I have planned plenty of weddings, I’ve coordinated dozens of wedding days, I’ve been a bride’s best friend on several occasions, but I have never been a Maid of Honour!
This year that changes as mixed in amongst the summer season of Oh So Perfect weddings, is the wedding of my best friend, and as such I have been bestowed with the ultimate wedding-planning privilege – I am her Maid of Honour. Excited, much?
As a wedding planner, I get involved in lots of lovely personal moments with my bride and groom, helping them to identify themselves as a couple and sharing their ideas for their perfect day, but I like to take a little step back when it comes to ‘being with the girls.’ One of the loveliest things about being a bride is choosing your bridesmaids, asking the ladies closest to you to support you in the biggest day of your life, and one of the fun parts of being a bridesmaid is going bridesmaid dress shopping!
I recently had the pleasure of joining my best friend and two of her other bridesmaids for a very fun afternoon of bridesmaid dress shopping. We had a lovely day together all of us, and it only took 3 rounds of trying things on before we found the dress and what a gorgeous dress it was! It gathered a resounding ooooh! from all of us as we each slipped into it, and a a big thumbs up all round as we all realised it was perfect!
We were very lucky to find something so perfect, so quick, but it’s not always as easy… shopping with 5 – 7 – 10! other girls can be a lot harder than shopping with just 3, so with this in mind, here are a few little tips for brides and bridesmaids to consider when choosing the perfect dress…
1. Think about your colour scheme and theme.
OK, sound obvious, but it’s important to remember that your bridesmaids will play a big role in carrying on your chosen colour scheme and theme of the day! It is important to have a clear idea of the sort of colour you are going for – take some swatches or an example of your stationary to help you find the right shade, and if it’s a particular style you’re going for (50s/Gatsby/minimal etc.) then keep the theme in mind when choosing the dress. Cut out some images from magazines, or build up a board on Pinterest first to share with your girls so they all have a clear idea of what it is you’re looking ahead of the shopping trip.
2. Do your research.
Got a very specific style/colour in mind? Remember that the evening wear/bridesmaid dress shops on the highstreet will all be working to current fashion trends, so you may find it difficult to get the exact colour or fashion style you’re after if it’s not akin to what’s currently going on in the fashion catwalk too. Look online first, check which stores are currently stocking what dresses and what dress specialists are in the area, and draw up a plan of where you want to visit before you hit the shops.
3. All girls are different!
What do you love most about your bridesmaids – the fact that they’re your nearest and dearest friends, right? And with that, you must remember that each of them is an individual, they’re all different and that’s why you love them! But I’m not just talking about personality, it’s also important to remember that each girl looks different too. We all have different shapes and sizes, different hair and skin tones, and it can be very difficult sometimes to find one dress which ultimately suits all styles! We were very lucky when buying our dress – a long empire line with floaty fabric, and a bold dark colour tends to hit if off with all different body shapes and tones too, but bear in mind if your girls are really different, squeezing them all into an unusual shape, fit or colour dress may prove tricky!
4. Talk to your ladies.
It’s important to speak to your girls before you go shopping.Ultimately the final decision is yours, yes, but following on from my last point here, each girl knows her own style and has a pretty good understanding of what will or won’t look good on her – she’s been buying clothes for herself longer than you have don’t forget! Talk to your ladies about what styles they think suit them – and more importantly what styles they would feel most comfortable wearing, because you want your bridesmaids to look and feel good on the day too so that they can relax and enjoy themselves rather than worrying that they’re not comfortable in the outfit you choose. You never know, they may inspire you to think of something different you hadn’t considered!
5. Think about your own dress.
What does your dress look like? Remember to consider your own style, and perhaps even take a photo from your own fitting with you so you can decide whether the bridesmaid dresses you choose ultimately compliment the tones, fabric and styles of your own dress too.
6. Don’t be afraid to try something on.
My best friend was adamant that she wanted us in knee length dresses. Yet, take another look at the picture at the top of this post…. floor length! When we found these dresses, she ummed and ahhed as it was short she had in mind, but I suggested we simply try them on anyway – you never know – and fancy that, they were just the ticket and she loved them!
7. Be clear on your budget.
Before you hit the shops, make sure you’re clear about how much you want to spend and who is spending what. If you are buying the dresses for your girls, make sure they know the price tag limit and what is included – do you want to include the shoes and accessories in this budget or will the girls buy these themselves? Be clear. Talk to your girls, find out how much, if anything they’d be willing to contribute if the budget needed to be stretched, or, if you’re asking them to buy the dress themselves then be sure how much they are all comfortable to be spending (with all accessories considered too – do not forget those extra penny pinchers!) and remember to respect their set figure when you’re looking too.
8. One for the bridesmaids…
One final point, and this one goes to the girls themselves. Ladies, we all have our tastes, and as a bridal party it’s our job offer help and advice to a stressed out bride, but ultimately, and the very end of the day, the decision is hers. It’s your best mate’s big day, so let’s keep it that way. Sure, speak up if you’re really unhappy or uncomfortable, but for goodness sake do not cause a full blown drama because you’ll be off that bridal party list quicker than you can say “top table.”
From ’27 Dresses’
Remember that scene from 27 Dresses where Ms Heigl pulls out all her bridesmaid gowns-gone-by? Yeah, there’s some real stinkers there, but you know what, she wore them, because that’s what a good bridesmaid does.
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