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The complete month-by-month wedding planning timeline

Wedding planning

Only a handful of brides have the unbelievable ability for successful short-term wedding planning. However, if you are like most women, you may take a year or more to sort out all aspects of wedding planning.

So, there is no exact timeline to plan a perfect wedding.

Nonetheless, you need a plan! Even if you are an easy-going bride who somehow gets things done in the nick of time.

If you have already planned a wedding, you will need some direction and guidance on what needs to be done.

Don’t you agree?

So, here is a practical wedding planning timeline and month-by-month checklist of all the different tasks that it involves. Use it as such or as a reference to create your own personalized wedding plan and you simply cannot go wrong.

Note: This wedding planning timeline is created for the “average” engagement period, which is a whole year. However, you can adjust it to divide and conquer all the relevant, tasks even if your engagement is longer or shorter.

When you have 12 months left

Wedding budget
Wedding finances

Freshly engaged and still reeling from the thrill of the beautiful proposal? Indulge yourself in the ecstasy of this milestone chapter in your life, for it happens just once.

Have a party, take a holiday; all you need to celebrate! Then, get down to business!

Start your wedding planning process with the following tasks.

Prepare the Wedding Budget

Weddings are expensive affairs, and this is the right time to discuss finances with your fiancé.

Calculate the maximum amount you can afford to spend. Then, divide the funds into different expenses. Some of the important factors to consider at this point are:

  • Who pays for the wedding? Are your families/other generous relatives contributing? If so, how much will they be paying?
  • What are your priorities—venue, décor, entertainment, food, honeymoon?
  • What tools will you use to jot down and track expenses? Do you prefer the pen and paper route, spreadsheets or a budget planning app?

This useful budget planning tool will help you create an estimate and break it down into different aspects.

Plan the guest list

It is never too early to sort out your guest list as the number of guests will determine important aspects like the choice of venue and food. So, you must have at least a rough idea of how many guests will be attending the wedding.

If your parents are contributing, it is only fair that they also get to invite some guests. Compile the lists from your partner, parents and yourself to get a total headcount. If there are more people than you can afford, this is the time to negotiate and arrive at a reasonable number.

To hire a wedding planner or not

Do you think you are better off entrusting your wedding planning or at least certain aspects of it to a wedding planner? If so, this is the right time to find an event planner.

Hiring a wedding planner is expensive. However, it may be the best option if you cannot dedicate time for wedding planning.

So, weigh your options and if you decide to hire someone, do it right away.

Fix the date, plan the theme and book your venue

Good venues get booked fast. So, don’t delay in making your booking.  

You can either choose a theme and tour venues that match the vibe or pick the venue first and then think of a suitable theme.

Don’t worry about the specifics at this stage of wedding planning. Instead, focus on finding a venue that will accommodate your guest list and falls within budget.

11 months left

Wedding decor

You still have plenty of time left. Tackle the following tasks during this month.

Choose your wedding party members

Don’t wait longer to choose your Maid of Honor, bridesmaids, best man, and groomsmen. Then pop the question to them and finalize your wedding party list.

Look for inspiration

You can now start planning the smaller details of your wedding. Turn to Pinterest, magazines and any other sources that can help you with this task. Prioritize the following tasks during this month:

  • Fixing the colors in your wedding theme
  • Narrowing down your décor and food choices

Work on your wedding website

A wedding website is a brilliant resource that will help you compile and share all relevant information about the wedding, with your guests.

You can inform them about the venue address, wedding day timeline, wedding registry information and even photos using such a portal.

Check out this post on A Practical Wedding website for the essential etiquette rules that you should stick to when designing a website.

Plan your entertainment, food, and décor

The following questions will help you with wedding vendor selection:

  • Do you want a band or DJ for the reception? And are there any specific artists you wish to hire?
  • What type of décor would you prefer? More importantly, think of the floral details you want it will soon be time to choose a florist.
  • What type of food should be served at your wedding? Do you prefer a full four-course meal a buffet? Accordingly, find caterers who can deliver to your expectations.
  • What type of photography do you like most? Read up on the different types of wedding photography styles and choose your favorite. Then look for photographers who specialize in your chosen style, contact them for their prices and move on to the next stage.

Start thinking about your wedding dress

Dress shopping is one of the best parts of wedding planning. However, wedding dress orders typically take six to nine months to be delivered. So, you will have to start shopping for your wedding dress shortly. Make the task easy by preparing for it.

Read up on wedding dress trends and familiarize yourself with wedding dress lingo. There is a ton of information online. So, use the resources at your disposal to become familiar with all that you should know about wedding dress shopping.

Also, use this time to shortlist boutiques that carry gowns in the price range you can afford. You can contact them right away and fix your bridal dress appointment in the coming month.

10 months left

Vendor selection
Wedding Vendor selection

By now, you should have booked or at least finalized the venue, decided on the type of entertainment, food, and décor you want and have a headcount for guests. Let us now move on to the remaining tasks.

Hire the wedding officiant, caterer, photographer, and other important vendors

Your officiant, photographer, DJ/band and caterer are crucial to creating great memories of your special day. So, it is important that you are comfortable and strike a good rapport with your chosen vendors.

Since good vendors tend to get booked quickly, make your choices quickly. Book a tasting session with the caterer if necessary. Similarly, ask for previous performance records from your DJ and band. You can also consider getting engagement photographs taken, to assess how good your photographer is.

