Bridesmaids dress shopping: 10 valuable tips

By on February 27, 2017

If you thought wedding gown shopping was stressful, just wait till you start looking for your bridesmaids dresses!

Finding the right dresses for all your girls, so they not only fit into the wedding scene beautifully, but are also satisfied with your choice, can be a little too difficult to achieve. It is a challenge alright, but one that is possible to deal with. And, we are here to help you with it today.

Go with these 10 tips listed here, and you will feel the stress of bridesmaid dress shopping lifted in a big way.

#1 Remember that one dress needn’t fit all

Unfortunately, there is no single dress style that will look good on every woman. Women are built differently, and every one of your bridesmaids will have her own unique built, height, size and color. So, choosing a single design for all your girls will usually end with one of them not looking too great. Also, it is no longer the trend to have matching bridesmaids. So, be ready to be flexible with your choices. Keep your mind on the big picture—you want a cohesive look that is interesting and attractive.

We suggest you look at dresses that are similar in two or three aspects and vary the rest of the features. For example, consider the same color and different designs, or different colors with the same design. You can also check out different dresses from the same designer collection. This way, the fabric colors will match, but your bridesmaids will each have their own unique look. One word of caution; don’t give your girls free reign to pick any dress that will fit the idea. This can end up becoming haphazard, and their overall look may not come together. It is better to stick to a certain set of criteria, and let your girls find dresses that suit them, while also meeting these requirements.

#2 Discuss budget upfront

Since your bridesmaids will be paying for the dress, you should discuss the budget with them, before you go shopping. Get a clear idea of what is the maximum they can afford to pay for their dress, and make sure you do not ask them to stretch it any further than that. Remember that the amount they suggest is usually inclusive of alterations and accessories, and it will be good if you can clarify this if you aren’t certain. Then, plan your shopping budget and do your dress research based on these numbers. Once you know the amount that your bridesmaids are ready to shell out for their dresses, you can search online. Look for collections that will give you what you want, in this range. Make the most of sales, discounts and offers.

At Best for Bride, we often offer discount on bulk bookings of more than a certain number of bridesmaids dresses. So, if you search around in advance and place your orders in one go, you will most likely be able to avail of such offers and help your girls get the best deal for their money. Also remember that it isn’t necessary that to use up all the money they are ready to spend. If you find dresses at a better bargain, I am sure they’ll appreciate it if they can keep the extra cash for themselves. So, be a considerate bride. Your bridesmaids will love you for it.

#3 Start early

Just like you spend months researching and planning your wedding day look, you will need plenty of time to find your bridesmaids dresses. So, start early, and do your research several months before the wedding. The benefit of starting early is that you can make the most of any sale or offer that comes up in the months leading up to the wedding. You should have sufficient time if you start seven to eight months before the actual date. Since you will already know what you want, it is just a matter of waiting for a good deal to come up. Research is a lot of fun, when you do it online, as you can see almost every dress that will be available in store, on the boutique website.

Once you order the dresses, you will still need time to have it altered and fitted, so it is perfect in time for your wedding day. 75% of women who buy bridesmaids dresses will need alterations. While this will mostly take just one appointment, it can also take two or more depending on the type of dress chosen. So, have your bridesmaids mark their calendars for dress appointments and alteration sessions well in advance, so everything progresses smoothly.

#4 Ask your girls for their inputs

Your bridesmaids may have ideas of what they would like to wear to your wedding. Welcome their opinions. Whether you take it or not is up to you, but it won’t hurt to ask. You can share your own vision of how you expect them to dress on the day, and then ask them for their suggestions. There are several digital apps like Pinterest and Evernote, where you can share pictures and ideas with each other. So, use this to streamline and collate all the information that your friends would like to share with you.

If there are certain styles that your bridesmaids would rather not wear at all, eliminate these from your selection. Not all girls are comfortable wearing strapless dresses or ones that are too short. So, stay away from such choices unless you know they won’t mind wearing it. The same goes for colors too. Not all colors may look good with all skin tones, and if your bridesmaid is worried that she will look sickly or washed out in a particular hue, it will be good if you choose an alternative that will work. If there are silhouettes that they think would be best on them, you can plan the overall look based on it. When you know their preferences, you can choose a dress that they will get the best out of. Dresses in universally flattering colors and in silhouettes like A-line or with V-necklines look good on most body types.

#5 Go shopping by yourself the first time

This is a simple way of ensuring that your opinions are not side-lined, and you can actually see what is available. Book the first appointment with the salon and attend it by yourself or just with a friend, say, your maid of honor. We think this is essential, because some dresses that you may have shortlisted online, may look entirely different when seen directly.

