If you’re reading this, congratulations on your upcoming wedding! You’ve probably begun shopping for your wedding attire or at the very least have been “pinteresting” like a mom who just put her whole family on the keto diet. Although I can’t help you with eliminating grains from your lunchboxes or meal planning for the week, I can certainly give you some guidance in selecting the best bridesmaid’s dresses for your wedding party.
Before you even LOOK at bridesmaids dresses, you should have a really good understanding of how those styles will complement your OWN gown. You are the Beyonce of Destiny’s child here, the star (sorry Kelly and Michelle), and you need to be the focus on your big day. Often times, your bridal consultant will try to push you to begin your bridesmaids dress search on the same day that you choose your gown. They figure that they have you there, already elated and in the wedding-spending-mood, and they are going to try to close the deal. The single most important thing you can do with this information is RESIST. Do not select your bridesmaids dresses until you’ve adequately marinated in the idea of exactly how you want your party to accent your look. Let yourself take some time after receiving your Grammy before you start recording the next track, k? Your gown will set the tone for the entire album, um, I mean wedding party- and you just can’t rush perfect harmony.
After you’ve had time to envision yourself in your dream dress, you are officially ready to spawn the evolution of your bridal party. The second most important factor in this equation is considering your venue. Certain fabrics in bridesmaid gowns emit a mood that will play into your ultimate vibe- and the location of your party is truly a pivotal variable. If you have chosen a ballroom or country club wedding, satin, jersey, velvet or sequined gowns will hammer the classic, upscale vibe home. If you’ve selected an outdoor or more whimsical feel- such as a beach, a glammed up barn, or garden setting you’re probably going to want to stick with chiffon or tulle. Not only do these fabrics compliment the motif- they wear differently in various settings (satin + warm outdoor shenanigans= swamp maid, for instance).
The diversity of your bridal party is the next element you will want to consider. Unless all of your maids are teammates from your college volleyball team, they are probably going to have pretty unique body types. Shannon with the Orange Theory upper body may be stoked to wear a halter, but Eliza- new mom of twins wondering how the hell carrying two babies around doesn’t equal Michelle Obama muscle tone, won’t feel the same. Luckily, the best thing to ever happen to a maid (other than cashing in on catching that elusive bouquet with her own wedding) is the trend of putting maids in various styles (HEAR ME LADIES this will be important later) in the SAME FABRIC. Breaking up the monotony of the party’s chosen style will not only be aesthetically pleasing, it will ensure that your maids are comfortable and happy, having at least some choice in what they have put on their bodies. This will also make them more willing to chipperly pay for their dress so we can place the order in a timeframe that doesn’t have me rising from my bed in a sweat, less than eight weeks before your nuptials.
Once you know that you’re willing to be the super cool bride who lets her maids have some choice in their style, (I am all for limiting these styles to fit the aesthetic of the event- for the record) you are ready to implement a color palette! The most common philosophy is to select one color for maids, however more recently brides have started throwing some shade variation into the mix- and I don’t mean she’s talking smack. Although using contrasting colors that create a rainbow-effect among your besties isn’t my jam (if you’re into that- more power to you, girlfriend), I am totally down for selecting a couple complementary colors or for putting various shades of a color into the mix. Think of it like a wall paint color card- you keep going back and forth between the top three, because all of them are awesome. Same concept.
This final part happens to be what I was screaming at ya about mid-article, I have strong feelings about it (sorry, not sorry)…PLEASE DO NOT allow your maids to select gowns from multiple manufacturers or of various fabrics if you are wanting a super cohesive look. Although there are some exceptions in mixing fabrics- satin will have high sheen, chiffon and jersey absorb light, tulle can be transparent in certain settings- seeming muted, and velvet will just be an absolute mess next to anything else unless it is perfectly executed with another fabric. All of this translates to the light hitting each gown differently meaning you will in fact NOT have “fresh photos with the bomb lighting” making you, me, and Lizzo equally sad. Even chiffon from two different manufactures will look obscure when photographed- don’t risk it.
I guess I’ve spent entirely too much time in paint stores lately but ol’ Sherwin Williams best demonstrates why you must order all the gowns from one manufacturer for color purposes. Black, being the most basic example (which most would think is safe to mix with) will be different from every single dress manufacturer- yes, even in the same fabric. One will have red undertones, another a purple tint, even greenish black is lurking in the mix…and eventually you just end up having to remix everything and paint your entire house in “repose grey.” The fabric for your maids’ dresses are all dyed and cut in a group- leaving no room for variation. If you are wanting your girls in a single color and sheen- ordering one fabric from one manufacturer is the ONLY way to achieve this.
Ultimately, bridesmaid shopping is a lot of fun or at least it should be! I realize that I may have some of you sweating bullets thinking about it- but I promise that following these steps will make it less stressful when you are in the boutique staring down a hundred options. Aside from the flawless photos you will post to the gram, bonding with your girls during this experience (now that I’ve given you the inside deets) will be one of the things you remember most, and you can now do it in confidence that you will make the perfect choice for your event. Who run the world? Girls.
-Kassy Lauer of Rose & Bliss
Venue: Funxion and Photography: Jennifer Southard Photography