Thursday, May 30, 2013


I had a revelation in the middle of the night.

Brides who think they're doing you a favor by letting you pick your own dress but give you parameters like "needs to be black, long (meaning on the ground, not ankle length) and in shiny fabric if possible" are not actually doing you a favor.


53 comments:

  1. It's like they have a specific idea for your attire but are too lazy to find it themselves.

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  2. Yes this. Had this exact situation a few weeks ago in my brother's wedding. My SIL said "a blue dress! you get to pick!" but then it turned out what she actually meant was "cocktail length, with no print or pattern or texture or decorative accent or belt, in a certain kind of fabric, and it should be a slightly different shade of blue than the other 7 bridesmaids' dresses but not teal or blue-green and not lilac or blue-purple".

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    Replies
    1. That is insane.

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    2. i would have been very tempted to just show up in pink...

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    3. Yes, luckily I love her and my brother very very much. And also had a suiting dress in my closet that fit the requirements.

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  3. agreed. I'm getting married this summer, and i felt like a controlling ogre when i asked my girls to buy a shoe that I picked. But then they all thanked me for saving them from having to shop for something specific (like when I was a bridesmaid and had to find yellow shoes, that was tough). It helps that the shoes I picked are adorbs and also were only like $70.

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  4. If you want the varied look, pick out options for your bridesmaids, but let them pick between them. Then you can feel like a saint-bride for not forcing them into 1 dress you picked, and they don't have to spend hours wondering what exactly you mean, and then trying to find it.

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  5. Yep- if you say pick what you want, you should, you know, let them pick what they want. Even if its something they have in their closet already. And even if you think it's fucking hideous. Because that's what it's like when adults dress themselves. And then you can worry about other things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What should I wear?" Whatever you want.

      "What color should it be?" Whatever color you want.

      "Long or short?" SERIOUSLY WHATEVER YOU WANT. I KNOW YOU HAVE GREAT TASTE, YOU WILL LOOK GREAT, WEAR WHATEVER YOU WANT.

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    2. Actually, I did this. My girl friends are all very fashion forward and gorgeous, so I told them WEAR WHATEVER YOU WANT YAYYY! And they had all of these questions like, "well can you give me some color options" and "what shoes should I wear " "do you like this one?" "what about this one??" and etc and etc. I got so tired of it that I offered to just go with them shopping and personally sign off on them, but it was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to not have to worry about that part... you know, keep it simple. My advice is to give a teeeeny bit of direction like "think springy" or "dark colors maybe" and then see what happens, but make it clear that you are totally flexible.

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  6. PREACH ! i was given the order about 9 years ago ... except instead of black she wanted PINK !

    aaaaaaaaaah. i said 'thanks, but no thanks.'

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  7. Picking ONE dress and ONE shoe is a bit much, because no one style is flattering on everyone. Pancake boobs and wide feet can't rock the same attire as size 0 teen bridesmaid with perfect Disney princess feet.

    How is it so hard to be like "this is the color I like, these are the three or so dresses I like" then everyone tries those bitches on and finds what works for them. Then via text or email or in person everyone is like, "ok, so everyone has a dress that fits and we're good with this?" "yes" "great, moving on!"

    I had that happen ONCE and it was amazing. The entire shopping process was ~25 minutes. Bride was happy, maids couldn't complain because we had the final say. Done and done.

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    Replies
    1. I tried that and there were still problems. 4 types of dresses to choose from, all with the same length, color fabric, just slightly different necklines. The maid of honor chose one and almost all of the rest did as well, like dominos. There was a hairy situation when one of the maids couldn't get the same one and they went out of stock. I wound up hunting down one that was returned to the store.
      The shoes was almost the same thing. One maid didn't like any of the shoes and is off buying who knows what. I suppose that I'll be surprised.

      So much for saving time.

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  8. hah, I am totally feeling this from the other side - as the bride I really did think I was doing the girls a favour (they all have different figures and styles) and I also felt bad making them buy a dress that would then sit in the closet as 'that bridesmaid dress'. The goal was for them to get dresses they liked, looked good on then, and would wear again! the holy trifecta!

    that being said, it was a pain in the ass. Although what I did achieve, and what I wanted, was the mis-match look that I prefer to staged grown women all in the same outfit.

    though - light bulb, it really is just a different form of staging! isn't it?

    I agree that if you are going to 'let them pick' then either
    1)let them pick ANYTHING or
    2)give specific dresses and let them pick from those

    There are a lot of places now that essentially do it for you, just pick a colour and then there are several different styles the girls can choose from.

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  9. I think it's fine to give people a color (like blue or black or green or gray, not a pantone swatch) and ask them to pick something in that range. Once you specify a crazy length -- like FLOOR -- and a fabric, you are not helping.

    If you're asking people to wear something specific, you should be paying. I really, really believe that.

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    Replies
    1. For reals. Floor-length? wtf?

      If you want your bridesmaids to have a specific look, you need to include that in your budget with all the other decorative objects.

      Delete
  10. The length is really what kills it. It isn't that easy to find floor length dresses esp if you have other specific requirements.

