The rules for dressing your bridesmaids have changed. They no longer expect to be asked to all wear the same dress, in the same style, in the same colour… Which is great news for you!
Today the mode is much more geared towards the individual figures of the girls. Gone are the days when brides uniformly put their attendants in the same dress, all in the same colour and style – with no consideration given to different figures, ages, skin tones and personalities.
We think that’s a real step ahead. At the end of the day, you want your maids to look happy and smiley in the wedding photographs, not awkward and pulling down their skirt to cover their knees or pulling up the strapless frock they’re having trouble keeping in place.
Mix it up!
Nicki MacFarlane has dressed many bridesmaids and Kate Middleton even chose her to make her flowergirl dresses for the Royal Wedding. We asked Nicky for her thoughts…
“Keeping girls over ten happy when it comes to bridesmaid dresses can be tricky. They don’t want to look ‘girly’ but grown up styles are not right for teenage figures. Involve them in your decision-making and they’ll love you for it! Choose a matching or co-coordinating fabric that will sit well with the flowergirls’ dresses.”
There’s no rule any longer that says bridesmaids have to wear exactly the same shade. We love it when brides mix it up a bit. It’s telling that the promotional poster for the comedy film ‘Bridesmaids’ showed all the girls awkwardly dressed in one size fits all hot pink taffeta, with ruffles.
Whilst we love hot pink, it’s a very distinctive colour and doesn’t suit everybody. The best way to decide what’s going to work is to look at real life weddings with real life bridesmaids. On our Pinterest board you’ll see we’ve collected together some inspirational images of bridesmaids at real life weddings. Real girls with real figures, all ages, shapes and sizes.
In this image you’ll see that the bride has chosen a mocha theme for her maids but with different hues and necklines – and yet the whole effect hangs together perfectly.
Here we have the same colour dress but two different ways – and don’t those girls look beautiful! You could also go for jewel colours like at this real wedding. We think that’s a fabulous effect and remember you can mix up the shoes too.
There’s no one style suits all
You can see that different styles of neckline feature – strapless and one shouldered. If one of your girls has a small bust she might feel uncomfortable wearing a strapless dress and a sweetheart neckline would be more suitable (actually a sweetheart neckline suits all busts). Or if one of your maids is better endowed then choose a dress with straps.
The same goes for lengths. Some of your girls might be happy with the shape of their legs, others would rather wear something below the knee. It’s always best to talk your ideas through with them and give them some options (but not too many).
Do the twist
One option we’re keen on is a twist wrap dress. Usually made from a soft silk jersey, the basic style of the frock allows you to wrap lengths to create different necklines… one shoulder, strapless, short sleeved, halter style.
They’re the sort of dress that your maids will want to wear after the wedding as well because they are so versatile and flattering – and because of the fabric they travel well so are perfect for destination weddings and subsequent holidays abroad. Check out designs from Impression Bridal, twobirds Bridesmaid and Dessy…
It’s also quite a forgiving style if your maids put on a few pounds or lose a few before your big day (or if they are in the early stages of pregnancy). While you still need to get the right size, you can tighten or loosen the wrap part as you need to.
Day to night dressing
The recent law amendment that now lets you marry at any time up to 6pm has opened up new possibilities for bridesmaid dressing. If you’re having a late afternoon wedding (which in the darkness of winter will seem like the evening anyway) then why not dress your girls in dramatic deep shades? Dark blues, purples – don’t be afraid of dressing your maids in black either.
Your girls can then stylishly go from day to night in evening frocks. Talk to them about what you have in mind and let them be involved in the choice because this is certainly a time when they can choose a frock they could wear again and again to parties (particularly important if they’re paying for their own gown). It doesn’t matter if you go for cocktail style or something a little longer – just make sure that the colour blends the whole effect together.
Keeping to your budget
You’ll find plenty of bridesmaid dress options on the high street if your budget is tight, or if you’re in a rush to get wed. Debenhams has prom style frocks, as well as an entry-level line by designer Jenny Packham. You’ll also find some pretty gowns in House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer, Monsoon and David’s Bridal.
For more inspiration, look at our Bridesmaids page or come and talk with our brides-to-be about their girls on the Wedding Ideas Forum.