My bridesmaids and I started our dress-search with some dreamy ideas about floor-length, flattering, altogether fabulous gowns. We went to a shop and tried on three hours’ worth of dresses. We pondered our choices for weeks, and I started to feel like we’d never come to a final decision. Just as time was running out, we made a last-minute trip to my bridal shop. We started another round of dress-up (and pass-the-dress), and much to our relief, everyone found The One for them! Which means I can finally show you The Look for my bridesmaids!
The Dresses: I wanted the girls to choose dresses they liked, within the “pink and floor-length” parameters. We ended up with four different styles in five shades of pink. I can totally see each lady’s personality in her dress—my BFFs loved the same strapless ruched dress, but my more outgoing bud chose a brighter hue, while my strawberry-blond bud tried on a million pink dresses before we found a shade that looked perfect against her skin tone and hair. My always-elegant SIL chose the goddess-like, one-shoulder gown in the middle. My future SIL is the youngest, and her dress actually looks the most innocent and sweet. The last dress is sassy and bright, exactly what Adam’s tomboyish SIL wanted for a night of dress-up! All of the colors look different in person, but this gives you a general idea:
The Shoes: Early on, a few of the girls suggested silver shoes, which sounded good to me. There are tons of options in stores, online, and hopefully in their own closets! I put together some cute examples for a visual:
The Hair and Makeup: While chatting with my bridesmaids today, I realized that no one in my bridal party knows the first thing about styling hair or applying makeup. I’ll attribute that to low maintenance and natural beauty. We might enlist the help of a friendor for our updos and formal-but-fresh makeup looks.
The Accessories: You all know I’m not much of a jewelry person, so I have no requests in this area. If they already own something they want to wear, they’re welcome to wear it. And if they want to use this as an excuse to buy some new baubles, they can feel free!
The Look: Fancy. Feminine. And a little saucy, thanks to the heels!
How would you describe The Look for your bridesmaids?
But my mother is one heck of a designer. And since all the bridesmaid dresses that caught my eye were simple and sweet, I asked my mom what she thought about maybe, possibly making them! I would help, of course, but she’s seen enough of my failed projects to know that I’d be more of a benchwarmer. She agreed that it would be more cost-effective for my bridesmaids and asked me to show her examples of what I like.
During our Let’s-Make-Dresses Phase, my mom considered various fabrics as I flipped through pattern books to get an idea of what’s out there.
This pattern immediately reminded me of Samantha Harris! She wore a gorgeous blue dress on Dancing with the Stars recently, and my sis-in-law thought it would make a pretty bridesmaid dress. I tried to imagine it in a soft, pink fabric, like Carrie Underwood’s dress:
The pattern above is sweet, but I didn’t like the overlapping fabric on the bust. We’d make the two “flaps” (can you tell I’ve never taken a fashion design class in my life?) meet in the middle and add some feminine details. I imagined something similar to these:
I liked seeing the short and long version of patterns—it was reassuring to know my girls could hack it up, and it’d still look pretty. The one above reminded me of Heidi Klum’s dress here:
There were a few wedding gown and accessory patterns, too! Not totally my style, but I thought I’d share in case anyone’s wondering what’s available in this department:
After all of our research, we nixed our plan to make the bridesmaid dresses. I wouldn’t be able to visit my mom in Florida enough to offer help and direction, and since all the girls are here in Illinois, we wouldn’t be able to do any fittings. My bridesmaids don’t know that we were considering this, so nothing has changed for them!
I’ll actually be shopping with my bridesmaids this weekend! I’ll let you know if we find anything.
What DIY projects have you given up in the name of simplicity?
“Your wedding is in six months? You need to choose a dress TODAY!”
I lost track of how many times I heard that last weekend when I FINALLY went wedding dress shopping! One of my excuses for waiting so long was that I wanted to go with my mom. My dad realized that I was just going to keep twiddling my thumbs until she got here, so he put her on a plane with instructions to visit as many bridal shops as I wanted. We went to three, which was more than enough for us!
First, we went to White Satin Bridal in Plainfield. The store was spacious, clean, and peaceful. Totally our style. I loved every minute we spent there!
