Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to pick your bridesmaid's dresses

After you've finally drudged through picking your own dress, now you have to pick the dress for those lucky girls that will wait on you hand and foot before, and then stand at your side while you pledge the rest of your life to someone.

But how do you pick the perfect dress for them?

Take a deep breath, grab a piece of paper and a pen, and let's pick out the dresses!

1. Step 1- Pick the color.
Many brides already know what color they want, or have discussed options with their fiancé. If you've not yet decided on a color, this is your first order of business. Choosing the “right” color for your wedding is ultimately your choice, but these ideas may help you if you are unsure.

First, you may want to consider the time of day, any embellishments you want at your wedding that you have already decided on (flowers, banners, etc), and the season of your wedding.

In considering the time of day, generally, the earlier in the day, the lighter the shade of the color with the opposite holding true as well (darker shade for later evening). In considering the season, light, pastels are popular for spring. Vibrant colors in oranges, reds, yellows, and bright hues of other colors are common for summer. Fall’s colors are usually browns, rust, orange, deep red, or black. Winter shows us more silvers, whites or shades of white, deep blues, holly greens, and berry reds.

If you chose not to go with a seasonal pattern for picking your color, you may choose the psychological associations given to colors. For example, blue stands for tranquility, yellow is cheer, red is passion, white is purity (hence the white tradition for wedding gowns), green is fertility (not necessarily of the maternal sort), black is authority and power, purple is royalty and romanticism, orange is associated with life and energy, and brown is genuineness.

2. Step 2-Uniformity?
Next comes uniformity (or not). Are they all going to wear the same dress? Many women now are choosing to allow their bridesmaids to pick their own dress as long as it's the bride's chosen color, and with simple guidelines. This isn't a bad idea, really. This allows each one of them to pick something that suites their personalities, and it is something that you know they'll love. If each dress is different, but the colors are exactly the same, your wedding will still be quite coordinated and so personal!

If this isn't for you, move on to step 3.

3. Step 3- Pick the style of their dress based on your own dress.
On your piece of paper, write down what classification of dress you have for yourself. Is it traditional, sexy, ethnic, beach, formal, informal? Now that you know what you have, you know that you can rule out all of the other kinds of dresses for the girls.

4. Step 4- Outline the dress.
Okay, you know what style to look for. A general rule of thumb for step four is that you want to make the generic outline of the dress as far as what type of lines the dress has.So for step four, make a sublist. It should look like such:

4A. Straps- (i.e. spaghetti, bell, full)

4B. Neckline- (i.e. sweetheart, square, jewel)

4C. Waist- (i.e. natural, basque, a-line)

3D. Hem- (how long is the skirt? Floor, tea, knee)

For this step, think of the weather, time of day, and your own dress.

If it's in a warm period, small straps, spaghetti straps, or strapless is ideal (for their comfort).

Also, the warmer it is, the shorter the dress can be and still look tasteful (well, to an extent, of course).

Time of day comes into play because generally the earlier in the day the wedding is, the less formal the dress-code is, and this, too, is an indicator of the appropriate dress length.

The final thought is of your own dress. When in doubt, go with the same characteristics as your own dress. If you are strapless, they will look very smartly uniform with you. If you have a full/ball skirt, give them a not so full floor length.

5. Step 5- Pick the specifics of the top.
How embellished is your dress? You don't want the girls upstaging you with sparkles and bling unless it matches your own.

If you picked spaghetti straps for them, will they be ribbon, rhinestone strands, or just cloth? Will their neckline be embellished or plain?

6. Step 6- Pick the specifics of the skirt.
For my dress, there is extensive appliqué' on the full skirt. For my girls, I wanted quite a bit of uniformity, so I ensured that their dresses all had some type of work done on the front.

Will your bridesmaids have a train on their dress if it is full? Do you want them to have wide skirts or narrow? Remember that they must walk down the isle with the groomsmen when choosing how large you want their skirt.

7. Step 7- Accents and accessories.
Here you should choose if they will wear jewelry, and if so, what kind? If you are unsure about what bridesmaids gifts to get them, here is a good chance to buy something personalized and pertinent to the wedding.

Outside of jewelry, you must pick a few other factors. Will they require hoop skirts or crinolines? Should they have gloves? If their legs are to show, what type and color of pantyhose? Do you want them to carry scarves on their arms or neck? What height of heel will compliment their dresses?

Tips & Warnings
• Be as creative as you want, this is your wedding.

