Thursday, 5 April 2012

How to choose your Bridesmaids ... and their dresses

I think I’m one of very few who hasn’t actually seen the film ‘Bridesmaids’ yet. Don’t worry though! It’s on my list of things to buy next time I’m at the supermarket! I want to see it just to laugh at someone else’s expense (albeit fictional) of the trials and tribulations of being a bridesmaid. Having never been one myself, choosing mine was surprisingly straight forward. My future sister-in-law was to be my Chief Bridesmaid and three good friends were to be bridesmaids. But, as luck would have it, it wasn’t that straight forward… Here’s some advice for choosing your ‘supporting cast’…
An important thing to remember is that it’s worth having a think about the cost of how many you ask. It might be fun choosing wedding attendants, but the cost can have serious implications on your budget ... Choose wisely and make it clear from the get-go just who is paying for what.

Image courtesy of Gia Canali Photography via Style Me Pretty ~ Dresses by Jenny Yoo

For every bridesmaid you have, you could find yourself buying a bridesmaid dress, shoes, accessories and bridesmaid bouquet. You may also want to have each bridesmaid’s hair and make-up done professionally. Without wishing to dwell on the obvious, having less bridesmaids costs substantially less money. Having fewer bridesmaids is a really easy way to cut costs and free up money in the rest of your wedding budget.
If you’ve got lots of friends that you’re keen to ask to be bridesmaids, but can’t afford the cost, why not allocate them other positions of importance so that they feel involved? Give them a reading during the wedding ceremony or ask them to be a witness on your wedding certificate. Alternatively, you could have ‘lushers’ instead of bridesmaids: female ushers who are recognisable with say a distinctive corsage. 

Bridesmaid duties
The best bridesmaids may not be the most obvious choice of friend - you need bridesmaids who you can 100% rely on to look after you on the day, who won't put their needs above yours and who can organise a cracking hen night! You should choose the friends who put the ‘maid’ into bridesmaid rather than vice versa!
According to ‘The Chief Bridesmaid’, in terms of official duties the bridesmaid is there to:
  • Organise the hen night 
  • Help the bride get ready on the day
  • Arrange the bride's dress and train before she goes up the aisle and for the photos 
  • Hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony
  • Do any last minute jobs on the day
Choosing outfits to suit you all can be tricky if there are a lot of bridesmaids or there is a large age range. Adults won’t want to be dressed the same as children and the bride should bear in mind that the outfit(s) she picks need to flatter people of different ages (and sizes!).
Alternatively, you can ask all your bridesmaids to wear the same style and fabric, but let them choose the colour from the colour palette, which works best with your personal white, wedding theme, wedding season (summer or winter wedding) and with your wedding place (UK or overseas wedding). 

Modern bridesmaids’ outfits
While the traditional wedding scene features a row of identically dressed bridesmaids in frilly dresses, the days of ‘one style fits all’ are gone.

If you don’t have your heart set on dressing your bridesmaids identically - here are a few reasons why it might be better to be more flexible:
  • Your bridesmaids have very different heights and figures
  • You have a mix of child and adult attendants
  • Your bridesmaids are from different cultural backgrounds
  • You can’t imagine your choice of attendants being happy dressed identically
Just because the bridesmaids aren't dressed the same doesn’t mean they can’t look stylish and formal. There are several ways to create a unifying look, while retaining individuality and flexibility ...

Image courtesy of Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty

Choose the same colour 
Dessy (a huge bridesmaid dress online mecca) says: “It’s perfectly acceptable to select a favourite colour that expresses your personality as part of your colour palette when choosing a colour or different colour combinations for your bridesmaids’ outfits. Keep in mind that almost every colour has positive as well as negative characteristics. By combining colours you can emphasise either the positive or negative aspects.” Here are some tips on colour combining your wedding dress with a bridesmaids dress:
Red is the colour of power, love and energy. Combined with your dress it will underline the love and passion you feel on the day as well as the perfect union and new beginning you are about to enter. 
Pink suggests a sense of softness and gentleness. Dressed in pink, you will have an aura of femininity and romance around you. It adds a touch of sweetness to your white wedding dress and brings out the youth in every woman. 
Choosing blue creates positivity and tranquility around you. Blue induces a sense of calm and, combined with your wedding dress, will make you appear peaceful, trustworthy and perceptive. 
Green conveys freshness and reassurance and demonstrates imagination and a sense of living life to the full. Combined with your wedding dress, it symbolises hope, good luck and fertility for your new life ahead. 
Orange is a more intense colour to wear than yellow. Picking orange will present you as a fun loving person, comfortable in your own skin, who has a love of exotic things. Orange is a good colour for late summer weddings. 
Dressing in purple is a statement of creativity and individuality. It shows confidence in this new chapter in your life. 
Material matters 
When choosing fabric keep in mind that some material will look more figure hugging and shiny, which might not work for all your bridesmaids who may feel uncomfortable bringing attention to certain parts of their body.

A popular option is to choose a fabric and let the bridesmaids get their dresses made from the same material. That way they will be able to choose a style that suits them and still retain the bridesmaid look. The only drawback is you will give up control on the overall look of your wedding theme. 
Long and short of it 
A must, is getting agreement on the length of the dress in order to create uniformity within the wedding theme. If your bridesmaids are going to choose different dresses it can look a little odd if some are in full length silk and others in short mini dresses. 
Separates solutions 
Separates are becoming very popular among modern bridesmaids. Choosing two-piece styles gives a wider scope of tops in the same colour and fabric. It also enables a Maid of Honour to stand out from the other attendants by having a different-style top from the other bridesmaids. 
Adults only 
No adult wants to appear at a wedding party dressed like a toddler. Children in identical dresses can look adorable, but if there are to be adult attendants too it is usually best to contrast their outfits with those of the children rather than try to match them!
Hope this helps a little when choosing your bridesmaids! I know I went into it learning from my mistakes along the way! 

Until next time…
Much love
Wedding Sparrow

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