Wedding planning, while exciting, can often feel like a mammoth task – and on top of securing the venue, choosing the caterers and finding the perfect dress for the big day, you also have to organise your wedding party and get them ready for the occasion. Finding dresses for your bridesmaids is perhaps one of the most difficult items on any bride’s to-do lists, as finding an outfit that everyone loves and is happy to wear – not to mention, fits them – can be time consuming and stressful.
But dress shopping with those closest to you should be an exciting and enjoyable experience – not an overwhelming one – and the good news is that, armed with a few simple guidelines, it can be just that. Knowing what you’re looking for before you begin the task and ensuring you have a good idea of how to handle any issues before they arrive – such as whether or not plus size bridesmaid dresses are available in your preferred style – can quickly transform your shopping trip into the wonderful day out it should be, and even if it takes several trips and adjustments before things are perfect, there will be plenty of great moments along the way.
Here, we take a look at the top pointers to bear in mind when preparing to go bridesmaid shopping. Whilst it’s true that when you walk down the aisle, all eyes will be on you, the right dresses will ensure your bridesmaids are ready to celebrate with you in style, and that everyone has the perfect day you’ve planned.
Do your research
Knowing what type of dress you’re looking for before you set out shopping is vital when it comes to saving time and making the entire process more efficient, and having the colour scheme nailed down is essential. Meet with your bridesmaids beforehand and discuss whether the style you have envisaged is something they’d all be comfortable wearing, and be prepared to come to some compromises – then take some time to look at the various options online to get a good idea of what’s available.
Start shopping ahead of time
Bearing in mind the fact that bridesmaid dress shopping also involves catering to different body types and that alterations might need to be made ahead of the big day, it’s wise to start the search around seven to eight months before your wedding day, if you have the time to play with. This will give you plenty of opportunities to find the perfect dress, without the stress that comes with being under pressure – likely minimising any potential arguments along the way. The last thing you’ll want is to fall out with one of your beloved bridesmaids ahead of the occasion because they don’t feel great in their dress, so plan ahead to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Have measurements done professionally before you order
If you’re opting for custom-made wedding dresses as opposed to ordering off the rack, then be sure to have each bridesmaid’s measurements taken by a professional beforehand to ensure the utmost accuracy. This is just as important for standard bridesmaids dresses, too, as this will allow for existing dress sizes to be tweaked accordingly to fit the individual. This means visiting a seamstress as opposed to simply having shop staff do the measurements for you, as incorrect measurements from the off could cause all manner of problems later on.
Account for potential alterations
Around 75 per cent of bridesmaids require alterations to their dresses once they’ve been chosen and bought, so build this into your budget and leave plenty of time for this, too. While shorter bridesmaids might need their dresses hemming, taller women could require some additional length to be added to theirs, and with different body shapes to consider, dresses may also need to be tweaked at the hips, bust and waist to ensure everyone is comfortable and looks great in their outfits.
Bear in mind that one or more of your bridesmaids may require a plus size dress, and ensure that your chosen designer can cater to this before making your selection to avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, if any of your bridesmaids are children, you’ll also need to ensure that the dress – or a similar model – is available in their size. If not, you may be able to have one custom made, but as this takes time, it’s important to consider this from the start.