Bridesmaids, and how to pick them!
Image by Jessica Withey photography
For some, choosing bridesmaids is simple and exciting, for others, it’s a bit of a ‘mare. Whether that’s because you’ve got six best friends but only want four bridesmaids, because one friend asked you to be theirs but you’d never think of them to be yours, or the people you want by your side happen to thoroughly dislike each other… whatever the reason, read on and we’ll help you out!
Who to chose...
Having reliable bridesmaids will reduce your stress levels considerably - so take your time choosing.
Remember what bridesmaids are for: calming your nerves on the big day, making sure your dress doesn’t trip you up and planning your hen do. Pick the friends you trust to do these things! If you have a friend who’d do one of these jobs perfectly but be horrible at another, then assign them specific bridesmaid duties and make them promise not to cross over (you can do that, you’re the bride - get bossy!).
The most important thing is having those you want by your side when you’re at your most nervous/stressed/excited - if that’s one person, and the idea of dealing with anyone other than her the morning of your wedding sounds horrendous, then why not just have one bridesmaid? Your bridal party should be your support system - select them wisely.
If one of your chosen ‘maids doesn’t like the other, then we’d strongly suggest assigning them jobs - don’t just send them off on their own to plan a hen do and be surprised when you get a whiny phone call. That being said, you can also tell them that your wedding is a one time thing and they’ll just have to learn to get on better. Like we said, get bossy, Bride!
... and how to avoid offending those you don’t
If you’ve got six best friends, please don’t have five bridesmaids - there’s just no way to style that out. However, if you only want three - that’s fine! You can always explain that you need to balance with the groomsmen/fit them all in the venue/etc. Just don't say it's down to money - then you'll have to back track when someone offers to buy their own dress!
Try not to let feeling guilty about not asking someone affect you to the point that you ask someone you don’t want. Think about who you want there and go with it. And, for those you don’t ask...
... a great way to soften the blow to a friend not included in your wedding party is to ask them to help elsewhere - just because they’re not a bridesmaid, doesn’t mean they can’t be involved! Ask your artistic friend if they’ll do your save the date cards, or your uber-organised friend if they’ll sort the seating charts.
Having these kinds of things done by your friends will make your wedding even more personal and will help everyone feel important.
Hint - don’t ask them to do a job they would hate, that’s just rubbing salt in the wound!
How to dress them
One of the easiest ways to upset your bridesmaids is to put them in an ugly dress that makes you look great and them look, well, ill. We’ve got news for all you they’re-here-to-make-me-look-good brides: We know what you’re doing!
For many brides, you'll have bridesmaids who all look great in the same dress - some silhouettes will look equally flattering on completely different figures and make selecting a dress for everyone easy! Or maybe your bridesmaids are your sisters, have the same colouring and so suit the same colour dress - simple!
For those whose bridesmaids are a little trickier to dress, there are two main things to consider when selecting dresses...
Everyone is a different shape, so why assume you can put them all in the same dress?
Getting your bridesmaids a shape to suit them is really easy; so many brands do a range of silhouettes in the same fabric - one great example is Rewritten:
Just pick a colour that fits with your theme and let your bridesmaids select the shape they’re happiest in!
Perhaps you have body-doubles as friends, and they look great in the same shape? Lovely! But do they have the same colouring?
It may be that you choose a colour universally flattering (mid blue, navy and dusty pink tend to serve us all well), or you could do what bride Samantha Champ did, when she got married - “I had a colour palette, which I showed to the girls, and then I let them pick their own dresses. It was great to have one less thing to worry about! And (by the grace of god!) when we all came together for the first time, they looked perfect.”
Samantha Champ & her bridesmaids. Image by Katy Gel photography
In Samantha’s case, her bridesmaids’ are clearly all women with great taste, who chose beautiful dresses that suited them and also complimented each other - lucky bride! The amount of freedom you give your bridesmaids will vary depending on how similar your tastes are, how much you trust them to select something in-keeping with your wedding themes and - importantly - how much you’re planning to pay.
If you want your bridesmaids to pay for their dresses (which is completely fine! You’ve got enough to pay for!) then you really can’t be dictating exactly what you want them to wear - you need to give them a reasonable amount of bang for their buck. Equally, if you’re paying, try not to let that make you feel like you can shove them in whatever you fancy - they still need to wear them all day, in front of a lot of people, so they should look and, more importantly, feel great!
Image by Love That Smile photography
Just remember, you’ve chosen these women to be by your side because you love them - so let them look beautiful, let them feel comfortable, and let them support you during your happiest day yet!
Love, TOPR x
Jessica Withey photography: www.essicawitheyphotography.com
Katy Gell photography: www.katygellphotography.co.uk
Love That Smile photography: www.lovethatsmilephotography.com
Rewritten Bridesmaid Collection, available at Rock the Frock bridal boutique, Chelmsford: www.rockthefrockbridal.co.uk/bridesmaid-range
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