Before I begin this post, let me start by saying that, Mr. Big, you are the love of my life, but…
Image via AllPosters.com
Now, where were we!
In my last post, I mentioned that the sort of dress I found myself drawn to flowed from the bodice and draped beautifully to the ground. For those who need a refresher (or just like dress porn!), these were the dresses which I loved:
Just because my wedding attire is all squared away doesn’t mean we’re done talking dresses—I still have a gaggle of bridesmaids to outfit.
My bridal party is on the smaller side: just my two sisters, B and K, and my future sister-in-law, Z. They’re all of similar height/build, so I could have put them in matching dresses and it probably would have worked just fine, but I opted to go the increasingly popular route of having everyone choose their own dress. This way, not only does everyone end up in a dress that really suits their body type, but their personalities can shine through too.
First step—and please, folks, DO NOT skip this step—was to confirm the bridesmaids’ budgets. After all, if I’m mandating a particular dress, the least I could do is make sure everyone can actually afford it.
I ultimately decided on silk chiffon dresses from J.Crew in dark eggplant. J.Crew dresses aren’t cheap, but the quality is excellent and they have a variety of styles, so everyone has plenty to choose from. Plus, they offer student and teacher discounts—I’ve read online that the discounts don’t always apply to bridal purchases, but it worked fine for us—and if you’re not a student or teacher, there are sales pretty frequently. And, of course, the fact that you can order your dress online is a huge bonus if, like Z, you live four hours from the nearest J.Crew bridal store.
I love my bridesmaids—they are some of my favorite people on this planet! And while I am SUPER excited to marry Mr. O, I’m also pretty thrilled about having four of my favorite ladies all together at one time to share the day with me! Which is why I decided early on that I just couldn’t force them into a dress they didn’t all love. I was determined to choose a look that would allow them to be comfy and happy all day without breaking the bank. But here’s the thing—my girls are all VERY different people with different interests, bodies, and styles. Let’s introduce them!
First, there is my best from the West, Maid of Honor R.
On a boat! / Personal photo
R and I have been best friends since elementary school, so we’re going on 19 years here, people. R has actually moved past friend status—she is my honorary sister. I can call and tell her anything in the world, and no matter how bad or stupid or cheesy it is, she’s just going to get it. We have been through EVERYTHING together—school, break-ups, relationships, growing pains, family drama, moving apart, living together—and the only thing that has ever been hard to deal with is the thousands of miles between us on a daily basis. I keep trying to lure her and her amazing photography talents to the East Coast…maybe someday I’ll be successful!
Next, there is my never-fail, always amazing, and beautiful Matron of Honor M.
Leading up to the wedding, I wasn’t 100% sure I’d made the right choice about my bridesmaids’ dresses. I decided to have each girl choose their own dress in any shade of bright warm pink as long as it was around knee length. I loved the choice each girl had made separately, but I am so bad at envisioning the final product that I just wasn’t sure if it would all come together.
Good news. It all worked!
Try to ignore all the crap everywhere. I tried to prevent it, but this room was the size of shoebox.
Try and pretend like the room isn’t icky green. I’m not really sure who decided that was a great idea for a bridal room, but whatevs. The dresses are gorgeous together.
Can we take a moment and appreciate that they all have different necklines. Seriously, I couldn’t have planned that if I tried. There’s one-shoulder, strapless, halter-ish, and regular straps. I thought it was awesome that they were all so different but they managed to look cohesive.
That’s right: We’re here to talk about the dreaded bridesmaids’ dress. I don’t know about you, but when I think “bridesmaids’ dress” I immediately think “really expensive ugly freaking dress that I will never wear again.” Something along the lines of this masterpiece:
Image via UglyDress.com
I think I put a lot of unnecessary stress on myself over choosing bridesmaids’ dresses. The girls kept insisting that they would wear anything I asked them to even if it was a paper bag, but I wanted to make sure they were happy too. That meant I wanted to keep the costs low and the chance of wearing them again high.
I was really adamant that I wanted to choose dresses that cost less than $100, but it turned out that was easier said than done. While I found some options at David’s Bridal, they were still a little too “bridesmaidy” for my taste.
Since Mr. Rucksack and I are getting married on the beach, I wanted the girls to be casual and comfortable. It was also important that they match the rest of our bridal-party look.
Oh hello, model version of us poorly Photoshop’ed onto a beach:
I have really awesome friends! They took time out of their busy schedules to go bridesmaids’ dress shopping with me and dealt with the last-minute changes!
