Whether you’re a modern, traditional, or even an “I have no clue which type of bride I am” bride, you may want to think carefully about how you dress your bridesmaids. There are tons of ways to think outside-the-bridesmaid-box with non-maid-y options, but navigating those waters can be tricky. Every day I go into my closet and roll my eyes. A rainbow of satin stares back me—unworn and unloved.
Being a bridesmaid is not cheap. The average cost of being a wedding attendant is a whopping $1,700. That’s the average which means sometimes it costs even more. A lot more. There are bridal showers (yes, sometimes more than one), a bachelorette party, gifts, travel expenses, and the list goes on and on… I break out into a cold sweat thinking of all the money I’ve spent throughout the years on being a bridesmaid.
I’ve been a ‘maid numerous times. Every time the bride “tried” to pick something we’d wear again. I’ve never ever worn any of those dresses besides for that one trot down the aisle. Honestly, I actively tried to avoid them. That’s not to say I’m innocent in all this bridal bad judgment. When I was planning my wedding, of course, I said the same thing. You’ll totally wear these again. Pick something you’d wear again.
1. Step away from the satin
Nothing says “bridesmaid” like shiny, squeaky satin. Yes, satin does look put together and glamorous but it also looks like every other bridal party in the history of weddings. If your heart is set on satin, consider mixing and matching fabrics. Some of the newest styles have satin tops and chiffon skirts–chic, right? Or mix-and-match your girls in satin and chiffon gowns, creating a modern take on this classic fabric.
2. Think outside the rainbow
Certain colors are always associated with weddings. During the spring, these are soft pastel colors while during the fall, people tend to look towards golden and burnished tones. For my wedding, I wanted colors that would pop and really stand out. I thought my ladies should complement the decorations and vice versa. I wasn’t afraid that my maids would stand out; I wanted them to. The Wedding Shoppe has designs that come in every color under and outside the rainbow.
3. Asymmetrical is A-OK
One of my all-time favorite styles of the past few years has been the one-shoulder asymmetrical look. You can be a Grecian goddess or subtly sexy without flashing too much. Plus, the trend is extremely flattering on most body and bust types. Either way, you know I approve of anything that pushes aside that strapless sweetheart style so popular with today’s bridal wear.
Weddings are about the couple and the exciting steps they’re taking towards forever. Here’s the thing, though: Just because it’s about the couple, doesn’t mean the bridal party has to look horrible. True, you should never upstage the bride—but you also don’t have to look like a hot mess. Let’s talk sequins. Wait! Before you click next, hear me out. Sequins are making a serious comeback.
Search “bridesmaid dresses” on Pinterest and you’ll see exactly what I mean. We aren’t talking about your tacky elementary school art projects. Think sophisticated vintage meets modern glam. Sounds promising, right? Forget the days of hideous and welcome glitz and glam with open arms, because I’m thinking it might be around for a while!
No doubt you’ve seen these Hollywood-esque gowns on your Pinterest feed. These dresses certainly add a statement to your wedding. From silver to gold to champagne, these ensembles are a gorgeous addition to any big day in a big way.
Another variation that allows you to have your sparkle without going all out. As I mentioned with the sheer overlay, this style is the perfect way to incorporate a modern trend with a timeless look.
Not sure if you can pull off the full blown glitz? No worries. Designers like Allure are creating beautiful additions to your dazzling dresses. By adding a sheer overlay, you’re still participating in this fierce trend, but keeping part of the romantic style that has been around forever.
Yes, yes, yes. I’m currently obsessed with our patterned sequin bridesmaid gowns. There are so many variations of this style that it’s nearly impossible to find something you don’t love. Opting for a sparkling number with a pattern allows you to add so much dimension and life to your lovely ladies attire.
You can still get that all over shimmer you love without having a dress drowning in glitter. With this subtle shine there’s no fear of the bridesmaids stealing the show, but you’re still allowing them to sparkle in their own way.
Every bride and bridesmaid knows that one of the biggest, most unavoidable expenses is the dress. And while, of course, you don’t want your ladies to look sloppy, there are plenty of ways to merge chic and cost-efficient. First, try and keep the cost at or under $175. While I know this isn’t exactly cheap for a bridal party dress, it is extremely affordable. This price range also gives you plenty of options.
The most important thing when planning your wedding is to remember that it is YOUR wedding. So yes, it’s the most important day in your life but it may not be the most important day in your bridesmaids’ lives. Let’s keep things in perspective. Everything you ask them to do, from dress shopping to crisscrossing the country, they do because they love you and want to be there for you.
Be mindful that they are giving you their time, love, money, and energy because they want to be there for you. Don’t make them regret that they agreed to be your ‘maid in the first place. Say “thank you” whenever you can, let them know how much you appreciate their help, and never act like you expect it! These thoughtful gestures will go a long way. One-One
You expect your ladies to wear a certain dress and be there for you on your big day (or days.) Their love, support, and guidance throughout your engagement are the best presents they can give you. So why expect them to shell out even more for a gift? Your ladies break open their wallet for your shower, bachelorette, travel, and more.
Do you really need them to buy you a gift, write you a check, or send you something off your registry to prove their devotion as your friend? No, you do not. My BFF, who organized and threw me my bridal shower, was beyond off the hook on gifts. She had put time, energy, love, and of course, money into my wedding already. You really cannot ask for more! If they do it anyway, so be it. But never expect anything beyond their means.