Cheap and Easy (Dresses, not the Bridesmaids)

So, my friend Katie got engaged a while ago on a beach in the Dominican.  I always assumed her wedding would go somewhat the same– on a beach on some tropical island, on a boat off the coast of no-where, by Elvis in the Chapel of Love under the bright lights of Vegas.   However, once it was apparent her family, future family, and probably future husband weren’t too kean on any elopement theories they set their destination in a little place called Cow Head.  I know, I know.  However, you’ll be surprised to find that Cow Head is actually a beautiful little place. 

Now, here’s the catch.  Try having a full and lavish wedding with an elopement wedding timeframe.  Katie had about three months to plan and execute a dazzling display of love, devotion, commitment and all that other traditional foolishness.  Understandably, brides who have months of planning and wedding planners at their disposal often end up in a tearful heap on the bathroom floor more than once.  To me the term “Bride-zilla” is synonymous with “Just-trying-to-freaking-cope”.  Granted, many matrimonial monsters are created out of the “me-me-me” attitude that has an overwhelming fear that everything won’t be perfect for “MY special day”.  However, I suspect that many wives-to-be, my best friend Katie included, are afraid that their guests won’t have a good time, or that, they’ll have 50 years with the memory of a streamer and tissue paper nightmare of a decorating job.   So, when Katie asked us all to pick out our own bridesmaids dresses, she was being a real peach of a bride.  However, finding brown dresses to fit our four different body types and preferences was easier said than done.  A week before the wedding Katie became the oh-so-gracious-one again and actually friggin changed everything around to accommodate us and what was available. We picked up some pretty purple dresses, but it got me to thinking that wedding attire in a pinch can be a real sticky sitch.  Therefore, I have preplanned my bridesmaid’s dresses (for my imaginary  wedding, of course).  They’re a little bit granola, but they’re also inexpensive, hassle-free, and unlike every other bridesmaid’s dress in the universe, you can actually where them again (minus the sash).

Step One:
Buy a white cotton dress.  These are easy to find and extremely inexpensive.  I bought this one at Winners for 15 bucks.  As well, while they may have a slightly different cut, most knee length white cotton dresses have the same look to them.  So finding a number of them in an array of shapes and sizes is no problem-o.

Step Two:

Wash said white cotton dress.  For the dying to work it needs to be clean and free of any dusty-bits that may be there from sitting on the rack.

Step Three:

 Read instructions carefully (This may require taping them back together if you’re a savage at opening things like me).

Step Four:
Follow instructions and commence the dying sequence.  Just a couple side notes, if your instructions say add salt, add lots of freaking salt.  The last time I went a-dying I skimped a little and ended up with what I call my Jackson Pollock dress.  Also, when the instructions say “Not for tub dying”, they are not kidding (see picture below for proof).  Use a plastic bucket or something you can give the old heave-ho to after you’re done. 

Step Four:

Once you’ve soaked your dress until it’s good and covered, let it sit for a little bit.  The colour it is when it’s washed and finished will be muuuuch lighter than right now.  So, wash it, let it dry and if it’s not the colour you’re looking for, give it another go. 

Step Five:

Ad any pretty little embellishments you would like to make your dress look fancy.  I bought this giant spool of ribbon at Michaels (or as I like to call it, Church of the Crafty), for 14 dollars.  It has enough ribbon on it to make about 6 sashes. 

Step Six:

Get all gussied up.  Not too shabby for a dress that costs about 20 dollars.