After our small fiasco at David’s Bridal, four of the Scooter Biker Gang and I were all set to go to A Step Above Bridal and search for the perfect bridesmaids’ dress. Since I had a vague idea of what I was looking for, it was easy for us to narrow down our search. Within minutes of getting there, we had already picked a designer; now it was time to choose what three styles I would provide for the lovely ladies to wear. I sent my ladies an email prior to this search and gave them the heads up of what styles I had in mind.
MOH Brandy actually brought her cute little pumpkin pie along for the journey! Sweet Baby Keegan is his name, and he has nothing to do with the story of picking a bridesmaids’ dress; he is just so stinking cute.
BM Brande with Sweet Baby Keegan
When I first started thinking about colors I had one stipulation, even before I knew the venue—no yellow dresses.
I love light yellow bridesmaids’ dresses in pictures, and with the right navy blue I think it’s incredibly sharp. Even better than navy and yellow is gray and yellow…I adore all of the pictures on Pinterest with that color scheme. My problem with yellow is that it’s so difficult to wear. It so easily washes someone out that I feel like you have to be just the right tan to pull it off. I didn’t even want to deal with that, so yellow was a no from the very beginning.
Then I chose champagne—you know, because champagne definitely doesn’t wash people out at all. (insert eye roll here)
I hadn’t thought much about it because all of my girls are sun goddesses, but I had this horrible dream they all looked like the walking dead as they were coming down the aisle. The next day, I changed the color to a dark gray, specifically pewter.
I’ve talked about different visions for my dress, but I haven’t mentioned anything about the bridesmaids. Bridesmaids’ dresses were one of those things I thought a lot about as a bridal consultant, but I never really thought about what my bridesmaids would wear. Confession—I loved working with bridesmaids. Sure there can be tough ones, but usually they were so.much.fun. One of my favorite parts of the job was helping a bride see her vision come to light through her bridesmaids, but when it came to my own bridesmaids I had so many different ideas I couldn’t figure out which one I actually wanted. Thanks, Pinterest.
I love the look of mismatched bridesmaids, and ombre has slowly but surely become an obsession of mine…
Source: Society Bride
…but mismatched style/same color bridesmaids look nice in pictures, too…
“Looking for cute and affordable favors? Put the treat of your choice in adorable boxes from Weddingbee Favors!”
I love weddings. All things weddings. I’ve been stalking Weddingbee since well before I was engaged (oh, haven’t we all). I run home on Fridays to catch TLC’s Bride Day and on Sundays for WE Wedding Sunday. I’ve been daydreaming of my own wedding for years and years and it makes my heart soar that it’s finally happening. But before it happened, I had to get my thrills from other people.
I’ve been a bridesmaid nine times. Not quite Katherine Heigl, but that’s a pretty decent amount. I know that there’s been sort of a stigma surrounding bridesmaids—I think the old-timey thoughts are that bridesmaids are just girls to line up next to the bride to make her look better. Well not me. I’ve taken my jobs seriously.
Image via StarPulse
I’ve worn short dresses, long dresses, cute dresses, horrible dresses and everything in between.
When it came to dressing my ‘maids, I found that I had a very clear vision about what I wanted! All of my bridesmaids have VERY DIFFERENT personalities! I wanted their dresses to reflect that to some degree. I also wanted them to all be comfortable since they have varying body types. As much as I like symmetry and uniformity, I didn’t want to force my bridesmaids to wear something they would hate. I have been there, done that and have plenty of dresses as proof.
There was some uniformity that I wanted to keep. For example, all the dresses needed to be the same material. They all needed to be floor length. Last real “requirement” was that the dresses come from the same designer.
In my first DIY, I encouraged my bridesmaids to check frequently on my Pinterest account to get a feel of the direction that I was going with for the dress. When I was a bridesmaid, I would have loved to have known what the bride had in mind beforehand. I found that the Pinterest board was a great conversation starter with them. I threw up a few options just to freak them out. Some of them were very vocal in what they liked (or disliked). For the most part they all agreed with the vision that I had. The best thing about my bridesmaids’ dress board is that I can start pulling together collective look. Who wants to reinvent the wheel?
I’m the kind of person who gets really attached to characters in books that I read, so much so that I’ll skip a few chapters ahead (or flip to the last pages) to make sure they make it out OK. So if I left any of you hanging on what the bridesmaids were going to wear and you were getting worried (all of you, right?—just kidding) I’ll assuage your fears and skip ahead to the conclusion: everyone found a dress they were happy with and the order went in!
