you say easter, i say flower girl!

Have you noticed how quickly the stores have changed their merchandising from Christmas to spring? There's Valentine's Day stuff everywhere, and lots of stores have Easter stuff out too. Easter's very early this year, so it does kinda make sense. At any rate, if you're planning to have a flower girl in your wedding, then this is a great time to start shopping for her dress! Not only are the gorgeous little Easter dresses hitting the racks; the remaining holiday stock is going on deep sale. It's a win either way!

There's nothing wrong with buying an expensive custom-made flower girl dress if that's something that's important to you. As a mom of small kids, though, I can tell you that little ones grow so quickly that your sweet little flower girl will be able to wear that luxurious bespoke dress for approximately half a minute, plus her mom will be a lot more relaxed watching her drop wedding cake on a $25 dress than on a $250 dress. The flower girl dress is actually a really sensible place to save some money in your budget.

Happily, "budget" doesn't have to mean "cheap-looking" in this case. Just look at these darling dresses that are either newly available or newly discounted this week:

American Princess Lattice Dress
American Princess Lattice Dress

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American Princess Lattice Dress

(Kohl's)

currently $37.20

The quintessential twirly-skirt dress with gorgeous ribbon detailing, a crinoline underskirt, and a sash that ties in the back.

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Bonnie Jean Floral Taffeta Dress
Bonnie Jean Floral Taffeta Dress

Bonnie Jean Floral Taffeta Dress

(Kohl's)

currently $30.00

Sweet A-line dress with a textured floral skirt and a sash that ties in the back.

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Cherokee® Infant Toddler Girls' Tulle Dress
Cherokee® Infant Toddler Girls' Tulle Dress

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Cherokee® Infant Toddler Girls' Tulle Dress

(Target)

currently $18.00

Tiered ombre dress in an orange that's very close to last year's Pantone color of the year, Tangerine Tango, which promises to remain popular for spring and summer weddings in 2013.

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Girls Sleeveless Crushed Taffeta Spring Dress with Floral Waist
Girls Sleeveless Crushed Taffeta Spring Dress with Floral Waist

Sleeveless Crushed Taffeta Dress with Floral Waist

(Target)

currently $34.99

How perfect for a spring flower girl is this, with its band of pretty petals at the waist?

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Pinky Sleeveless Lace Dress
Pinky Sleeveless Lace Dress

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Pinky Sleeveless Lace Dress

(JCPenney)

currently $28.00

This A-line dress picks up on this year's hot lace trend, with a yellow lining and sash and a yellow-and-pink flower at the waist.

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Rosenau Girls' Holiday Embroidery Dress
Rosenau Girls' Holiday Embroidery Dress

Rosenau Girls' Holiday Embroidery Dress

(Target)

currently $27.99

This dress will be perfect for weddings featuring this year's Pantone color of the year, Emerald.

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Rosenau Girls' Holiday Embroidery Dress
Rosenau Girls' Holiday Embroidery Dress

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Rosenau Girls' Holiday Embroidery Dress

(Target)

currently $34.99

This blue dress (Target actually calls it teal) features an embellished bodice, a sheer overskirt, and a sash that ties in the back.

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Rosette Tulle Dress
Rosette Tulle Dress

Rosette Tulle Dress

(Gap)

currently $49.99

This gorgeous little coral dress is covered neck-to-hem in tulle rosettes and has a removable satin ribbon sash.

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Now, a perfectly legitimate question you may have is how to know what size dress to buy for a growing little girl several months in advance of your wedding day. It's a question you'll have to answer if you order a custom-made dress as well. My best advice is to talk with your flower girl's parents (which of course you'll do anyway) and get their size recommendation. And when in doubt, buy a little larger rather than a little smaller. A good seamstress or tailor can probably take in a dress that's slightly too large when wedding time rolls around, but a dress that's too small may not have sufficient allowances in the seams to allow it to be let out.

So, do you see any dresses here that look just right for your little flower girls? If not, there are hundreds more online and in stores with more hitting the racks every day, so get out there and see what you can find! Especially if you can bring along the cutie who'll be wearing it. Finding her the perfect flower girl dress is almost as fun as finding yourself the perfect wedding gown!