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The Bride's guide to choosing Bridesmaid Dresses
After the wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses are the most important dresses you will choose for your wedding day. These dresses are to be worn by the women most dear to you; your sisters and close friends who are very important in your life and your wedding. The dresses you choose for them will also contribute to the wedding theme, as it will make a huge visual impact on your guests. Hence, bridesmaid dress selection is not to be taken lightly.
Most brides will have at least three bridesmaids. Picking out a dress that will suit their different skin tones, body frames and budgetary constraints is difficult. Nevertheless, being an enlightened shopper and involving your bridesmaids in the selection can help you make a better choice. Here are the most important aspects to consider when making your decision. Color: Bridesmaid dress collections come in a dizzying array of colors, so you can find almost any color you want. The common practice is to choose colors that tie to the wedding theme. However, you should remember that not all colors suit all skin tones equally. Different colors suit different skin tones, and there are only few universally flattering colors, like navy, black and white, that look good on most complexions. In general, saturated colors and deep jewel tones work on most skin tones. The other option is to be flexible with the color palette, as this will allow your bridesmaids a certain amount of freedom in the dress color they choose.
Fit: Bridesmaids dress collections feature dresses in different silhouettes, hemlines, neckline styles and sleeve lengths. When choosing a dress, you should remember that not every cut will work for every body-type. The modified A-line silhouette, where the dress snugly fits the body up to the hips, and then continues into the A-shape, is a universally flattering style. The other choice is the empire-style that looks good on most body types. You can also choose a general theme and color, and allow your bridesmaids to make individual choices that work for them. By keeping the hemlines consistent, the overall look comes together easily.
Fabric: Like wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses come in different fabric and finishes. Chiffon, Georgette, Silk, Lace, Duchess Satin, Organza and Charmeuse are only some of the various available options. The choice of fabric dictates the finish of the dress. Chiffon and Georgette are light weight, soft, flowing and cool, making these fabrics ideal for daytime and outdoor weddings. Others like Satin and Charmeuse are heavy with a silky sheen, making it a good choice for formal night time weddings. The finish of a dress also determines its drape. Taffeta, Dupioni and voile are crisp and structured, while Chiffon and Jersey are soft with a lot of bounce.
Function: Bridesmaids are expected to be very active throughout the wedding day. They will be involved in tasks like helping the bride get ready and attending to wedding guests. Keeping these factors in mind, the ideal dress would be functional and pretty at the same time. It shouldn't wrinkle easily, nor should it hamper their movement. It should also be practical for the weather and the venue. Fabrics like chiffon and silk are good in summer and spring, while satin and velvet are better suited for autumn and winter. If you are considering strapless or short styles, make sure that your bridesmaids are comfortable wearing them, before making your decision.
Individual taste: Your bridesmaids will be most comfortable in dresses that suit their personal style and comfort level. It is a good idea to invite suggestions from your bridesmaids before you shop for their dresses, and make your choice based on their opinions. Although the final decision is yours, your friends will be happier if you consider their feedback.
Trends: Bridesmaid dress trends are constantly evolving, with updates that follow the general fashion scene every season. Most designers model their latest bridesmaids dress collections based on recent trends on the catwalk and runway. By choosing dresses that feature the latest trends, you can help your bridesmaids look modern and chic. Otherwise, stick to classic designs that your girls can reuse for other formal events. Although many brides choose to have matching dresses for their bridesmaids, the popular trend is to mix and match dresses, which makes things easier and interesting. You can either choose a designer and fabric, or a color, and let your bridesmaids pick any dress that fits this scheme.
Cost: The dress is one of the most expensive wedding-related purchases for a bridesmaid. A typical bridesmaid gown can cost anywhere between $150 and $250. Alterations and accessories are additional expenses. Also, this is only one of the many other costs they will have to bear, on account of your wedding. A considerate bride would be sensitive to everyone's financial situation, when choosing their dress. You should ask them to spend only a fair amount, and it is sensible to cover the difference in cost yourself, if you want a dress that is over their budget. Make use of special offers like discounts on bulk booking of dresses for your bridal party, or choose from dresses on sale to considerably save costs.
Complement the bride: Traditionally, the bridesmaid dress would match the bride's attire. This tradition is no longer followed, as brides in the white wedding dress usually stand out from the rest of the wedding party. Nonetheless, it would be odd if your bridal look was entirely different from that of the bridesmaids. The fabric and feel of the bridesmaids gowns should complement your wedding dress, so the overall look comes together style-wise. You can achieve this by matching specific elements of your wedding dress, like the neckline and embellishments, with the bridesmaids dresses. Remember that it isn't necessary that the dresses match your wedding gown exactly. Instead, aim to choose dresses that complement yours.