• If you are still having a hard time with any of the factors of the dress, discuss your thought with your mother, mother-in-law-to-be, or even with the bridesmaids themselves.

• The perfect dress need not break the bank. Try Macy's, Dillards, or my first choice,

• Think of the costs of the dress you've picked out. You chose the type of dress, accessories, etc, but your girls are going to have to fork over the dough for it. Choose an economical dress for them if you feel they can't afford hundreds of dollars for it.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For My Followers

I've noticed so many new Followers to my blog!  I am so excited!  I really help that you are finding the information on here useful.  Please let me know any topics you are interested in.  I'm more than happy to dig up some new information that would be helpful to all the brides out there.

In case you've noticed that I haven't been posting as much as I have in the past, it's because I've really been getting into my other blog.  Check it out when you get a chance!

Bridesmaids: 9 Tips for Who to Pick

Stressing over which friends and/or relatives will be bridesmaids? Choosing the bridal party is no laughing matter. Scan these deciding factors, and the selection process will be a breeze.

How Many Maids?
One of the first things to consider when selecting your bridal party is how many guests you're planning to invite. While bridal parties can range anywhere from a single maid/matron of honor to more than a dozen attendants, most wedding experts agree that a good rule of thumb is to have one groomsman and one corresponding bridesmaid for every 50 guests. (This doesn't mean, though, that you have to go ask a stranger to be in your wedding just because your fiance has one more attendant than you do. Life will go on if you have uneven numbers of groomsmen and bridesmaids.) Also, a large wedding party traditionally signifies a formal wedding. So if you're planning a small, intimate gathering, ten bridesmaids might be a bit too much.

A good guideline is to have one groomsman and one bridesmaid for every 50 guests.

More isn't Merrier
Speaking of size, remember that the more bridesmaids you have, the greater the potential for complications. In other words, you'll need to get more people to agree on a dress or decide on a bridal shower date. And if you're on a limited budget, think about who has to pay for all those bridesmaids bouquets. That's right -- you.

Blood is Thicker Than Water
If you're close to your sister or future sister-in-law, the thought of not including them in your wedding party probably never even occurred to you. But if you suffer from a serious Jan Brady complex, the thought of asking your sister (or sister-in-law) to be a bridesmaid probably ranks right up there with getting a football in the nose. Still, it's usually worth including family members just to avoid unnecessary conflict. Think of it as having more bargaining power when you're battling with your mom over the guest list.

No Backsies
You don't need to ask someone to be in your wedding just because she asked you to be in her wedding. Don't ask the college roommate you haven't spoken to in five years just to return the favor. Weddings are no time for quid pro quo. Period.

Location, Location
What do you expect from your bridesmaids? Will simple moral support suffice, or do you expect them to be your personal Pollyannas, addressing wedding invitations and tying tiny ribbons around your wedding favors? If it's the latter, think twice about asking friends who live far away or who have extremely hectic schedules. You don't want to find yourself getting frustrated with a friend you knew wouldn't be able to give you all the help you wanted.

Don't Assume
Try not to make hasty assumptions. Don't write off some friends simply because you think they don't have enough money to afford that Vera Wang bridesmaid dress you have your eye on. If you want to ask a friend whom you know is having financial difficulties, you can always say something like, "I'd love for you to be a bridesmaid, but I understand the tough time you're going through now. If you can't do it, I'd love to find something else for you to do in the wedding." (Or, you can offer to pay her way if you can't stand the idea of her not being in the wedding.)

Guys Count
A bridesmaid doesn't have to be a woman. Despite the prevalence of feminine pronouns in this guide, if your best friend is a guy, there's no reason why he can't be in your wedding. Today, many brides (and grooms) are including members of the opposite sex as attendants. In these cases, a man on the bride's side is simply called an attendant or bridesman, while a woman on the groom's side can be called an attendant or a groomswoman.

Other Honors
Still stuck? Keep in mind that there are plenty of other roles good friends can play in your wedding if they don't make the cut -- do a reading, hand out programs, or perform a song.

Spread the News
Once you make up your mind about your bridesmaids, you'll want to get the word out. The only thing worse than a coworker who thinks she's invited to your wedding is a friend who assumes she's going to be a bridesmaid. If you're afraid of hurting someone's feelings, remember that, as cliched as it sounds, any true friend will understand whatever decision you ultimately make. And finally, the sooner you make your decision, the sooner you get to check off one more box on your endless wedding checklist.

-- Emily Ehrenstein

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