After buying your bridal gown, shopping for your bridesmaid dresses is one of the most exciting parts in the countdown to your wedding.
You’ve no doubt pictured a magical day in the boutique, surrounded by your girls all sipping prosecco as they try on a variety of bridesmaid dresses, each more stunning than the last.
Understandably you might not be able to make it to a boutique right now, and you might be wondering how you’re going to kit your bridesmaids out before the big day. Fortunately, with a little know-how you can still find the perfect bridesmaid dresses. Here’s how:
It’s time to do your research and get some inspiration. Create a Pinterest board or a folder of pics on Instagram of dress styles you like and notice the common thread between them all. What do you like about them? Is it the fabric? The cut? The neckline? Once you know that write a list of your non-negotiables. Have a wishlist including the kind of style you want, the fabric, whether you’d like sleeves etc and an idea of your colour scheme.
Now is also a good time to consult your bridesmaids and ask them what they might like to wear. While you can’t please everyone and ultimately it’s your day, you want your maids to feel comfortable on your big day, so suss out if there’s anything they really wouldn’t be happy wearing. While you’re at it, you’ll also need to get all their measurements.
After consulting with your bridesmaids and writing your wishlist, you should have a good idea of what kind of bridesmaid dresses you’re after. It’s not necessary to suss out what designers carry styles similar to the ones you’ve picked out, but if you can identify three or four designers whose designs you admire, it’ll be a big help during your consultations.
Look for virtual appointments
Good news – loads of boutiques are now offering virtual appointments so you can choose the perfect bridesmaid dresses from the comfort of your own home. Keep an eye on social media or reach out to boutiques yourself to see if they’re offering virtual appointments. Most can be booked online and brides can choose several styles they’d like to see. Many are carried out via Zoom so you can invite friends, family and your bridesmaids to attend if you want to.
This is your opportunity to ask questions, gauge how your maids feel about each option and hopefully get to see what each dress looks like on – provided the boutique has a designated person to try each gown on. Most will!
Ask for samples of your bridesmaid dresses
Of course, the most important part of all is getting your bridesmaids to try their bridesmaid dresses on. Fortunately, most stores carry several samples of each bridesmaid style so in most cases it should be possible to try them on at home. Arrange for a contactless pick up or drop off and drop each gown off with your bridesmaids yourself. Or you can arrange for the boutique to send the dresses out if dropping them off yourself isn’t possible.
Once everyone has their dress, you’ll want to get your bridesmaids together to get an idea of how the dresses look yourself, so book in a zoom call with them. They’ll need to fit their dresses on for you and give you twirl! Make sure they feel comfortable in their dresses and are able to move about with ease. You could each have a few glasses of prosecco (careful of spills!) to make the whole experience more fun.
If it turns out that the dresses don’t suit, make sure to return them in a timely manner.
Head to the high street
If you don’t want to buy your bridesmaid dresses from a boutique you can always head online. There’s so much variety on the web and it’s easy to return something if it’s not right. Sometimes you’ll manage to pick up a bargain too. Asos, Dorothy Perkins, Revolve and Little Mistress have lots of gorgeous options.
If you’re on a budget, online shopping will offer you greater control as you’ll be able to search dresses in your price range, and you’ll also be able to select different styles, silhouettes and colours at the click of a button too.
Make sure you’re clear about what you want before you head online, otherwise the sheer volume of styles can become overwhelming. And check out the returns policy. You don’t want to be stuck with five bridesmaid dress you can’t send back!
If your bridesmaid dresses aren’t fitting just the way you want them, remember there is lots you can do with alterations. A dress that’s too loose can be taken in, too tight dresses can be let out, hemlines can be shortened, embellishments can be added. There’s lots you can do before you decide to return the dresses.
Remember, if you don’t already have your bridesmaid shoes bought, it’s important that your bridesmaids try on their dresses with a shoe that has a similar heel height. This is essential to gauge how much each dress will need to be taken up.
If possible, book an online consultation with your tailor and get their expert advice.
Consider the completed look
Even in a boutique it’s sometimes hard to imagine what a dress might look like without the added glamour of hair, makeup and tan, so if you’re still not 100 per cent on your bridesmaid dresses try picturing them on the day itself when your bridesmaids will have spent the morning getting preened. And remember that dresses will always look nicer in natural light than they do on a computer screen.
Complete the look by purchasing your bridesmaid jewellery, bags and shoes online. Happy shopping!