Do your research, make your final decision and put down the deposit. You can then cross this task off your wedding list.

Work on your wedding invitation and send out save-the-date cards

Wedding invitations come in a stunning variety of styles. You can also have custom wedding invitations, but these involve a lot of time and effort. Decide on your preferences and start looking for suitable choices.

If your wedding is during peak season or it is a destination wedding, you can send out save-the-date cards right now or in a month, so your guests have enough time to make plans.  

9 months left

Wedding dress shopping
Wedding dress shopping

Your wedding is approaching, and it is now time to start planning the bigger (even game-changing) aspects of your wedding day. Let’s find out what they are

Go shopping for your wedding dress

Start your wedding shopping now and you will have ample time to complete the entire process. Not only should you be able to explore your options in different stores but you can also save on rush fees.

If you place your order at least 6 to 9 months before the wedding, you can conveniently schedule alterations and accessories selection. So, book your appointment and get on with it already.

Visit this post for all that you need to prepare well for the task.

Set up your gift registry

Your guests will begin thinking about gifts as soon as they receive your invitation. So, it will be helpful if your gift registry is set up by then.

To decide what should go on your registry, discuss with your partner about your personal preferences, hobbies and how you expect your lifestyle after marriage to be. Accordingly, plan your wedding registry and register yourself at your chosen retailers.

Also, add your registry information to your wedding website. This is a smart way to pass on the information to your wedding guests.

8 months left

Bridesmaid
Bridesmaid

You are nearing the half-way mark and you should ideally have tackled most of the time-sensitive tasks by now. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of work left to do.

Book rooms for out-of-town guests

Your guests will appreciate it if you can help them plan their stay if they are coming from far. Hotel rooms tend to be full during peak season. So, book your rooms well in advance.

Since your guests will be paying their own bills, it is a good idea to look for hotels in different price ranges. Share the details with them and block the rooms as soon as they confirm.

Contact rental companies

If you must need tables, chairs, music systems, lighting or anything else at the venue, this is the time to take quotes from rental companies and book their services.

Time to look for bridal party outfits

Now that you have placed the order for your own wedding dress, move on to outfits for the rest of your wedding party. Consult your bridesmaids or go with your instincts to choose the color, style, and other details.

Do your research on the places where the dresses are available at reasonable prices. Then book an appointment to explore your options.

Once you shortlist the dresses, you should take your bridesmaids along to see how they look in these dresses. You can then go ahead with placing the order.

Plan your honeymoon

Before you know it, you will too busy to plan your honeymoon. So, plan your honeymoon budget without delay and select a suitable location. Book your accommodation and travel, so that is out of the way.

7 months left

Florist
Florist

Here are the tasks to tackle this month.

Book the rehearsal dinner venue

Now is the time to plan the rehearsal dinner. Consult your fiancé to find a convenient venue for the wedding. Also, decide whether you want it to be a casual-style dinner or a formal setting.

Meet your wedding officiant

Some couples prefer to hire a professional officiant to oversee the wedding ceremony. Others keep it casual by asking a family member or friend to do it.

Either way, you should meet with them prior to the wedding and map out the ceremony. Also, check whether all the legal documentation is sorted out.

Arrange transportation

Plan and arrange transportation to and from the venue. Contact cab operators to hire a limo, vintage car or any other form of transportation. This is also the time to look for mini-van rentals, individual cab services or bigger vehicles if you plan to arrange transportation for your guests.

Meet your florist

By now, you should have a good idea of how your wedding décor will be. You should also be aware of the individual bouquets you will need for yourself and the bridesmaids. Share this information with your florist and ensure you are both in agreement regarding the plans.

6 months to go

Wedding rings
Wedding rings

You are the half-way mark and with very little time left. There is no time to lose!

Order your wedding rings

Shop for wedding rings with your partner this month. Remember that you will be wearing these rings all your life. So, make your decision wisely.

If you would like to have them engraved or custom-made, you still have plenty of time. Also, opt for durable and reliable choices that are not high-maintenance.

Shop for your groom’s suit

Remind your fiancé to go shopping for his wedding day outfit. Whether he is renting or buying, he will need time to go around and find the best options.

5 months to go

wedding invitation
Wedding Invitation

With just a few more months till D-day, it is time to get on with the more important aspects.

Collect and start addressing invitations

You will have to send out your wedding invitations next month. However, they will all have to be addressed before posting. This is a time-consuming task. Get on with it while you still have time to breathe. Simultaneously create an RSVP list, as it will help you to mark your guest replies later.

Time for premarital counseling

If you are getting married in a religious setting and premarital counseling is necessary, schedule it for this month. Even if it isn’t compulsory, attending a pre-marital session is often helpful. So, give it some serious thought.

4 months left

Wedding cake
Wedding cake

We are nearly there and there’s still so much to do.

Go shopping

You need to buy more than just your wedding dress. There are accessories, make-up and undergarments to shop for. You also need outfits for your rehearsal dinner, bachelorette party and honeymoon. Finally, you should get gifts for your bridesmaids. Don’t wait for the last minute.

Create a shopping list and schedule shopping trips for all that you need to buy.

