Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mismatched Bridesmaids: A do or a don't?

What if the infamous quote from the 2007 blockbuster 27 Dresses on bridesmaid dresses was actually true and you could “shorten them and wear them again!” Of course the fallacy of this logic is that you would actually want to wear the dress, again. More often than not, bridesmaids and other members of the bridal party are expected to pay for their own dresses, which aren't always “eye-catching” to say the least. When it's your turn to be the bride, you get to select whatever gown you prefer your ladies to be wearing, but before you hit the bridal shops, consider one of the latest trends: mismatching bridesmaids.

We’ve all been to a wedding where the third bridesmaid from the left looks stunning in her dress, but the fourth clearly does not wear orange well.

We’ve also been to a wedding where one of the bridesmaids recently had a baby and simply does not have the body of her recently married or single friends.

We’ve also seen those women who flew in from out of town to be a bridesmaid without ever being fitted for their dress, providing everyone with a quick lesson that sending in measurements doesn’t always work out!

You and I both feel for these women, but some bridesmaids say that they will wear whatever their friend, the bride, wants them to wear since it is her special day. Other bridesmaids will make suggestions about the dress, most likely because the bride will not be the only one left with a dress that she will literally never wear again.

In the bride’s defense, it is her wedding day, and unless her bridal party contains triplets with the same measurements, it is highly unlikely that all friends will feel equally comfortable in any one dress. That being said, Brides, the women who are standing next to you have been there and will continue to be there for you for the rest of your life. The dress you choose will eventually go out of style, but your friendships will not. Compromising on a dress is a small price to pay for a lifetime of love and support from your bridesmaids.

Given this, how can a bride possibly choose gowns that satisfy all members of her bridal party, including herself? I believe there are two great options that will still lead to mismatched, but coordinated, bridal parties.

Your first option: Same dress (color and material), different styles. *This option can be reversed to same dress style, different colors and/or materials.

If you’ve had your heart set on lilac since you were thirteen, there’s no need to change it simply because bridesmaid #3 prefers periwinkle. Many bridal stores are now making each dress in different styles – halter, strapless, one-shoulder – so that each member of your bridal party can find a look that best suits their body type. See below for a great example of how your bridal party could appear.

Bridesmaid dress 1

The reverse of this option, same dress but different colors, can also be seen here:

Bridesmaid 2

Your second option: A general theme for dresses with chosen variations.

This can be a great option if you truly want your bridesmaids to wear their dresses again (they may not even have to shorten them). If you choose this option, give your bridesmaids a sample of what you are looking for (color: sky blue, length: floor) and let them choose how to go about their dress. This will allow bridesmaid the opportunity to choose something they know they will be comfortable in on your wedding day and eliminate a ton of potential complaining.

Bridesmaid dress 3

With the plethora of dresses and options that a bride has today, surely every member of the bridal party can wear a dress that she feels beautiful in. Maybe the attendants won’t shorten the dress and wear it again, but at the very least they’ll be happy and honored to wear it on your wedding day.

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