Monthly Archives: July 2011

Bridesmaids 101: Wear the same dress or dare to be different

As a wedding enthusiast, my new favorite show is “Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids,” and obviously I’ve seen “Bridesmaids” too. So much attention is paid to the bride – for obvious reasons! But, let’s not forget the best friends and family members who stand next to her.

After watching this new show every Friday night since it premiered, (Yes, that’s really what I like to do on a Friday night. No joke.), I keep going back and forth between two different bridesmaid dress ideas. Is it better to have all of your maids wearing the same style a la “Bridesmaids,” or is it better to allow your girls to choose the dress that best suits their style and body type? Obviously, there are several ways to solve this potential dress dilemma.

Requiring bridesmaids to wear the same dress is a great route to take for several reasons. This route causes an important thing to happen: uniformity. Do you want one maid to be the only girl wearing a long dress? Case in point – the sister of a bride on one episode of “Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids,” was going to be the only bridesmaid wearing a short dress because all of the other girls, including the bride, preferred short dresses. In addition, requiring uniformity also prevents the wedding party from looking scattered. All of the girls are wearing the same dress in the same fabric, color, and style. There is no reason to worry about how to tie varying dress styles and colors together to create a sense of unity (pun intended). If for no other reason, bridesmaid dress uniformity allows the bride to stand out. It is her day (along with the groom!) after all.

The other dress option is to allow your maids to choose their own dress. I’m a huge fan of this idea because not everyone feels comfortable in the same style and you want your best girlfriends to feel confident too. The best idea is to not allow bridesmaids to choose any dress, but rather to provide guidelines instead. It’s important to have at least one of you wedding colors in mind and choose a fabric that you like. Then choose a store or boutique that suits your vision and your bridesmaids’ budgets. Allow them to choose their dress based on your guidelines. By providing some direction, a sense of uniformity will be created while also allowing a maid to choose to wear a flirty one-shoulder gown rather than a strapless style that might not be the best for her for dancing.

Whether you choose a uniform style for your bridesmaids’ dresses or allow each of your maids to choose her dress, it’s important to keep your vision in mind. Each idea has its pluses and minuses, but remember one thing: keep your best friends in mind and think about whether or not you would want to wear the dress you choose at your wedding or another event in the future. If you need more ideas, clear your Friday night and check out “Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids” or enjoy the hilarity that is “Bridesmaids.”

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Location, Location, Location

Nick & Chien's wedding; Bath, England; photo courtesy Andrea Hartley

Aside from the invitations that are designed, created, and mailed to guests and obviously you and your fiancé, the location you choose to play host for your wedding says equally as much as the other elements of your day. The problem is how to find the best venue option to match the feel of your upcoming wedding.

If you are searching for an elegant and ornate feel, you may be initially drawn to a private country club or hotel. On the other hand, if you are looking for your wedding to have a more down-to-earth feel, you may have your reception under the stars in your backyard. Although these options are perfectly fine, what happens when you do not allow your wedding venue to have such a literal take on your personality and style? You have just chosen a unique and surprising option.

Upon first glance, I thought the wedding featured in the above photo was held in a castle. However, after inquiring further, I learned that it was held in a barn in England – the home of all things royal. By highlighting the exposed brick and incorporating more lush décor options, this wedding represented relaxed elegance in a surprising place. Most importantly, it accomplished what may be your number one goal – it was enchanting.

Like the wedding featured in the photo, one of my favorite locations to play host for a wedding is a farm, tent, or some other type of open space. This type of location can be designed to reflect a reception that is down-to-earth and homey, yet with the correct décor and timing, it can be turned into a much more elegant affair a la Nick and Chien’s wedding.  For example, a wedding held during the day when guests are able to enjoy the grounds and setting of the location may reflect the former. However, by altering the timing of your wedding to the evening, stringing small lights throughout the space giving the illusion of stars, and incorporating bolder centerpieces that make a statement, you have just created a more elegant affair.

Think outside of the box for your location, surprise your guests and maybe even yourself, and create an enchanting wedding.

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