@laceydoilies: The way this sounds, is that you are selecting your bridal party the way you would select your vendors. Like you went on angie’s list and read reviews. This whole, “your expectations need to be negotiated before you sign the contract. This is silly. Your bridal party are your honored guests, the people you chose people they are close to you and you want them standing beside you as marry the love of your life.
Not trying to be a weirdo, but I like you. I’ve seen your posts on other threads, and you seem to really have your head screwed on right. Not to mention I love your username. 🙂 While we may not always agree, you at least always seem to provide an intelligent argument that goes far beyond the scope of “it’s my day and everyone should just do things the way I want because I’m the bride”. I enjoy posting here, and moreso when there’s an intelligible debate, which can definitely be lacking with many posters around here.
I don’t really see how a black tie affair would necessitate matching bridemaids dresses any more than a casual affair. The only difference necessary that I could see would be that a black tie would require floor length formal gowns. Besides the point, I’d say 90% of those claiming to be having a “black tie affair” around here, are sorely mistaken about the true formality of their event, but that’s a topic for another time. My issue with matching bridesmaids dresses are that I think any bride should want their bridesmaids to be comfortable. Not everyone looks good in the same kind of dress. There are different sizes and shapes to consider. One of my maids is 5’5″ and probably about a size 14, one is 5’11” and about a size 6, and one of them is going to have given birth 5 weeks previous, so who knows where her body is going to be. Further, they all live in different corners of the country, and I’m not going to ask them to travel twice to get together and find a dress that suits them all, which would be difficult enough as it is. What looks good on my size 6 bridesmaid, might make my size 14 one feel uncomfortable and self concious. As she will be standing in front on display, and in hundreds of photos taken, I don’t want her to be upset about the way she looks.
If all your bridesmaids decide they want to wear the same dress, great, but I think forcing them to spend a couple hundred bucks on a dress they hate and don’t feel beautiful in is rude and inconsiderate of your close friend’s feelings.
I agree there is nothing wrong with wanting matching shoes and professional hair and makeup. However, if you are so insistent about those things, you should be paying for them. Though I think matching shoes are silly, as no one will ever notice or care about what the bridesmaids(or bride for that matter) wear on their feet. I think the issue with matching shoes can be that shoes are a very particular thing for some people. Some people have wide feet, flat feet, etc.. so making them wear the exact same shoes can make at least one or two of them uncomfortable. That said, I don’t think saying find a pair of black, silver, nude etc.. shoes to wear is unreasonable. As most people will have a pair of neutral colored shoes that are comfortable for them already.
ETA- While some traditions can differ by region, I think far too often people use this as an excuse to be rude.