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Lauren Conrad Shares Her Tried-and-True Wedding Tips

When the reality TV star, newlywed, and designer behind the Paper Crown bridesmaids’ dresses line joined us at our third annual Wedding Party in Chicago this weekend, she answered questions from brides-to-be on preparing for the big day. Here, your front row seat to the event.

Photography by: Amanda Megan Miller Photography

What was your inspiration for the Paper Crown Bridesmaids line?

This line came about in the most organic way. As I started looking at bridesmaids’ dresses, I had such a specific idea of what I wanted and I was having difficulty finding it. Maura McManus [the cofounder of Paper Crown] had the same issue, so we decided we would just make them ourselves. Working between 12 different girls we were dressing, we actually ended up with a line. We said, “We should run with this!” There was a lot more to it than that; it wasn’t that simple. It was really sort of the same vibe that comes from the contemporary line—just soft, romantic pieces that are easy to wear but still feel special. 


How do you feel about the color palette for the mothers and grandmothers? Should they match each other?

It’s hard because everything should be so specific to you, but I know in my wedding, they both wanted their dresses to sit well with the color scheme. My mother wore blush, and my mother-in-law wore a Champagne color. I remember my mother-in-law told me, when she was picking out the dress, “I know my job. Show up, shut up, and wear beige.” She’s awesome. It’s fun to include them so when you’re taking photos, it won’t be like everyone is in neutral and then one person is in hot pink. 


Something I did for immediate family because a lot of them were asking what to wear—for example, “Do I wear black? What’s the vibe?”—is I put together a really simple inspiration board with some examples and colors so they could get an idea. It showed what the bridesmaids were wearing, what my mother was wearing, what the flowers looked like. That was helpful. 

Photography by: Amanda Megan Miller Photography
Lauren Conrad and Maura McManus, cofounders of Paper Crown

How do you feel about long versus short bridesmaids’ dresses? 

I personally like long dresses. I definitely wouldn’t go too short. If you’re mixing a tea-length and maxi, I probably wouldn’t go full maxi and mini. Also, it depends on the venue.


How do you differentiate a maid of honor from the bridesmaids?

I didn’t have a maid of honor because I didn’t want to pick, but I think there are different ways to do it. For example, in our line, we have some pieces that have a little lace detailing up top and then we have a piece that has lace over the whole thing. For us, we say that is a maid-of-honor dress. So it’s something that is a little different but still in the same materials and a similar design—a little tweak, but not too different so it still sits nicely. You could use accessories, too, if you wanted to make it a little more subtle. 

Get More of Lauren Conrad’s Tips for Styling Your Bridesmaids
Photography by: Amanda Megan Miller Photography

What’s your opinion on what a bridesmaid should wear if they are a different age from most of the other bridesmaids? For example, if she's 12 years old?

A 12-year-old can still wear a typical bridesmaid’s dress. It might be a little more modest, or the length can change (like a knee-length). You should just go with what’s comfortable to them. 


If you have a man in your bridal party, how do you incorporate that into the style?

It depends. You can do anything from just matching his tie color or pocket square to the [bridesmaids’] dresses. I mean, you can go as far as he’s willing to go! You could have a matching suit.


What are your feelings on a groom standing out from the groomsmen as far as his suit, color, etc.?

It is nice to feel special, as a bride does. Guys just want it easy; I think that’s what I got from this process. I’ve had friends that have had their wedding and have worn either a black suit or a black tux and it looks just as nice. Do whatever you’re comfortable with. 

Photography by: Amanda Megan Miller Photography

My wedding dress is a tulle ball gown so is there a certain type of bridesmaid’s dress that would best complement that?

Maybe don’t put your bridesmaids in tulle. What I would do—I’m such a visual person—I would take a photo of the dress and start pulling photos of different styles [of bridesmaids’ dresses] and set them next to each other and see what I think. If you’re going for a dramatic look, it would be nice to have them in an elegant straight dress, but you also have to do what’s best for each of them. Definitely try out lots of different looks. Experiment. It’s interesting, Maura and I both had really similar bridesmaids’ dresses; Maura’s dress was a similar shape—sort of a larger skirt—and my dress was very straight, and they fit with both. 


Do you have any tips for enjoying and just being in the day? 

The trick is Champagne! That’s the advice everyone gives you: They say eat and just enjoy it. Nothing’s going to be perfect, and I think you really just have to go into it with that mind-set. This is going to be the best day. Not everything’s going to go perfectly, but no one’s going to know. They didn’t have the 53 Pinterest boards. For example, when my flowers showed up, they were pretty different than what we talked about. They were beautiful, and he did such a good job, and I said, “You know what? They’re different, but they still look beautiful.” And nobody knew. Only I knew. I think that’s the point; nobody knows all the details. They’re just there to have fun with good food, good music, good company. 

Photography by: Amanda Megan Miller Photography

Was there one personalized detail that you loved most about your wedding?

One of my favorite things about the wedding were the favors. They were amazing. Martha Stewart Weddings was kind enough to work with us on them. They really took the time to make it specific to us. We did a sort of game-night theme, so it was a really cute little wooden box with cards that we had made to match our invitations, little candies, a little pencil and pad to keep score, with game rules. We’re also really nerdy so we did little puns. We renamed card games—“Crazy Eights” was “Crazy Love.” I also insisted that my husband sing, and it was by far my favorite part of the wedding because it was such a special moment. You have to do things like that. It’s really all about you. 

Get an Inside Look at the Making of Lauren Conrad’s Wedding Favors