It might sound crazy to some people, but it was actually harder to choose my bridesmaids’ dresses, then it was to choose my wedding dress. It was very important to me that my bridesmaids’ dresses not only fit my theme and formality, but that my bridesmaids would be comfortable; and the dresses would be absolutely beautiful, to me, because I would be looking at my wedding pictures for the rest of my life.
Some Guidelines for Choosing the Perfect Bridesmaid Dress
Ø What is our color scheme?
o If, for some reason you can’t find dresses that are the same colors you’ve chosen for your wedding, look for dresses in a neutral color and include the colors in the bridesmaids’ bouquets. You could also look for a dress that is the same shade as your wedding color; for instance, if your color is royal purple and there isn’t a dress in that color, look for one in lavender and then use royal purple in the bouquet.
Ø How formal is my gown?
o If you are donning a satin ball gown, you don’t want your bridesmaids to be wearing a mini dress.
Ø What are my bridesmaids’ body types?
o A plus size bridesmaid won’t look as well in a non-structured dress, such as a sheath, while a dress with a bell shaped bottom can drown someone who is tiny.
Ø Do I want my maid of honor to wear something different?
o Some brides choose to have their maid of honor and matron of honor stand out from the bridesmaids. There are various ways to do this. You can have them wear a different dress that is the same color, the same dress in a neutral color, the same dress in a different shade, etc.
Shopping For Bridesmaid Dresses
Ø Find an easily accessible store for both yourself and your bridesmaids.
o While choosing a store, keep in mind that your bridesmaids will be going to the store for more than just paying for their dress. They will have at least two appointments for fittings (one to order the dress and one when the dress arrives from the designer’s warehouse).
o If you will have any out of town bridesmaids, you might want to make sure the store you choose can accommodate them. They will need to have the ability to take both measurements and payments over the phone.
Ø Do not bring all of your bridesmaids for your first appointment.
o In an effort to keep the peace, a lot of brides will want to bring all of their bridesmaids to pick out their dresses. This is a huge mistake. You will have so many opinions flying out at you that you will be unable to make a decision. This bridesmaid will want a strapless dress, while that one only wears short dresses. It will overwhelm you.
o For your first appointment, bring just your maid of honor and maybe your mother or one other guest who will be willing to give helpful suggestions. Then, after you have narrowed the decision down to a couple of dresses, you can bring your bridesmaids in to help with the final decision.
Ø Bring photos of dresses you like to your appointment.
o Most bridal shops have websites with pictures of the dresses that they carry. Print out these pictures or write down the item numbers and bring them with you.
o You can also look at different designers online and try to match the dresses from those designers you like with dresses that the store might carry. For instance, you might like an ankle length, halter, chiffon dress from a certain designer that the bridal store doesn’t carry, however, they may have a dress from another designer that is almost identical.
Ø Before you leave your first bridesmaid appointment, make sure you have all of the information needed to give out to your bridesmaids and to make your final decision.
o Prices and style numbers of your favorite bridesmaids’ dresses.
o Policy outline.
o All contact information.
Ø So you don’t lose your mind with all of the options out there, you will want to make a decision soon.
o Have a get together with all of your bridesmaids (maybe a movie night where you can all laugh at the movie “Bridesmaids” together)
o If, for some reason you can’t get everyone together, you can either text or email the designer’s name and the item numbers for the dresses to your bridesmaids and then have your bridesmaids look at the dresses online. You can also see if your bridal store will take care of this step for you and see if they will email pictures of the dresses to the bridesmaids.
Ø After ordering and paying for the bridesmaids’ dresses, make sure you are given a letter of agreement or contract with your receipt. It should include the following information:
o Your name and contact information, as well as the bridesmaid’s name and contact information.
o Salesperson name and contact information.
o Your wedding date.
o A detailed description of the dress (designer name and item number).
o Sizes or measurements the store is sending to the manufacturer.
o Written alterations list and estimate
o Approximate delivery date
o Number of fittings included in the price (if any)
o Amount of money owed on the dress
o Balance and due date
o Cancellation and refund policy
Whenever you are choosing the bridesmaids’ dresses for your wedding, keep in mind, this is your day. What do you like and what look are you going for? When I was shopping for the bridesmaids’ dresses for my wedding, a friend of mine gave me a huge piece of advice, which I will now share with you. Think about the very last wedding you were a guest at (only a guest, not a bridesmaid). What did the bridesmaids’ dresses look like? You probably don’t remember and most guests won’t remember that detail. They are too busy watching the bride and groom get married, as they should be. The only person who will care the day after your wedding, what your bridesmaids’ dresses looked like, will be you. You will be looking at pictures of your wedding for the rest of your life, so make sure you always make the decisions that are right for you. These are your memories so make sure they are awesome! Have a blessed week!
~ Christina Smith - Bridal Assistant