Order your wedding cake

The wedding cake is a very important aspect of the wedding. And you have so many options to choose from these days. Selecting the wedding cake can be a demanding task since you not only have to choose the right flavors but also pick the design for it.

Get recommendations from friends and family and find a professional wedding cake. Remember that you will have to find time for cake-tasting sessions. It sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

You will also have to attend a meeting or two with the caterer to discuss your design expectations and sign-off on the chosen design.  

Sort out the groomsmen’s outfits

This is also the right time to start looking for groomsmen outfits. If they will be renting their tuxes, they should make the booking now.

Plan the guests’ favors

You want to tie the wedding favors to the theme of the wedding and find those that fit your budget. Explore your options and start negotiating with vendors to find the best choices for your budget. Then place your order.

Some brides prefer DIY wedding favors. If you plan to take this route, remember that it will take time. Dedicate reasonable blocks of time in your calendar to the task, so you don’t end up overworking yourself at the last minute.

3 months

Wedding food

You are nearly there. So, let’s pick up the pace.

Finalize the menu

Now that you are so close to the wedding, you can inform your caterer of your final menu choices. You may also like to look at the seasonal ware to decide the best menu options.

Write your vows

If you will be writing your vows, it is high time to start thinking of it. Here is some help to come up with memorable and impactful vows. Once you complete it, you can also practice them. This will help you fine-tune it till it is perfect for when you must say it aloud.

Check on your vendors

By now, you should have everything in place for the wedding. You should have hired entertainment, photographer, caterer, florist, transportation, and cake. Confirm your bookings and make sure that there is no confusion regarding the date and schedule with each of them.

Send out invitations

Mail invitations at least six to eight weeks before the wedding. Also, set the RSVP date a month before the wedding. This will leave you enough time to plan the seating arrangement and also to accommodate for any last-minute changes to the guest list.

Create your schedule for the remaining days

You will have your wedding dress fittings, bachelorette party and meetings with vendors in the coming months. Avoid getting overwhelmed with all the activity by setting up a timeline for yourself where each activity is properly spaced out.

2 months to go

Wedding party

We are counting down now. Few more tasks to go!

Send out rehearsal dinner invites

It is just a few guests at the rehearsal dinner. Nevertheless, you want to get it right as it is a practice for the actual reception. Invite all concerned parties to the event and inform them of how formal it is.

Have your hair and makeup trial

Organize your hair and makeup trial with your chosen hairdresser and make-up artist. It is highly likely that your wedding dress fitting will also be this month if you booked it early. So, plan your hair and makeup sessions in such a way that it coincides with your dress fitting appointment. That way, you can see how the overall look comes together.

Start your wedding dress fittings

You should ideally have your first wedding dress fitting this month and the next one in the coming month. This will leave you plenty of time to get your dress ready in time for the wedding. Confirm your appointment slot and contact the seamstress to schedule your fitting.

Get your papers in order

Six weeks is a good time to apply for your wedding license. If you are getting married abroad, check for legal requirements and ensure the paperwork is taken care of.

Check with your wedding party on their dresses

Your bridesmaids should receive their dresses this month and schedule alterations.

Entrust the task of following up on the progress to your MOH or handle it yourself. Just make sure that nobody is left out and that there are no confusions later.

Finalize your wedding day songs or playlist with your DJ or band

Review the playlist with your DJ or band. If you have any last-minute ideas or changes to make, you can check with them right away.

They should still have enough time to accommodate changes if it isn’t anything major.

Just a month to go

Wedding planning
Wedding planning

In the last few weeks leading up to the wedding, you should be equipped to handle just the final closing details of the wedding tasks. Let us look at what they are.

Plan your seating chart

You should have the complete guest list by the first week of this month. Now that you know who all will be attending, set up the seating chart.

Arrange vendor payments

Whether you will be paying your vendors after the wedding or just before it, make sure that the funds are ready so you can settle the amount as and when necessary. Also, track the expenses to make sure that they are all accounted for and there is no confusion later.

When making payments in cash, entrust the task to a trusted aide who will handle the payment, so you can concentrate on being the bride.

Sort out your accessories

Don’t wait till the day before your wedding to finalize and arrange all your jewelry, accessories and make-up essentials. Put aside a dedicated bag or space in your room where you can neatly arrange them as and when time permits.

This way you will have everything set out when it is finally time to get ready on the wedding day.

Get your emergency wedding day kit ready

Find out all about what your emergency kit should contain in this post. Whether you decide to buy it readymade or collect all the materials yourself, have everything in place at least a week before the wedding.

Attend the final dress fitting and collect your dress

Your wedding dress should be perfect and ready to wear in the week leading up to your wedding. Take your bridesmaid with you to the final fitting, so the consultant can brief her on how to bustle the dress, in case it is required.

Once you collect the dress from the salon, place it in a safe, low-traffic area of your house where it isn’t prone to moisture, insects or stains.

Confirm all arrangements

Cross-check that everything is progressing as per plan with your vendors, wedding party and photographer. Confirm all arrangements and entrust responsibilities to designated wedding party members.

Run the day-of plan with the main crew at your wedding, so they are all aware of when and where to be and what to do.  Also, hand out wedding bands and other items to the responsible members of the wedding party and give them instructions about their responsibilities in this regard.

