Letting your girls express themselves

For hundreds of years, women have feared being called upon for bridesmaid duty for one terrifying reason: The tendency of bride’s to want to outfit their best friends and confidants in frumpy, poofy, outstandingly gaudy wedding gear. I’ve long wondered why we ladies are subjected to hot pink empire waist, many flowered monstrosities or dresses that flatter only .5% of the population. My theory? A wedding is the bride’s day to shine and she’s going to shine, darn it, no matter what.

But take a tip from Joanna Saltz, of The Knot, who says that the new rules say bridesmaid dresses should be comfy and re-usable, and don’t need to be clones of one another!

The best wedding I have ever been a part of saw me wearing a dress very much like this one from Eden Bridals:

My fellow bridesmaids wore similarly-colored, similarly styles dresses. The bride let us know ahead of time the basic color she wanted, but let us choose the styles that most flattered our bodies.

Since the wedding, I’ve worn the dress time and again, but no, I didn’t outshine the bride.

9 Responses to “Letting your girls express themselves”

  1. Kimmer says:

    THANK YOU! When I got married and told my bridesmaids that I wanted them to pick out their own dresses, from a regular store instead of an overpriced bridal shop, they argued with me (except my maid of honor, who was immediately thrilled with the idea) and said that for the sake of the pictures, they had to match. I had to practically force them to choose unique dresses that were within their budgets and flattered them. Happily, once they did so, everyone got to wear her dress again fairly soon after (well, except me, but that’s ok).

  2. Never teh Bride says:

    YAY, Kimmer! Way to assert your matrimonial authority! It’s absolutely untrue that the pictures won’t be FABULOUS without rows upon rows of bridesmaid clones. These days, asymmetry is practically a design craze. How could such a wedding not be aesthetically amazing in photos?

  3. Annalucia says:

    Has Never teh Bride read the wonderful “Busman’s Honeymoon”, by Dorothy L. Sayers? It begins with the wedding of Lord Peter Wimsey to his longtime love, Harriet Vane. The bride wears cloth of gold and the bridesmaids are described as wearing their “Sunday best,” with no attempt to match colors or styles. The novel was published in 1938 so plainly Miss Sayers was prescient in her judgment of proper wedding attire.

  4. Lori says:

    Yes, I think these are actually the old rules. Time was when even the bride just wore her best dress to her wedding.

    Perhaps this custom has been reinstated because so many brides are now older. At age 36, I would NOT plunk down a few hundred dollars for a treacly satin concoction, nor would my best friend, age 37, ask me to (and vice versa). We just have too much respect for ourselves and each other.

  5. never teh Bride says:

    Annalucia, thanks for the recommendation. I’ll be sure to check it out.

    I think perhaps that Lori is correct. There is also the fact that many people are more conscious of the absolute faux pas of waste. An expensive gown I will never wear again? Only if I’m one of hollywood’s elite, and then I would hope I would have the grace to give my dresses to charity.

    Luckily, for those brides who still want to stage a reinactment of Attack of the Matrimonial Clones, there are many options available that are attractive and don’t scream MAWWIAGE.

  6. La BellaDonna says:

    *Squee!* The Annalucia, she shares many, many of the same tastes as La BellaDonna! La BellaDonna remembers that Miss Vane’s ring, it was the ruby, was it not? Rather than the more traditional diamond. La BellaDonna appreciates that the Dorothy Sayers had the beautiful gown for a bride who was a woman of the world, not in the first flower of her youth, and wishes more designers would consider them (and she does not mean the gown suitable for the 39-year-old social X-ray, either). La BellaDonna suspects that the Camilla’s attire, worn for the blessing would have had Miss Vane’s approval.

    La BellaDonna, who will burst into flame after approximately four of the minutes on the sunny sands of the beach, also finds the beachfront wedding to be lacking in appeal – unless one is hoping for the occasion to wear the bridal flip-flops. *shudder*

  7. Manolo says:

    As usual the internet friends of the Manolo impress the Manolo with their wit and erudition.

    However, two things, they must be mentioned.

    The One: Perhaps the Manolo is wrong, but it is the impression of the Manolo that the mania for the matching dresses of the brides maids, it is the post-war phenomenon, and that prior to this, most people would have usually dressed in their Sunday best for the wedding. Although the mention in this context by the Dorothy Sayers, it perhaps suggests otherwise, that the fashion may have been changing towards uniformity.

    The Two: the worst thing that ever happened in the world of the Dorothy Sayers was letting the Lord Peter and the Harriet Vane marry. The Lord Peter he should have remained the bachelor with the batman, just as the Harriet was more interesting as the near spinster.

  8. Lori says:

    Manolo, I think you are right when you say that the matching bridesmaid dresses are a post-war phenomenon. The superfantastic book “Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Freshly Updated” estimates the time and place of this (and the whole pageant-style wedding thing) to be Hollywood, c. 1947.

    During WWII, fabric was needed for uniforms and parachutes; wedding gowns were borrowed for the occasion. Before that time, Americans in general were of much more modest means than they are now. Of course, I wasn’t around then, but I imagine that a dress to be worn for one occasion was an indulgence that only the wealthy could afford.

  9. Never Wanted to Be the Bride says:

    Ah, the Manolo has hit upon the crux of the problem for women (and men) even in worlds other than literary when it comes down to the pros and cons of marriage: both Lord Pete and Harriet Vane were more interesting as unmarried individuals. Enough rambling on this subject today. I went overboard already on both websites while discussing gay marriage.