Congratulations! You have found the person that makes you happy and that you want to spend the rest of your life with. You’ve gotten engaged and have set the date. You’ve selected your bridal party and maybe you have even gotten so far as to secure your venue and send out invitations. Now you have moved on to other details. One huge detail when planning a wedding is the fashion. What will everyone wear?
Much thought is always given to what the bride will wear. After all, it is her big day. The day that will mark the beginning of her new life as Mrs. Right. The day that her new family forms. This day will live in her memory and more than likely in countless pictures and videos. It’s no wonder that brides want to look perfect. However, thought must also be given to the fashion of the bridal party – specifically the bridesmaids.
The job of the bridesmaid is to make the entire wedding process run smoothly for the bride. They are her support system during not only the wedding, but the days, weeks, and months leading up to the wedding. And, if the numerous bridesmaid dresses horror stories that abound in movies and in real life are anything to go by, some brides seem to think that one way the bridesmaids can help on her wedding day is to wear the most hideous dresses known to man. Rhinestones, and ruffles, and tulle – oh my! Perhaps their mindset is that the bride will look even more beautiful on her wedding day when surrounded by miserable-looking bridesmaids in atrocious bridesmaid gowns.
Ok, so I’m joking. Kind of. I don’t think that brides really do intentionally set out to make their bridesmaids look or feel unattractive. However, I do think that more thought could be put into what bridesmaids wear on their friend’s big day. After all, you want everyone to feel comfortable on that day and (take it from someone who knows) when you are dressed in something that you hate – it shows. You want to avoid being seen by people (not exactly possible if you are part of the bridal party). It makes you feel self-conscious. It’s not a good feeling. You wouldn’t want to inflict this type of emotional pain on your best buddies, would you?
In an effort to help out the legions of bridesmaids out there, here are some tips for how you can help ensure that your bridesmaid dresses are ones that they will love (not that they will burn in a somber ceremony the minute you and your husband ride off into the sunset).
Tip #1: Consider style and color when picking out your bridesmaid dresses. You want something that is going to be comfortable for your bridesmaids to wear. If they can’t walk, breather, or sit without worrying about a wardrobe malfunction, you should probably mark that option with a big fat NO. Also, I think that most people would thank you for avoiding such things as tulle, big bows, rhinestones, and ruffles. Those are the things that bridesmaid nightmares are made of. There is nothing wrong with simple, elegant designs. When it comes to colors, consider options that you like and that you think would flatter your friends’ complexions. Also keep their hair color in mind. The main thing is to pick something that is flattering for each of your bridesmaids.
Tip #2: Keep it affordable. Seriously. Unless you are footing the bill for the bridesmaid gowns, you should keep in mind that your friends will have to come out of pocket to pay for them. Now, if you are all super rich and spending several hundred dollars on a dress that you may only wear once is common place, then perhaps you would be justified in choosing expensive dresses. However, you should make sure that you are choosing dresses that everyone can afford. A good price to keep in mind is about $100-$300. However, if you can find a better deal – go for it! Your bridesmaids will thank you for it.
Tip#3: Pick something they can wear again. I remember going shopping for prom dresses in high school and being utterly dismayed at the fact that I (read: my mom) was going to pay several hundred dollars for a dress that I would only wear for one night. The cheapo in me HATED that. In fact, I took to randomly wearing my prom dress around the house just so I wouldn’t feel like I had wasted so much money on it. Lol! At least then that was my choice. However, your bridesmaids are buying these dresses specifically for YOUR wedding. Why not choose something that they would be able to wear in the future? Everyone needs a nice dress to wear to formal occasions. You’d be doing your friends a favor by providing them with a dress that they wouldn’t mind slipping on time and time again for special occasions.
Tip #4: Consider body types. We are not all made from the same mold. One friend may be waifish. Another may be curvy. One may be busty, while another has more hips than breasts. Some might be tall while others are short. No two people are made just alike. This means that they will fill out their dresses differently. Keep this in mind when picking out your bridesmaid dresses.
Tip #5: Let them choose! I think that this is possibly the best solution. Let your bridesmaids choose their own dresses. I honestly don’t understand the need for absolute uniformity. Each one of your friends is unique. They have different personalities. Why force them all to look the same? Our beauty is in our uniqueness. You might lose the uniformity that some people desire in a wedding, however, I can guarantee you that your bridesmaids will be comfortable and happy when they are able to dress themselves for the occasion. Now, I’m not saying to give them permission to come dressed in any old thing. It is perfectly fine (and expected) for you to give them parameters to stay within. Stick to the color scheme. If your wedding is going to be themed – abide by that. If you have a specific material that you absolutely LOVE, throw that condition in there. It IS still your big day. However, by giving your bridesmaids more control over what they wear, everyone wins. You have less to stress about when planning your wedding and they are guaranteed to love what they wear.
At the end of the day, your bridesmaids are your best friends. You have chosen them to be an integral part of your big day. Taking these measures can help ensure that the thing that they recall years from now is NOT how hideous or uncomfortable their dress was, but on how joyous and wonderful your big day was.