Pack your honeymoon bag

Since you will most likely be heading off on your honeymoon immediately after the wedding, keep your honeymoon bag ready and packed to go. This should be one of the final tasks to handle, but it is important nonetheless.

Put someone in charge of getting the gown to the cleaners

Your honeymoon cannot wait. However, cleaning your wedding gown cannot wait either.

Assign the task of taking the gown to the cleaners to a trusted bridesmaid, so it doesn’t have to wait till you are back from your honeymoon. Book your cleaning in advance, so the drycleaners have your slot ready. For more details, visit this post.

Make a checklist

It is a good idea to create a checklist for the wedding eve and wedding day and distribute copies to your MOH and best man. Assign relevant tasks to your wedding crew and brief them on their responsibilities.

Make sure that you have very few tasks to handle by yourself, so you can be fully involved in the wedding day activities and enjoy every moment to the fullest.

Break in your shoes and prep for your wedding day

Avoid the discomfort of wearing new shoes by breaking in your shoes during the last few days before the wedding. Also, book yourself a manicure, pedicure and facial to relax, de-stress and look great. This is also the time to touch up your hair color, trim your hair and do all your last-minute beauty prep.

To wrap up…

Follow this schedule when planning your wedding and you will not overlook any aspect. Finally, if things get too hectic or don’t go as per plan, take it easy, sit back and reassess the situation. You will mostly find an alternative solution that works out just as well.

Keep in mind that your wedding day will be over before you know it and it will be a pity if you were too busy to enjoy it.

For help with most aspects of your wedding, including the all-important decision of wedding dress selection, visit us at Best for Bride. We will help you celebrate this milestone lifetime event in the perfect dress of your dreams. Contact us today to book your appointment.

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The definitive guide to bridesmaid dress shopping

bridesmaid dresses

Bridesmaid dress shopping is an indispensable and important aspect of your wedding planning.

bridesmaid dresses

Choosing the right dresses for your wedding party members involves unique challenges such as finding dresses that your bridesmaids approve, that also work with the wedding theme.

So, bridesmaid dress shopping may even end up being more demanding than wedding dress shopping itself! However, with proper preparation and planning, you can tackle bridesmaid dress shopping efficiently.

This comprehensive guide to bridesmaid dress shopping will discuss all that you need for stress-free bridesmaid dress shopping.

So, let’s get started!

Preparation for Bridesmaid dress shopping: Decisions to make

Did you know that the actual shopping process begins much before your bridesmaids set foot in a shop?

Ideally, you should start planning bridesmaid dress shopping at least six months before the wedding.

This will give you enough time to finalize the selection criteria, co-ordinate with your girls and fix shopping appointments and book alterations when the dresses arrive.

So, let us look at the different steps to consider during the preparation stage.

What is the budget?

Being chosen as a bridesmaid comes with many perks. However, at least some of your girls may worry about one aspect—the expenses they must bear.

According to this survey by the Knot, the average bridesmaid dress costs $150. It may be higher or lower based on the bride’s preferences.

Make it easy for your bridesmaids by asking them what they are comfortable spending. Accordingly, fix the budget and restrict choices to dresses in this range.

If the price is a severe constraint, here are some practical ideas to save on bridesmaids dresses.

Who makes the final choice?

Gone are the days when the bride would choose a single dress for all her bridesmaids. Modern brides are fashion-conscious and acknowledge the fact that their bridesmaids would like to be consulted about their preferences.

If you are really flexible, you can even let your bridesmaids pick their dresses themselves. However, there is a challenge!

When you give them free rein, the final look may not be cohesive.

Avoid this issue by specifying two to three guidelines. Choose from color, fabric type, length, neckline style or sleeve style.

The other option is to take the whole group shopping at the same time and ensure that the final decision is yours.

When to go shopping?

Bridesmaid dress shopping should be completed months ahead of the wedding. Play it safe and book the session four to six months in advance.

Talk to your bridesmaids and schedule their appointment in such a way that it is convenient for most of the crew.

For bridesmaids who stay far away, you can even explore the option of buying their dress at a different store that is near their place. This will make the collection and alterations much easier.

Where to buy?

The best place to shop for bridesmaid dresses is at a real store. However, it is important to shop at least a few months before the wedding. Stores require time to place your order with the manufacturer and get it delivered.

When you decide to shop at a real store, you can touch and see samples prior to ordering. Your bridesmaids can also try on the dresses to see how it looks on their bodies. This eliminates confusion regarding the quality of the fabric, dress style and choosing the wrong size.

Nonetheless, there are certain challenges when you decide to take the girls shopping. Let us look at what they are and how to tackle them.

To invite all the bridesmaids or not?

If you will be making the final decision regarding your bridesmaid dresses, you will have to go shopping with them. However, it is a bad idea to take all your bridesmaids with you for the first appointment.

Too many opinions can result in chaos and you may end up more confused than before.

Instead, take someone you trust (like your Maid of Honor or mother) when you first visit the boutique. Share your vision with the shopping consultants.

Also, remember that your bridesmaids will have different body types and complexions. Discuss these factors with the sales team.

With their help, narrow down your choices to a few dresses. Make your choices in such a way that there is something suitable for everyone.

These will be the ones that your bridal crew will finally try on. At the next appointment, include all your bridesmaids and help them make the final decision.