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  11. I'm in a wedding where we were told we would get to pick our dresses, but then we were given very specific requirements (nude/tan/pale yellow, knee-length, soft fabric, not stiff). Oh, and the bride wanted us to run the dresses by her first so she could have veto power (even though she felt bad about it). I thought, there is no way in hell she will actually veto a dress, but she did. She told my sister (who is MOH) that her dress was too bright of a yellow, and what she really meant was "a very pale yellow, almost nude." I had a ridiculous time finding a dress, as did my sister, but we did eventually. Anyway, I suppose I still prefer that over being told what to wear with no say in the matter because she and I have veeeeeeerrry different taste, but it was still a bit of a nightmare scouring the internet and Chicago for months.

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  12. I told my bridesmaids to pick a dress that was cocktail length and ivory, blush, violet, mint, baby blue, or some other pale color. Then my sister in law (who is awesome) found a bright cotton candy blue dress. She loves it; I love it.

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  13. I told my 7 girls to pick anything green... no other specification. It turned out to be the most stressful part of the wedding! They were so worried that I wouldn't like it or it wouldn't match, that no one would bite the bullet and pick something. In the end, they all went with the same dress that one of them found. I just wanted them to be happy.

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  14. I have told my friends that black is preferable, but when I said wear whatever, I really do mean it. They are my friends, not my accessories.

    I did say that it would be fantastic if they all wore those galaxy unitards from Black Milk, but my groom gave me a pointed look and said that it was his wedding too; so that put us back to basic black.

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    Replies
    1. "they're my friends, not my accessories". FCK YES.

      Delete
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  16. I told my "bridal posse" (it was large) to pick whatever dress in any shade of green, blue, grey, or orange. Sounds like a crazy color scheme I know but it was fall time on the ocean and it looked amazing! Anyways, back to the dress choice, first things first everyone looked great and I assume they liked their dresses (otherwise why pick it right?)! But I did notice that the lack of direction freaked people out. I got lots of questions which is normal, I would do the same - long or short, causal or formal, is this shade not right with your color scheme???? I told them what the wedding ambiance was likely to be like, what the weather and landscape would be, and that I expected guest attire to vary from dressed-to-the-nines to casual. I listened to them as they sorted out what their preference was. But all those questions - I told them "whatever you would like!!!!" Some girls suggested a unifying theme such as same shoes or maybe a matching shawl. In the end everyone picked out their outfit head-to-toe and all looked brilliantly beautiful, as I knew they would.

    There were two times I suggested a change to an outfit choice. One was when one of my ladies happened to pick the same dress as my hubby's sister (who was in his wedding posse). The other time was when three days before the wedding I got a pic message of a shoe pick that was strappy sandals. I suggested she rethink it since it was supposed to be chilly and the wedding and reception was outdoors on grass and hard-packed dirt (note: she did what she wanted which was wear those shoes...for a whole fifteen minutes before she changed out of them!).

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    Replies
    1. Strappy sandals with big skinny heels I mean! Not exactly the best for an outdoor state park wedding!!!

      Delete
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  18. I told my attendant (singular) to show up. Then I gave her flowers to hold, and told her to walk up the aisle before me. Done!

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  19. If you have a vision that involves costumes, embrace and prescribe it. If not, acknowledge that grown ass women can dress themselves and let it go.

    Side note: I've been in more than one wedding that started out as "wear whatever you want!" and ended up as "no, no, no! Wear this very specific thing!" Consequently, if I have leeway, I always end up waiting until a few weeks before the wedding because the parameters always seem to narrow, and it's annoying to buy one dress you don't want, but two dresses seems really unnecessary.

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  20. I told my 3 bridesmaids (2 sisters and my best friend) broad guidelines: some kind of floral print involving pinks and corals. I sent my sisters some links to dresses I thought would look good on them. Done. My best friend asked to wear a solid coral dress she already owned. Done. (She's in grad school 5 states away, I don't care enough about "matching-but-not-matching" to make her buy a dress on top of airfare & hotel.)

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    Replies
    1. Also: my 24-year-old sister is wearing frilly socks with her high heels. My 15-year-old sister will likely wear the 3 enormous rubber wristbands she hasn't taken off for 2 years. My fiance's mom is wearing a tea-length sparklebomb dress with Manolos. My own mom is wearing a dress from Modcloth (!!). My dress is from J. Crew and my "bridal headpiece" is a headband from Claire's.

      We'll all be comfortable, we'll all look fine, we'll all laugh at the pictures in 10 years. SO WHATEVER.

      Delete
  21. Yes, if you're going to leave it open ended I want to see a pinterest board with at least 25 bride pre-approved options that fit all the criteria.

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    Replies
    1. you know what, I actually did this. I said, dark green, knee-length-ish, and started a group pinterest board (I contributed but they could too). None of them picked the pre-approved options.

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    2. ditto with erin!

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    3. Yeah me too, did not help.

