Minimizing The Bridesmaid Dress Stress

Photo Credit: Paul White

Today’s helpful guest post comes to us from Sam Ketterer of Absolute Perfection Wedding Consultancy, based in London, England! Enjoy:

Having spent the past month hunting day and night for the perfect dress to wear on your wedding day, you now realise you have to do it all over again. Only this time you have to find multiple perfect dresses for all your bridesmaids. Many brides struggle with the whole experience. Here we show you how to avoid the common pitfalls.

Read the full post after the cut!

Bridesmaid's dress alterations at London Fitting Rooms

Bridesmaids relaxed and ready to go! (photography by Fiona Kelly)

Formal bridal procession (photography by Paul White)

The bride and her bridesmaids (photography by Peartree Pictures)

First, Identify Your Dress

It’s a no-brainer isn’t it? Move on.

Coordinate the Bridesmaids Dresses with Your Wedding Dress

You need to ensure that your bridesmaid’s dresses coordinate with your own dress. Your bridesmaids will play an essential role on your wedding day and it is important for them to look like bridesmaids and not just like any other guest. There therefore needs to be a clear level of cohesion on the dress front.

Photo Credit: Peartree Pictures

Dress Cohesion: Style, Fabric, Color, Silhouette & Length

If you are a flexible bride and happy for your girls to choose their own dresses based upon their individual styles, there should still be some cohesion between the dresses with least one or more unifying elements identifiable. Most brides will focus on a unifying color, length, silhouette, neckline, style or fabric.

Level of Formality

Although it may seem like another no-brainer, if the wedding is formal, so should the bridesmaid’s dresses.

Time

Unless you are buying “off the peg” we suggest you start thinking about – and looking for – bridesmaid’s dresses as soon as you have chosen your own dress.

Bear in mind that it’s going to take a few weeks to find the right dress or dresses. Given the fact that most designers have the dresses cut overseas it’s going to take few months once you have placed the order before you receive the dresses. You then need to set aside a few more weeks in case of any last minute alterations. In short, allow 6 months to avoid disappointment or hefty rush fees.

Clear, Open Lines of Communication

Before you start looking for dresses, we suggest you get your girls together and have a chat with them over a bottle of wine or two to discuss your bridesmaid dress ideas. Find out if there are any colours, cuts, silhouettes, necklines or lengths they wouldn’t want to wear. Also find out about their preferred styles and colours. And make sure you establish a dress budget (more on that later). You can then move forward together, with a clear understanding of the style of dress or dresses to look for.

Photo Credit: Fiona Kelly

Differing Body Shapes & Styles

If you want all your bridesmaids to wear the same dress, one way of reducing the risk of a dispute breaking out is to focus on the bridesmaid who is most difficult to fit and find a dress she loves, based on the pre-agreed criteria. It is then more likely that a professional seamstress can swiftly resolve any potential issues the other girls might have.

Budget

Make sure you are all in agreement about the individual dress budget and any financial agreements for the dresses and accessories, ie who is paying for what. And don’t forget to factor in shipping and alterations.

If you expect your bridesmaids to be contributing towards the cost of the dresses, make sure you bear in mind each of your bridesmaids financial positions when deciding on a budget.

Remember, if your bridesmaids are happy to contribute towards or even pay for their own dresses remember that it is only fair and polite to allow them much greater control over their choice of dress than if you were paying for the dresses yourself.

Delegate to your Chief Bridesmaid

Why not delegate the tasks of collecting measurements and money where necessary to your chief bridesmaid? You could even enlist her help in sourcing dresses online, trying on dresses in the shops and even managing the bridesmaids throughout your engagement. The vast majority of CBM’s love to help – they just need to be asked!

Research

Once you have established all the finer details as discussed above, it is time to start hunting for the perfect dress or dresses. Obviously the first place to start is online where you will find several excellent bridesmaids dress suppliers.

Shortlist

Assuming your bridesmaids are all wearing the same dress, once you have found several dresses that fit the bill – at least on paper/screen – it’s time to book an appointment at your local store to physically inspect them and try them on for size. In the first instance it’s best just to go with your chief bridesmaid so she can try them on and allow you to both draw your own conclusions as to the suitability of each dress.

Then, once you have narrowed down the dresses to a final shortlist of 3 or so, it’s a wise idea to email images and links to your bridesmaids in the hope of attaining their approval! If it all goes well, it’s then time to schedule an appointment to allow the girls to inspect the chosen dresses.

After inspecting the dresses at the store, if you have followed steps outlined above, and/or you have supportive bridesmaids, you should be able to come to a general consensus of opinion as to which dress is the preferred choice.

Photo Credit: London Fitting Rooms

Get Professionally Measured

Before ordering the dresses, do make absolutely sure your bridesmaids have not taken their own measurements! If the dress is cut too small due to poorly taken measurements, it’s a huge and costly problem to deal with.

Tailoring & Alterations

Following on, the difference between a dress that has been specifically tailored or altered to fit a bridesmaid and one that hasn’t can be enormous, not only in appearance but also in comfort. Often the alterations will only cost a few pounds and the results can be dramatic.

Finally, keep your bridesmaids abreast of the latest dress developments

Keeping bridesmaids informed and in-the-loop during each stage of the dress selection process helps ensure you are all on the same page. This also ensures they know what is expected of them and when it is expected.

Sam Ketterer is a Managing Director of Absolute Perfection. For more information about Absolute Perfection Wedding Consultancy, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.

Do you have any questions or comments for Sam? Add them to the comments below!

This post Minimizing The Bridesmaid Dress Stress originally appeared on WeddingLovely Blog.

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