For a bride, shopping for bridesmaid dresses can be one of the most difficult aspects of wedding planning. How can the bride find a gown for her maids that will display her own taste, look great on every girl and will fit into the financial picture?
There are so many colors and styles of dresses to choose from. The bridesmaids themselves may vary greatly in size and they want a flatteringly gown that makes them feel good. The bride and her bridesmaids may be in their mid-20's or older and want a more sophisticated look in the bridesmaids gown. The bride also has the task of choosing a dress that will look good with each girl's skin tone, hair color and figure.
Choosing the right gown can be a challenge, but it's not impossible. The bride should start the decision process early. It's ideal to actually place the order for the gowns about four months before the wedding. This will allow time for alterations, shopping for shoes and other accessories and leave time to dye the shoes to match the gown. The bride will find it most helpful to shop with the one bridesmaid whose fashion sense she shares. The ultimate decision about the perfect bridesmaid gown will be the bride's.
The first step to choosing a bridesmaid gown is to determine the formality, style and fabric of the wedding gown. The bridesmaid dresses shouldn't overpower or clash with the wedding gown. For today's more simple bridal styles, nice detailing in the maids gowns creates a good look for the group. Back accents like straps, halter tops and simple beading are important for ceremony photography. A quality gown of good fabric and construction is necessary for the active bridesmaids who will be walking, dancing or running errands. Who needs to worry about seams splitting apart or buttons falling off during the wedding?
The next step for most brides is choosing the gown color. This can be done by looking at bridesmaid swatches in the bridal shop. Most manufacturers make bridesmaids dresses in anywhere from a few colors to as many as fifty. Choosing the actual color will narrow the choice of gowns to a more manageable number.
The bride must then consider the size ranges and figure types of her maids. Most bridal parties have an average of two full-figured members. If this is the case, many times it's best to begin choosing a gown style with the larger maids in mind. Some larger girls feel comfortable in spaghetti straps or even strapless gowns, but many would rather have at least a short sleeve or perhaps a shawl. The smaller girls can usually wear any style. A-line styles look good on most everyone. A two-piece style with a longer top covering the hip bone is another good style. Almost 50% of wedding parties will include a pregnant bridesmaid. Extra fabric can be ordered to create a maternity side panel. A few designers are now creating maternity bridesmaids.
A new marketing trend for bridesmaids is the idea of separates. Most manufactures now feature at least some of their styles in separate tops and skirts. Separates offer some flexibility for the maids as they are able to choose different sizes for the top and skirt and can accommodate many different figures types. The bride can also choose the color and manufacturer of the separates while letting the maids have the freedom to create a style they will be comfortable in.
In these sensitive economic times, many gown manufacturers are adjusting their prices to meet everyone's financial needs. Many designers have lowered their prices with no reduction in the quality of the garments. This year's selection of gowns should meet the approval of everyone in the wedding party.
The bride may save time by doing her preliminary shopping online. She can narrow her choices and email styles she likes to her maids. Shopping on the internet may be the most logical choice for some brides when her maids live in different parts of the country. Online ordering entails the maids obtaining their own measurements and alterations which must be done correctly for the best fit. Be sure to order very early to allow extra time for shipping the gowns.
The bridesmaid look is not complete without shoes and accessories. Shoes are available in many styles in fabrics which can be custom dyed to match the gown. Also popular are the clear vinyl shoes in strappy sandals some with changeable colored ribbon straps. One shoe company is now producing 100% silk shoes with leather soles in colorfast fabrics available in 9 styles in 15 colors that can be special ordered for delivery in about one week. Matching wrist or elbow gloves offers a sophisticated look. A simple rhinestone or pearl necklace and earring set will enhance the look of your maids.
With all the choices in bridesmaid gowns available today, every member of the wedding party should be happy with the final results and will spend the wedding day celebrating with the bride and her groom.
About the author: Roanna Rose has owned a full service bridal shop for more than 20 years. In 1997, the business was extended to the internet when the web site http://www.tjformal.com was created showcasing prom dresses, wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, tuxedos, and formal accessories. For free tips on shopping and planning for your prom or wedding visit: http://www.tjformal.com/tips.htm
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