Photo Credit: Allie Siarto Photography, 430 Studios, Woodnote Photography
The second most important dress you’ll ever go shopping for is the bridesmaid’s dress. My favorite saying when planning a wedding is that people make great decorations! I have worked as a wedding gown and dress specialist at David’s Bridal for a few years. Helping brides select the perfect dress was one of my more exciting experiences. I learned so much about the industry just from selling dresses alone. No amount of preparation will truly prepare you for rounding up your best girls and throwing them in and out of their comfort zones.
Here are a couple things to keep in mind before going shopping with your ‘maids:
Pick out your wedding gown first:
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND HAVING YOUR WEDDING GOWN PICKED OUT BEFORE YOUR BRIDESMAID’S DRESS APPOINTMENT!
I cannot stress this enough! Reason being: You don’t want your bridesmaids over or under dressed, or worse, too similar to your wedding gown; especially after your girls have already made their purchase.
Having your wedding gown purchased gives you a HUGE advantage by providing the look and feel for your whole wedding theme. You want everyone and everything around you to compliment you and to make you stand out. Therefore, you have to know what you are working with.
Know what you want and stick to it!
Know what you want or the direction you are at least trying to go in. Don’t go in blind. The last thing you want is to put the fate of YOUR wedding party attire in someone else’s hands. Also, it can be very frustrating for your bridesmaids, who are trying so hard to help you find out what it is you want, when you don’t even know what that is.
How can you get what you want for your wedding if you don’t even know what that is?!
Stop into dress shops and pick up catalogs. Mark the pages of dresses you like to show the consultant when you are ready to shop.
Use different keywords to see different looks. And always check out 1928’s Pinterest page for the latest inspiration! Make sure you pin the ones you like on a separate inspirational bridesmaid’s dress board to also show your consultant. Once you have your direction and inspiration, STICK TO YOUR GUNS! This is your wedding and no one else’s. Be willing to be flexible where it counts, but if you have a vision that you are in love with, then go for it- it’s your day!
Length and Fabric
The length and fabric type of the bridesmaids’ dresses will have a huge impact on the overall formality and feel of your wedding. Long Satin dresses are elegant and classy whereas short chiffon dresses are more relaxed and fun. When selecting your length and fabric also keep the weather in mind. For example, a long chiffon dress is great for a late spring and early fall wedding because the length helps battle the cold, while the chiffon keeps you cool when it’s warm. Don’t forget to keep your wedding gown in mind when selecting the length and fabric. I wouldn’t recommend having your girls in satin if your wedding gown is chiffon.
Picking out the color for the girls’ dresses is so much fun! There are so many different combinations you can choose from. Remember, when choosing your color, there is more than just the dress to consider. For example, neon colors are bright and vibrant but can be overwhelming when the entire dress is bright pink. Try a muted dress and add your pop of color with accessories and the bouquet.
I adore the latest trend of all of the girls wearing different dresses; however, if it’s not done right it can look like your bridesmaids are from different weddings. The trick is having that one element that ties them all together. My general rule of thumb is if you are having different dresses, keep the fabric the same if you are having different colors or keep the same color if you are having different fabrics. Sometimes this rule can be bent when you have a strong enough unifying factor like lace. If you do decide that you would like your girls to have different dresses, that doesn’t have to mean that you can’t go on one shopping trip! I also recommend purchasing the dresses from the same store or designer.
We women come in many different shapes and sizes. Therefore, one dress doesn’t always look great on everyone. If your bridesmaids are bustier, then I would recommend a dress with straps. Sweetheart neckline dresses give shape to those ladies who are not as busty. Dresses that have a waistband tend to compliment all body types by giving them an hourglass figure. I would also keep the venue in mind when selecting your dresses. If your wedding is at a vineyard, I would pick a romantic, soft style, but if you plan on having a Vegas-themed wedding, then I would go with a fun cocktail style dress.
Being a bridesmaid may not be as expensive as planning a wedding, but the numbers do add up quickly. Get an idea of how much your ‘maids can afford. Be sure to sit down with your bridesmaids separately and get an idea of their budget comfort zone. It is not a good idea to ask how much they are willing to spend when they are all together as a group.
More times than not, bridesmaid dress shopping is the first time that all of your girls are meeting one another. Plan to go out for lunch or drinks after to celebrate finding that perfect dress for everyone.