Your Girls' Gowns
After the bride's dress, bridesmaid dresses are the most breathtaking outfits of the wedding. Before committing your bridesmaids to your "dream" bridesmaid dress first consider their body types, coloring and budget. While one style of dress may flatter one bridesmaid it may look unattractive on another. It should be clear that the bride has the final say in the bridesmaid dress style and colors. Furthermore, the bridesmaids pay for their own dresses and accessories.
There are four main styles (silhouette) of bridesmaid dresses: A-line (princess), empire, ball gown and sheath.
The A-line bridesmaid dress is by far the most popular style. Vertical seams run from the shoulders to a flared skirt, creating an "A" shape. Because the A-line dress loosely outlines the figure this style of dress is flattering to most body types. If your bridesmaids range in size this style of dress is your best choice.
The empire bridesmaid dress features a waistline that starts right under the bust and flows straight down in a slightly slimmer dress. An empire dress flatters bridesmaids who have a thicker waist (the dress hides it) and will give a tall, slim line to petite bridesmaids.
The ball gown bridesmaid dress has a fitted bodice and waist that flares into a very full skirt (think "ballerina style"). The ball gown style of bridesmaid dress is typically reserved for the bride alone. However, if you're considering it for your bridesmaids, keep in mind this style works best if your bridesmaids are all close in size. This style dwarfs smaller bridesmaids and looks disproportionate on larger bridesmaids.
The sheath bridesmaid dress is very form fitting (hugging the curves), with a narrow skirt. This is another style that works well if your bridesmaids are the same size.In addition to the style the color is the next important aspect of the bridesmaid dress. Often the bridesmaid dress is the color of the wedding - it will appear everywhere from the ink on the wedding invitations to reception decorations. Consider the coloring of each bridesmaid when you select their dress color. Blondes tend to look great in pastels and orange-reds. Brunettes are complimented by deep greens, blues and red. For those formal, elegant evening receptions classic black suits any skin tone. While all the bridesmaids usually wear the same color a "color run" is becoming a popular trend. With a color run each bridesmaid wears the same style of dress, but in a different color for example: pink, pale yellow, light blue, soft green and lavender. A variation of the color run are different shades of the same color - ice blue, light blue, medium blue and deep blue.
When it is finally time to purchase the bridesmaid dresses (approximately 7-9 months before the wedding) keep in mind the following tips. Order the dresses at the same time so they're all part of the same dye lot. It helps ensure the dresses will be the same color. If the bridesmaids are ordering matching shawls or gloves they should also be ordered at the same time as the dress, again to remain in the same dye lot. Finally, the largest of the bust-waist-hip measurements is the size in which the dress is ordered. So, if the bust is a size 10, the waist a size 8 and the hips a size 12 the dress should be ordered in a size 12. The other areas are then altered.