Sep 30

Wedding Wardrobes

IAutumn Wedding Party | The Day's Design | Hetler Photography

Photo by Hetler Photography

I am to be a bridesmaid in an upcoming wedding.  While I’ve been a bridesmaid several other times, this is the first time that I’ve ever been asked to shop and purchase a legitimate “bridesmaids” dress, which is proving to be a bit more daunting than anticipated.  Previously, I had simply been handed a color swatch or I’ve been told to go pick out a black dress.  Simple enough.

When it comes to bridesmaids dresses today, it seems that anything goes.  You can match, you cannot match.  You can all wear the same fabric, length or color or shop completely independent of one another.  It’s really the bride’s choice, right?

When was the last time you went to the mall, picked out a complete outfit for your friend and made her wear it on an important night out on the town, without her ever trying it on first and agreeing.  You’d make sure the top hugged her curves just right and the shoes were killer (and comfortable!)  You might shop together, but you wouldn’t force her to wear something she didn’t like, right?

I was once a bride.  I totally thought it was within my rights to dictate what the members of my wedding party wore.  And it was my right, to a certain extent.  They want to feel comfortable and beautiful too, even if the day isn’t revolving around them.

So how do you make sure everyone feels comfortable and the bride still gets what she wants?  Here are a couple tips for you brides:

Analyze what’s really important to you about what the members bridal party wear.  Is it the color?  The style?  The length?  The fabric?  The overall look?  Pick one or two of these things to really be the focus.

Determine the formality level.  Are you hosting an extremely formal or traditional affair?  Then everyone matching might be really important to you.  If it’s there’s more of a casual, laid back theme, they you might reflect this through your wedding party’s wardrobe choosing patterned dresses or allowing the girls to mix and match.

Consider the weather.  If there’s a chance it might be chilly, allowing the girls to wear a floor length gown or tights/nylons might be greatly appreciated, even if the wedding itself doesn’t take place outdoors, there’s a good chance some of the pictures might.  Photographer’s love outdoor lighting.

Speaking of photographers – how do you want your photos to look?  Deeper colors can be really pretty and make a bold statement.  Pastel and neutral tones make give photos a softer more romantic look, blending more with their backdrops bringing focus to the picture as a whole not just the brighter pieces.

Study your surroundings.  Clothing should not only coordinate with other décor elements of your day but also locations where you wish to have portraits taken.  That cute little red barn might seem like the perfect backdrop for your wedding photos but maybe not if you’re ladies are wearing hot pink dresses.

Budget.  Ughh…. I feel like I’m constantly bringing up that nasty word.  But being a bridesmaid can be an expensive endeavor – there’s always more to buy than just shoes and a dress.  If you have your heart set on a pricy dress option, see if less expensive brands might have a similar option or there’s someone you know who can afford it, as her to wear it and the other ladies to purchase something that compliments her, but do be tactful please.

Be aware of different body shapes.  Dresses rarely come in a one-size-fits-all option.  At first glance it might seem like your wedding party is all pretty similarly size.  But upon further exploration, you might determine that Anna has a long torso and zero curves, Jane is extra busty and Gabby has legs that just don’t quit.  The translation – while technically they can all wear the same dress, only one or two are actually going to look good in it.

It’s really a balancing act – trying to make everyone happy, with the bride just slighter happier.  That’s how you choose the wedding day wardrobes.   Do you have other ideas that should be considered?  Or if you’re already married, did you let your wedding party pick their own dress or did you choose for them?


And you can read the other side of the story about being an amazing bridesmaid here.


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