Monday, 26 November 2012

The Perils of Bridesmaid Dresses

So here we are, less than six months to go and everything is slowly starting to come together. My dress has arrived and I've tried it on (twice - slight fit of bridal craziness but that's a whole other story!). We have just sent off designs for invitations and I can't wait to see the finished product. I badly want to post the samples on here but you'll just have to wait and see.

The one area where we have really struggled recently is how to dress the bridesmaids. Having narrowed ideas down to blue or green, and long, and not strapless, many hours seem to have been spent searching websites for dresses for the ladies in question.

Bridal magazines only ever seemed to suggest three or four sources of bridesmaid dresses. That in itself is nothing to criticise, I'd seen several pretty styles which I was interested to track down. However, what I soon found is that while these designers all have an extensive range of dresses on their websites, this doesn't seem to extend to actual shops where you can buy the darned things.

I have four lovely bridesmaids, none of whom live near me - one isn't in the country at all and may not be until a week before the wedding. While I love the notion of 'going bridesmaid dress shopping' with them all, they are busy people too and if I am going to demand that they take the time to travel to a particular place (bridal shops are never close together!) I wanted to make sure that there were several options for them to try on.

Whilst browsing the website of a bridal shop nearish our house, I noticed that the shop had "over 65 bridesmaid dresses in different styles and colours". 65? SIXTY-FIVE?! Having been a little disappointed by the limited range stocked by the shop where I'd bought my dress, 65 sounded like a dream come true. I had hazy notions of picking a handful of beautiful dresses to showcase to my bridesmaids.

Hopes faded upon being led to a small alcove where the dresses in question were kept. 65 was clearly a gross miscounting. A severe overcounting, if you will. There were perhaps 15 dresses, all of which were various degrees of hideous, either in colour, shape or material. Based on what was there, the bridesmaid industry seems to think that 1980s shiny American prom princess is a good look. We left feeling slightly desperate. Why so little choice?

I have considered getting dresses designed specially, but I am not sure it is really worth the money, even if they are dresses which might well be worn again.

And so we turn to the high street. Not often lauded by magazines, but mainstream shops nowadays have cottoned on to the fact that there's a whole market of budget and style savvy brides out there and have upped their game considerably. A slight lack of choice in colours notwithstanding (but then who needs a palette of sixty colours if the style is all wrong?), I've found a range of flattering styles and think this may be the solution; a real competitor against bridesmaidwear designers. To be honest, I'm not sure why I didn't realise this before - since when has John Lewis not had the answer to most problems?

Now, where to find pretty wedding day shoes?






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