Bridesmaids of a certain age

I asked my FSIL to be a bridesmaid in my wedding in a misguided attempt to foster some sort of sisterly bond between us. Long story short, I now advise all who ask me whether they should do the same to choose their maids on the basis of already extant bonds. Thankfully I’ve rambled on about in-laws quite recently, so this post is not about spousal sisters but rather about the dresses they might want to wear if asked to be in the bridal party.

Longer story short, my SIL is a bit older than The Beard, and the dresses she initially gravitated toward had sleeves and conservative necklines, like these from Aria.

Still swingy, but not quite as showyAnd a tad more grown up

Please note that I in no way encouraged my SIL to do anything outside of choose a dress that was the right length and the right color. She herself brought up the fact that she would feel more comfortable in a frock that didn’t bare too much and wasn’t particularly daring, meaning no strapless dresses or dipping décolletages. That was fine by me, just as my own sister’s choice of a dress with the tiniest of spaghetti straps was fine by me. I’m easygoing like that.

Even longer story short, dwelling on the whole amazingly facocked situation got me thinking about older bridesmaids in general and how they might feel when wearing in a little silk sheath surrounded by gals ten or more years their junior.

I can easily imagine many a mother who’d be utterly honored to stand amongst her daughter’s bridesmaids. On the other hand, most bridesmaid garb is designed for the younger, youthful figure. Heck, I’m only 28 (maybe 26 or even 25 on a good day) and I already prefer clothing that conceals more than it reveals.

If I’m not quite young or youthful enough for many of today’s bridesmaid styles, I’m guessing that your mom or your Aunt Beth or your older cousin who’s like a sister to you might appreciate not being asked to wear something short, strapless, and tight. Should your wedding party include bridesmaids of a certain age, you may want to consider choosing a dressmaker that will outfit each of your bridesmaids in a different style using the same fabric.

And now, a poll…

10 Responses to “Bridesmaids of a certain age”

  1. Kate February 27, 2008 at 2:25 pm #

    Isn’t it traditional in the South to have the groom’s father stand up as Best Man? I think it’s a lovely idea to have your mother as a MOH, altho as just another bridesmaid in the bunch might be a bit odd.

  2. Never teh Bride February 27, 2008 at 2:45 pm #

    I’ve never heard of the tradition, Kate — I’ve been to my fair share of southern weddings where the BM wasn’t the groom’s pop, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the norm in certain locales. A quick search nets only a handful of Q&A-type results with people asking if it’s all right to ask dad to be BM.

    Anyone with southern roots care to weigh in on this?

  3. Twistie February 27, 2008 at 3:50 pm #

    I know I’ve heard of the dad as best man thing, though it may be specific to a particular part of the south, or even an older tradition that’s less commonly followed now. Still, the age of the best man has never – to the best of my knowledge – been a matter of concern to etiquette or social standards.

    As for asking bridesmaids…according to Victorian etiquette guides, it was considered important that bridesmaids be not only unmarried, but younger than the bride. Nobody requires that of bridesmaids now. We don’t worry about their marital status, so why should we worry about their age? If you want your grandmother as your matron of honor, why not ask her?

    Then I suggest picking the bridesmaids’ clothes around the women chosen rather than the bridesmaids around the dresses. Of couse, I think that’s a good policy no matter what the age range or body types of your bridesmaids.

  4. Pencils February 27, 2008 at 4:48 pm #

    I could have rounded up some “traditional” bridesmaids, but I wanted the people who were important to me. Starting with my only sister, who was my matron of honor, 42 at the time of the wedding. (I was 40.) She chose her own dress–a lovely one from Martin McCrea. I just asked for it to be navy. Because it was hand-dyed, it actually turned out to be a lovely violet. I think she looked great. And my bridesmaids were my nieces, ages 13, 11 and 10, all in navy dresses that were appropriate for their age–and, trust me, it isn’t easy to find bridesmaid dresses for young teens that aren’t (in my opinion) too hootchie for their age. Putting a pair of spaghetti straps on a definitely adult bridesmaid’s dress doesn’t automatically make it appropriate for the flower girl and the junior bridesmaid.

  5. Mary February 27, 2008 at 5:11 pm #

    My bridesmaids were my sister and his sister, ages 55 and 35. They selected the 3/4 sleeve Aria top (not the wrap one) you show (with knee-length skirts). That suggests to me that there really isn’t much selection out there. With brides older than they used to be, shouldn’t there be dresses for older bridesmaids? Which may extend the strapless dress debate to the bridesmaids as well as the brides.

  6. JaneC February 27, 2008 at 7:26 pm #

    If I had thought she would be able to make it to the wedding–and if I’d had more than one bridesmaid–I might have asked one of my former music teachers to stand up with me. She’s a very dear friend, but at 50 years old would have stood out a little in the group of 20-somethings that crowded ’round the altar that day. Clothes wouldn’t have been a problem for her, though–she’s very slim and I’ve often seen her in sleeveless, body-conscious formal gowns for performances, or cute little summer dresses (unlike my 23-year-old MOH who was very relieved when I told her she could wear sleeves if she wanted to).

  7. susan johnston February 28, 2008 at 11:18 pm #

    After being in 17 weddings, I wrote a fairy tale about the whole thing. Princess Bubble. I pray I am now too old to be in weddings BUT still have tons of single friends. So, I vote inappropriate to ask the aging!! Hee Hee!

  8. Never teh Bride February 29, 2008 at 9:55 am #

    You crack me up, Susan –and you should know that I love Princess Bubble!

  9. Vic January 30, 2010 at 1:16 am #

    This is your cousin-in-law from Seattle. I understand comments were closed a long time ago on the subject of older bridesmaids and their dresses BUT of course I have an opinion! When I was 30 (and already ancient) one of my friends did a really cool thing: we each got to select our own dress as long as it was the same color. The result was fabulous: everybody looked great because we all got to pick our own dress – something that looked good oneach one of us and complemented our various sizes, figures, ages and styles. Since everyone was happy with their dresses the pictures and reception were especially good!

  10. Never teh Bride January 31, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    @Vic I think brides who go that route are AWESOME! I did that at my wedding, and I’ve been in weddings where we were given a color and set free into the wide world of dresses. Loved it!