Bridesmaid dress shopping is an indispensable and important aspect of your wedding planning.
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.
“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with a person, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
This quote is very true for newly engaged couples. Being newly engaged is a lovely phase in everyone’s life. It is perhaps the most romantic part of your love story; a time when nothing can possibly seem to go wrong.
As romantic and exciting as this phase is, remember that this chapter also leads to a bigger, even more exciting and chaotic phase—planning the wedding! However, this stage comes with a fair set of challenges and not all are able to handle it easily. There are some common mistakes that many newly engaged couples make and regret in the coming days. Do you know what they are?
Let us look at this list of what to avoid when you are newly engaged, so that your engagement is memorable for all the right reasons.
1.Not announcing your engagement to the most important people first
You are undoubtedly pretty excited about your engagement. It is only natural that you feel tempted to shout about it from the rooftops. Or, in the modern and more efficient version, share your big news on social media. However, remember that this is no trivial news. So, it is only right to first tell it to those who matter the most to each of you and as a couple. Let the rest of the world wait a little longer to hear. Visit your parents and break the news to them. Or if they are far away, pick up the phone and tell them personally. Next, inform your close friends and family. Once you are done with personally informing all those in your close circle, climb up the roof or login to Facebook and make your big announcement.
2.Revealing too much on social media
Making the big announcement is one thing, flooding everyone’s news feeds on Facebook with your news is another thing altogether. Contain your excitement, at least where sharing your news is concerned. Your friends will be eager to know. However, it can be rather irritating when you overdo the stuff you share on social media. Don’t annoy everyone with your openness and limit the amount of information you share. It isn’t necessary to post every update about your wedding planning online either. This can even be dangerous, as your news will be available to everyone. It will make you vulnerable to scams and cause unnecessary confusion if those you didn’t expect turned up at your celebratory events assuming your discussion or post was akin to an invitation.
3.Asking friends and family to be in your bridal party immediately
Wedding planning can be tortuous once you get into the details. So, it is important to think every decision through. Don’t be tempted to simply invite or ask people you love to be in your bridal party. These decisions are best made after you do your due research. Even if you are sure of who should be in your bridal party, play it safe and wait till you are certain before you ask. It is likely that your wedding will be after quite a while. Relationships can change in the meanwhile, situations may come in the way. So, wait till the time is ripe to make your final decisions in this matter.
4.Rushing to settle on a date
Now that you are engaged, a wedding is definitely on the cards. Though you shouldn’t procrastinate indefinitely, neither should you be hasty with your decisions. Don’t quickly decide on a likely wedding date. Instead take your time with this important decision. Consult each other and think of all the factors that you should account for. You will have to find a date on which your preferred vendors are available, the venue is available and so on.
Most couples don’t really consider or plan for a wedding before they are actually engaged. So, take your time with this important decision and you won’t regret it later. Once you lock down on a date, you have limited options in other areas. So, be sure of your decision before you commit to it. It is also a good idea to run likely dates by your family and friends before making a final decision.
5.Not considering budget
Setting the wedding budget is one of the first and foremost wedding planning tasks. Tackle it as a priority. Every wedding decision you make will cost you money. However, how much you spend on each aspect of the wedding shouldn’t happen along the way, or you can run into debt. Talk about your financial situation with each other and plan a practical budget. If your parents will be contributing, you should find out how much they intend to spend. Once you are aware of the maximum you can afford to spend on your wedding, split it into components for each wedding task.
A proper idea of your wedding budget will also allow you to make choices such as whether you should hire a wedding planner or undertake the task yourself. With a good sense of your financial situation and a practical budget, you can approach your wedding planning in a sensible manner. This is also the time to discuss and understand each of your financial situations and suitably plan your future commitments as a couple.
6.Rushing with the wedding preparations
Most couples end up having time for little else, once they begin wedding planning. However, don’t forget that you are in a new chapter in your life. Savor the moment, for it will never return. This romantic phase in your life deserves to be celebrated, and it is also the time for you and your fiance to bond. The wedding preparations can wait. Once you are engaged, don’t rush into the next stage. Instead enjoy some time together and you will be all set to start planning your wedding with full gusto.
