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Sunday, May 10, 2015

10 Surprising Ways to Pick Bridesmaid Dresses They Will Be Happy to Wear

Choosing bridesmaid dresses is the right of every bride, but you should not let it become a joke amongst your friends. The problem is that most brides become unfocused. They select a dress for their bridesmaids that fits some idea in their heads, but may not work well in real life. Obviously, that would never be you, but we know you’ve heard stories about the worst bridesmaid dresses. 

While you could select a bridesmaid dress for your girls that would help them win every worst bridesmaid dress contest for the rest of their lives, picking the dresses your bridesmaids will wear as they stand beside you during your special day is easier than you think. There are some basics — obviously, some styles are more flattering than others — but picking a great bridesmaid dress is not the same as picking one your girls will love.

Here are 10 surprising ways to pick dresses your bridesmaids will be happy to wear.

1. Have a vision for your Wedding: If your venue is formal, consider a long dress for your bridesmaids. The romantic feeling and almost universally flattering look of a long gown is something special.  Many of us have looked forward to wearing a beautiful long dress since we were toddlers. A more casual affair is suited to a shorter bridesmaid dress.  They are many more to choose from than in previous decades that are fun and flirty yet elegant.  A short dress is also a nice way to let your bridesmaids show off their individuality with pretty, strappy high heels.

2. Consider Comfort: If you want your bridesmaids to be happy to wear the bridesmaid dress you pick, make sure it is one they will actually be comfortable wearing. Before selecting a dress, ask yourself: Does the fabric breathe? Is it easy to dance in? Will the dress slip down while they walk? Does it feature a mini-train they going to be tripping over all evening? Even if your bridesmaids like the look of the dress, if it bunches uncomfortably or causes a fashion mishap worthy of a TMZ expose, they are going to come to hate the dress.

3. Check the Cost: No matter how you like the bridesmaid dresses you select, be honest with yourself. This is an expense your bridesmaids are paying for a one-off event, just to have the honor of standing beside you. Do your bridesmaids a favor and don’t select a dress that costs more than most car payments. Select a dress with a maximum price that you know is within the price range of your wedding party or be prepared to help with the cost. 

4. Always Alter: Nothing fits perfectly off the rack. You might choose to wear it that way, but all clothes are better tailored. If you want your bridesmaids to be happy wearing the dress you pick, spring for alterations beyond the normal length adjustments. The shoulders may need to be adjusted as well as the bust, waist and hips, but when a dress fits well, even the ugliest dress looks runway-worthy.

5. Buy Early: Bridesmaid dresses are not something you can leave to the last minute. It takes months get the bridesmaid dresses after you order them, and that is after you decide on one and pick your colors. Plus, it can take several weeks for fittings and alterations once the dresses come in. Keep everyone happy by making your bridesmaid dress purchases early and allowing plenty of wiggle room.

6. Don’t Make Them Choose Their Own: It might seem like a good idea to let your bridesmaids pick their own dresses, but as soon as you tell them the color, length and fabric you want, you are turning a shopping trip into an expedition. In other words, you are dooming your bridesmaids to visit multiple stores and check dozens of websites to find a bridesmaid dress that fits your parameters, and those problems may be compounded if you select an unusual color. Make your wedding look fabulous without stressing everyone out by choosing a dress for your bridesmaids instead.

7. Select a Fabric With Drape: If you want to pick a dress your bridesmaids will love, you need to make sure you pick a fabric with drape. Draping is a characteristic of fabric and cut that makes the material flow. Dresses with a good drape cascade off the body, falling in vertical folds like window drapes. In contrast, cheaper fabrics stick out from the body and fall in horizontal folds. You might be able to get by with it if the dress is very fitted with a starched skirt, but most bridesmaid dresses do not fit that bill.

8. Choose a Natural Color: Bridesmaids do not have to wear your wedding colors to be in your wedding. Complementary colors work just as well and will offer the same feel without the negative consequences. For instance, you may love fire-engine red and want it as one of your wedding colors, but if dress your bridesmaids in a color like that, your ceremony could look more like a high school football homecoming banquet than a wedding. Pick a color that occurs in nature instead, like deep wine or blue. More natural colors, for instance, almost all pastels, tend to be more flattering and will make sure your wedding looks like the romantic celebration it is instead of a varsity dance.

