Chances are, you know someone who's worn a terrible bridesmaid dress. Worse still, you might have endured the horrors of wearing a bridesmaid dress you felt like burning after the wedding. If you're getting hitched soon, you'll need to know how to pick bridesmaids dresses that your bridesmaids won't hate, because playing the friendship card to force your female best friends and family members into wearing dresses they despise is just plain cruel.
The key to the situation is balance. You'll obviously want your bridesmaids to wear dresses that fit with the theme, color scheme, and your overall vision, but you need to take their personal tastes and preferences into account as well. Because as we all know, beauty is subjective and a dress that you love may make someone else cringe.
As someone who has been a bridesmaid a fair few times and is now getting married this year, I've been on both sides of this tricky situation. Whether you're the bride-to-be or you're the Maid of Honor, the topic of bridesmaids dresses needs to be approached with sensitivity. Having been in both "shoes," I would argue that whatever the bride wants goes, as it's her big day after all. But, this doesn't mean you should let the power go to your head and start lording it over your 'maids.
So here's how to pick bridesmaids dresses that your bridesmaids won't loathe, because weddings are a celebration of love not hate.
1. Communicate With Your Bridesmaids
It may seem silly, but communication is key when it comes to finding a bridesmaid dress that your bridal party actually like. Find out as much as you can and conversely, let them know your thoughts on colors, styles, and everything in-between. There's nothing worse than the bride surprising her 'maids with expensive, designer gowns that are non-refundable, which the bridesmaids all hate with a passion.
2. Host A Night In With A Stack Of Wedding Magazines
A simple way to get an inkling into what your bridesmaids want to wear is to host a girls' night in with a bunch of wedding magazines. Hand out the mags and get them to turn down pages of dresses they like — it makes the whole process easier and you all get to have fun too!
3. Use Social Media To Your Advantage
If you can't physically get together for a night in, create a shared Pinterest board so your bridesmaids can pin dresses they like. You could also have a WhatsApp or Facebook group message on the go where the bridesmaids can discuss ideas and you can take notes.
4. Ask Your Bridesmaids What Their Ideal Dress Would Look Like
If you're unsure about anything to do with the dresses, just ask! Ask if your bridesmaids like sleeves, straps, or floor length dresses or how they feel about specific colors. It's the easiest way to get the information you need to know.
5. Ask Your Bridesmaids What Their Worst Nightmare Dress Would Be
On the other hand, make sure to specifically ask your bridesmaids what the worst possible bridesmaid dress of their imagination would look like. Of course, everyone's different so you may get some contrasting feedback, but you have to reach a happy medium. For instance, if one girl hates mini skirts and another hates ankle length frocks, go for a knee length dress.
6. Be Observant Of Their Personal Style
You probably already know the contents of your bridesmaids' closets inside out. But it's a good idea to take notice of not only what your bridesmaids wear on a day to day basis, but also what they wear for special occasions or on days when they feel a million dollars. This observation will provide a ton of inspiration on what elements you might want to pick or ditch.
7. Set A Clear Budget Together If They're Buying Their Own Dresses
Some people have money and some people don't. A costly price tag could make a bridesmaid go from loving a dress to hating it, as she might have to bust a gut to scrape the money together to pay for it. If your bridesmaids are buying their own dresses, ask all of the bridesmaids for a figure they would be most comfortable paying (not their maximum spend) and set the price at the lowest figure. This way, money won't become an issue.
8. Go Shopping Together
One of the simplest ways to ensure your bridesmaids end up with dresses they all like is to go shopping together. This could be virtual or in reality. If you've got a big bridesmaid squad, take the Maid of Honor with you instead, so she can act as a spokesperson for the rest of the ladies. You might also find something that neither parties thought would work, by literally getting the bridesmaids to try dresses on.
9. Double Check They Actually Like The Dresses You Decide On
Any honest friend would tell you their no holds barred opinion early on in the bridesmaid dress buying process, but some people are super polite and might not want to hurt your feelings. Before you (or they) buy their dress, give them a metaphorical Get Out of Jail Free Card and double check that the dress you've decided on doesn't cause them to be sick in their mouth.
Being a bridesmaid is a privilege, but having your nearest gals with you as you walk down the aisle is a privilege too. There's no point getting stressed about bridesmaids dresses when there are so many styles to choose from nowadays. Remember to enjoy yourselves: As it'll all be over in the blink of an eye! A year from your wedding you'll wish you could do it all over again — even the bickering over the bridesmaids dresses.
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