Have an engagement party or celebrate with an intimate affair. You can even have an engagement photo shoot. The additional advantage of this idea is that you can also use this as a selection process for your wedding photographer. However, as this post on the Huff Post mentions, the real reason to have an engagement photo shoot is to document this special time in your life. Make fond memories of your newly-engaged status, and it will be something to hold close to your heart forever.
7.Booking vendors without thinking it through
Most hasty decisions during wedding planning end in regret. You will have to book several vendors for your wedding. However, each of these decisions deserve thought and research. In your hurry, don’t hasten to book a vendor till you are absolutely sure you require this particular service. If you rethink your theme, you may find a better deal if you look further. When you hire the services of a wedding planner, it is likely that he or she will have their own recommended list of vendors. Or they may negotiate on your behalf and snag you a better bargain from the same vendor. So, give it enough thought when you make your decision and book vendors only if you are certain. Also, don’t forget to read the contract thoroughly. Ensure there are no chances of error if you go with a particular vendor choice.
8.Booking your wedding dress shopping appointment before you finalize anything else
It is a known fact that wedding dress shopping takes time. There is also the waiting time after placing your order, till when your dress is ready for delivery. Nonetheless, wedding dress shopping should be done after proper research. You should also wait till you fix the other details of your wedding. The venue, weather at the time of your wedding and wedding theme are important factors to consider when choosing a wedding gown. Unless you know these factors, it is best to wait before you book a wedding dress appointment.
We also suggest that you do sufficient research before you go wedding dress shopping. Or you may drown in the numerous options available, and end up confused and overwhelmed. Instead, create an inspiration board and collect pictures of dresses you love. Also identify the best silhouettes for your body shape. Finally, short list the dress features you love most and only then head off for your dress appointment.
9.Agreeing to all proposals without thinking it through
Once you announce your engagement, your friends or associates may approach you with offers for wedding-related services. This could be a relative or friend who runs a wedding-related business or someone who wishes to be in the bridal party. Don’t ever commit to anyone at this stage, as it can spell disaster in the long run.
It is never a good idea to mix relationships with business, unless you are sure you can speak your mind or are sure the person in question is a pure professional. Gratefully accept all proposals and tell your friends and associates that you will think over it. Never agree to anything without actually thinking it through. You can always say that you have to consult your fiance or consider whether the suggestion fits with the wedding theme you have in mind. Only agree to any proposal for help after you are sure it will work out. Also ensure that you will not strain your relationship with the person by this offer of help.
10.Skipping the all-important long discussion with your fiance
Ideally, you should discuss all your important life decisions prior to the engagement. Nonetheless, it is never too late to discuss your priorities and plans with your fiance, before you proceed with wedding planning. Couples should be clear about a number of factors that will affect their future, before they take the plunge. Finances, family relationships, career goals and even retirement plans are on the horizon and will affect your marriage to a great extent.
Make sure that you discuss each and all these factors. There may be compromises that either of you have to make. You may also have to get your priorities straight, so there is no misunderstanding later. Get it all out in the open, so you can start this new phase in your life in the right way.
11.Going crazy over Pinterest
Pinterest is a valuable tool when planning a wedding. So, you should dedicate a good amount of your time to it, when planning your wedding. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of your engagement period. You can end up ogling pretty details and obsessing over what you ought to copy to your wedding. However, remember that this is all there only for inspiration. Get the idea, but head out and plan your own unique way to make your wedding remarkable.
Once you complete a wedding-related task, say buying your wedding dress, resist the temptation to revisit Pinterest for the same. It is likely you will find a new dress that appeals more. So, don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Believe that you made the best decision possible and move on to the next task. This is the only way to prevent yourself from a Pinterest-obsession and all the other wedding eye-candy on the internet.
Your engagement period is an exciting time. Nonetheless, it is also full of challenges of every sort. While you have to do most of the decision making yourself, we have the perfect solutions for your wedding day look. Visit us online or in-store, and our team will assist you in finding the perfect wedding dress for your special day.
