Shopping can be fun, but it can also be difficult to find the right fit. Try shopping with multiple people at once! It is common to have different personal styles, expecting mothers, and a range of body shapes in your bridal party. Finding bridesmaid dresses can be a struggle in the wedding planning process, but it doesn’t have to be. The Blush Bride has some tips before your bridal party heads to the fitting room.
Share the Vision
Before you take your maids to a single store, discuss what your vision is for the big day. The bride goes first of course. What are some colors you would be interested in them wearing? Are there specific styles you love or don’t want to see at the alter? Are we looking for long and slowly or chic and structured? Giving your bridesmaids an idea of what you are searching for will make sure everyone is on the same page. Next, be sure to discuss what each person feels most comfortable in. Discuss if bridesmaids will be wearing the same style or if you are open to complimenting gowns.
Time to Talk Money
When it comes time to talk about budget, some bridesmaids feel uncomfortable bringing up cost. After all, they love the bride and want her to have exactly what she wants! As a bride, it is considerate to discuss with your bridal party what they are comfortable spending. Traditionally bridesmaids cover all costs associated with their dresses. If the styles you like are more expensive you could consider paying for a portion above yourself. (Some brides do purchase dresses for their bridal party, but this is far less common.) When I got married, all of my bridesmaids were in college! We were able to find budget friendly options and everyone looked stunning!
Let’s Go Shopping
When your ready to head to the stores, be sure to call ahead and make appointments. If you do have a specific budget, be sure to ask the associate about their price range. Finding one day that works for all of your bridal party can be difficult. If you are spending a day shopping, be sure to give yourself plenty of time between appointments and a break for lunch. Store associates should be able to show you color swatches for each style. If you are wanting to do different dresses in the same color, you may want to look at styles for each designer and choose the color first and try on dresses that come in that color. By choosing the designer and color first, you will find complimenting styles and be sure the color matches!
Give your bridesmaids four to six months before the big day! By placing your order within this time frame, the dresses can be made by the designer and altered in plenty of time before the wedding. Obviously every boutique is different. Some designers take longer to order than others depending on what they carry in stock. If you are ordering online, be sure you are ordering from a reputable company and check what their return policy is. If you see a $200 Allure Bridesmaid dress in person and find it online for $100, know it is probably a knock off of lesser quality. For my wedding we did have success with Lulu’s.com. They carry affordable dresses, but they are not designer gowns. Remember you get what you pay for!
Sizing and Alterations
Know that even if you order a dress based on measurements you are probably still ordering within the designer’s size chart. This means that your bridesmaids will still need alterations. When choosing a size, know that if you fall between two sizes it is always easier to take a dress in than let one out. Be sure to ask the boutique you purchase from if they have alterations in house or if you need to take dresses elsewhere. Most of the time alterations are an additional cost to the price of the dress. Depending on the style you choose, the associate at the boutique would be able to help with sizing for any expecting mothers in your bridal party.
Things to Keep in Mind
+ Give yourself plenty of time before the big day to shop for, order, and alter the gowns! Usually 4-6 months is a good time frame.
+ Although if you just can’t wait 4-6 months to say I do, call boutiques in your area! Associates should be aware of what designers they have with dresses in stock either in store or at the designer’s warehouse. Allure Bridals is one I am aware of. In stock dresses or added rush fees could speed up the process!
+ Communication is key! Sharing your vision and being respectful of what your bridesmaids are comfortable in makes a happy bridal party.
+ Boutique associates are there to help! Take advantage of their advice if you are struggling to find a style that looks good on everyone.