Traditionally, bridesmaids dressed like the bride to confuse evil spirits. Nowadays, it's definitely a big no-no for bridesmaids to take the focus off the bride. Wanting to be the star may have led some brides to the tangerine taffeta nightmares we've seen, but it's not an excuse. Bridesmaid dresses can absolutely look stylish and classy without taking away from the bride, but there's more to pulling off a cohesive bridal party than avoiding neon colors.
I talked with Violeta Deliivanovaof Dress 2 Impress about some of the hazards and delights of outfitting bridesmaids. Owners of a clothing manufacturing business in Bulgaria for 20 years, Dress 2 Impress came to life when the couple renewed their vows after being in the states 15 years. “Our experience convinced us there was an opportunity for a better bridal shopping experience,” said Violeta.
Q: With years of experience outfitting wedding parties, what three pieces of advice would you offer regarding bridesmaid dresses?
A. 1.) Do not choose your bridesmaid's dresses before you choose your own gown. The bride is the most important part of the wedding. You don't want to pick your gown around the style of your bridesmaids.
2.) Once you have chosen your gown, bring your maid of honor and mother to help you choose the style of bridesmaids' dresses. Choose the style and color that will flatter everyone's figure and that fits their budget. You do not want your whole wedding party choosing. It can become chaotic.
3.) Finally, once the style of the bridesmaid gown is chosen, start the ordering process quickly. Most bridesmaid dresses take eight to twelve weeks to come in, then two months of alterations.
Q. Do the season and location play a role in determining bridesmaid dresses?
A. Absolutely. The season and location determine the style of the bridesmaid dress. For instance:
1.) For Spring, ruffles and lace are both nice. They give the romantic feel with everything starting to bloom and in a style that moves with the springtime breeze. This is particularly true in a venue with lush gardens and plentiful blooms.
2.) For summer, light and airy is the way to go in summertime heat. Strapless and chiffon are good choices, especially with beach weddings being so popular.
3.) For fall, the vintage glamor look is perfect. The rustic, natural look accents venues. Think very earthy, leaf and vine motifs.
4.) For winter, we think snowflakes and fur. Long gowns with a fur wrap are super chic right now. Most winter venues feature ceremonies with candlelight and fireplaces. In this lighting, even a small amount of beading on a bridesmaid dress can pick up the light beautifully.
Q. Should the Maid of Honor have a different dress that the other bridesmaids? How can that be accomplished while maintaining visual harmony?
A. The Maid of Honor does not need to have a different dress. It is the bride's decision.
If the bride decides she want her in a different dress, she should choose a different style but in the same fabric. You certainly wouldn't want her in velvet when the rest of the bridesmaids are in chiffon. Alternatively, the Maid of Honor can wear the same style but in a complimentary color. You may also distinguish her more subtly, by giving her a brooch on her dress or a different boquet.
Q. In what ways does the bridal gown affect the choice of bridesmaid attire?
A. The style of the bridal gown always affects the choice of the bridesmaid attire. The bridesmaid dresses should compliment the bride, but not look like hers. The bride is the main visual focus of the wedding – that's why her gown needs to be chosen first.
If the bridal gown is one shoulder, the bridesmaids should have strapless or some sort of sleeve. If the bridal gown is short, then everyone needs to wear short dresses. If the bridal gown is satin, everyone should be wearing satin, charmeuse, or taffeta. If the bridal gown is chiffon, everyone should be in chiffon.
Sticking to these guidelines will help the flow of the wedding party live and in photographs.
Thanks so much to Violeta for lending her experience and expertise on the topic. To find out more about Ice and Dress 2 Impress visit her vendor profile here.