Should Bridesmaids Voice an Opinion?

OMG bridesmaids week!

Solids still rule the school when it comes to bridesmaids dresses, but I know there are plenty of bridesmaids out there who look their best in patterns. In fact, I know at least a few gals – can’t speak for the guys – who feel like they’re presenting as a wall of color when they wear, say, all green or all pink. Let’s for a moment, bridesmaids, imagine that you’re one of them. Are you dreading having to wear something that someone with entirely different ideas about what looks good has picked out on your behalf? It is indeed a fearsome prospect.

You’re secretly dreaming of something like this:

Or like this:

But you suspect that the bride is dreaming of something a lot more like this. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) The question, of course, is what do you do? It’s easy to say, oh, wear whatever you’re told to wear unless the bride specifically asks for your input. But as it turns out, there’s a whole secret world of maids-of-honor and bridesmaids collaborating and gently steering the bride toward dress choices that will flatter, if not everyone, more than a few of the female attendants.

How’s that work, you ask? Whether you’re a patterns-over-solids kind of chick or an I-don’t-do-backless kind of chick or something else, you can take a few steps to try to influence the bride’s choices. I’m not saying anything you and your sister ‘maids do will work – especially if the bride happens to adore huge bows and pouf sleeves – but you could try:

  • Getting together with the other bridesmaids or at least those with a strong opinion. Figure out what you like and don’t like. Maybe no strapless, no backless, no scratchy poly stuff, no gold, whatever. Make sure you’re all on the same page or at least close to it, and then approach the bride with your concerns.
  • Going dress shopping with the bride and gush over the dresses you like. If you can’t do that, email her links to lots of suggestions that just happen to reflect both her color choices and your preferences with regard to silhouette, style, and yes, patterns. There’s no guarantee she’ll choose a dress you like, but you def increase your chances of being happy with her choices.
  • Suggesting something close to what the bride wants if you truly cannot stand what she’s chosen. You might say “I love love loooove the color and the cut overall is fab, but do you think you could go for something with sleeves/a contrasting sash/a lower hemline/etc.” You come off as supportive of her preferences instead of bossy or pushy.
  • Really selling the whole bridesmaids choose their own dresses thing. It’s not, as I mentioned, the most popular choice, but considering that bridesmaids come in all shapes and sizes, I think it’s a good one.
  • Displaying some serious enthusiasm whenever the bride happens to show you a potential bridesmaids’ dress that doesn’t make your eyes bleed. Lay on the praise thickly and the bride will get the gist of what you’re trying to say. Whether she wants to give you the dress you want as opposed to the dress she wants… I guess you’ll find out.

Note that I am NOT suggesting that any bridesmaid try to subvert the bride’s choices when she has something she truly loves in mind or that any bridesmaid make a nuisance of herself by rejecting every dress the bride suggests. But I don’t necessarily think that bridesmaids should absolutely never voice their opinions. What do you think?

(Images via Our Labor of Love Photography and Green Wedding Shoes)

6 Responses to “Should Bridesmaids Voice an Opinion?”

  1. srah says:

    In my fairly limited bridesmaiding experience, I generally give my advice up front (sometimes including sending links to dresses I like), then sit back and let the bride make the ultimate decision. You never know what kind of input she’s getting from the other bridesmaids, so you may be insisting “IT MUST BE V-NECK!” while another bridesmaid is insisting “ANYTHING BUT V-NECK!” so I try not to be too pushy or opinionated. I set my expectations for rewearability (and lookgoodability) low – telling myself that it’s her day, not mine – and have so far been pleasantly surprised.

  2. Blue Penguin says:

    One of the major reasons I chose my two bridesmaids was that, as two of my very closest friend, I could rely on their honesty… whether about their dresses or at other part of the wedding and to save me, if needed, from myself. They were both wonderful and one of them actually found my dress for me even before our first shopping trip. Listen to ’em, or why have ’em at all?!

  3. La Petite Acadienne says:

    I think it’s sensible for a bridesmaid or MOH to express her opinion in a gentle way, particularly if the dress idea is disastrous (backless dresses when all the bridesmaids wear a D cup and above, for example), or if it would make the wearer very uncomfortable (an extremely immodest neckline or tight fit on someone who is a little self-conscious). With regards to colour and pattern, though, I think it’s all right to say once, “Have you thought of lilac? I think it would look really pretty with everybody’s skin tone and would really suit your spring wedding.” But if the suggestion is not picked up on, then let it go.

  4. Toni says:

    I think another area BM’s should feel free to express an opinion is price. I do think that, generally, agreeing to be a BM also means incurring a certain amount of expenses. However, that doesn’t mean the sky’s the limit for the bride. Unless all the attendants have plenty of expendable income, a truly good friend will keep budget in mind.

  5. Bernadette says:

    I gave my bridesmaids a color and let them go on from there. I think that all my ladies were happy with this.

  6. Gina says:

    I took my bridesmaids shopping to try on dresses to see what style flattered all of them the most. Then I let them pick from a few shades of blue. They ended up picking the same color which turned out to look beautiful! When I was a bridesmaid, the bride took us all shopping and let us choose from a few styles but in the same color. Either way, I think that as your best girls they have the right to express themselves honestly and as their friend, I wanted them to feel great!