While bridesmaid dress shopping can be fun, the process also poses some unique challenges. It can be a bit of a puzzle to make everyone happy when working around different personalities, tastes and styles, sizes and figures, and budgets. However, if you are proactive and communicative with your bridesmaids and willing to listen to their thoughts and opinions, the shopping process can be a breeze!
Be Mindful and Open About Budgets From the Beginning
Before even setting a foot in a boutique, you need to have an open conversation with your bridesmaids about budgets. Money can be a tricky conversation topic to navigate, but it is important that you go into the shopping process with a clear idea of what your bridesmaids are willing and able to spend. Establishing a clear budget will also help you narrow in on the list of stores in your area that have the most appropriate options. As you are discussing budgets, don’t forget about alterations—they can cost around $25 to $100 per dress.
Decide Your Style
Are you going for a uniform look with your bridesmaids, or do you want them to pick out their own dress? If you are letting your bridesmaids take free reign, decide what guidelines you want them to follow to avoid any mishaps with the dresses they choose. Let them know if you want them to go with a specific dress length, if they should avoid patterns, how formal the dresses should be, and what color palette you want them to stick to. Decide if they are allowed to purchase their dresses from different stores for variety, or if you want them to all pick their dress from the same boutique to maintain some thread of commonality.
Browse Online and Share Ideas with Bridesmaids
Start your shopping online to find out what stores are within budget and fit your style. Take note of any dresses that fit the aesthetic you are going for, and share the images and store options with your bridesmaids. If they are choosing their own gown, this will help guide them in the right direction and give them an idea of boutique options in the area. If you are going the uniform route, some bridesmaids may have opinions from previous experiences on which stores are the best.
Don’t Put Off Shopping Until the Last Minute
You should begin shopping about 8 months before the wedding day. This will give you ample time to learn about the stores in your area, as well as keep tabs on any upcoming sales or trunk shows so your bridesmaids can cut down on costs. A gown can take around two to three months to arrive once ordered, and then may need another month or two for alterations, so ensure all dresses are ordered six months out to avoid any last-minute scramble. Sticking to a timeline will help your bridesmaids avoid any pricey rush shipping or alteration charges—as well as any unnecessary stress!
Encourage Your Bridesmaids to Be Proactive
If your bridesmaids are picking out their own gowns, understand that while may be an easy way to ensure everyone is comfortable and happy with their dress, it also means you’ll need to keep track of their process and give a bit of a nudge to ensure they are doing the necessary work. Regularly check in with your bridesmaids to make sure they are staying on track, doing their research, and placing their orders sooner rather than later.
Let Go of (Some) Control and Keep Comfort in Mind
You may have a specific vision in mind, but remember that you are working with people with different tastes, figures and sizes, and comfort levels. Take each bridesmaid’s opinion to heart, and listen to any concerns they may have about dress options—even if it means settling on a slightly different look than you initially envisioned. The most important thing to remember is that you want your bridesmaids to feel confident in their dresses. Work with them rather than taking full control, and you’ll have bridesmaids who are comfortable, happy, and excited to stand beside you on your big day!
If you are currently planning your dream wedding in Georgia or the Southeast, come to the next Georgia Bridal Show near you. You can meet with local boutiques that sell gorgeous bridesmaid dresses, as well as other professional vendors who can help bring your wedding day vision to life!