Do your go-to gals have marriage fever? Attached at the hip with your sorority sisters or female siblings? If so, then congratulations, little miss social, you're destined to become a perpetual bridesmaid. Your Saturday nights will soon be a blur of pink taffeta, bridezilla outbursts and a stack of bills higher than a three-tiered wedding cake. Traditionally, bridesmaids pay for their own dresses. When you tack on this cost to your other wedding-related expenses, you may have to moonlight as a wedding singer just to keep your finances above water.

It's often an empty investment to purchase a bridesmaid dress, which will inevitably wind up in your pile of clothes to donate. Don't be afraid to offer your two cents to the bride and suggest that she has her bridesmaids rent their dresses from Rent The Runway, a reputable rental service. The service features bridesmaid dresses from notable designers such as Badgley Mischka and Nicole Miller, whose frocks typically grace the racks of upscale department stores. For example, it costs $100 to rent a satin duchess Badgley Mischka bridesmaid dress that retails for $350.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Register for a free account at www.renttherunway.com.

2. Log in and browse the available dresses in the Bridesmaid Collection section.

3. Reserve your 8-day rental for your desired dress up to a year in advance of the wedding date.

4. Select two different size options for your dress and place your order on the website. Select a delivery date five days before the wedding. Next, schedule a complimentary, 1-day fitting where you can try on the dress in advance of your 8-day rental period. If you decide not to rent the dress, then you only pay shipping costs.

5. Before your 8-day rental period expires, ship your dress in the provided return shipping envelope.

TIPS:

1. Use the website's invite feature to invite the other bridesmaids or friends to the site. If your invitee places an order, then $20 is credited to your account. There is no limit to how much credit you can earn.

2. Rent the Runway frequently runs time-sensitive promotions. "Like" Rent the Runway on Facebook or subscribe to the company's Twitter feed to stay abreast of current promotions.

If the bride is uneasy about renting or is unsatisfied with Rent the Runway's selection, then vigilantly monitor retail store sales. Retailers that only sell bridesmaid dresses are notorious for inflated pricing, and their dresses rarely go on sale. Avoid them and, instead, buy your bridesmaid dresses from a clothing company that sells a range of clothing not limited to bridal wear.

J.Crew is a smart option since it offers new bridesmaid dress colors and styles several times a year, which prompts sale-pricing on older dresses to make room for new merchandise.

Here’s How to Shop J.Crew:

1. Purchase a bridesmaid dress on jcrew.com. A full-price chiffon bridesmaids dress will cost about $225. Save your receipt, and do not remove the tags from your dress. J.Crew's return policy gives you 60 days to return your dress for a full refund.

2. For the next 45 days, persistently check the website for sales or promotions. If nothing turns up, purchase another identical bridesmaid dress at full price. When you receive your second dress, return your first dress for a full refund. The second dress gives you another 45 days to check for discounts.

3. Repeat this cycle up until two weeks before the wedding. If you find the dress on sale (I've seen prices drop to as low as $80), then purchase the dress at the reduced price. Wait until your receive the discounted dress in the mail and then return your full-price dress for a refund.

4. If the dress never goes on sale, sell your bridesmaids dress after the wedding on an online marketplace such as EBay. Since J.Crew bridesmaids dresses are popular, used dresses frequently sell for about 35% of their original price. If you can't sell your dress, obtain a receipt upon donation to claim a tax deduction on your next income tax return.

This has been a guest post by Lisa from Miami, FL
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