How to Shop for Your Own Bridesmaid Dress
Lucky you! You get to be a bridesmaid for a super cool bride who lets you pick out your own dress.
“The current trend is for the bride to select a color palette and have her attendants select dresses within that color family. This is exciting for maids, as they don’t have to experience the ‘27 Dresses’ phenomenon,” says Beth Chapman owner of Beth Chapman Styling + Consulting in Clinton, Conn. “But at the same time, it can be daunting as they don’t know where to begin with their selection,”
Before you get shopping, consider the following etiquette and shopping tips to ensure you find the perfect bridesmaid dress both you and the bride will love.
Still get the bride’s input
Out of respect for the bride and her wedding day vision, ask for guidelines on material, style and color. Ask her if she prefers that you wear a short or long dress; formal or casual; and if she can send you a sample of the color she’s hoping for.
Marilisa Schachinger owner of Martel Event in Marietta, Ga, suggests asking the bride to create a brief list of options in a range of price points.
Once you find a few dresses you like, “always text the bride a dressing room picture to get her approval. If she is hesitant at all, keep shopping,” says Tessa Brand, owner of Tessa Lyn Events in Los Angeles, Calif.
Don’t forget to ask her about shoes, too. Find out if she has a preference of heel height, color and style. Most of all, “always take the environment of the wedding into account when making your shoe choice,” notes Chapman.
And don’t overwhelm her with too many questions and photos. After all, she let go of control for a reason.
Consult with other bridesmaids
Since you will be standing next to other bridesmaids at the ceremony and in pictures, you’ll want to look somewhat cohesive. “If possible, I encourage bridesmaids to shop together or have a group text where they can store photos of their gowns once they've been selected. It will help everyone get a better feel for how the colors and styles will coordinate and ensures no two girls pick the same gown,” says Schachinger.
Brand recommends creating a “look book” for the bride so she can see all the dresses together and give her final seal of approval.
Stay tasteful and practical
Think modesty, even if it’s not your style. “Avoid dresses that are too short, or too tight, as well as anything that will take too much attention away from the bride. Remember, this is her day not yours,” says Brand.
Nothing looks like you’re trying to show up the bride like wearing white or ivory. And go with sparkles only if she likes them.
“If you are selecting pattern, texture or sparkle, it is best to see how those look in relation to the other bridesmaids’ selections,” notes Chapman.
On the big day, be sure to wear proper undergarments, fashion tape, and anything else you may need.
Order in person, not online
Searching for dresses online can be helpful and fun, but trying it on in person is the best way to get a good fit.
“If the dress can be purchased in person, it ensures the right size will be ordered and avoids the headache of last minute alterations or worse the purchase of another dress,” says Schachinger.