As a bride, you know that the people you choose to be in your bridal party are going to be your core support group leading up to your wedding. Your bridesmaids will be there for the late-night phone calls about wedding concerns, the brunches to discuss decorations, and the venting sessions about difficult guests.
With all the help they’re going to offer you, the last thing you want to do is make them feel strong-armed into wearing the dress of their nightmares. While being a bridesmaid used to almost be a guarantee that you were going to end up in some taffeta monstrosity, modern bridesmaid dresses can be so stunning that they can almost match the bridal gown!
When you’re ready to start looking for bridesmaid dresses, you’ll first want to start by understanding the overall theme of your wedding. If your vision for your dream wedding is a ramshackle barn lit up with twinkle lights in the setting sun, then floor-length, gold sequined bridesmaid dresses might not exactly fit. Same goes for your bridesmaids wearing strappy, floaty, blush bridesmaid dresses to a winter wedding in a grand ballroom—the style just doesn’t fit!
Once you’ve worked out what your wedding will look like, it’s time to start browsing. Initially, we don’t encourage brides to involve their bridesmaids just yet. While you will want (and should ask for) your bridesmaids’ input, there is such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen when it comes to choosing one dress.
On the topic of the single dress: if your bridesmaids are like most women, then their bodies are all different shapes and sizes. What this means is that your girls might actually be more comfortable in different dresses that are all the same shade, as opposed to one dress in different sizes. If you’re going this route, you’ll want to buy all the dresses from the same company to make sure the color matches. ‘Seafoam’ from one company might not be the same as ‘seafoam’ from another.
When you’re shopping for bridesmaid dresses, keep in mind that not everyone involved in your wedding might be in the same financial position. One way to ask your bridesmaids what they can afford is to use an online survey that will allow them to be anonymous and choose within set price ranges. This will help you narrow down the dress you’re going to choose without worrying about putting someone in financial hardship.
When it comes to purchasing your bridesmaid’s dresses, there’s a schedule you should adhere to: buy your gown first, then choose your bridesmaid’s dresses. You should still give your bridesmaids between 6 and 7 months to get their dress and have it altered.
Finally, if the dress you choose for your girls is going to require special undergarments, the factor that into the final price of the dress (or offer to buy them the lingerie). Even the most gorgeous dress can look unflattering with the wrong undergarments.