Like viral videos and a hatred for traffic, some things invariably bring people together—bad bridesmaid's dress anecdotes are one of them. Nothing beats comparing and sharing our horror stories, or cringing at the cautionary tales of others. And what else can you expect from a wedding-day staple that's traditionally expensive, not re-wearable, and subjective to taste? Below, five real women on the bridesmaids' dresses they most resented wearing. Brides-to-be, take note: ruffles are not appreciated (and for the love of all things bridal, please keep weather conditions in mind!).
The cornflower (!) blue dress
"My best friend was getting married across the country. All of us bridesmaids had to email (yes, email) our measurements to a bridal shop to customize the dresses the bride had selected. When I received my dress in the mail, four weeks before the wedding, it was cornflower blue; no one looks good in cornflower blue! It was a mix of different fabrics and was not even close to fitting me or flattering my figure. I took the dress to a local bridal shop in hopes they could help me out, but because the dress was custom-made, there wasn't a lot of room for improvements. I gladly wore the dress for my friend's wedding day and upon returning home, donated it to Goodwill!" —Lindsey O.
The pricey '80s prom gown
"First of all, the dress was very expensive, which upset all of the bridesmaids. The look? Hot pink taffeta, floor length, and off-the-shoulder, with ruffles all over. You can bet I never wore that again!"—Julie M.
The dress that had more ruffles than a bag of potato chips
"It was 1986. The dress was dark blue satin, long-sleeve, and made with enough ruffles to suffocate a person (more ruffles than a bag of potato chips!). The added poufy shoulders didn't help. It was June and it felt like a lead blanket. I had to turn down a dream date that night for that stupid wedding and that stupid dress!" —Lisa S.
The peach & polyster confection
"Peach polyester dress with a matching hat—that pretty much sums it up. Oh, and the hat had a flower with ombré stripes and was floppy." —Tricia M.
The dress that ended up in the garbage
"My male best friend was getting married, and he wanted me and our other best friend in the wedding party. His soon-to-be wife really hated us, and we swear, she chose our looks just to spite us! The dresses were a very shiny satin in emerald green. The worst part was that they were literally enveloped in ruffles—it looked as though we were Irish can-can girls. I remember the way my future sister-in-law's eyes popped when she met me for the first time in that dress. I threw it in the trash as soon as the wedding was over!"—Jen P.
But Jen's dress disasters don't end there.
"I was also in the wedding of a childhood friend, and the day-of reached 98 degrees. We were forced to wear long black dresses with structured jackets (complete with shoulder pads) in that heat! We looked like younger versions of the Golden Girls! To top it all off, I was still carrying baby weight from my newborn and leaking..."
Before you panic, don't forget: bridesmaids' dresses don't have to go down these dreaded paths. The wedding fashion world has come a long way, and we've got the style tips to prove it. With the right planning and shopping, your girls' gowns can be re-worn, worth the money, and chic.