Post # 1
I was talking about the possibilities for bridesmaids dresses with my friend who will be a bridesmaid in our wedding next year. We aren’t getting too specific yet, just brainstorming, and she mentioned that she would prefer to get a dress that she could wear again and she would not wear a long dress again. So I started thinking about it and realized that there’s just no way to keep everyone in my wedding party totally happy about dress choice unless I give them full reign to do whatever they want, not even picking color.
Our wedding colors are gray and red and we plan on picking gray. Two of the girls have a skin color that will look better in light gray, the others would look better in charcoal. I don’t really like charcoal because it is a morning wedding, fairly whimsical and I feel like charcoal is too dark. I’m sure if left to their own devices, most of the girls would prefer black, but I’m really not a fan of black bridesmaids dresses.
One of the bridesmaids is very heavy and has expressed that she would not feel comfortable wearing a short dress and has requested that we go with long. Long dresses would fit in with the level of formality as long as they are chiffon or another light, flowy fabric. It is daytime, but the men in the wedding party will be wearing Morning Suits, so quite formal. But of course my other friend is right and long dresses just aren’t wearable to 99% of events, so a short dress would be much better and a bit cheaper for everyone.
How should I be prioritizing?
Post # 3
My main priority was making sure they had a dress that 1) didn’t look like a bridesmaid dress and 2) they could and would wear again. I have 4 BM dresses hanging in my old closet that have no purpose in life. I couldn’t imagine asking them to spend over $100 on a dress to wear for 4 hours and never again.
I like the idea of non-matching dresses. Then they can pick something that flatters their shape and they would feel comfortable in it. You could give them guidelines on color, length, and style.
Post # 4
A long dress could always be shortened after the wedding! Keep that in mind :). Also, it is your day and at the end of the day your decision. It’s one thing to honor their requests but like you said, you can’t 100% please everyone.
Post # 5
Convenience for my BMs was most important for me. This meant letting them wear whatever they wanted. They decided that they would both wear black dresses that they already had and they picked out their own shoes. Their only real expense for my wedding was travel (flying from CA to NC).
Post # 6
@GeorgiaBride5: While I agree with you in spirit, the length is probably the biggest issue. If we go long, at least one of the bridesmaids feels that she could never wear the dress again. If we go short, at least one of the bridesmaids feels uncomfortable. At least one of the bridesmaids will feel uncomfortable in any dress. I’ve been debating whether or not to have her in a suit, but it’s still up in the air.
If wearing it again is the biggest priority I think my best bet is probably to give no parameters and let them just dress as they would to any other wedding, just stand up front for the ceremony. That being said, I’m not sure that them being able to wear it again is my biggest priority. I still want the bridal party to look like a bridal party and not a bunch of guests who couldn’t find their seats…
Post # 7
- Wedding: May 2014 - Royalton White Sands
For me, it’s just that your BMs are comfortable and confident. My younger sister is my MOH/only BM and so I don’t have to worry about anything matching.
Post # 8
I would throw wearing it again out the window. You may think you’ve picked a dress they can wear again but you probably didn’t. All the dresses I wear have a pattern or an embellishment so the plain chiffon dress isn’t going to do it for me. I’d focus on price point, fitting the look of your wedding and not making anyone completely uncomfortable.
Post # 9
- Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House
They can always shorten the dress afterward. I would choose something that fits your vision and that they at least like, and then they can deal with it after that. It’s not like it’s the only dress they are ever going to own ever again.
Post # 10
@sweet5k: Our priority was that they wear something they feel comfortable and beautiful in. So, my MOH is wearing a completely different dress (above the knee, structured, ivory) to my other three adult bridesmaids (floor-length, emerald green, chiffon) who wanted to match. With the 3 who wanted to match, we allowed them to decide on length between them, and once they’d decided on length, my mum and I went shopping to look at floor-length dresses, get prices etc. We then took them with us, and two of them picked the same dress, with the other going for a slightly different style (which suited her much better) by the same designer (all 3 are strapless). We then allowed them to decide between themselves on the colour, with my only stipulation being that it wasn’t dark purple, baby pink, baby blue, or coral; they choose an emerald green.
