My brother and my now sister-in-law got married on Friday, July 31, 2020. The ceremony was held somewhere in Tennessee in the cutest forest area with a barn. Did it give me ‘folklore‘ vibes? It absolutely did and I used that to my advantage. I was my sister-in-law’s maid of honor on a budget during a pandemic. We all know that especially in these unprecedented times, everything is uncertain and money is rather tight for many people. And weddings can be super expensive especially when you have to buy a new, formal dress and shoes.
So, how did I manage to pull off a maid of honor look for under $40 during a pandemic?
When it comes to COVID-19, I have limited my interactions with the outside world as much as possible. This means I was not about to go shopping in a mall, go into dressing rooms, and try a bunch of dresses on that others have touched. My sister-in-law and brother’s wedding color was primarily light blue and she liked the high-low style of dress. So for the dress search, I started with just a general Google search of “light blue high-low bridesmaid dress” and went sifting through the shopping tab.
All the results I was getting were for $100+ gowns or early 2000s-like prom dresses, I just took out the keyword ‘bridesmaid’. And that opened up better and less expensive options. Once I did that, I found the dress I ended up buying fairly quickly. The dress I wore was from ASOS (linked below and it’s now down to $17) and it was on sale for only $23 when it was originally $73.
Yes, I took the risk of buying a dress online that I never tried on for my brother’s wedding. But when it arrived, it literally fit me perfectly. I bought it in a US2 but they have a “fit assistant size” little quiz to ensure you get the best size for your body. The dress in the back was a bit long on me but that’s just because I’m short. I absolutely loved the keyhole detail but I did have to use dress tape to keep it in place. I wasn’t trying to have a wardrobe malfunction on someone else’s fairytale day.
But what about shoes…?
As I mentioned before, the back of the dress was rather long on me. So I wanted to have shoes that didn’t let the dress drag around on the ground too much. But again, I wasn’t looking to spend much. I wanted something really simple – beige, suede heels. My new favorite place to shop is ThredUp which is where I’ve been buying a lot of my clothes recently. We love more sustainable and eco-friendlier ways to shop. That’s where I got my heels for the wedding; they were only $17 when they were originally sold for $37. Down below I’ve linked similar options to the ones I wore. The ones I wore are from Forever 21 and they came in great condition for being second hand. There weren’t any stains or scuffs but I of course still wiped them down just in case.
If where you’re going just rained and you’ll be in the grass a lot, I don’t recommend shoes like this. While they’re beautiful and I loved how I felt wearing them, it rained earlier that day and so when I stood in the grass the heels did sink into the ground a lot. But honestly, it really wasn’t that much of an issue.
Yeah, and the accessories?
I’m not much of an accessory wearer in general so I kept it simple for their wedding. All I had were simple light-colored rose gold pearl earrings and a pearl necklace. The necklace was a literal last-minute addition before the ceremony started. My sister-in-law gave me a necklace as a gift before the wedding. It was so beautiful and sweet of her to do. And that was about it on the accessories for me besides the bouquet I had.
What about hair…?
I did both of these things myself. I’d say I’m better at doing my makeup than my hair but I gave both my best attempt that day. For my hair, I washed it that morning (I know it’s better to do hair when it’s a little dirty but it happens) and then I put anti-humidity milk (because you know, Tennessee summer heat) and thickening spray and blow-dried it.
Once it was fully dry, I parted it down the middle and curled it with a wand and let the curls fall rather loose. I then just took pieces of my hair and tied it back with a clear elastic and secured more of it down with bobby pins. Finishing it off with hairspray and glossing spray. Super simple!
…and makeup though?
For my makeup, I wanted light colors but full coverage yet breathable. Obviously, I started with my skincare which you can read here. For my base, I used Garnier SkinActive Glow Boost Illuminating Moisturizer, ELF Poreless Face Primer, and CoverGirl Clean Matte BB Cream for oily skin in 510 Fair. Because I was using self-tanner all week, I used two different concealers – NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in medium 1 custard and to highlight I used ELF’s new Hydrating Camo Concealer Satin Finish in Fair Warm. I bought the ELF concealer not think I was going to love it because I have another one of theirs and it’s mediocre at best. But I bought this one because I heard it was a dupe for Tarte’s Shape Tape – and it is and I am obsessed with it.
To set everything I used the classic Laura Mercier translucent powder. Then for bronzer, I used Too Faced’s ‘Sun Bunny’ natural bronzer. For blush, I used Tarte’s Amazonian clay 12-hour blush in ‘paaarty’. And for highlighter, I used the Naked Flushed – Going Native palette. To fill in my brows, I used the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in soft brown that I’ve been using for years at this point. Next, I primed my lids with the ever trusty Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion.
Maid of Honor on a Budget
The eyeshadow colors were from a Tarte Christmas set from several years ago, but the names of the colors are ‘blush stilettos’ and ‘cookie swap’ mixed for my crease, then I used ‘rose golden rings’ for my lid, and ‘waltz of the flowers’ for my outer corner. And for the inner corner and brow bone highlight, I just used the same one from the Naked Flushed palette that I used on the rest of my face. Up next were wings and eyeliner using Wet n Wild’s Proline Felt Tip Eyeliner in black. Then two mascaras from Maybelline: The Falsies Big Eyes with upper and lower lash brushes and the Falsies Push-Up Angel. Finally, ending with Smashbox lipstick in Primrose.
And that is how to be a Maid of Honor on a budget during a pandemic for less than $40. Oh, and don’t forget your masks and hand sanitizers!
Another thing I want to add is that the material of the dress is a little heavy. But it wasn’t to the point where I was dripping sweat and dying in a forest in the middle of Tennessee. I thought I’d mention that in case you’re worried about the material being breathable in summer. Don’t worry, it’s relatively breathable! It also makes you feel like a princess when you walk and the back trails behind you. We love to see it.
Have you experienced a pandemic wedding yet? Were you nervous? Because I sure was.