There was a time when the father of the bride paid for the bridesmaids’ dresses. Today, of course, bridesmaids know that this, along with their shoes, is their personal expense.
Having to pay the piper changed everything! It meant that bridesmaids expected to have a voice in the selection of what they would be wearing. Even today, the two questions we hear are: Which decisions belongs to the bride? Which decisions belong to the bridesmaids?
Horror In the Closet
Talk to any woman who was a bridesmaid ten years ago; she may still have the stiff and frilly dress hanging in her closet. It was a common joke at the time that the bride inevitably said, “I want my bridesmaids to have dresses they can wear again.” Good luck! It rarely happened.
Today’s fashion options for bridesmaids are endless. The lines from the best design houses acknowledge current style and colour trends and are a match for what is seen on the various celebrity red carpets.
Today’s fabrics are figure-flattering, the range of colour is endless and they do – finally – live up to the old fairytale, “I want my bridesmaids to have dresses they will wear again!”
Who Decides What?
The bride chooses the colour because her entire wedding will have a theme colour. That doesn’t necessarily mean that each dress will have the same shade. For example, weddings with a pink theme may have dresses that range from a very pale pink to a deep rose. The bride also chooses the hair ornament or flower headband and, in fact, these are her expense, just as the bridesmaids’ bouquets are her expense. So, what can the bridesmaids choose?
If there are style options available in the colour range, each bridesmaid can choose the style that is most flattering to her body type. One version may be strapless, another version may have a halter neckline and another may have a cap sleeve.
Length can sometimes be a bone of contention. A woman with great legs will want the short version. Another woman may feel that her legs aren’t her best feature. And the bride may prefer continuity for the sake of the pictures. This, then, has to be negotiated. When it becomes the bride’s call, she may be wise to choose the long version because a bridesmaid with great legs can always have her dress shortened after the wedding.
Originally published in Today’s Bride magazine, Fall/Winter 2015.