Your easy guide to choosing your bridesmaid dresses, minus any stresses!
Think choosing your bridesmaids is difficult? Try picking their dresses! But don’t worry, we’ve spoken to bridal expert Siobhan McAuley Lane, co-founder of RS Bridal Collection, Leicestershire’s premium wedding dress boutique, for her advice on how to ensure both you and your maids look beautiful on your Big Day
1. Communication is key
‘This is your day, but you want happy bridesmaids too. The last thing you want to do is put your maids in dresses they look and feel uncomfortable in.
‘Before you even start looking at dresses, set up secret Pinterest boards with your ideas for styles and colours and invite your bridesmaids to give their input. Make an evening of it – get the girls round and together talk about your likes and dislikes. That way, before you even get started, you will be aware of any issues they may have. For example, you may have your heart set on strapless gowns, but your Maid of Honour may have a real issue with her arms or showing off her cleavage.’
2. But…Lay down the ground rules
‘Make it clear that you welcome their input but, ultimately this is going to be a decision you make together. No one wants a bridesmaidzilla!’
3. Pick styles that complement your dress
‘Think about designs that will work with your dress. They don’t have to look identical, but some people think it’s nice if the style at least looks like it’s from the same family. For example if you have gone for strapless and romantic, steer clear of ultra modern, long sleeve numbers.’
4. Pick a style to suit all shapes
‘We all come in different shapes and sizes – and that probably includes your bridesmaids too. A style that is going to look fantastic on a tall and willowy frame, may not suit a smaller, curvier figure. And you need to also get to grips with any body hang ups your maids may have about showing off arms, cleavage or any other pain points.
‘So how do you keep consistency, whilst still keeping everyone happy? Sorella Vita Maid Your Way by Essence Designs is a real wedding-day saviour. Their beautiful and super-smart range allows you to wear one style several ways, so you can keep curvy, willowy, tall and petite happy. Even Lady Gaga is a fan. She wore a Sorella Vita Maid Your Way dusty lavender gown in March 2015 when she was a bridesmaid for her best friend. And the best thing is, it doesn’t come with a celebrity price tag.’
5. Colour me beautiful
‘Rip up the colour rule book and play with dresses of different hues. You no longer need to go for just one colour for your bridesmaid scheme – pick different shades from the same palette like pinks and purples or pastels. But try to pick colours and styles that will be timeless. You don’t want to look back in years to come and question why oh why you went for that on-trend neon.
‘Think of skin tone and hair colour – as a rule of thumb, pastels work well with olive and dark skin tones, while bold colours go perfectly with pale complexions. Also, think about what suits you, the bride. Ultimately, your maids will be standing next to you, so pick a colour scheme that complements you too!’
6. Timing is everything!
‘When it comes to thinking about styles and colours, the time of year and time of day will influence your decisions. If you’re opting for a winter wedding, rich colours rule. If you are planning an evening ceremony, go glam and glitzy. Lace and romantic chiffon are very on trend at the moment, but remember to pick classic looks that will stand the test of time in your photos.’
7. Who pays?
‘No one likes having the awkward conversation about who is going to pay for the dress, but it is better to address it up front than further down the line. Brides usually pay for the dress and accessories 25 per cent of the time; 50 per cent of the time, brides will buy the dress and the maids will pay for shoes and any alterations. A quarter of bridesmaids will buy their own dresses. Beware of the hidden costs though: most bridesmaids will need some alterations made and even the most basic adjustments can cost £50.’
8. Don’t leave it too late!
‘Brides often don’t realise that bridesmaids dresses have a lead time almost as long as wedding dresses. Start thinking about them six months before your wedding to allow enough time for any alterations. It usually takes at least two months for dresses to arrive and then around two weeks for any adjustments to be completed. Many companies charge extra for ‘rush’ orders, so order early to avoid disappointment!’
‘Vintage-style hair pins, necklaces, earrings and bracelets will all complete the look. Plus, they provide the perfect presents for your bridesmaids, meaning you don’t have to stress about what to give them as a thank you on your big day.’