Sizing issues and other challenges

When placing the order, your sales consultant will measure the girls and select the size that is closest to their measurements. Since sizing charts are different from those for regular clothes, their bridesmaid dress size will differ from their regular dress size.

Remember that it will be easier to take in a big dress than add extra inches to one that is too small. Choose accordingly.

In the rare case that a bridesmaid is unable to go shopping and you should order on her behalf, choosing the correct size can be a problem. Ask her to get measured by a professional seamstress to ensure you are given accurate measurements to choose the right size.

Once the dresses arrive, each bridesmaid will need one or two alteration sessions to get the dress to fit correctly. Alterations will typically take one to two weeks.

Factor this into the bridesmaid dress shopping schedule. Be considerate of their schedules when planning their fitting appointments.

Now that we have looked at the different challenges you will face during the preparation stage, let us move on to the more interesting task—the actual dress selection.

Getting down to business: Actual bridesmaid dress selection

Once you have fixed the budget and where and when to shop for your bridesmaid dresses, you are ready to begin the actual selection process.

As we discussed earlier, you have two options: either join the bridal party when they go shopping or let your bridesmaids handle the task themselves.

Irrespective of which option you choose, you must guide your bridesmaids towards suitable dresses by supplying a few specifications. Let us look at the various factors that you should consider in this regard.

Choosing colors and styles: factors to consider

Although it isn’t necessary that all the bridesmaids should wear the same color, it is essential that the dress colors match the color palette of your wedding.

If your central colors are bold and bright, it may not flatter all your bridesmaids. In such a situation, you may like to look at dresses in neutral colors. Not only will this complement your bridal look, but it will also blend with any theme.

The bridesmaid dress choices should also complement the bridal gown in terms of fabric and style. This will ensure that your bridal portraits with the wedding party will look splendid. So, complete your wedding gown shopping to go bridesmaid dress shopping.

When choosing your bridesmaid dress color, remember that flexibility is key to a good-looking wedding party. By being open-minded you can find dresses that flatter all your girls, which also tie with the overall wedding theme. For more insight on how this works, watch this video

With proper planning, you can use different dresses to create a dynamic, but attractive wedding party. Here are some practical mix and match ideas to make this happen.

Same color, different dress styles

Give each of your bridesmaids a distinct look by choosing dresses with different style elements. You can vary the silhouette, neckline details, sleeve length, and even hemline to make this happen.

Then tie together their different styles with color. You can ensure that the color remains the same throughout the group by picking different dresses from the same collection.

The result will be fabulous!

Same dress style, different colors

Most designer bridesmaid dresses are available in a range of colors. So, choose different colors for each of your girls.

With this option, the group will look very lively. The bonus is that you can pick colors that suit each of your bridesmaid’s skin tones.  Since you are varying only the color and the rest of the dress design remains the same, you needn’t worry about cohesiveness.

Variations of the same color

Here’s another variation of the first idea we discussed. In this option, you settle on a single color, say purple. Then have your girls choose dresses in different shades of blue. So, you can have dresses in purple, lavender, plum, and periwinkle. The base color will unify the group while each of the girls enjoys her own unique look.

Prints of a type

Printed dresses are all the rage now. So, if you want to enhance the overall style quotient of your group, consider printed dresses. To unify the group, specify the type of print (You can choose from florals, geometric designs, animal prints, etc.) This is also an excellent way to highlight the theme of the wedding through their choice of outfits.

Using the same texture

By choosing the same fabric, you can again create an elegant mix and match effect. Fabrics like lace, chiffon, net or velvet have their own individuality. Choose different colors or styles while keeping the texture similar and you will have a winning combination.

Another unique challenge when choosing dresses for a bunch of ladies is to ensure that it flatters each one of them. After all, you want all your wedding party members to look their best on your special day.

How to find dresses that flatter different body types

Look at your bridal party and you will see that no two women are alike in terms of body structure.

Nature has blessed each woman with her specific body shape.

Body types are basically divided into four: apple, pear, hourglass and rectangle. Each of these body types has its own favorable aspects and some not-so-desirable ones. And this varies from one type to the other.

Hence, a dress style that flatters a specific body type may not look good on another one.  Since the women in your group will each have different body types, it is unlikely that any random dress style will flatter all of them.

So, you have two options:

  • Mix and match silhouettes, so each woman gets a dress that suits her specific body type.
  • Opt for universally flattering styles that will look good on most of the women.

Let us look at each of these in closer detail.

Mix and match silhouettes

The ideal dress style for any body type will highlight the best assets while distracting from the less desirable ones. The dress would also create a balanced structure that resembles an hourglass.

For an apple body type, the upper torso is more prominent. To balance the lower half, it is necessary to choose dresses that create the illusion of a waistline and more volume to the slender proportions of the lower body.

On the other hand, a pear body type has thicker hips. To balance the shape, it becomes necessary to enhance the upper body with a textured yoke.

So, if you have a pear-shaped and apple-shaped bridesmaid, the same dress silhouette would not suit both.

In such cases, consider mixing up silhouettes to flatter these individual body shapes. Keep two or three factors in the dresses similar for overall cohesiveness.

Universally flattering styles

Sometimes, you may simply not have the time or energy to find dresses that flatter each of your bridesmaids. Otherwise, it could be that you prefer to finish off the task faster by choosing a single dress style for all the bridesmaids.

