I had no idea what the majority of them were wearing until the day of, but I was shocked (in a wonderful way) at what they came up with!
I am telling the truth (although you won't believe it) when I say that BM Maggie sewed this dress with her mother the week before the wedding. She looked gorgeous in it, and I can't believe she made something that other girls are paying hundreds of dollars for!
Again, more awkwardness from the bride in the poses. I should have hired some type of posing consultant for the big day. BM Princess Jess wore a black dress by Isaac Mizrahi (found at Target), a black cardigan, and finished it off with Isaac Mizrahi shoes (found at Saks). I love that she demonstrated how pairing high and low priced items can still look fancy.
very similar dress at Nordstrom. But who is looking at the dress when those fantastic shoes are in the shot?
I helped BM Beni Bop scout out this Calvin Klein rip-off on ebay. It was supposed to be the real thing, but after it came with no tags we realized it was probably a fake. Nothing a little dry cleaning couldn't fix though. Definitely a steal of a dress at $75 with shipping.
Would I do it this way again? Definitely. Letting the girls choose their own dresses, and pitching in to help them pay for them was a great way to do things. I think each of them felt confident and beautiful in their dress of choice, and their personalities really showed through in each of their outfits. If someone were to ask me for advice in how to achieve the right look I would tell them to give a few guidelines (I encouraged staying away from casual materials like cotton and encouraged things like taffeta or satin), send out reminders, and to help them in their search by giving them examples of what you like.
The most important thing would be to not set exact expectations for what you want, because likely your girls will fail you. They aren't mind readers you know. If you want something specific, go for something specific. However, if you are on a budget like me, and you know you will be able to embrace whatever look they come up with, go ahead and let your best girls find their own ways to look their best!