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  22. OK I admit to being one of those brides... I was really trying to be nice. The one issue I haven't seen addressed in the comments is budget, which was one of my driving factors. My ladies are in very different financial situations, plus one of them has to travel anyway, and I didn't really feel comfortable picking something for them because the result would be me setting a price that it cost if they were going to be my bridesmaids. Yuck. This way, they each spent what they were comfortable with (including one who's wearing something she already owned that fit the bill!). I guess I'm saying I'm not sorry to have done it this way, it seems to be working out drama-free. Maybe the key is to know your audience, and whether ease is more important to them, or keeping to their own budget and/or style is more important to them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buy the dresses for them?

      Cultural differences, I guess, but that's pretty standard in the UK - and it takes away a part of that 'being a bridesmaid is such an expensive arseache' thing that I read about on here.

      Delete
    2. Sorry, that was an unsolicited suggestion for helping with bridesmaid budget concerns, nowt to do with the matter at hand.

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    3. If it could be found in the budget, I would be happy to. But at this point buying them dresses would mean inviting 10 fewer people, and that's with them being really cheap dresses. I think it's more of a class/budget divide than a US/UK divide.

      Delete
    4. Good point. Though I hesitate to make class assumptions and didn't mean to imply any - your budget, whatever size, gets split the number of ways you think you need / is usual / you want to split it - and here that often includes bridesmaid dresses (and in contrast to what I've read of US weddings on here, I've been to a load of weddings with a cash bar afterward. Just different, not better/worse). Obviously re-allocating budget once it's been earmarked is an insane ballache/impossibility!

      That said, I might well be blind to my own financial privilege and at the very least sound like an arse to offer unhelpful, as well as unsolicited, advice.

      Hope your ladies found dresses they like - I tried to get my sisters/sister-in-law to pick their own, and lo it was a mess of indecision!

      Delete
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  25. THIS. I have one of these this year. "Somewhere between this color and this color but approved by me first, no, no that's too something", etc...

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  26. I just told my bridesmaids to wear something long and black, and they seemed fine with that. I mean, it's not like there aren't a million long, black dresses to choose from.

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  27. Did the pick-your-own thing, too: I told my four ladies to choose a gray dress. My sister's first pick looked/was listed as gray online but turned out to be white (as in, we held it up against my wedding dress and they looked the same), and she made me decide about that (I even wrote in to MMOHIAC). She wound up wearing a cute dress from TJ Maxx.
    Another girl ordered a dress online that turned out to be more lavender than grey, but she asked my opinion and I said I'd be cool with her wearing it to the wedding. She decided not to, proceeded to rip apart the $200+ dress and remake a new one using the boning of the original dress and some silver fabric. Why she didn't just return the damn thing and seek out a new dress is beyond me. She was still sewing the hem the morning of the wedding. That one made me anxious.
    Of the other two, one wore one of those convertible dresses and another found a great dress for $25 at H&M.
    I think, if you have more than one person selecting their own damn dress, someone's going to stress you out. And on the flip side, 3 out of my 4 were stressed out over choosing a dress I'd like. Not my intention at all.

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  28. I don't understand the appeal of long dresses. They're usually uglier, more expensive, and end up looking like something you can't wear again. I feel bad when I see reception photos of all the guests in short dresses dancing with the bridesmaids who are wearing long sheets of lilac satin or something.

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  29. Meh, I disagree somewhat with this one. I think the key if you're going to do this, but still want some uniformity, is make it come from the same store. I did David's Bridal (after swearing I wouldn't) due to the scattered-across-the-country nature of my girls. I told them "short, black, satin" ...there were about 6-8 styles in that range. So it's essentially like I pre-picked some styles (as suggested) and let them pick within there. The busty girls got straps, the smaller girls got strapless, everybody got a shape that works with their body, and I got some uniformity! It was pretty easy.

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  30. I don't really agree with this. My sister (maid of honor) knows what looks good on her body (but she looks good in anything so I guess this doesn't help my point) and she also more than I what she may wear again (I lean towards over the top ridiculous things she's much more subdued). If you're asking someone to buy something for your event don't you think it's actually thoughtful to let them pick it themselves. Im not too lazy to do it but we live across the country from each other and it's not like we can shopping together around town or make frequent trips to vintage stores so I leave it to her. Not to say I don't make suggestions or send her links when I see somethings that fits the description.

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  31. I told my bridesmaids to pick a black cocktail dress, from a store or their closet. I sent them a couple examples of stores with dresses I liked and a few examples of dresses. I also asked them to wear "not flashy" shoes for the ceremony and pictures, but told them the red and animal prints were welcome for the reception if they wanted.

    Since the BMs included my sister and my (now) SIL, I asked everyone to send me a pic - they're 4 years younger, so I just wanted to make sure!

    They all picked out dresses, shoes, and accessories without a problem. They all looked great.


    But then, 6-7 years ago, I had a friend get married who told the bridesmaids to wear a blue or green cocktail length dress.
    I found that somewhat stressful, because I didn't want to get something she didn't like, but she "approved" everyone's dresses. Even her sister's, which was purple.

    ReplyDelete