Choosing Bridesmaids Dresses

Advice on choosing bridesmaid dresses - letting your attendants pick, finding the right style to fit different body types, and discussing cost and payment.

Being chosen to represent the bride on her wedding day is an honor. If you're chosen to be a bridesmaid, you must truly be a special person in her life. In addition to standing up for the bride, you get to help plan the shower, assist with the invitations and other activities and walk down the aisle in a beautiful dress.

When it comes to bridesmaids dresses, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In fact, anyone who has ever walked down an aisle in front of the bride has a bad bridesmaid dress story to tell: either the color is wrong or the style isn't right, the sleeves are too puffy, or the dress is just plain ugly. There are theories that the bride chooses dresses that are all wrong for her bridal party, purposely, to avoid having any one show up looking more beautiful on her special day. There's also speculation that the bride is so blinded by love, she can't tell the dress she picked is all wrong for the women she chose to represent her. Since, in most cases, the bridesmaids pay for the dresses themselves and will end up keeping them, shouldn't they have, at least, a little say in the matter?

The bride has much to gain by allowing her bridesmaids to assist in the choosing of their dresses. Happier bridesmaids are productive bridesmaids and will do all they can to help in the planning of the wedding. Photographs will also be nicer because the bridesmaids will feel more comfortable in their clothing. Plus, there will be no bad feelings. So, how does a bride keep everyone happy, especially since weddings these days can have up to a dozen bridesmaids? Easy, let everyone have a say. This way a dress will be chosen that flatters all involved.

One of the bridesmaids can host an informal get together for the bride and bridal party to discuss those styles they like. Each woman should show up for the gathering with samples gathered from websites and bridal magazines of those dresses they like best. Make it an enjoyable occasion with food, drinks and music. Keep it light and jovial. Allow spirited discussions but no fighting. If there's a disagreement on a certain dress, take that dress out of the running until the field has been narrowed to two or three dresses on which all can agree. From there, everyone should choose a color. Because of different skin tones and complexions, shades should be chosen that not only agree with all types, but should fit in with the bride's decorating scheme as well. Price range should also be discussed, as some of the women may not be able to afford a pricey designer frock.

Once you have a short list of dresses and favorite colors, an appointment should be made for all the bridesmaids to pick out the dress together. Since the bride has already approved of the dress styles and colors, it's not necessary for her to go along if she's busy, but she may want to do so to make sure all goes well. Have each of the ladies try on the different styles of dresses to see which dress works best on everyone. When everyone is happy, the dress is chosen.

This may seem like a lot of work. Let's face it, it's much easier for a bride to pick out a dress in a magazine or from a website and say, "this is what I'd like to see my girls wear." The truth is, it's not that simple, not if you want the women in your wedding party to look good and be happy with the chosen dress. When the bride chooses the dress without input from the rest of the party, she runs the risk of dressing someone in something that's absolutely not suited to her skin type, figure or personality.

When it comes to the big day, most brides want to spare no expense, or at least, they try to make sure every detail is perfect. This should be the case with the bridesmaid's dresses as well. Don't ruin a special day by running the risk of alienating special people. When the bridesmaids look good, the bride looks good and that, in itself, is worth the extra time it takes to make everyone happy.

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