After trying on all kinds of dresses, we went the satin route. I love all the dresses that the ladies picked. The funny thing (at least for me) is that two of the four bridesmaids ended up changing their minds from the dresses they were considering to new ones. Works for me!
So what did we end up choosing?
MOH Tart ended up picking a dress that I had seen when I was shopping with BM Fro-Yo. It works perfectly because the original plan had been to add some bling to her dress to designate her maid-of-honor status. Now we won’t need to find a sash—this one comes with it already attached! (Funny story: I pinned this dress over a year before MOH Tart tried it on and tagged it “dress for Tart, maybe?”).
BM Apple Pie went with the style she loved when we went shopping a few weeks ago. It’s super flattering on her!
I have seven gorgeous bridesmaids of all different shapes, sizes, colors, and personalities. Finding a dress to look good on everyone and match the theme of our outdoor fall wedding was a big priority for me. I wanted my most favorite women on earth to look and feel great on my wedding day!
Originally, I wasn’t into floor-length dresses, as I thought they might be too formal for our event. My mind was changed when I entered the wide world of chiffon. At our local bridal salon, we found beautiful, flowing chiffon numbers in great fall colors that seemed to accent not only my dress, but our modern/rustic theme as well.
Enter Bari Jay. Bari Jay has been around for over 30 years offering really great styles that are also affordable. What’s better is that they specialize in bridesmaids’ dresses, so they have real attention to detail and seasonal colors that never seem outdated.
We looked at a few options in the floor-length chiffon but had a clear winner pretty quickly.
Here she is, number 324:
I haven’t posted before now about the bridesmaids’ dresses because it took us a while to go out and look for them. A couple of times when we were out looking for my wedding dress we were able to also look at some of the bridesmaids’ dresses, but that definitely wasn’t our main focus.
I knew early on that I wanted the ladies to pick their own dresses—my wonderful bridesmaids are all different shapes and trying to find one dress that worked on all of them was more of a task than we wanted. Plus, having them pick their own dresses really allows their personalities to shine!
I knew that I wanted them to all be in the same fabric/color/designer, but beyond that I wanted them to choose their own styles based on what looked good on them and what they felt comfortable in.
The first place we went to was the bridal salon where I purchased my wedding dress (I Do Bridal). The service there is really amazing and they have a great selection. Being as it was just before the big wedding season (spring/summer) it was kind of crazy in-store, but the ladies were able to try on a lot of dresses.
BM Fro-Yo wasn’t able to be there for the first two appointments as she had a bridal shower for another wedding to attend, but BMs Apple Pie and Hot Buns and MOH Tart were present.
These were the winning dresses from I Do Bridal.
MOH Tart looks really great in V-necks and feels WAY more comfortable when she has straps.
As soon as we settled on our colors, I knew I wanted navy blue bridesmaids’ dresses. I quickly fell in love with this dress by Adrianna Papell.
Image via Nordstrom
I became obsessed within seconds. I am partial to dresses with one shoulder, and I absolutely loved the lace. This had to be the dress!! I emailed it to my bridesmaids and within hours my dream died. The dress sold out in some sizes, including smaller ones that I knew we would need. Argh!! (Of course it now seems to be available in more sizes.)
In my quest to recreate this dress, I stumbled upon the Watters Camellia dress.
Mr. B’s daughter A is going to be our junior bridesmaid. She is 10, which is a little too old for a flower girl and not quite old enough for a bridesmaid. I don’t entirely understand the role of a junior bridesmaid, but the plan is to have her walk down the aisle and then most likely sit with her grandparents instead of standing with the bridal party. After all, there won’t be a lot of room up there with the ridiculous size of our bridal party.
Although A is excited to be in the wedding, she is not excited about getting dressed up for it. She is a tomboy through and through—no princesses, no skirts, nothing girly. She would rather be in mesh shorts and a dri-fit T-shirt than anything else. Unfortunately our wedding is a little more formal than athletic wear, so we need to figure out what to put her in.
She came with me to Jacksonville on our bridesmaids’ dress shopping trip, and she was hoping/expecting to pick out something to wear as well. We looked at all the pretty dresses in the store and she kept asking when we were going to a store to look at something for her. I showed her the dresses designed for flower girls and junior bridesmaids, but she kept insisting that she wanted to wear “church pants and a collared shirt,” which equates to khakis and a polo. And sneakers if she has it her way. As much as I really do want her to be comfortable, I will not be comfortable if she walks down the aisle looking like this:
Image via Continental Uniform
I don’t have a good idea of what I do want her to wear, though, since I hate most dresses designed for young girls.