In such cases, it is best to play it safe with universally flattering dress styles. These dresses will look good on almost all body types and your girls will be less likely to complain.

Let us look at some of these options:

Flutter sleeves

When your bridesmaids are from different age groups, have different body types and are of different heights, choose dresses with flutter sleeves and it will suit everyone.

Not only does this result in a modest look, but it is also elegant and flatters almost any woman.

Midi-length skirt

Midi dresses end between the knee and the calf. The benefit of this length is that it is slimming and elongates your legs.

Keeping it below knee-length makes it ideal for women who aren’t fond of showing much skin. This length will also draw attention to their shoes, making it another attractive factor. You can have the exact hemline altered to hit the best part of the leg for each girl.

Fit and flare silhouettes

This dress style is fitted around the torso and flares out from the waistline. It is a universally flattering dress style that creates the illusion of a slim waistline when there isn’t any. It also highlights the waist area in a good way.  

Hence, it is a style that works for both pear and apple-shaped women. Fit and flare dress styles create a curvy figure for a rectangle body type while emphasizing the slender waistline of an hourglass figure. Hence it is a win-win for all body types.

Bridesmaid dress shopping based on season and formality

When choosing bridesmaids dresses, be mindful of the weather conditions at the time of your wedding. Make decisions regarding the dress fabric, hemline and sleeve length based on how cold or warm it will be.

The bridesmaid dress choices should also complement the formality of the event. Opt for casual styles when the wedding has a semi-formal or casual theme. In formal settings, elegant and sophisticated choices look best.

Here are some tips:

  • For warm months, light-weight and breathable fabrics like cotton, linen and chiffon are ideal. You can opt for silk, velvet or wool when the weather is cold.
  • Long gowns are a good choice for autumn and winter. Midi and Mini dress look good in summer.
  • Match the bridesmaid dress style to the formality of the event. Long gowns in bold colors look good at formal weddings while short dresses in cheerful colors and lightweight fabric are suitable for informal settings.
  • Sleeveless and strapless dress styles can make your bridesmaids uncomfortable in cold weather. Either opt for longer sleeves or select accessories like shrugs and stoles to keep them cozy in such conditions.

Other important factors to consider when choosing bridesmaids dresses

While we have already covered the most important aspects of bridesmaid dress selection, there are some more factors to consider. Let us look at what they are.

Are your bridesmaids uncomfortable wearing certain styles?

Certain neckline, sleeve-length or hemline choices may be unsuitable for some of your bridesmaids. And you want your bridesmaids to be comfortable and not too conscious about their dress on the day.

So, it is a good idea to check with them about the dress elements they would rather not have in their dresses.

Are some of your girls uncomfortable in shorter dress styles? Do they find certain necklines (like strapless or a deep-cut V) to be too revealing?

Get their insight on these aspects and make a wise decision that will not inconvenience them.

When there are plus-size or petite bridesmaids

When choosing bridesmaid dresses, you may not always have the same variety of options if you have plus-size or petite bridesmaids.

The good news is that there are specific dress collections for petite and plus-size women and you can choose from them. Nevertheless, you may like to be more flexible with your selection criteria if you would like to keep the look cohesive in such cases.

If you narrow down your choices to very specific details, it may be more difficult to find suitable dresses for bridesmaids who are on either end of the size spectrum.

If a bridesmaid is pregnant

When your bridesmaid is pregnant, you cannot really predict the exact size to order for her bridesmaid dress. If you are ordering the dress five to six months in advance, her measurements can change drastically by the time the dress arrives. So, this is a very tricky situation.

Here are some options you can consider:

  • Choose a dress with an empire waistline which is by and large the most flattering style for a pregnant bridesmaid.
  • Look for maternity bridesmaid dresses that are designed to keep pregnant women comfortable while looking good.
  • Order up to two sizes larger than her current measurements. This should ideally compensate for the increase in bust and hip measurements over time. In case the dress ends up being too large, it can always be taken in.
  • Rather than choosing the same style for all your bridesmaids, you may like to restrict your selection criteria to the same color, but different styles when one or more bridesmaids are pregnant.

For more tips on how to shop for a pregnant bridesmaid, visit this article.

Choosing accessories to complete the look

The dress is always the highlight of the bridesmaid look. However, suitable accessories will further enhance their style quotient. So, here are some guidelines to help.

  • If you have chosen the same dress for all your bridesmaids, let them pick out their own jewelry and accents. This will help their individuality shine and also prevent the “cookie-cutter” look.
  • For dresses that are brightly colored or embellished with details and texture, keep accessories to a minimum and let the dress do the talking.
  • For mismatched bridesmaids, bring the look together with the exact same accessories. This can be shoes, belts or even statement jewelry.
  • Accessories quickly add up. Since they are paying for their dresses, it wouldn’t be nice to ask them to buy expensive accessories as well. Just give them guidelines like color and material and ask them to buy the nearest match within their budget. Or you can consider gifting them their accessories to wear on the day.

The final stage of bridesmaid dress shopping: Alterations and Collection

The final part of bridesmaid dress shopping is collecting the order and getting it altered to fit correctly.

We mentioned earlier that almost all bridesmaid dresses need one or two alterations. Let your bridesmaids know about this.