9. Keep It Modest: You might have a couple of bridesmaids who love showing skin, but not everyone will be comfortable with a dress that ends inches above the knee, a plunging neckline, a strapless gown or an open back — and the issue isn’t necessarily weight-related. Some women may not want to go braless while others could have scars or tattoos from college they would rather conceal. Choose modest cuts instead, or select an accessory that makes it work for everyone. A matching shawl will hide most body issues and can conceal modesty straps if they need to be added.

10. Ask for Input: Your bridesmaids don’t have to love the dress, but they do have to wear it. Ask for input from your girls early and often. Let them be part of the process, and they will thank you for it. However, your certain vision for your special day is something that you should communicate and your bridesmaids should appreciate.

Picking bridesmaid dresses your friends will be happy to wear just takes a little extra effort. Take the time to make sure your bridesmaids are as comfortable in the dress as they are with the price. Make sure their dresses are ordered early and altered to fit like a glove, as well. Picking modest bridesmaid dresses in a natural color with good draping will also help. Add a little input from your bridesmaids, and they will be sure to love their dresses.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Getting Measured for Success

No bridesmaid wants to be seen in an ill-fitting dress. No bride wants to see her closest friend stand in front of her friends and family in a dress that could fit better. There are a few things that can cause a dress to fit improperly, however the single biggest reason is because the bridesmaid has not been properly measured.

While there are thousands of beautiful dresses available to choose from, on any budget, the fit must be correct.  Bridesmaids need to be measured by a professional such as a seamstress or tailor, or in a salon.  Every bridesmaid dress designer has its own size chart, and the sizes can vary widely from regular street sizes.

One popular way to start the search for the perfect bridesmaid dress is online. When a bride finds a website she likes, she shares it with her friends. Websites will offer valuable information about colors, materials and styles, as well as measuring tips. They usually also offer significant savings over brick-and-mortar salons.

Keep in mind that bridesmaid dresses are not returnable for the most part. They are made for each individual order, so the measuring process is ultra-important.

Who can measure me?

·       Tailor- There are still tailor shops in most cities believe it or not. Walking in and requesting measurements normally only takes a few moments and it’s usually just a small fee.
·       Dry Cleaner with Alterations- Some dry cleaners will offer to do alterations on different pieces of clothing. The seamstresses/tailors in those places can also take professional measurements and it may be free if you promise to use them for alterations.
·       Dressmaker/Wedding salon – A dressmaker will take your measurements, however it may not be free.

IMPORTANT:  You cannot let most bridesmaid dresses out, but you can always take them in. Also, if you are 5’8” or taller in heels, order the extra length.

Remember, shopping for a bridesmaid dress online is one of the most convenient and fun things you can do. Gone are the days of endless waiting for an appointment and embarrassing group fittings. With a little preparation, each bridesmaid can buy in the comfort of her own home.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bridesmaids: The Historical Point of View

It’s a dream come true when a lady is engaged and about to get married - and for a few close friends and family, it is a special moment to be asked to be a bridesmaid. In modern times, the role of a bridesmaid has changed. When most people think of bridesmaid now, they think of the bachelorette party and helping in different ways. The role of a bridesmaid in history was much different. Although it was still an honor to be a bridesmaid, it was for a much different purpose.

For centuries bridesmaids have existed in most cultures. It appears that the tradition of having bridesmaids started in ancient Rome and Greece. For weddings, couples were required to have 10 witnesses, 5 women and 5 men.

Their Duties Then
One of the reasons brides had bridesmaids in Roman times was to help the bride get to the village of her groom. During those times, traveling alone was inappropriate and dangerous. Bridesmaids were selected to help keep other men and suitors away from the bride. They were also entrusted with the bride’s belongings. Not only did they make sure their friend arrived safely, they also made sure she kept her virtue until the wedding night.

