Last year, many couples found themselves swapping veils for face masks and unique wedding venues for at home lockdowns. This year, as vaccinations roll out and state regulations loosen, the wedding industry is expected to boom as postponed weddings finally push through.
If you’re also in the process of rekindling your wedding prep and still need to find bridal party dresses, here are some helpful tips so you and your bridesmaids look back at this experience with only the best memories.
1. Be democratic about style
It’s your wedding day, yes. But you don’t want your bridal party looking back at that day and cringing. The color, cut, and style you have in mind may not be right for everyone. Instead of demanding that one frilly dress to match your romantic wedding venue, offer the ladies the chance to customize their look within your set parameters. You could simply instruct them to stick with jewel tones and the rest is up to them. Or you could offer three to four design options that they can choose from. You could also give them free rein over their looks so long as it’s within theme.
2. Stay mindful of pricing
Weddings aren’t cheap, and the average bridesmaid’s dress is around $140. It’s no wonder the bridesmaid dress market in the US is estimated to be worth almost $2 billion. If your bridal party is paying for this out of pocket, don’t forget that they will also be shelling out cash for your gift, their shoes, accessories, and transportation. If you’re having your ceremony at a romantic wedding venue in Napa but your party is coming from Utah, the average plane ticket costs $266. Talk to your bridesmaids personally and ask them how much they’re comfortable spending. You can even offer to pay for a portion of the dress—which they’ll surely appreciate!
3. Prioritize correct sizing
If the bridal party is feeling self-conscious, it won’t matter that you’re at a unique wedding venue—they’ll just remember that day as deeply uncomfortable. A big factor in ensuring your bridesmaids’ comfort is the dress’ sizing. Depending on a person’s figure, built, and height, one dress can look vastly different across the board. Take proper measurements (professionally done, if possible!) for all the ladies and then allow them to give their recommendations on cuts they’re comfortable in. For example, full-figured bridesmaids won’t feel secure in a strapless dress. Meanwhile, the best dresses for petites are wraps or slit frocks. A dress consultant can also help you narrow your search for dresses that are sized correctly, and which still fit your unique wedding venue and theme.
4. Consider the location and date
You also need to factor in the when and where. For instance, a romantic wedding venue like Miami’s Redland area is perfect fairytale location. However, thick Duchess satin dresses won’t feel very ethereal in the humidity. A unique wedding venue, like in a wintery campsite, would be adorable! But a thin dotted Swiss mermaid gown will prove chilly. Just like how you’d tailor your dress’ details to suit, make sure your ladies look good and feel good. If you’re unsure of what fabrics or cuts are suitable, consult a seamstress or the venue manager for weather and terrain tips.
5. Encourage honest discussions
Just like you don’t want to be a Bridezilla, your bridesmaids don’t want to be Maids of Horror. Lead by example and start a transparent conversation with your party. Let them know the thought process behind your vision; the meaning behind that romantic wedding venue, the peg you have for the dresses, etc. By doing so they’ll be better able to understand you, and compromises can be made if need be. At the same time, ask for their input—and don’t take it personally! If you’re all on the same page, they’re less likely to be misunderstandings as you go along.
Part of what makes a wedding special are the people you celebrate with. By practicing mindfulness and honesty among your friends, you and your bridal party will leave that wedding feeling much more grateful, connected, and valued.
Written by Aisha Chelle Callson
Exclusive for villa-woodbine.com