Recently I was asked to do an article for My Weddings magazine on dressing your bridesmaids for your wedding. I understand that many brides find this stressful on top of organising the other details of their wedding, so I’ve included the article below. Hopefully it can help!
Bridesmaids – They’re a vital and very visual element in supporting a bride. What they wear really does set the tone for the whole wedding. The colour chosen is a great way for the bride to express her personal taste.
Things get a little tricky when brides want to do something different from everyone else, yet still feel confident that it all will come together.
Your bridal gown designer will happily offer options and ideas to guide you in the right direction, as will stylists, who are used more often these days as a sounding board, putting together brides’ ideas and visions.
So, when choosing the gowns for your bridesmaids, a good starting point is to consider colour. Keep in mind your maids’ colouring, and don’t just think of one colour, come up with a few options.
Something else that can assist in your colour decisions are the flowers you are considering for the wedding. Take swatches with you when consulting your florist; if you don’t have access to swatches, a paint sample card in the closest toning will suffice.
Remember that everyone is going to have an opinion – the bridesmaids themselves, the mums, and the groom. Personally, I tell my brides that they need to remember whose wedding it is! Be prepared to take advice, but be strong, and don’t get bullied!
When it comes to the style of gown, consider your bridesmaids’ shape and height … are they big busted or flat-chested, do they have short bodies or long, are they sporting any tattoos (in some cases, a tattoo may not really be something you want distracting from the look you are tying to achieve).
If you are considering a short gown for your maids, remember that the shoes will play a large role in the overall look of the outfit, and they all have to match!
Lastly, remember that whatever style and colour you choose, it needs to compliment you, them, the weather, the venue and the style of wedding.
Trends that are starting to surface of late in New York are strapless gowns, or at least those with either very thin shoestring or ornate lace straps. There are lots of big bows, as well as handcrafted flower detailing. Silhouettes are trending towards the figure hugging, billowing below the buttock area. Contrast is also featuring more and more – if you’re after trendy, consider a skirt in a cream or bronze with the bodice in white, or a black bodice over a white skirt.
Whatever you choose, please DO be fussy! You want the girls to look fabulous. Yes, by all means browse the internet. You’ll find a ton of inspiration. But be warned – while those dresses look so good on screen, sadly not many will arrive looking the same, and the fit is often not the best! There are too many sad stories out there, with ill-fitting dresses at the root of many problems.
There are shops offering generic dresses, as are fashion boutiques like Moochi, Ruby and Forever New who are offering up small ranges suitable for the purpose. It’s also exciting to see locally made gowns like Victor also doing a great job of creating small ranges in different colourways, making it easy for a bride to choose dresses to suit her girls.
However, if you want something truly special, in a certain colour and style, then the best bet is go shopping for fabric and get a dressmaker to help you out. Your designer should be able to recommend someone and advise you on this.
Whatever you do, get the basics right – choose gowns that will suit your maids, opt for a colour that will flatter and compliment everyone in the bridal party, and ensure a fit that does them all justice.