The most important reason a woman had bridesmaids however, was to keep away evil spirits that were thought to attend the ceremony. Bridesmaids and groomsmen were originally tasked with wearing clothes that looked exactly like the newlywed couple to confuse the evil spirits that were lurking around, trying to steal the bride away.

Their Dresses Then and Now
The dresses bridesmaids wore were very important. At that time people strongly believed that a couple would have a bad life if evil spirits were allowed to get to the bride. Instead of making it easy, couples thought it best to confuse everyone except well-wishers and good spirits.

Most modern brides do not follow that tradition. Most weddings which feature bridesmaids will have the ladies wear similar colors and styles, in contrast to the white of the wedding dress.  It is not unusual for the bride to choose a single color and allow her bridesmaids to pick their own styles that flatter them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wedding Planning Blues

If you have ever heard your bride say “Maybe we should just elope” she might be coming down with a case of the wedding planning blues.  That is the time where all the prep work for the happiest day of her life feels less like a dream and more like a nightmare.  Instead of feeling like she is walking on air she may feel more like the weight of the world is on her shoulders.  She may be overwhelmed dealing with who can sit where, unsolicited advice, post deadline RSVPs and everything else that will inevitably pop up.  What is a bridesmaid to do when her bride is about to scrap months, maybe even a year or so of planning and run off with her dream guy?  Give her a day off.

Even the most exciting of events can cause anxiety when you are knee deep in planning.  Time away from the situation can be a great way to not only unwind, but also regain that original excitement. Here are a few things you and some of the other bridesmaids can do to get your bride back to a happy place.  The quickest and easiest thing to do is to go to have lunch or dinner together.  As long as everyone is laughing and talking it doesn’t matter if the gathering is at a five star restaurant, a mom and pop diner, or your kitchen table. What is important is that everyone is laughing and having a good time.  If you can, get your bride to unplug from everything.  Tell her fiancée, parents or anyone else who would contact her in case of emergency to call you if they need her because you will be taking her phone.  Even if it’s just for a few hours, the break from texts, phone calls, social media messages and the like can bring her stress levels down tremendously.

A spa day is another way to get your bride to relax.  Who cares if there is a spa day scheduled the weekend of the wedding?  Is there such a thing as too much spa time?  No way!  Just like with the lunch or dinner, cut off communication with the outside world.  The only ringing she needs to hear is that of some peaceful chimes during her massage.

If neither of these works for you and your bride you can always go out for drinks.  A couple of Cosmos and good conversation can do a girl a world of good.  If your bride is still too wound up you can play a grown up version of Taboo.  Have a list of wedding related words-wedding, mother-in-law, gown, etc. - and whenever someone says one of those words has to take a shot.  This doesn’t have to be a ladies only event.  You can always have the groom and the rest of the wedding party join in on the fun.  Some quality co-ed fun may be just what everyone needs to get rid of the wedding planning blues.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Out of Town Wedding Guests

To say a wedding day is a special occasion is an understatement.  It is an event so special that friends and family will travel from all over in order to attend.  All wedding guests are important so the bride and her bridal party will do so much to make sure everyone is comfortable and entertained.  However, those guests who have taken planes, trains or automobiles to get to the wedding may warrant a little extra attention.  Arranging blocks of hotel rooms with discounted rates for out of town wedding guests is a very common and considerate thing to do.  Here are some other ideas that will let those who travelled know how much you appreciate their presence.
A fun idea would be to have favors made specifically for out of town guests.  We have all seen mugs that say “I went to this place or that and all I got was this mug.”  Why not have some made up for you the wedding?  For example, imagine the smile on the faces of your aunt and uncle who flew in from Houston when they see mug saying “I went to Bill and Amy’s wedding and all I got was this mug.”  A similar message could be displayed on t-shirts, key chains, or any other keepsake. 

 Something else out of town wedding guests might appreciate is a welcome packet.  Anyone who does not live in the area can appreciate a quick reference guide for local must haves.  This may seem like something guests can get at a hotel but your packet will be something they can take with them while they are driving around.  You can include the addresses and phone numbers for everything from hospitals, to drug stores, to local restaurants that will deliver to your guests’ hotels(s).  Your guests are already going to be talking about your wedding when they get back but this will definitely add to their fond memories. 