Bridesmaid dress alterations are ideally done a month before the wedding. This will help to get the best fit even if there any weight fluctuations after the dress was ordered.

Have your bridesmaids fix their appointments with a professional seamstress well in advance. This will ensure that the dresses will be ready on time. Also, remember that professional seamstresses can be very busy during peak wedding season and prom season.

It is a good idea to schedule the fitting appointments at the same time as placing the dress orders. For more valuable inputs on how to prepare for bridesmaid dress alterations, visit this post on the Martha Stewart website.

Step-by-step process to follow to ensure bridesmaid dress shopping is completed on time

We have now looked at all the details about preparing for bridesmaid dress shopping and the dress selection criteria. So, let us move on to the step-by-step process to ensure things are completed as per plan.

  1. Start on time: Begin planning for your bridesmaid dress shopping at least six months before the wedding. This will leave you enough time to narrow down your selection criteria, book the appointment, take your girls’ shopping and plan alterations after the dress arrives.
  2. Put your MOH in charge of scheduling shopping appointments and checking on progress: If your bridesmaids will be handling the shopping and dress selection themselves, you should keep tabs on their progress. Since you will be busy attending to other wedding-planning tasks, you can also entrust this important job to your Maid of Honor.
  3. Keep a tab on whether things are progressing as per plan: Plan a schedule or complete-by date for each of the tasks related to bridesmaid dress shopping. Then, communicate the set deadlines to your team of bridesmaids and check whether things are progressing as per plan.
  4. Plan fittings and alterations: Receiving the bridesmaid dress is only part of the process. Next, you should also stay on top of fittings and alterations to ensure the dress is perfect in time for the wedding. Add this schedule to your calendar and remind your bridesmaids to attend their appointments as per the plan.

To wrap it up…

Bridesmaid dress shopping is as challenging as bridal dress shopping. Nonetheless, you can tackle it efficiently with a planned and organized approach. The three main stages are:

  • Preparing for bridesmaid dress shopping
  • The actual dress selection process
  • Fittings and alterations

We have looked at each of these factors in detail over the course of this guide, and you are now all set for the process. Follow these steps and your bridal party will look fantastic.

Find a fabulous and updated collection of designer bridesmaid dresses at Best for Bride. Click here to visit our collection today and pick your favorites.

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Top tips for styling your wedding

Your wedding is a reflection of your personality and style. When the various elements at your wedding come together, it will showcase who you are as a couple. So, it is not just about the details, it is also how these details work together.

Most brides base their wedding on a theme. Although the same theme may have been done a thousand times before, it can be executed completely differently at yours. Nonetheless, making it unique depends on how you plan your details. This is where our tips for styling your wedding will help you.

Here are some of our insider tips to help you style your wedding, to make it uniquely yours!

1.Discuss and note down what you want

Before you begin collecting pretty pictures on Pinterest or browsing the internet for trending themes, take a minute. It is easy to be swayed by what looks good and interesting. However, it may not be the right one for you. Instead, identify what you want first and proceed from there. Sit down with your fiance and discuss what you want your wedding to look and feel like.

It is helpful to jot down not just elements and factors that should be at your wedding, but also words that describe the effect your wedding should create. This will help you when you have to shortlist or choose between ideas that are right for your wedding plans.

2.Collect ideas for all the different elements of your day

Once you know what you want, it is easier to collect ideas that work. This is a good time to start looking at Pinterest and all those pretty details in the various websites you come across. Cover all the different elements from wedding dresses, accessories and food to transportation, décor and stationery. It is a good idea to create different boards on sites like Pinterest and Loverly to segregate your collections into relevant groups.

You may come across new and more interesting ideas every single day. So, this will be an ongoing process. Nonetheless, don’t forget to revisit the data you collect, and subject them to closer scrutiny. Then eliminate those that do not hold your attention, as they did originally. This will help you narrow down your preferences and you will soon identify a pattern emerging.

3.Be open to options

Not all things that match your vision will be available easily. Don’t be disappointed if you find that the items in your mind aren’t all available. To avoid this situation, always make a Plan B. When you plan your wedding imagery, do it with plenty of alternative options. This will improve your chances of finding things you need to complete the effect. At times, it may also be helpful for you to reconsider your options and choose items that are easier on the pocket.

4.Don’t hesitate to get creative

There are no specific rules that govern your choices. You are in charge and have absolute freedom to mix and match, eliminate or combine ideas till you find what you love. Look at the various images and ideas you have and find out what it is that you like most about each of them. If you always thought you wanted pastels at your wedding, but find your collected images to have jewel tones, use this as a cue.

Images will help you recognize what actually appeals to your taste. Use the information you collect to identify patterns, prints, colors and style elements to dictate your wedding style. It is also possible that you will find more than one emerging trend. What do you do in this case? Simply mix and match to create your unique style statement. So, if it is boho and chic, use elements of both types to style your wedding.

5.Get help from the pros

Pulling off the numerous details of a wedding is no easy feat. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself overwhelmed and reeling under pressure. Hire professional help if you find yourself reaching nowhere with your ideas. If not for the entire scene, you can still spend money on just the details that are important.

Wedding planners usually have the talent to find vendors who will gel with you and bring your vision to life. However you can also ask the vendors you’ve already booked to suggest others who they have worked with and are capable of getting the overall picture right. When you discuss your ideas with a potential vendor, see if they accept your vision. Work only with those who believe your idea is feasible, don’t dismiss your ideas or suggest too many changes to plan.

