You should choose your bridesmaids’ dresses at least five months before the wedding. The bridesmaids’ dresses are typically ordered through a bridal salon. Some brides have the dresses made by a professional tailor. You may be able to find formal dresses at a department store. These dresses can serve your needs and your bridesmaids will most likely be able to wear them again to another formal party or wedding.
When ordering from a bridal shop your bridesmaids may need to leave a down payment to order the dress. It is important to get everything in writing to prevent any misunderstanding in the future.
Questions to ask the bridal shop
- What are their exchange and cancellation policies?
- What will they do if the gown comes in the wrong color or size, or comes in late?
- What alterations do you need and what is their fee?
- Will they contact the bridesmaids when the dresses ready or will they contact you to pass along the information?
For an out-of-town bridesmaid, have her call her local bridal shops to see if they carry the same dress to try on it on there for size. Otherwise, she can give you her measurements over the phone. It is best to order all of the dresses together to avoid slight differences of color. When her dress is in, send it to her with specific directions for alterations.
A general rule for choosing bridesmaids’ dresses is that they should compliment your gown and fit in with the type, decor and color scheme of your wedding.
Try to find a style and color that is flattering to your bridesmaids, even with their physical differences. The most flattering for all figures are simple, elegant designs.
Dress length is another consideration. For formal or semiformal weddings, the bridesmaids’ dresses should be floor-length to tea-length dresses. For an informal daytime wedding, the dress can be short or long. A general guideline for choosing length is if a bride is wearing a floor-length dress, the bridesmaids should not be in short dresses.
Like the bride, your bridesmaids should bring the same shoes or heel height to their alterations that they will wear on your wedding day.
It is a good idea to consult at least one or more of your attendants before you make a final decision.
You may want to let your bridesmaids choose their own dresses. Some brides that choose to do this like the bridesmaids to wear the same colors and similar styles even if the dresses are different. Other options include choosing a single style and let each bridesmaid pick a color of her choice or choosing one color letting them choose the shade of that color they want to wear.
Often, the maid of honor is distinguished from the other bridesmaids. This can be with a different color, dress or headpiece or she may have a larger bouquet.