I like to compare wedding planning to a mine that’s waiting to explode. The potential for problems is huge! Every couple faces at least a few awkward moments when planning their wedding. Many assumptions may be made that you cannot oblige to, you may have to say no on occasions, and where people are concerned there is no saying who can feel offended about what!
Here are 7 real sticky situations that you will most likely have to handle during your wedding planning process. We’ve also included the best possible solutions you can consider, to make it as easy as possible.
#1 Tell a friend or relative that they are not in the wedding party
It could be that everyone thinks you are fond of them. Add that to the fact that you have a huge friend circle and an equally big family, it is likely that there may be at least a friend or relative who assumes they will be in the wedding party. If there are on the wedding party list, fine! If you haven’t included them, you have a situation to handle!
It isn’t easy telling someone that they are to be a guest and not in the wedding party. The best way to handle the problem is to take care of it as soon as you doubt your friend or cousin assumes they are in without you ever mentioning it. Tell her directly that as much as you would love to have her in the party, the situation is such that you would prefer to have her enjoy the wedding as a guest instead. You could offer a valid explanation, like you want to keep the wedding party small. (Only if this is a fact! It will harm your relationship even more if she ends up seeing a dozen bridesmaids on the day, and she alone isn’t one). Make it clear that you value your relationship with her a lot, and would love to have her involved in the wedding in any other way possible. Stress that you would not want this to harm your relationship in any way, and be genuine with your words. We are sure she’ll understand if she is a sensible and reasonable girl.
#2 When you’d rather have cash
Many couples struggle with telling their guests that they’d rather have cash or gift coupons, than gifts that wouldn’t help them. This could be because money would help them pay off a loan, or they could use it on their honeymoon, or because they would like to buy an expensive item like a vehicle. In all these cases, money would really help.
If you are in any of these situations, we know how you could be whether you ought to or not convey this message to your guests. Well, we think you should! First step, set up your wedding website, where you will be sharing your wedding registry information. Next, add a “gift cash towards xxx” as one of the top options in the registry and link it to your bank account. Share the website wedding registry with your contacts, so they are directed towards the page that prioritizes what you’d like to have, in a specific order.
The other option is to link your wedding registry to sites like Tendr , that allows guests to pick cards and send it with their well wishes to the couple. Now, if a guest were to ask you in person about your preferences, they would ideally be asking because they really want to get you something you want. So, don’t hesitate to tell them that you are saving up for whatever you are. If they are comfortable giving you cash, you can hope they will once they know of this.
#3 Telling your parents (or in-laws) that you want something different
Isn’t it funny how so many parents and their children fight over how the wedding should be held or planned, from the moment the planning is in progress? It is not too often that we see couples who want a modern, relaxed wedding with interesting and unique elements, while their parents would rather have a traditional-style formal wedding that can never go wrong. If the parents on either side are sharing the expenses, we know how quickly tempers can soar and all those involved can end up in a foul mood.
Rather than locking horns with your families, we suggest that you handle such situations tactfully. First, consider if there is anything you can do about accommodating your family’s ideas. If not the whole thing, if you can incorporate at least a few ideas, they will feel a lot better. Then, decide upon the things that you refuse to compromise on. When you present your final idea to the family, first tell them which of their suggestions will be included in the wedding. This will calm the atmosphere to a great extent. Then tell them what the rest of the plans are, and also that it is your wedding and you wouldn’t really be happy if these details weren’t part of it. So, request them to understand and convey how grateful you are for all they are doing.
#4 When a relative wants to take over as a wedding vendor
Yes, we’ve all been there, when a budding photographer in your family wants to be in-charge of the wedding photography, or an enthusiastic aunt wants to bake the wedding cake. Unless these people are professionals, it may be a very bad idea to hand them the job. Now, even when they are professionals who are used to doing these for weddings, you may not agree with their style of work or may not be happy about giving them the responsibility for a range of reasons.
After all, working with a relative or friend is not the same as working with a vendor who you’ve hired for the job. You have to be cautious about everything you say, as you two have a relationship that could be hurt. In worst cases, they may disagree with what you want and even do things that they think are the best. But, it may sometimes be a good idea, if they will offer you a discount or if you are really fond of the way they handle things. Unless this is the case, you should learn to say “No” to their offer diplomatically.