6.Think out of the box

One of the biggest problems with wedding planning these days, is that couples stick to the trends entirely. When they borrow and execute ideas as such, the novelty is lost. Avoid this mistake. While you should be inspired by ideas you find, try to add to it with your own inputs. Get creative and break the mold.

If an idea captures your interest, think of how you can further enhance it. Whether it is adding an unusual accessory to your wedding dress or giving an unexpected twist to the menu, exercise your creative juices. Small but quirky ideas can be remarkably memorable, and all that it takes to shift your wedding experience to a whole other level. Keep it personal, and the custom changes you make will have stronger impact.

7.Sometimes less is more

Whether it is color, texture, prints or patterns, use liberal doses at your wedding. However, make sure it doesn’t overwhelm. When there are too many details, it is likely that the important ones will simply drown in the chaos. So, aim to create just one or two focal points, and let the rest of your wedding arrangements draw on this as inspiration. When working with bright colors, keep the effects contained and use no more than four colors in your wedding to avoid a cluttered look. Remember that it is important to prioritize the factors that mean most to you, and focus on these in your wedding arrangements. The rest should simply be to complement the main things and not compete with it.

8.Remember ideas aren’t always expensive

Executing an unusual or interesting idea at your wedding doesn’t mean it should eat into your budget. With the right approach and planning, you can snag the deal for a good bargain. Handmade details or DIY ideas can be inexpensive when done right.

Set aside time to visit thrift stores, search online and in likely places to find items for less. If you are crafty, use your skills to personalize your décor, wedding favors or add custom touches to your outfit. Shop and think with an open mind. If you are flexible with your choices, it will be easy to find alternative and unusual options for your settings. Not only will these pack a punch, you can also impress your guests with your eye for detail and resourcefulness.

9.Score extra points with unusual items in your décor

 

Every time we come across an unexpected element in the wedding décor, it stays in our memories. These small items usually end up being the signature of your wedding day scenery. Your guests identify them with the occasion, and they become a strong part of their memories. So, do some brainstorming to identify unusual items that will enhance the décor at your wedding. Take a look at this article on the Woman getting married site for some unique wedding centerpiece ideas. The best part is that most of them are easy to DIY, and give your creativity a big boost.

10.Don’t get caught up in other people’s expectations

Whether it is your mother, your wedding planner or maid of honor, their role is to help you realize your wedding vision. For the full-list of who these likely wedding hijackers are, take a look at this article on the Knot. Don’t succumb to pressure and give-in to what they say, unless you absolutely agree.

Some brides are too timid to step up and say something when others try to take over their wedding. Don’t do this or you will see your ideas going out of the window. Remember that it is your wedding, and the day should reflect your likes and preferences. Keep it that way. The easiest option for you to make this happen is to identify your must-haves earlier on. Welcome opinions that contribute to your vision, but don’t commit to anything that you aren’t sure of. You can always say, “I’ll think of it, thanks,” and get off without committing to the suggestion till you think it through.

11.Prepare well and prepare right

Although you may have a zillion brilliant ideas, it is useless unless you execute them with perfection. Preparation is key to nail perfect results. Use visual cues to recognize whether your ideas will translate well in person. Set up a journal or diary to record these details. If you are good at sketching, try to recreate the picture in your mind through sketches. Or if you prefer to work with existing pictures, spend time comparing the colors and effects. This will help you set it all up easier, when the time is right.

For decorations, make note of the general rules to obey to create a visual setting that will impress. Gather all your props, raw materials and décor essentials to set up samples and ensure they look as good as you expect them to. Take pictures of the arrangements you make and click pictures. They will serve as reference points for when you have to do the real thing and are pressed for time.

12.Think of how it will photograph

After the day, all the details you painstakingly create will live through your photographs. So, it is essential that you plan a photogenic wedding, so the memories are sharp and impressive. When you think of your wedding style and especially the colors, consider this aspect. Think of how certain color combinations will translate in photos. Unless it can be captured as beautifully as it is in person, your theme may not look great in pictures.

Even the food you serve at the wedding, your bouquet and jewelry should look beautiful when displayed. Play with contrasts and textures wisely to create an attractive setting to increase the visual appeal of your wedding scene. Discuss these factors with your photographer prior to the wedding. He can guide you on changes that will improve the overall look of your pictures.

13.Create your own style

We always advise brides to have an inspiration board when planning their wedding. However, like I mentioned earlier, this shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of your wedding. This is only to motivate you to come up with your unique ideas. Pictures that appeal to your taste will definitely give you a good idea of what you would like to have at your wedding. Once you recognize a pattern and shortlist elements that will be in your wedding, you should go about creating and settling into your own style.

Try to create a cohesive look and feel, and fashion your unique wedding statement. Whether you DIY or hire professionals to do the various details, make sure that it finally reflects who you are as a couple and your personal choices. This will help you avoid a cookie-cutter wedding.

Best for Bride has been helping brides realize their wedding dreams for over a decade now. From bridal dresses to dresses for the bridal party, accessories, wedding favors and even cakes, we have everything you need to plan the perfect wedding day. Visit our website by clicking this link and discover how we can help you have the perfect wedding day.