It’s bridesmaid time!

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A few days ago, I recieved a very thoughtful e-mail from my friend Sara. This coming April, Sara is getting married and I’m one of her bridesmaids. Sara and I met 10 years ago in our freshman year at Western Kentucky University. I’m excited to be a part of the wedding! As most of you can guess, bridesmaid dress shopping is very exciting to me! (however my favorite part of being a bridesmaid is the bachelorette party, but that’s a story for another time …)

The other women in the wedding are friends from grad school and her future sister-in-law, women I have yet to meet. The e-mail was a bcc to myself and the other bridesmaids. She asked us several questions:

– Do we want a short or long dress?
– What is our budget?
– Would we rather rent or buy a dress?

Looking back, even the bcc part was thoughtful. What if all the women started replying to the whole group and one was too embarrassed to admit her budget was lower than the rest? This way, our only option was to reply to Sara, allowing our answers to be completely between she and each bridesmaid. Kudos to Sara! I’m also not surprised as Sara is very detail-oriented with everything she does.

Bridesmaid dress shopping can be fun but also stressful. I’ve outlined several tips for both the bride and the bridesmaid.

For brides:

1. Understand that not all your bridesmaids are made of money. While you may like that $400 designer dress, understand that even if they will wear it again, it will probably only be once or twice. Open communication before dress shopping is key.

2. Pick something they can wear again. Even if they’re not spending $400 on their dress, a bridesmaid dress is usually more expensive than your regular dress. A classic, timeless dress is nice not only for this reason but for when you look back at your wedding photos years down the road. Trends are called trends for a reason.

3. Don’t decide on something before you see at least a few of them try it on. I was in a wedding about two years ago (pictured above in a beautiful dark pink dress … affordable and timeless) and we decided on the dress together with the bride. Myself, the bride, her sister (Maid of Honor) and her mom all went to David’s Bridal. I remember gettimg stuck in one dress. That was a no. Then we found these pink ones which seemed to flatter all body types. Her two cousins (pictured on either side of me) did not live nearby, so the dress details were sent to their local David’s Bridal. Having the input of at least a few of your bridesmaids can help.

For bridesmaids

1. Understand that the dress will cost some money. My pink dress above was $168. A good ballpark is $150-$200. If you think about it, your average woman is probably going to be in 3-5 weddings in her life. So while this is an expense, for me it’s an expense I’ll gladly spend for my friends. However not all brides have their bridesmaids in typical bridesmaid dresses. Some pick a color and let them choose. It’s really just all up to the bride.

2. Understand that this is her day. She may pick something you’re not the biggest fan of. I am a fan of being open about your concerns, but if she’s super set on a dress, you’ll just have to go with it. On the bright side, it’s only one day and it’s not your big day.

3. Be open and honest up front. The last thing a bride needs on her wedding day or in the few weeks before is your bottled up feelings about stuff. As a bridesmaid, anything you can do to alleviate her stress, the better. That is part of your job. So if your bride is not as up front as Sara has been (thanks Sara!), then go ahead and take the initiative. Chances are if she asked you to be a bridesmaid, she cares about you and your feelings.

Are you a bride? Are you a bridesmaid? Have you been one or both in the past? I have never been a bride, so I do not claim to have all the answers. What tips would you have?

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