If you thought finding the perfect wedding dress was hard work, just wait until it comes to finding bridesmaid dresses that fit your colour scheme, work for the season of your wedding AND that your bridesmaids love.
We’ve pulled together our top tips to make finding the perfect wedding dress an easy (and fun!) experience.
Start with research
Aimlessly wandering into bridal boutiques or along the high street might seem like a fun Saturday afternoon, but it can be overwhelming. There’s so much choice out there, so to stop yourself getting disheartened make sure you’ve spent some time working out what you you’re looking for.
Don’t feel like all of your girls need to be in the same colour. It’s a common misconception that all your girls have to be matching on the big day – try mismatched bridesmaid dresses to keep all of them happy, be they different colours in the same gown or the same colour in different styles.
There’s a long-running debate over who pays for the bridesmaid dresses; if you’ve kindly offered to pay for the gowns, set a clear budget for your bridesmaids. You don’t want anyone falling in love with a dress that is wildly over budget.
If this does happen, you could gently suggest that the bridesmaid pays the difference between your budget and the dress she wants.
Things to consider when choosing bridesmaid dresses
Fancy your girls in ’50s style strapless tea dresses but have booked a Scottish castle in December? You might have to rethink your vision. Moaning maids are not what you need on the happiest day of your life, so make sure the dresses are both pretty and practical.
TOP TIP: Go wedding dress hunting long before you start looking for your bridesmaids gowns. That way, you get your own special day without worrying about how your girls are feeling, and you’ll know exactly what will complement your frock.
In fact, purchasing bridesmaid dresses can be one of the last tasks on your wedding to-do list. This way, any changes to your girls’ figures (e.g. pregnancy) are less of an issue, and costly alterations can be avoided! You’ll also (hopefully) have the rest of your day sorted, so colour clashes won’t be an issue either.
Although the experience of going out and trying different pieces on can be super fun, the logistics aren’t always so easy. After visiting a few boutiques, consider bulk ordering a selection of gowns online, and trying them on in the comfort of your own home. It means your bridesmaids will feel comfortable and the low-pressure environment could mean they take to styles that they would usually dismiss. Win-win!
We cannot stress the importance of this! There’s nothing worse than trying on dresses when you’re wearing pants that don’t fit and a bra that doesn’t hold anything where it’s supposed to be. We recommend a nude strapless bra and thong (or seamless shorts) to ensure any dress style will look fabulous.
Don’t let bridesmaid accessories be an afterthought
The perfect pair of shoes or a fabulous statement necklace can transform an outfit. If your maids aren’t hugely enthusiastic about the dress you’ve picked for them, maybe give them a little more authority over their accessories. Many brides leave bridesmaid to wear whatever accessories they want, or just give a colour theme to stick to.
Beware of leaving accessory shopping to the last minute, though, especially if you’ve agreed to cover the costs. Last minute splurging on jewellery or clutch bags for your maids might not be in your budget. Do give them a budget, too, if they are choosing their own.
Be assertive when bridesmaid dress shopping
Ultimately, it’s your special day, and although you want your maids to feel happy and comfortable don’t forget that the executive decision is yours. Try not to be swayed into choosing dresses that aren’t to your taste or style – you’ve invited your girls to be part of one of the most important days of your life, and they should respect that.
Saying that, it’s not an excuse to make them look silly – we’ve all seen some of the, shall we say ‘statement styles’, that Katherine Heigl endured in 27 Dresses…
Like everything when it comes to wedding planning, it’s important not to get bogged down with the small stuff. Make a day of shopping with your bridesmaids – have a catch-up over cocktails or celebrate finding your perfect gowns with a dinner at the end of the day. The motto to follow? ‘Happy bridesmaids, happy bride!’