Bridesmaid Dress Shopping: Top Tips!

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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!

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From Sarah and Gareth’s movie wedding – http://www.ohsoperfect.co.uk

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!

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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.

Need help planning your wedding day? Visit www.ohsoperfect.co.uk for our full list of wedding planning and coordination packages and services.

Children at Weddings – Our Top Tips

Oh So Inspiring – Ideas Tips and Advice

Children at weddings. Now there’s a sentence which can bring about a lot of conversation, controversy and debate…

For some people, children are an added element of the day – they bring joy, laughter, and make very pretty flower girls and page boys. For others, they may be an undesired distraction. But whatever your feelings on the subject of children at weddings, here are our top tips on how to plan your big day whether or not you choose to invite young guests…

1. It’s OK to say no!
Inviting children to weddings is not for everyone, and if you and your partner decide that you would prefer not to have any under5s/under 12s/under16s etc. attending your special day, then you do have the right to say so. But do so politely, and clearly.

2. Divide the Day
If you’re worried about upsetting your guests, one of the easiest ways to keep everyone happy is to divide the different parts of the day into child-friendly and non-child-friendly sections. For example, ask that only adults attend the actual ceremony and/or wedding breakfast, but invite families with children to the evening reception only.

3. Be clear on your invitations
If all the family are invited, include all their names on the invitation, so that your guests aren’t left feeling embarrassed and unsure as to whether or not their little ones will be welcome. If you’d prefer to have no children attend, make this clear on the practical information part of your invite, but remember to remain polite. State at what age your cut off is, and if possible include a reason to assure your guests it’s nothing personal e.g. Unfortunately due to limited seating arrangements, we have decided not to invite children under the age of 12.

4. No exceptions!
Remember, it’s unfair to make exceptions for close friends and family. If you have asked your guests not to bring their children, then you mustn’t either! Your guests might feel annoyed to find that after they went to the effort of finding a babysitter for the day, your cousin’s toddler is chirping away at the back of the church.

5. But she looks so sweet…
Little girls make beautiful flower girls and bridesmaids, but remember you are allocating a very little lady with a very big task! Walking down the aisle in front of hundreds of people can be a daunting prospect for even the adults amongst us, but for a young child not only might this prove frightening, it may also prove a little distracting. Ask an adult that your child attendant knows well to accompany him/her with the task.

6. Plan your pews
Print out  some ‘Reserved for Families’ signs and ask the grooms-men or your wedding planner to place these on the seats nearer the back of the ceremony. That way, families with young children can sit towards the back and make an easy exit without any embarrassment should they need to pop out during the ceremony. It will also prevent any particularly loud children from disrupting your wedding wedding vows. Similarly, plan your wedding breakfast seating so that parents can make an unnoticed escape should they need to during the speeches.

7. Favours should be fun
If you are giving out wedding favours, make sure you include something child-friendly and fun for the children. One wedding we attended placed a big teddy bear on every child’s seat at the wedding breakfast, which made them feel extra special. Bubbles are another great idea to entertain children (and adults!)

8. Something for the speeches
Include a little something extra on the tables with child guests seated to keep them entertained during the speeches. Colouring books and crayons are excellent examples as these will keep children seated and quiet throughout the speeches, and will keep young children busy for a fair while.

9. Don’t just entertain your adults!
Remember to provide some entertainment for children at the reception too. Set-up a small corner of the venue with some giant games such as a Connect4  board or small ball pool where children can entertain themselves. You may even wish to ask your DJ to provide a few children’s songs at the beginning of the night to give young guests the chance to enjoy themselves before the adults take to the floor.

10. Hire a wedding nanny
Weddings today will often hire in a pop-up nursery for during the reception. If possible, book a small, separate room at the venue and hire an event nanny to come along and provide entertainment, games and child care for the evening, meaning the children are being kept entertained and out of sight, and parents can relax and let their hair down too, knowing their children are being looked after.

Need help planning your wedding day? Visit www.ohsoperfect.co.uk for our full list of wedding planning and coordination services and packages.

We’re giving away a Fortnum and Mason Champagne and Chocolates hamper to all couples booking selected services with us before 30th April 2012! To view this fabulous offer click here


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