You can tell them that you would love to have them handle the job, but you have already set your mind on another vendor. Or, the better option is to tell them that you don’t want to hire them for your wedding as you want them there as a guest, and not working all day and unable to participate or enjoy the wedding as they should. This clearly conveys that you value their presence, and if they appreciate it genuinely, this should put an end to the discussion.
#5 Saying No to guests you cannot afford to have
There’s this scene in the sitcom “Castle”, where Castle and Beckett mention to his mother that they were working on the guest list for the wedding, expecting her to suggest how they reduce it. In the blink of an eye, she rushes off to bring out her own guest list for the wedding!
Don’t be startled if you find the same thing happen in your case! Many couples are faced with the tough decision of saying no to guests that they simply cannot have at their wedding. If parents are paying, or if friends are pushovers who must invite people on their behalf, the situation is anything but pleasant.
We suggest that you be honest when you tell your parents, relatives or friends why it simply isn’t feasible to have any more guests than you have planned. Since your parents will anyway be inviting at least a few people, give them a specific number beforehand. They can then prioritize who goes on the list and who can be left out. Make your mind up about how far you can stretch with any extra additions, and make sure you stick to it. After all, your wedding is all about having the people who matter the most to you. It is not about having a huge party where you hardly know half the faces there, or is it?
#6 Planning your bridesmaid’s dress budget
One of the reasons many women dread being asked to be a bridesmaid, is the financial burden that comes along with it. Let’s face it, bridesmaids have to pay for a dress that they may not like at all, pay for the accessories, spend on the bachelorette, bridal shower and gift for the bride. All this will take a chunk out of their savings. It is worse if they are still in college or have their own financial constraints.
So, the best thing you can do is be reasonable when deciding what your bridesmaids should wear. Our suggestion is to be flexible, and consider a range of choices in dresses, so your bridesmaids can pick the one that is easiest on their pockets. Think out of the box, and instead of having them dress up in matching outfits, go with the mix ‘n’ match trend. This gives them the freedom to choose from the choices you have shortlisted. It is also likely that they will pick a dress that they can use again.
A good friend would also consider easing their financial burden by paying for the bridesmaid accessories or hair and makeup. Now, if you have been a bridesmaid at all these girls’ weddings previously, and they weren’t half as considerate, we think it is up to you to decide how to handle the situation. Honestly, it wouldn’t be wrong if you kept their expenses similar to what you had to incur, if this is the case. Else, think of what you can do to help out, maybe make use of sales and discounts or keep your dress selection reasonable so they do not begrudge you for your choices later.
#7 Talk money with your parents or in-laws
You think you’ve heard your parents mention sometime in the past, that they’ve put aside a certain amount for your wedding expenses. But, do you ask for it once you are engaged and planning the wedding? Is it appropriate to bring up the topic? Well, it’s mom and dad, and if you are certain there’s money set aside for you, it shouldn’t be wrong to confirm, so you can plan the wedding accordingly.
Ideally, they should bring the topic up if they have any such plans. So, it may not always be best to bring up the topic yourself. If they are quiet, it may be because something’s changed and not because they’ve forgotten about it. Never make the mistake of assuming that they will pay, and go about planning your wedding based on this assumption. Don’t feel entitled to it and have your plans go bust if they don’t agree to. Instead, share the wedding plans you have in mind and the quotes you collect from vendors. They will be more comfortable mentioning what they would like to contribute towards, when you do it this way.
If there is no talk about the money at all, you can either ask them what happened to the fund they put aside (that is, if you are sure they have), or ask them if they could help and you could repay it later.
Weddings, like we said earlier are tricky events that can cause so much stress to any bride and groom. Nevertheless, it is important to always keep the big picture in mind. When you think of the priorities in your life, and how you can celebrate the event that brings you and your partner together forever, you can tide over any awkward situation and leave it out of your mind forever.
Brides often have a young cousin or a niece who isn’t old enough to be a bridesmaid, but is too old to fit into the role of a flower girl. When this girl is dear to the bride, she usually wants her in the wedding party, but may not be sure of what role to give her. Fortunately, there is a perfect role to honor these not-so-little girls with, and it is “Junior Bridesmaid!”
