As a woman of a *certain age* I’ve given up hope of ever being asked to be someone’s bridesmaid.
Yep. Bring on the pity party for one.
A friend of mine has 12 puffy taffeta dresses in storage at her house – testament to the TWELVE times someone thought her worthy of a prime wedding photo spot standing front and centre with the bride and groom.
Now admittedly, one of the big reasons that I’ve never been a bridesmaid is that I only have brothers. Having a sister generally – but not always – gets you a bridesmaid gig. And during my wedding era (THAT year when you are at a wedding every second weekend), all my best friends had sisters aplenty to fill the silk chiffon.
So, my observations of being a bridesmaid were limited to those at my weddings and THE funniest movie ever, Bridesmaids, which I giggled, cried and almost peed myself through on Saturday night.
Bridesmaids stars a gaggle of female comedians with a script that centres around the impending nuptials of Lillian, who asks her best friend Annie to be her maid-of-honour, much to the envy of Lillian’s “new best friend” Helen. The ensuing rivalry between Annie and Helen sparks a hilarious rollercoaster of laugh-out-loud moments that should come with a “don’t watch with a full bladder warning”.
Just thinking about the bridesmaid dress shopping and fitting scene is enough to bring on a new bout of giggles … let’s just say that … when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. No matter which end it’s coming out of. The whole scene (minus the untimely bodily functions) reminded me how fraught the whole bridesmaid dress caper can be.
Think about it. It’s very rare than anyone has a bridal party of friends and family with have similar body shapes and similar clothing tastes. To compound this, the bride will generally have bridal tunnel vision about her wedding. Such tunnel vision has been known to make normally stylish women get a bad case of matchy-matchy meringue-itis.
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? The princess bride. Strapless long, boofy gown. Pretty, matchy-matchy bridesmaids all in a row.
I get that brides want their vision to translate to their photos but there are so many ways to style your wedding party that still unifies the entire look but gives it a stamp of individuality.
Here are my top 5 bridesmaid styling tips
1. REALLY think about the body shapes of your bridesmaids. Talk to them. They know which styles suit them best. Brainstorm ideas before hitting the shops.
2. With this in mind, it’s no longer necessarily for every bridesmaid to wear the same dress. Complementary styles in the same colour or fabric can work beautifully. For a simple and effective solution, I love the Sacha Drake Ultimate Dress or Ultimate Maxi Dress – each member of your bridal party can wear a way that suits them. AND they’ll wear them long after the bridal bouquet has been thrown.
3. If you are expecting your bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses (and this is usually the case), be considerate about their budgets. Spending a fortune on a lime-coloured strapless beaded dress is hardly value for money. Your bridesmaid is unlikely to trot it out for your next Chinese and karaoke night.
4. Let’s talk matchy-matchy. Really, it’s SO not necessary. Apart from the dresses, which we’ve already discussed, hairstyles can be different; the jewellery can be different; and – shock horror – the shoes can be different. Yes, it will take a bit more of a “vision” to pull this off but get it right (and seek out some styling help) and you’ll have an original look for your wedding party.
5. Buy bridesmaid dresses off the rack as opposed to a traditional bridal store (there are some great bridal stores which don’t fall into the traditional – Sunshine Coast’s Eve Boutique is one of them). This is a sure-fire way to get a bridal look that’s individual and not “cookie cutter” style. It’s also a great way to tap into current trends and find dresses that suit everyone in your bridal party. Look to Australian labels such as Cue, Review, Matthew Eager, Lisa Ho and Rachel Gilbert for on-trend elegance.
Here are some non-traditional bridal party looks I found on Pinterest. They’re not necessarily a style I would choose but they show individuality and personality. And I will give that my vote every time.
Have you been a bridesmaid? Were you happy with your dress? And have you seen Bridesmaids yet? Spill …