One more thing you can give your out of town guests to show a little extra appreciation for coming so far is a handwritten note.  This might sound simple, which it is, but a handwritten note can also come across as very warm and heartfelt. Handwriting the note will enable you to personalize the note for each guest.  Each note does not have to be long.  Just a few simple lines thanking each person or couple for coming to share in your day should do the trick.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Maternity Bridesmaid Dresses

So – you’re all excited about being a part of the wedding party but just found out you’re expecting. Congratulations!!!  You don’t have to drop out of the wedding party though.  There was a time when dress options for expecting bridesmaids were limited at best.  Having a perfectly matched dress could be time consuming and expensive.  Popular styles of bridesmaids’ dresses with maternity options were few and far between.  A bridesmaid determined not to relinquish her spot in the bridal party would often be left with costly tailoring as the only option.  She would have to order the same style dress as the other ladies in the wedding party but then pay to have it tailored and hope that her baby bump wouldn’t be bigger than anticipated on the day of the wedding.  Thankfully times and options have changed.

An expecting bridesmaid will most likely have her hands full; one thing she shouldn’t have to worry about is the look of her bridesmaid dress. While alterations are still an option, that is not your only choice.  Many of today’s bridal fashion designers are doing a great job keeping up with the demand for maternity bridesmaid dresses.  They come in a wide variety of colors and fabrics.  As a matter of fact lots of maternity bridesmaid dresses are designed to perfectly coordinate with the missy cut of the same style.  Pregnant bridesmaids can have the same modern, gorgeous look as everyone else in the wedding party.  This enables the bride to have all of her attendants perfectly matched, which is a beautiful thing.

The best thing about purchasing a maternity bridesmaid dress over purchasing a missy cut and having it altered is the guess work is eliminated.  Just like designers of other maternity garments, the stylists who create maternity bridesmaids dresses have done their homework on the expecting female form.  The majority of the time your pre-pregnancy size is your maternity size.  For example, if you were a size 12 the day you found out you were expecting, your maternity size should be 12. The dressmakers have already taken the time to figure out how much fabric and what dimension will be needed to adorn your blossoming baby to be.  And they all shopped happily ever after.

Monday, February 17, 2014


When it comes to bridesmaids no two bodies are exactly alike.  Each woman’s shape is as varied and unique as her personality.  So how can several women with different curves look equally amazing in the same dress?  The answer is simple, shapewear.  Before you cringe thinking of your granny’s girdle, or worse yet someone’s foot on your back as they lace up a Victorian corset, you should know that long gone are the days when you have to choose between looking your best and feeling your best.  There are lots of shapewear options available that will enable you to do both.

The key to purchasing the right shapewear is to know your size.  Shapewear that is too tight is no good.  It is supposed to make your body look its best, not cut off your air supply.  A bridesmaid needs to be on her A-game.  She can’t do that if her shaper is making her dizzy.  Also, it will be really hard to smile for the camera, enjoy all that delicious food and dance the night away if you feel like two pounds of bologna crammed into a one pound bag.  Shapewear shouldn’t be loose or baggy either.  All you will be doing is adding a layer of clothing that serves no purpose.  If you aren’t sure of your size, make the time to go have yourself measured.  This will ensure the best fit.  There are plenty of retailers who are ready, willing and able to take your measurements.  You could do it on your own or go with the other women in the wedding party and make a day of it.

The other thing you need to do is decide what it is you are trying to achieve.  Maybe you want to smooth and flatten one area.  Or maybe you want to lift another.  Camisoles and Body Briefers are excellent choices for women who want to control the tummy area.  They are also great for women who are looking to smooth out the back and/or love handles.  There are slips and thigh slimmers for women who want to instantly give hips and thighs a toned look.  Depending on the cut and fabric of your dress you may want to opt for something seamless to make sure no one knows you’re wearing shapewear.  You also have options for how much or how little control your shapewear to has.  Remember, with all of the choices on the market a woman can achieve the look she wants without any pain or discomfort.