Match the wedding theme: Your bridesmaids contribute to the wedding theme in a significant way. Since they will be sharing the stage with you during the wedding ceremony and will be part of most of the wedding photographs, their outfits should match the wedding theme. If your chosen theme follows a specific color palette, like autumn colors or pastels, it is easy to pick your bridesmaids dress colors. You should also match their dress choice to the formality of the event and the venue where it is held, by picking a suitable fabric, silhouette and style. One option is to choose neutral colored dresses for your wedding party, and integrate them with the theme, by throwing in suitable accessories like shoes, jewelry, belts or wraps.
Making your bridesmaids happy: One of the biggest worries for bridesmaids is how hideous they will look in the dress chosen by the bride. While they do not want to upstage the bride, neither do they want to look ugly. You thus have a difficult task choosing dresses that match your wedding vision, while simultaneously ensuring that nobody is unhappy with your choice. When you go with a single choice in color and design, there is the risk that at least some of your bridesmaids may look pale, sick or fat in it. Your bridesmaids would prefer to have a say in what they will wear on your wedding day, and it is helpful if you are flexible in accommodating their preferences to a certain extent. Nevertheless, keep in mind that it is your special day, and you shouldn't compromise too much, just so everyone is happy.
Achieving a cohesive look: Whether you choose matching dresses for all your girls, or they are all in entirely different dresses, your ultimate aim is to have a cohesive look for the entire bridal party. Only then will your wedding be picture perfect. When you highlight each woman's individuality with a dress that she loves, the risk of having a disjointed bridal party increases. To eliminate this risk when you go with the mix 'n' match option, follow these pointers.
Be flexible: To easily find dresses that work together, be open-minded when looking at options. Be prepared to consider dresses that aren't identical, if you can't find a single choice that works for all your bridesmaids. Mix and match styles, so it is easier to find dresses that match the theme, while keeping your girls happy. Additionally, if your bridesmaids lose or gain weight during your engagement period, reconsidering your original options will save your sanity and make things a lot easier for everyone.
Take note of bridesmaids personal preferences: Your bridesmaids know that they will be footing the bill for a new dress, when they agree to take on the role. However, they needn't be too excited about it if the dress you choose is one that doesn't flatter them. If you give them the license to choose their dress based on a set of guidelines, your bridesmaids will be much happier. Include them in the decision, value their suggestions, and take them shopping with you; the result will be more enjoyable and productive. However, remember that it is your day. So, don't forget the big picture, as you try to satisfy everyone.
Choose designs and colors that flatter all body types: When you choose silhouettes and colors that flatter most body shapes and skin tones, the dresses will suit most of your bridal party. If your bridesmaids have differing skin tones, stay away from colors that may wash out or clash with any of their complexions or hair colors. When choosing silhouettes, either choose dresses in universally flattering styles or vary the choice according to the body type of your bridesmaids.
Mix it up: Each of your bridesmaids will have different dress sizes, body structures and also different personalities. Let their individuality shine, by allowing each of them to choose their dress that best suits their body shapes. When you have both petite and plus-size women, or women from different age groups in your bridal party, they will appreciate the option to pick their own style. You will also not have to worry about disappointing anyone with your unique choices.
Start early: Begin shopping for your bridesmaids dresses at least six months before your wedding date. This will allow sufficient time for the dresses to arrive and for alterations, so they perfectly fit. The alterations may be as simple as raising the hemline, or taking it in to fit correctly. Nevertheless, this will take time, and it is better your bridesmaids schedule their fitting appointments well ahead of the big day, so they get it done on time.
Include help: Bridesmaid dress selection is not easy, and as we have seen, there are several factors to figure in. Don't stress yourself out by handling everything on your own. Enlist the help of your maid of honor or another capable bridesmaid, so you can share responsibility for tasks like the selection process, placing orders and getting the dresses in on time. You can also delegate the responsibility of getting the bridesmaids to their fitting appointments, and choosing the accessories to your maid of honor.
At Best for Bride, we have bridesmaids collections to fit every budget and featuring dresses suitable for every body type, complexion and personality. Browse through the different designer collections we carry, and you are bound to enjoy the experience of finding the right dresses for every one of your favorite girls.