If you have already chosen one or more junior bridesmaids, or intend to have them at your wedding, here is a list of all the things you need to know.
1.How old does someone have to be to be a junior bridesmaid?
Anyone who fits the description of big girl, but is not yet a grown up woman, can be a junior bridesmaid. It is usually a role suitable for girls aged between 9 and 15. This role is perfect for girls from either your family or your groom’s, or for young girls who you are very fond of and would love to include in your wedding. Think back and you will realize how you wouldn’t have been too pleased to be a flower girl when you were say 10 years old. The same goes for your junior bridesmaids. They may not be old enough to take up responsibility as a bridesmaid, but consider themselves too old to be a flower girl. So, this is the in-between role where they will be treated as a grown up girl, but the demands on them will be appropriate for their young age.
2.Does she also wear the same dress as the rest of the bridesmaids?
This is left to your discretion, and depends on how the girl looks and feels. There are teenagers who prefer to dress much older. And then, there are others who look too young for their actual age. So, go with your intuition, and of course, consult the girl and her parents. This is very important, especially if the bridesmaids dresses are on the sexier side. If your bridesmaid dress choice is one that is suitable on women of all ages, and you can find one in her size too, go with it. Otherwise, you can choose a less complicated dress that matches the rest of the bridal party look and still looks good on her. Low-cut dresses and ones with long slits are not appropriate for a young girl, and her parents may not appreciate the idea if you choose to dress her in this on your wedding day. Either search for a dress in a matching or complementing color and design, or have a seamstress alter a bridesmaid dress to suit her. Simple changes like adding straps or moving the neckline up with an illusion design may render the same dress suitable for her age. The other option is to get a whole other dress made for her, that goes well with the rest of the wedding party attire. Just make sure that you consult her before you choose her look, and that she looks modest and feels comfortable in what you choose, and all will be well.
3.When do we buy her dress and from where?
It is better to get your junior bridesmaid’s dress closer to your wedding date, as these girls are at an age where drastic changes can alter their overall appearance in a matter of months. So, it may not be a good idea to shop for your junior bridesmaids dress, several months in advance when you buy the rest of the wedding party dresses. Don’t buy it before four or five months from your wedding day, and have it altered in the month leading up to the wedding to make sure it fits. Most bridal shops like Best for Bride will have Junior Bridesmaids dress collections, and you should be able to find ones that are similar to the bridesmaids dresses you choose from the same place. If you choose from the same collection and material, you should be able to find the exact shade for both your bridesmaids and junior bridesmaids dresses. Or, you can have your bridesmaid dress picked from the prom dress collection, if there is a suitable choice there. If nothing works, you can consider having her dress custom-made.
4.Does she get the rest of the accessories, hair and makeup like the other bridesmaids?
This is again an individual choice. It is up to you to decide how she ought to look. Although most girls would rather prefer to look more like the bridesmaids than flower girls, how you dress her is entirely your choice. You can give her a bridesmaid bouquet, like the rest of your wedding party. Or, you could have a miniature version made specially for her. Be practical when you decide how her hair and makeup should be done on the day. A simplified version of your bridal party’s overall look should be fine. You can also choose similar jewelry, flowers or other accessories for her, so she blends in well with the crowd. If your bridesmaids will all be trotting around in high heels, you may have to get a low-heel shoe for your junior bridesmaid unless she is old enough to handle it. This will help you avoid any unnecessary accidents on the day. Again, it is a good idea to match it to the overall look of your wedding party, but do not choose something that is not appropriate for her age.
5.Does she have to participate in the bridal shower and bachelorette party?
She may not be able to contribute to the bridal shower or bachelorette party (as she obviously won’t have the finances for the same). Nevertheless, she can be part of the planning, help with setting it up and even with the clean-up afterwards. If you have a wild girl’s night out planned for your bachelorette party, she wouldn’t be of legal age to participate in it. So steer clear of inviting her. If it’s an appropriate event for her to participate in, welcome her in. Remember that this would also depend on whether she is comfortable with the rest of the bridal party. So, use discretion and take your stand.
