaid tips:
Pick up extra work shifts, any extra money helps!
If you are in multiple weddings, plan your events well in advanced so they don’t overlap.
Not every wedding party is going to be the same, everyone has different personalities, so just be patient with the other girls, and remember it is all about the Bride.
On the big day make sure YOU are ready first, that way you can help out where ever needed.
Make sure tissues are within reach for the MOB and MOG, and other bridesmaids of course.
Help the bride for anything she needs, going to the bathroom, fixing hair, needing flip flops.
Bustling a dress can be tricky, make sure you figure it before the day of the wedding.
A bridal shower is a lot of work, both planning and participating. Be organized- everyone should have a job: writer to keep track of the gifts, someone to prep gifts and envelopes, someone for the ribbon bouquet.
Must be willing to not sleep on the weekends, you will be attending many events, bachelorettes, showers, Jack & Jill, get your rest when you can!
Be willing to help out with invitations, assembling, addressing, numbering, stamping, gluing.
One of her most favorite idea for a bridal shower is when sending out the invite, include an 8 x 11 piece of cardstock, do not fold, just get big envelopes (can be purchased at Targe,t for example). In the invite add a note to guests to please create a scrapbook page and bring it with them to the shower. Once all collected, these will build a scrapbook and will highlight all different points in the couple’s life.
Colleen’s directions to making the perfect ribbon bouquet:
Using two paper plates, make a hole in the middle and then a square around that with 4 other slits
Attach small ribbons, connecting the 4 slits and making a square, so there is more area to attach all the other pieces of ribbon on.
For the handle take the last ribbon that and wrap it around the collected pieces on the back of the paper plates.