1. Stick to your budget
2. Season and venue
If you are planning outside photos or walking to or from venues, make sure your lovely ladies won’t turn purple to match their dresses and provide a glamorous cover-up of some sort. Summer weddings of course promise sunshine and garden-party chic. Floaty, light fabrics such as chiffon and silk crepe are perfect in pretty summer colours such as coral, rose and periwinkle.
3. Comfort equals confidence
Versatility and individuality are major considerations. Many brides now choose to have their bridesmaids wear differing styles in the same fabrics, colours or shades of a certain colour. This approach allows each of your party to wear a dress that is flattering to her.
A tape measure is an essential tool in your wedding planning kit. Sellers display the exact measurements of ready-to-wear dresses so you can order with confidence.
Some retailers will tailor custom dresses to your exact requirements. Relying on rough measurements is a false economy and wastes valuable time. You will need the following measurements: waist; hips; waist to floor; shoulder to floor; height (consider shoes: heel heights and styles).
Dress sizes across Europe, the UK and US vary so double-check to ensure you order the correct size. A comparison chart for dress sizes is given below.
4. Allocate time
5. Listen and learn
Difficult to predict, perhaps, but the possibility of weight gains and losses, last-minute panics and baby bumps are always worth bearing in mind. Differences between the colour of dress you receive and the one advertised on screen may also throw up challenges. Consider your returns policy carefully.
Some sellers are happy to answer queries and send a fabric swatch of your chosen colour and fabric for review. This can be useful too when shopping for shoes to guard against outfit mismatches and glaring colour errors revealed by sunlight or under artificial lights.
Having a back-up option is sensible in case something is out of stock, discontinued or, when it arrives, looking downright awful when tried on!
7. Pretty as a picture
Sit down with your groom and photographer and decide how you want your wedding snaps to look. By decking your bridesmaids in bold beautiful colours or dictating shorter hemlines with incredible shoes, photographers can play with fun compositions. This approach gives formal wedding shoots a fashionista edge and really puts bridesmaids dresses in the frame.
Look from behind
Pay attention to the back view of any dresses you are considering. Lace details, keyhole closures and ruffles all look great in pictures, especially as your bridesmaids follow you down the aisle and off into married life.
Be prepared to brief your bridesmaids about their briefs. Special underwear instructions may help to keep floaty slip dresses, lacy numbers or gowns made of sheer material looking decent! Quality underwear and shapewear can really
9. Don't forget the extras
Necklines, skirt lengths and undies are just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t forget shoes, wraps, shrugs, slips, stockings, jewellery and even gloves.
Decide your budget for these additional items early on – or whether you’ll cover them at all. Your bridesmaids may offer to ease the financial strain and happily buy their own accessories. Just be clear what you have decided to pay for to avoid any difficult moments.
10. Flower girls
Consider practicality for young bridesmaids, who will have to contend with their outfits all day. Flower girl dresses are as cute as a button and can easily be decorated with a silky bow in a coordinating colour. Or consider mirroring the style of the bride’s dress in miniature by adding trim or sparkles to a plainer dress. Don’t forget to factor in dresses for the young bridesmaids if you are going for a colour-coordinated theme.