Picking out bridesmaids’ and groomsmen’s outfits is, in essence, a pretty weird idea. There’s probably no other scenario in which you would instruct your best friend, a fully grown adult, on what to wear, and especially no other scenario which is as emotional as this! You want to get it spot on, and I want to help you get it right to minimise your wedding stress (that’s the aim, and photography’s the game.)
But don’t worry. Firstly, banish any ideas of the horrendous scaremongering photos you’ve seen on instagram – no crinoline here, unless it’s what you want. Nowadays, there’s loads of amazing designers out there who are creating outfits which perfectly bridge the gap of bridesmaid with still being on trend. With that in mind I chatted to Joanna from Bowen Dryden – creators of the INSANELY HOT Badass Bridesmaid collection which will basically change your life – about how you should dress your bridesmaids.
How much should clients budget for their wedding party outfits?
“Wow, that totally depends on how much you have to spend! Firstly ,think about how many people you have to dress (bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls and pageboys) and whether you are getting contributions from anyone else. Alternatively, are they paying for themselves?
I would also consider the kind of outfit you want to wear, as this will impact your overall clothing budget. Do you want to go bespoke and have a dress designed especially for you? Is there a particular bridal shop you have always wanted to experience? Ask these people their minimum charges and see if you are comfortable with the answers. If you are, then tell them a bit more about the way you want to feel on your day and what you need to wear to achieve that feeling. Similarly, if you have no idea at all want you want and need some help, then ask their advice. If they get what you are trying to achieve then they are your people. If not then thank u, next.”
And that’s a double whammy from Joanna – as all those questions you need to ask of yourself when shopping for your dress and setting your budget are good questions to ask re: bridesmaids’ dresses too. Do you want them to wear custom made outfits? (more on that below). Do you want them all to match? (More on that below too. God, I’m good to you.) Is there a particular shopping experience you want with your squad? How do you want them to feel?
Is there any expected etiquette on what you can and can’t ask your wedding party to wear?
“Not in the Bowen Dryden book! If you all like it then it is appropriate and probable pretty awesome too. Brides do not need to wear a white dress unless they want to. If they want to wear a black trouser suit or a bikini a la Pamela Anderson then do it. Feeling confident, beautiful and like the best possible version of yourself is the aim of the game, and it’s the same with your partner and bridal party – wear what you want!
But please, from all the bridesmaids around the World, consider the style of your party. If your best friend hates blue and wearing dresses, please be a babe and don’t ask her to wear a blue dress. Could she perhaps wear a green jumpsuit instead? She is going to enjoy your day so much more if she doesn’t feel self conscious and like her Mum has dressed her. There will be less crying emojis on the WhatsApp group too.”
This is SUCH an important point. Of course, your bridesmaid or groomsman will feel super privileged and honoured to have been asked to be a part of your wedding day – but that doesn’t mean they suddenly lose their own autonomy and owe you their life. You’ve asked them to be part of your close-knit team because you value them and everything they bring to your life, so your outfit should celebrate them by making them feel comfortable and confident! This may mean chatting to them about what they’re happy with, and letting them know what you’re envisioning to gauge their reaction.
What should you recommend if your wedding squad are all different shapes and sizes?
“Embrace it and celebrate the people you love and want in your bridal party. I love the eclectic look of people wearing what suits them and what they enjoy wearing at weddings! You could get your squad to wear different outfits in the same colour, or colour palette, or outfits of the same garment in different colours. It looks awesome! People will look and feel happy – this is why our Badass Bridesmaids collection was created. It is a collection of bridesmaids separates that allow each person to wear a style and colour that suits them and their shape and look amazing.”
What would you want all couples to know before they start thinking about their wedding party outfits?
“This is really important. Not everyone has to like your outfits (other than the people wearing them). It is impossible to please everyone, as you are not a puppy – not everyone will love your choice, but neither should they! Your Mum is unlikely to dress the same as you on all the other days of your life so it is unlikely she would choose the style of your dress too. Your best friend who dresses like Barbie and you who is partial to Tank Girl are unlikely to choose the same bridal look. AND THAT’S JUST FINE! Therefore please do not choose your bridal outfit by committee, as the choice should be your own. It does not mean that they all won’t cry or think you are the most beautiful creature in the World because they will. They are there because they love you and this will not change regardless of how you’re dressed.
You will all look beautiful. Keep to your vision and work in your magic and you will look amazing. Find someone who will work with you not against what you want and it will be fantastic.”
I mean, if Joanna ever decides she’s done with bridal design, I’m up for her going into politics with that rousing battle cry…aren’t you?
Found this useful? Then click here to check out the other blogs in my wedding planning advice series
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