Picking out bridesmaid dresses that everyone can live with can be one of the most challenging parts of a wedding. What if all of your girls have different taste? Maybe your sister flat out refuses to wear anything other than pants? Maybe there is a big difference between what you think is beautiful and what your attendants can afford. This is a look at the most common bridesmaid dress conflicts, along with tips on how to resolve them so everyone is happy.
I recently heard about a bride whose sister was her maid of honor and was a major tomboy. Never wore skirts, let alone a formal dress, and the very idea of wearing a fancy dress to her sister’s wedding was giving her hives. The bride did not want to torture her sister, and yet she still wanted to have a cohesive bridal party. So what is a bride to do in this sticky situation?
The fact that it was the maid of honor begging not to wear a dress makes things easier. After all, it is traditional for the maid of honor to be distinguished from the other bridesmaids in some way. If the sister could stand to wear a skirt and a top for a few hours, she could select one in the same color as fabric as the rest of the bridesmaid dresses. Another option is for her to order several yards of the bridesmaid dress fabric from the manufacturer to have a very dressy pants outfit made. The entire bridal party can be tied together with matching bouquets and sets of bridesmaid jewelry. It might not be ideal from the bride’s perspective, but it beats having a miserable maid of honor pouting in the wedding photos!
What about when the bridesmaids have very different styles? Separates can be one way to resolve this dilemma. Many companies offer a large number of styles in the same fabric and colors. Let your preppy bridesmaid pick out a cute little strapless dress with a bow at the waist while your friend who loves form fitting clothes wears the same color in a fitted sheath dress. If you really want to see all of your bridesmaids in the same dress, consider helping them express their personalities with different bridesmaid jewelry sets. Choose a fairly simple bridesmaid dress in a neutral color and then give each attendant bridesmaid jewelry which suits her taste. Pearl jewelry will make your preppy bridesmaid smile, dazzling crystal chandelier earrings will make your sexy bridesmaid feel fabulous, and unique jewelry created from irregularly shaped keshi pearls will help your eclectic bridesmaid to feel funky and hip.
The cost of the bridesmaid dresses can be a major sticking point. It is patently unfair for the bride to demand that her bridesmaids spend way more on their dresses than they can afford. On the other hand, agreeing to be a bridesmaid definitely involves buying a dress, so it is also not fair for a bridesmaid to be unreasonably cheap about the wedding attire. The bride should have some idea about what it customary for bridesmaid dresses in her circle of friends. If she chooses a dress that is far more than that, she should offer to split the cost of it with her bridesmaids. When only one bridesmaid is unable to afford the bride’s selection, the gracious way to handle it is for the bride to privately pay for her dress (without telling the rest of the wedding party).
In the end, bridesmaids are always going to complain about their dresses to some extent, and it can be impossible to please everyone no matter how reasonable the bride may be. As long as everyone does their best to compromise, hopefully everyone will be happy enough with the dress that they can at least stand to wear it for one day, and the bride can get the kind of wedding pictures she hopes for.