Shopping for bridesmaids dresses can get complicated quickly, especially when you're trying to please a group of ladies who all have different tastes, body types, preferences, and comfort levels. It's important to try and make everyone happy, but you ultimately have to decide when to listen to the feedback you're getting and when to go with your own instincts. Here, we share six things to consider as you shop for the perfect dress for your 'maids.
Narrow down the options and let the ladies pick what they love.
Wedding party attire should reflect the color scheme for your wedding and all the design elements that you've planned for the celebration. That's not to say that each woman has to wear an identical dress, but the silhouette and hues should complement the environment and the formality of the wedding. Your best bet is to narrow it down to three to six options and let the ladies weigh in from there. You can always end up with a mix of dress styles, patterns, or colors if that's the look you're going for.
Remember that comfort is key.
While it's entirely likely that the attire you've selected may not be their personal taste, your bridesmaids' comfort level should be a top priority for you. You don't want to send any of your friends down the aisle in something they feel is too short, too tight, or too low-cut for their body type. If there's an outlier in the group who feels particularly uncomfortable, you may want to chat with the alterations department about options to make sure the dress better suited to this particular circumstance.
Be cautious with timing when placing dress orders.
If you're ordering from a bridal shop, this process can take up to six months, or sometimes longer, depending on the dress designer. Keep in mind that once the dresses are ordered, they'll still need to be delivered to the girls and altered accordingly. Be clear about the timing upfront and be sure to get all the order information so you and your bridesmaids can plan accordingly.
Order stock options in a time crunch.
There's a generalization that all wedding attire has to be ordered from a classic bridal shop and customized by a seamstress to fit each person's body type. That's simply untrue. If you've been a bridesmaid in the past, you know it can take months to get these dresses in hand from the time they're ordered, and that kind of time really isn't an option for everyone.
If you've only got a couple of months before the wedding and you're hustling to get everything together, you have options. Option one is to be really relaxed in your approach and ask your bridesmaids to wear a dress of a particular length and color scheme and let them go out and find something on their own, taking a mix-and-match approach. Option two is to go with department store or online options that are ready-to-wear and don't need a lot of alterations or time to order. Some great resources to look into are Reformation, BHLDN, and ASOS. If you decide to go this route, it's a good idea to order all the dresses at once to be certain the style is in stock.
Stay on top of the timing.
Keeping in touch with the bridal shop about any delays in dress delivery is a good idea, but you may also want to send gentle reminders to your bridesmaids when the dresses are ready to make sure they're getting their alterations done early. If you're getting married during peak wedding season, unexpected delays in alterations could pop up and you certainly will want to avoid that.
Don't forget about the accessories.
A lot of bridesmaids find themselves nervous to add their own jewelry and accessories if the bride hasn't pre-approved them. It may make the process more comfortable for them if you let them know from the get-go that they can wear whatever jewelry they'd like, or if you'd prefer to provide the accessories so that they're all coordinated. This is an opportunity for them to add a little of their personality to the overall look for the day too, so it might be nice to let them roll with their taste, but that's entirely up to you.