So, rather than hauling all your girls down and discovering this, it helps if you do a test run yourself and make sure that what you had in mind is what you see in person. If you do not have any specific designs in mind, and intend to go with what is available in shop, you can discuss your ideas one-on-one with the shop assistant, and find out what she has to suggest. Bring the girls in later, and the actual appointment will be a lot easier. Remember that it has to be your decision finally, so prepare for the options and you will make it in a much wiser way.

#6 Ask your girls to mark their calendars, well in advance

Not all your bridesmaids may be the super-organized or easily available. So, every extra inch of time will help you with your bridesmaid dress shopping. Once you have a general idea of what you want, or perhaps have even picked out the lot that your bridesmaids will be selecting from, don’t delay getting your girls to the shop. Fix a date and ask them to make themselves available at the said time.

If you have a relatively large bridal party, with more than 4 or 5 bridesmaids, it may be a good idea to break them up into two lots. This will help you focus on those who are there at each appointment, rather than make it a noisy and busy affair. Our suggestion is that you make your picks during your first appointment session and only show these to the bridesmaids, to choose from. This way, there will be no chances of swaying too far from your opinion, and you will get the cohesive effect you wanted, in the end. Once the dresses are picked, the shop assistant will measure your girls and suggest alterations. So, schedule their fitting appointment right away, so you can get that out of the way.

#7 Delegate duties to your most reliable friends

With a wedding to happen, we know how you will be buried under wedding planning tasks. Remember that you needn’t handle each and every detail by yourself. This is why you have a Maid of Honor and bridesmaids in your team. Delegate the responsibility of getting the girls to their dress fitting appointments, paying their dress bills on time and receiving their dresses in time for the wedding. It will be one job off your shoulders, and you can spend the saved time on something else that deserves personal attention.

If your Maid of Honor isn’t the right person to handle this task, there should be someone else on the bridesmaid team, who can do it for you. Hand over this responsibility to her instead. To be on the safe side, make sure that you check on the arrangements once in a while, so everything progresses as per plan and your bridesmaids all have their dresses in time for the wedding.

#8 Don’t stress too much over your decision

If you are the ultimate perfectionist, we know how you can easily feel overwhelmed by the hundreds of choices out there. Yes, wedding planning is a little monster, where you never know for sure whether the choice you made was actually the best one available. But, don’t sweat it!

At least in some areas, good enough is enough! So, don’t loose sleep over your bridesmaids dress selections too much. Take it light and go with what you think is good without too much deliberation. Make the most of your inspiration boards and what your shop assistant suggests, and it will most likely work out well.

#9 Accessories will complete the look

The overall look will also be determined by the accessories you chose for your bridesmaids. You have to choose bouquets, jewelry and shoes. Reusable choices are the best, as it will help your friends make their money go further. Choose neutral colors and designs that flatter everyone on the team. You can even mix and match them up, so each girl has her distinct look but still blends in well with the rest of the team.

If you feel uncertain about your dress choice, you can always dress it up or down by the apt choice of accessories. If your bridesmaids dresses were expensive, it would be very considerate if you pay for the accessories. This could double up as your bridesmaids gift too. Work with your imagination and draw inspiration from the various pictures you may have seen in magazines and online. Make sure that the accessories, hair and makeup, all come together and look attractive and suitable for your wedding theme.

#10 Remember you cannot always make everyone happy

Your bridesmaids may not always be happy with what you want them to wear. If this is the case, you may feel worried about forcing your choice on them. If you have tried your best by choosing within budget, adjusting your priorities to accommodate their likes and cannot help any further, just stop trying to make it work!

Bridesmaids should realize that it is the bride’s likes that get priority, and that they were prepared to accept it when they signed up for the role. So, don’t feel too guilty as you have to stick to your vision of how the wedding day should look and be. It’s your lifetime celebration after all, and you don’t want it to be different from what you always wanted, just because your friends aren’t too happy with your decision.

At Best for Bride, we have a comprehensive and extensive collection of bridesmaids dresses from several designers. Check it out today, and we are sure you will find dresses for all your bridesmaids in our collection.

About Olga Pomeransky

Olga is manager at Best for Bride since 2005. Currently Best for Bride operates 4 bridal stores in Canada (Toronto, Etobicoke, Hamilton and Barrie). Best for Bride sells wedding, bridesmaids, mob dresses and more. http://www.BestForBride.com

2 Comments

  1. sobby14@yahoo.com'

    Elva Haley

    June 21, 2017 at 10:18 AM

    I am not going to worry about these dresses at all. I really want my friends to look and feel great, but I am going to let them choose their own option from an approved pool of dresses.

  2. sobby14@yahoo.com'

    Carol Anderson

    July 30, 2017 at 8:56 AM

    I agree that one should shop alone the first time. Getting out there to just check out things is a great way to get the ball rolling and when you are ready to try dresses on, then invite the friends for more support.

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