6.How can she help with the wedding planning?
You may have a brilliant helper who is eager to do all she can to make your life easy, or your junior bridesmaid may be a fussy and emotional little girl who is yet to grow up and act her age. Depending on how the situation is, you can decide how involved she should be in the wedding planning. A junior bridesmaid’s main role is to be part of the wedding procession, and so anything beyond that is up to you to decide. If she is interested in helping and hosting the bridal shower, you can ask the rest of your wedding party to include her in it. You can also have her on your list to run errands, help with setting up wedding favors, purchasing the things needed for your wedding or even accompanying you to your shopping or dress alteration sessions. Young girls are usually eager to help with the tasks that others may find boring. For example, she may be the right person to help you assemble your wedding favors or to stick your wedding invitations. So, give her the responsibility to handle this task, and she will appreciate being asked for her help with the wedding.
7.Is there a pre-wedding function that she should be involved in?
Like we said earlier, it isn’t necessary for your junior bridesmaid to attend your bridal shower or bachelorette party. However, she should be invited to the rehearsal dinner, since she is very much a part of the wedding day ceremony. This will help you prepare her for her role on the wedding day. Since you will be having a rehearsal of what will happen on the wedding day, at the rehearsal, make sure she is there for it and understands her role well.
8.Does she need an escort when she walks down the aisle, and is there anything to take care of if she has one?
No! Your junior bridesmaid doesn’t need an escort for when she walks down the aisle. Unless you have an extra groomsman who can accompany her, it isn’t necessary to find someone to join her. She can walk all by herself and precede the rest of the bridesmaids in the processional, or else you can pair her up with another bridesmaid. Of course, there is nothing wrong in pairing her with an escort, if you have a suitable person for the task. The other interesting option is to have her and another bridesmaid accompany a groomsman on either side. This is not commonly seen, and so will be an interesting addition. When planning whether she should be escorted down the aisle, you can simply think of how the pairing will look. If it will be cute, it is alright. If it looks off or you are worried it may not be suitable to pair her off with someone who is several years older than her, let her walk down the aisle herself and enjoy those two minutes when all eyes are on her. The other option is to have her stand in the receiving line, if that is the best thing for her.
9.What is her role on the wedding day?
Apart from being part of the processional, she really has no other particular responsibilities to handle on the wedding day. If your junior bridesmaid is eager to participate and would love to help, you can always handle her responsibilities that she is capable of handling. She can be involved in helping the guests be seated, giving out programs or can help handle the gifts you receive at the reception. She can also be in-charge of handing out little bags with confetti or bubbles that will be used when the couple make their exit. Basically, this depends on the attitude and personality of the girl. If she would rather enjoy the party and mind her own business, let her be. Although she is a junior bridesmaid, don’t expect the same from her as you would with your other bridesmaids.
Like the rest of your bridesmaids, your junior bridesmaids also deserve a small gift as a token of appreciation for their involvement in your wedding. Since they are much younger than the rest of the group, it may not be a good idea to get them the same gift as the rest of the girls. Even when you have more than one junior bridesmaid, it is good to get them individual gifts that match their personalities. Go with their age and their taste, and you are bound to find something they will appreciate. Set a budget and shop like you would for their birthday. You can always customize your gift with a monogram or in the theme colors of your wedding, if you prefer. Or, if you are in doubt, it is best to consult their parents and find out what would be an ideal gift. For older girls, you can even gift a voucher to their favorite store, so they can pick whatever they like. Generic gift suggestions that usually work include personalized jewelry like necklaces with a pendant matching the letter of their name or small monogrammed tote bags with a small extra like a bridal Barbie doll inside.
You now have all the necessary information you need to know about having junior bridesmaids in your wedding party. To choose the fantastic dress for these young girls, so they are a beautiful addition to your wedding party, visit our bridesmaids dress collection at Best for Bride. All the dresses featured above belong to this collection, and you can find even more fantastic dresses for your favorite young girls. Pick both your junior bridesmaids dresses and the rest of the attire for your wedding party from our fabulous bridal party collection and find the best deals possible.