Monday, April 18, 2011

Debunking Bridesmaids' Dress Myths

Maybe it's because of my formal dress obsession, but I heard a ton of advice about bridesmaid dress shopping just after I got engaged.  Do this, don't do that, be careful about these things.  Some of it was ridiculous, some of it made sense.  Now that we've got our bridesmaids' dresses ordered, I wanted to share with you some advice I got from wedding planning sources that was off and some assumptions I made that were wrong.


- Don't take all of your bridesmaids shopping at once:  I heard this from every bridesmaid dress advice column I read, and I have to admit, the reason I disagree with it may be because I only have 3 girls.  Nonetheless, I think it would have been much easier to come to a decision if they had been able to go together.  When I took MOH and Bridesmaid Megan (hereafter known as BM since she's technically the only one), they had little trouble agreeing on dresses despite the fact that their body shapes are very different.  It was only when I got them alone that they started having conflicting opinions, and while I was glad to get individual thoughts, it was hard going between them saying things like, "Well, this girl likes this about this one, but this part really doesn't work for her."  It's time-consuming, and it would be easier for them to see what does and does not work in person.

- Bridesmaids will have strong opinions about dresses:  This is something I was worried about personally.  I know them, and I was worried that they would not be able to agree on something, especially since my girls are not at all familiar with weddings and thus bridesmaid dresses.  But when it actually came time to shop, I was amazed by how hard it was to get opinions out of them.  All they cared about was what I thought about the dresses.  So I spent time worrying about this for nothing, and you shouldn't because when it comes down to it, they know it's your day, and they want to wear what you want them to wear.  Which is something I really need to thank them for.

- A cheaper option to buying bridesmaid dresses is buying prom or other formal dresses:  You guys, I was all over this tip for months.  One of my girls is having a pretty rough time economically right now, and I really did not want to be a financial burden on her, so I was all about finding cheaper dress options.  I searched every department and formal store I could find for cheaper dress options.  And you know what?  They are not cheaper.  It was difficult to find something under $100 and not much easier to find something under $150.  Most dresses were in the same range as bridesmaid dresses.  It is also harder to find dresses that work for everyone in these kinds of stores because when it comes down to it, bridesmaid dresses really are meant to work on multiple body types, and the boring designs help compliment everyone's tastes.  Surprisingly, after we did some shopping for these dresses, we found that bridesmaid dresses, despite their horrible reputation, actually looked better than the other formal dresses.  It seems they do charge exorbitant amounts for a reason.  Go figure.  P.S.  J. Crew and Jessica McClintock, the go to non-bridesmaid dress stores, are not even remotely cheaper than bridesmaid dresses.

- You must order early, or you will die!:  I was super worried about getting charged a rush fee because we were ordering at the 4 month mark.  When we went to a store in mid-March, the saleslady told us we needed to order within the next week!  Yet when we ordered our dresses at the same store almost a month later, we were fine.  I would not recommend waiting longer than we did, but you don't need to stress ordering 4 months or more ahead of time.

- Ordering the same dress at different stores is totally fine:  I cannot tell you how hard it was to find the dresses Groomslady liked at stores in SoCal for MOH and BM to try on.  I called at least 10 stores looking, and I still wasn't able to find them all.  I also could only find one store that had more than one of the dresses stocked which sucked for MOH and BM because they had to visit a bunch of stores.  I know there's not much you can do if your bridesmaids live in different places, but if you can find dresses at stores with big brand names like Alfred Angelo and (I cannot believe I'm going to say this) David's, it will be easier for everyone to find them.  Also, apparently you should try to order all of the dresses at one store when you do order so that they will all come from the same dye lot.  Woops.

What did I miss?  What dress myths and expectations did you find to be false?

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