Charlotte Balbier’s wedding diary: styling the bridesmaids

Eight bridesmaids don't make for easy dress decisions, even for a bridal designer like Charlotte

Charlotte with one of her eight bridesmaids

One of my all-time favourite films is Bridesmaids. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve laughed until I’ve cried at the same hilarious scenes. The dynamics of the different bridesmaids is super funny and if you’re a bride with a large bridal party then you’ll surely relate to this film. I mean, fingers crossed your maids aren’t quite as extreme as the girls in the film, but I think most of us could have a Lillian or Annie moment at some point!
It’s probably enough to put some brides off having adult maids, but I’m an all or nothing kind of girl so I’ve decided to go large for the wedding. My choices for the bridal party were two bridesmaids (both family) or all of my closest girlfriends. So eight adult bridesmaids and two flowergirls later, I’ve got my own Bridesmaids-like group going on! This Sunday we had our first bridesmaids event (I say event, because with so many maids any kind of wedding soiree turns into something more than a simple meet-up) and the girls not only insisted I wore a bride-to-be badge all day but I even had balloons waiting for me at our lunch table! It’s made me slightly dread the thought of my hen party!


Along with designing my own dress, my mind has been buzzing with ideas on how to style my girls for the wedding. I think I’ll worry more about what they’ll be wearing than my outfit on the big day (oh, the hazards of being a bridal designer!). I guess it’s because it’s harder dressing eight people than just one. We’re talking eight figures, eight opinions and eight different sets of body hang-ups! So after lunch on Sunday, I invited all of my girls over to our HQ to spend the day with me in the showroom trying on dresses and accessories.

At least flowergirls are easy!

I only managed to have five of my eight bridesmaids present, but don’t despair – sometimes meeting with your maids in smaller groups makes dress fittings more productive. My three who were AWOL are each going to do a one-to-one with me at a later date. Another thing that can be difficult is finding one style that suits all, but there are two options on how to conquer this age-old problem. The first is to keep it simple and choose a style that flatters most shapes and sizes – you really can’t go wrong with an empire-line or A-line. The second option is to mix it up and style each maid in a different shape that they love – choose a fabric and just go from there. Putting ladies in dresses they love is a must to make sure they have a good time!

Once the style is sorted, then comes the colour. Thinking back to the beginning when Teddy and I first got engaged, I thought I had it all worked out – the wedding was going to be black tie and the bridesmaids were wearing black. But fast forward 18 months and I have literally changed my mind over 100 times. Every day I go from one look to another, glamorous and sultry to pared-down boho, traditional vintage to modern retro…  Then there’s the colours. Maybe pink (you know me well enough by now!) or a gold-mocha shade? Then again, why not keep it completely classic, as I’m a sucker for all-ivory weddings which the royals do so well. Oh, but there’s still black and who doesn’t love a flattering LBD… help!

The only way to succeed in keeping everyone happy, including me!, is to be a mix-it-up bride. I’ve already decided that each bridesmaid is going to choose to have their own hair and make-up done just how they want it, so maybe it makes sense to let them pick their own gown, too? Sunday’s marathon trying-on session was really fab and we have four front runners that both the girls and I like, so I guess it’s down to me to decide: is it eight of the same? Or each girl can wear any of those four styles?

Once that’s decided, I must MUST decide on a colour, because I’m driving myself crazy with layers and layers of colour swatches covering every inch of my desk. And until that’s done, I can’t even think about choosing décor, flowers and table decorations – with no colour scheme! Wow, this wedding malarkey is harder than I thought… anyone else in the same boat?
See you again next time,
Much love Charlotte xxx

(p.s. Maybe the trick is to just have mini maids? The one thing that has been super simple is deciding that my two gorgeous little flowergirls will wear princess-style dresses with masses of tulle. At least I know they’ll look adorable on the day!)


Photos taken by DSB Creative