I felt uncomfortable dictating what they wear; plus we’re not really having a colour scheme, everything is going to be shades of ivory/cream. And, we’re paying for the dresses.
So for me, they were the priority. If you want them to match, then I’d suggest setting at least some parameters. I wouldn’t consider re-wearability personally, as honestly, I think the amount of people who wear their bridesmaids dresses again is probably tiny. And like a PP said, they can always be shortened if they want to wear them again. So with that in mind, I’d likely go with floor-length. As far as colour goes, I would perhaps get them each to try both on, and then go with whichever suits the majority; I think trying them on is essential, as we thought some colours would look great on ours, but they looked awful.
Post # 11
I let my girls choose their own dresses and they said they’d wear them again but I know they wont. Somehow they still picked out things that were really expensive and totally bridesmaid like! As someone who’s always had body image issues, I side with the girl that is only comfortable with the long dress. There’s a big emotional difference between wearing a dress again and being comfortable in your dress when standing in front of a big group of people.
I totally understand not wanting to go with the dark color, I wonder if you guys can find something in between charcoal & light gray? And if you did go a little darker, how about adding a red sash or something to lighten them up a bit?
You sound a lot like me when trying to make these decisions. I was really concerned about everyone being able to make their own decisions & be happy. I realized in the long run that I probably should have just told everyone what to do and let them figure it out. I got stuck answering way too many questions! This lead all the way up to a couple of hours before the wedding when my phone wouldn’t stop ringing because everyone had to ask my optionion before doing things!!
Post # 12
I want happy and confident bm’s. They can wear what they want as long as its a dress and the same colour.
Post # 13
My #1 concern was not listed… cost!
I did not want to break the bank, considering I knew my ladies were also paying for shoes, hair, and nails. That could add up to a lot of money!!
I hunted for those bridesmaid dresses and found something at a department store that was perfect and under $50 *sale!* — I grabbed various sizes and called everyone to come over to my place to try them on– making it more convenient for them as well.
Being a bridesmaid is not only a lot of work, but money. Especially if you’re in multiple weddings… go easy on them!
(and if it’s cheap enough, wearing them ‘again’ is not really a necessity. I told the girls if they wanted to sell the dresses as a ‘lot’ on craigslist, bee, or ebay they’re more than welcome to)
Post # 14
I voted for the first option, but to me it’s less about length and more just about something that everyone is comfortable wearing (or letting them pick their own styles so they are comfortable). I am quite well endowed up top so my biggest concern would be something that doesn’t show too much and/or will allow everything to be held up properly.
The whole wearing it again thing– yeah, it’s nice, but you can’t please everyone. I have never re-worn a BM dress, even the ones I liked, because they aren’t really MY style, and so I always have something else I’d rather wear.
And a long dress can be made short later, whereas a short dress cannot be made long, so I’d say pick a long dress. Or, go with different styles/lengths of the same dress.
Post # 15
My top priority was that my girls be comfortable in their dress and not have to spend a fortune. But I did want some cohesion.
2 of my 3 girls just had babies so needed a dress that could fit whatever size they turn out to be. 1 of my girls is out of a job and living on a very tight budget.
So my compromise was to let them pick within my parameters. I told them “yellow, knee-length-ish, non shiny fabric dress”. 2 got actual bridesmaids dresses (David’s and a private salon) and one got hers at Macy’s. They all had to buy new dresses but spent what they wanted and got a style that looked good on each of them!
Post # 16
It costs $15-20 to have most dresses shortened. So the length and wearing it again aren’t exclusionary.
Plus – and I know most brides have the “but they’ll totally wear it again!” mentality – they probably won’t wear it again. I wanted to light the lilac monstrosity I had to wear on fire, honestly, haha.