I'll start with the rejects! We went to two stores, one of which was Alfred Angelo ("AA"). I've had a few AA bridesmaid dresses over the years and find them to be much better quality than David's Bridal. I also had a great experience shopping for my wedding dress at an AA boutique, so I definitely wanted to visit a store for the bridesmaid dresses.
Our experience was OK. Our saleswoman was nice, but kept repeating that it was the sales-tax free weekend and what a great deal we'd get if we bought today. (Keep in mind, the dresses we were looking at were around $150, and Massachusetts sales tax is 6.25%. So we'd be saving a walloping $9.38 per dress. Not the greatest sales tactic with bridesmaid dresses...)
Here is one that I though the girls might like:
and this was another possibility:
Or so I thought! The ladies were kind enough to tell me that they really didn't like either dress all that much. Probably because we'd already found two other dresses that morning that they liked much, MUCH better.
Serious dress contender number one:
The girls were even able to model this dress in the purple, which is the color it would be for the wedding. (I also went with the official Bill Levkoff pics as my camera phone pics didn't really cut it on these two...)
Serious dress contender number two:
Both girls could not stop RAVING about how much they loved this dress, and how they could already imagine re-wearing it (they might have just barely stopped short of talking about the parties/events they could wear this too. I was getting jealous, I might need one of these dresses too!). The color for this dress would also be a rich dark purple, which I think will look amazing.
So, how did I decide? At that same salon, I had modeled my wedding dress sample for my sister as she had yet to see it. Each of the girls was wearing one of the serious dress contenders, and our saleswoman (who it turns out was one of the owners of the salon), held up my wedding dress sample in the middle of them, so I could compare the two with my dress. Both dresses looked great with mine, as the neckline and satin band at the waist totally complemented my dress. As the girls all get 10% off for ordering their dresses from the same salon and they could not stop talking about how much they LOVED serious dress contender #2...that is the one they will be wearing!!
Finding the bridesmaid dresses turned out to be just as easy as finding my dress, and I can't thank the girls enough for their patience and willingness to try on anything I picked. Along with Jen's almost instant feedback even though she was at a family birthday party! We really had a great time, and I'm thrilled that these ladies are in my bridal party!