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Bridesmaids | Manolo for the Brides - Part 2
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LOVE/HATE: The Flashdance Edition

WHAT IS HAPPENING???

First impressions, from my end: NOOOOOOO. Do not want. Maybe I’ll write a letter to Dessy letting them know that a huge bias ruffle trim at the neck – paired with what looks like a giant elastic belt, no less – isn’t going to flatter any bridesmaid ever. Look, maybe I’m just against this because I was a little kid in the 80s and the fashion of the day scared me. But I don’t think so. Hating the nouveau 80s bridesmaid dresses with a passion over here.

Would YOU wear it willingly? Or subject your bridesmaids to it?

How Common Is the Bridesmaid Luncheon?

A bridesmaid luncheon was not a possibility back when I was planning my own wedding, for one ‘maid was in Florida and the other in Nevada. Of course, considering that the bridesmaid luncheon is traditionally held to honor the contribution of one’s attendants, I would have been off the hook, anyhow. Not that one should base the decisions one makes when choosing bridesmaids on how much work one can squeeze out of them, but typically it’s considered polite for bridesmaids to express at the very least a passing interest in the wedding. But anyway.

The bridesmaid luncheon… I’m very curious to know how many of y’all have hosted one as a bride or will host one, and whether you’ve attended one as a bridesmaid.

All the ladies in the house say luuuuunch!

I have been a bridesmaid the average number of times, and I was honored each time a bride picked me when it came time to choose bridesmaids. So much so that I never noticed that none of them treated me to a fancy midday meal prior to the wedding! No, really. Up until a few years ago, I’d never even heard of a bridesmaid luncheon, and recent reading has led me to believe that the bridesmaid luncheon may be a regional tradition. Particularly the bridesmaid luncheon that involves a color palette, a theme, a venue other than one’s home or the local Mexican restaurant where they give out free sombreros, and more than one table’s worth of ‘maids.

P.S. – Worried about being a bridesmaid? Check out The Knot Bridesmaid Handbook: Help the Bride Shine Without Losing Your Mind for practical pointers!

Bridesmaids: Put On Your Red Shoes and Dance the Blues

I love the red blue combo for wedding color schemes, for outfits, and for interiors. On a recent rainy yucky day, I wore bright red shoes with a dark blue dress and felt absolutely springy and fabulous in total opposition to the weather. So if you’re still shopping around for a wedding color scheme or a palette for your bridesmaid attire, consider red paired with blue. Or blue paired with red, if that’s how you prefer to think about it. Isn’t it a lovely fun and bright combo either way?

Merrily mismatched red shoes from Ampersand Photography

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Siblings As Wedding Attendants: A Must or Optional?

Reader K., who wishes to remain anon for obvious reasons, wrote to me to ask about siblings in the wedding party – specifically inviting other people’s siblings into your own.

I’m getting married to a great guy at the end of this year and neither of us has chosen our attendants yet. I was talking about the whole thing with one of my friends who said right out that she’d rather not be included as a bridesmaid so I’m safe there, but she did mention that I probably ought to invite my fiance’s younger sister to be in the bridal party because not doing so would be offensive to my fiance’s family. What? I’ve never heard anything like that and my fiance has never brought it up, but it’s so easy to hurt people’s feelings and I don’t want to offend anyone. Do I really need to invite my fiance’s sister to be a bridesmaid? She’s nice and all, and we get along, but it’s not like we’re close.

Let me tell you a story: Once upon a time, an ex boyfriend told me that if we ever got married – thank goodness that train never left the station – he’d expect me to invite his sister to be a member of my half of the wedding party and that if I didn’t, he’d and his entire family would be sorely offended. It would literally be an insult to not invite her to be a bridesmaid. I was all, wait, that’s a thing? Turns out that in some families, it IS a thing. As in a thing you better do if you want to have at least a passing relationship with your in-laws. But from what I gather, my ex’s family’s attitude is thankfully not the norm.

Sometimes, of course, a bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom) will come to some agreement regarding swapping or including siblings to keep the halves of the wedding party even or segregated by gender. Now that it’s becoming increasingly acceptable to have bridesmen and groomsmaids, however, fewer couples feel compelled to hand off sisters and brothers to their future spouses. There’s no one wrong way to build a wedding party, so siblings can be included however you want them to be included. That is, IF you want to include them.

Ryan Smith Photography shows us what a sibling-heavy wedding can look like

I’m guessing from the tone of your email that you’re not exactly thrilled with the idea of having to give up one of your bridesmaid spots to someone you’re not particularly close to. My take on the matter is this: If you haven’t felt any particular pressure to include your fiance’s female siblings in your side of the wedding party and the idea never occurred to you on your own, I’d say don’t worry about it. It’s highly unlikely that your fiance’s family is gunning for your FSIL to be a bridesmaid and if she or your fiance hasn’t even hinted at the matter, you’re probably in the clear.

And let’s say the worst happens and someone does get offended… they’ll get over it. That’s a heck of a lot better than planning a wedding all on your lonesome because there’s no one among your bridal party that you’re close to at all, which really sucks.

LOVE/HATE: The Everybody Wants One Edition

When did bridesmaids’ garters become a thing? This is one of those weird wedding accessories that I came across unexpectedly in a shop and had to do a double take. Before you start wondering if you have yet another thing you need to buy before the wedding, know that it’s definitely not a widespread thing. There are a few forum posts here and there about it and a handful of wedding photos that include bridesmaids’ garters on the legs of the ladies. But still, I can find some sources pushing bridesmaids’ garters as something we should all know about.

Have you heard about this? As an ’emergent tradition,’ is your first impression one of love or one of hate? My take is that if you have the money and the time and the inclination to take upskirt shots of yourself in your bridesmaids when you post for photos, then go for it and grab some bridesmaids’ garters (maybe even flask garters). But it does seem kind of silly to give yourself yet another wedding planning to-do when there’s a good chance that very few people will see the result of your efforts.

(Just had to add, how amazing and fun does this pre-wedding outing look? Wish I’d been a part of it!)

Shopping Outside of the Box: Bridesmaids Dresses for Under $100

Back in 2009, I posted a poll asking how much brides can ask bridesmaids to spend on a wedding and the winning answer was “It depends on the financial situation of each bridesmaid.” But that answer didn’t win by much! The next most popular answers were “$100-$250” and “$250-$500.” Now me, if a friend asked me to spend $500 as one of her wedding attendants, I’d politely decline – which is the right thing to do if you can’t afford all the *stuff* associated with a wedding. Of course, it’s equally polite to not ask friends to break their budgets to be a part of your wedding!

With that in mind, here are nine bridesmaids’ dresses for under $100 – they’re all different, but what they have in common is that none of them are sold as ‘bridesmaids’ dresses’.

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Looking Hot, Keeping Cool

When it comes to bouquet alternatives for the bride or for the bridesmaid, fans tend to pop into my head first – mainly because we gave our wedding guests fans as favors at our summertime Florida wedding. Yes, I know it’s the dead of winter – at least here in frigid MA – but that means it’s the perfect time to be thinking about (or losing ourselves in thoughts of) summertime weddings!

Fans for the bridesmaids can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. Some brides choose rather plain sandalwood fans dressed up with ribbons or lace or even basic paper fans in pretty colors. Others go for something a bit more outrageous, like peacock feather fans or butterfly fans. Sound sweet? Under the cut you’ll find a taste of inspiration to help you choose the perfect fans for your bridesmaids.

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