[Note to ADAM: This post contains pictures of me in white dresses. If you truly do not want to see me in a wedding dress until April, please stop here. ]
I told Sarah, one of the sweet owners of the store, my dress guidelines: Slim. Simple. No ruching. She brought me a dozen dresses, and I fell in love with a few. Please ignore my crazy pinky fingers in these pictures. Adam talks with his hands; I talk with my pinkies. Potatoes, po-tah-toes!
Off to the next store! My mom’s dear friend (I’ll call her Auntie J here) came along for the fun. When onlookers in the crowded store saw me in this dress, we heard them exclaim, “Sold!” and, “That is the one for you!” Auntie J gave us her hilariously honest opinion later on: “Oh honey, the front was beautiful. But that was a LOT of fabric hanging off your *ss!”
I only tried on two dresses at that store. I liked the swishy-ness of the second one:
And finally, we reached the last shop on our list. Since it was our last hurrah, Mom and Auntie J brought me dress after dress to try on. They said they wanted me to try on dresses outside of my style, but I think they were just tired of seeing the same cut in a million variations. It was fun, and I learned that the style I like really is the most flattering and the most “me.”
Yep, there go the pinkies again. They must have liked that one.
And the conclusion? I went back to the first shop with my FMIL, SIL, brother, nephew, and niece. I put on my two favorite dresses. And I bought the one that made my two-year-old nephew say, “Komo looks so pretty.” It’s staying top secret until the wedding day! (Unless I cave and post pictures during the fittings. Highly likely.)
I LOVED wedding dress shopping. I had no idea that they clamped extra fabric in the back with Chip Clips. I also learned that almost all wedding dresses have trains that must be bustled (I hadn’t noticed!). And best of all, I learned that when you find your dress, you will sigh with joy, twirl with glee, and your pinkies will dance their most happiest happy dance.
I love this white necklace:
In case you haven’t noticed from my previous posts……
I tend to fall hopelessly in love with very, VERY specific items.
I longed for this ring until the day Adam placed it on my finger. I’ve been dreaming about this dress since I was thirteen years old. There is a purse that I’ve wanted since high school, and my brother still remembers the day my father almost dropped $2000 to get it for me. I don’t think anyone should spend that much on a purse (even this one!!), but that doesn’t stop me from loving it.
Back to the subject at hand! I saw these ads for Vera Wang’s Princess fragrance a few years ago and totally fell for the gorgeous heart necklace on the model. Camilla Belle is beyond pretty, and I love all of the dresses she wears in the perfume ads. I also love that she’s wearing the necklace in all of the shots, so I can admire it from different angles! Pictures from Vera Wang.
I am very wary of non-re-wearable, uncomfortable bridesmaid dresses. I wouldn’t want to wear them, and I don’t want my bridal party to wear them!
Thus far, I haven’t decided on who’s going to be in my bridal party. That probably needs to get done in the next few months! As for dresses, I don’t have a preference for b-maid dresses as far as style, length, or color…but I do have some basic guidelines for what they’ll wear. I hope their dresses will be:
- Flattering: All my girls should feel like they look their best!
- Dance-friendly: Adam and I want to see our troops getting loose on the dance floor ;)
- Feminine: They should wear the kind of dresses that make women, young and old, exclaim, “Ooh, that’s so pretty!” and “Oh, how lovely!”
Here’s some bridal party inspiration to get me and my ladies started:
I always say no to green clothing, but these earthy green dresses may be the only exception. The wedding dress is so romantic, and the b-maid dresses echo the romance a bit more softly.
Gray for a bridal party? That sounds so blah. But these dresses are très adorable, and the details make them feel fresh and fun!
Okay, green and gray. You won some points with me today. I’m impressed by how feminine and sweet you colors can look. However…….I’d still love to see all of the above dresses in shades of pink!
I just discovered this picture on a shoe store’s website…….and I am so inspired to start dress-shopping now.
Holy schmogorgeousness. I love the bride+bridesmaids idea and the soft ruffles and layers everywhere. How do I go about finding, buying, or making these dresses?
Picture’s original source: Vanity Fair
Speaking of crazy ideas…
There is one white dress that I’ve always wanted, searched for, and compared all other dresses to…..since I was 13 years old:
From the moment I saw it onscreen in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, I loved everything about this dress. More than a decade later, I still love it and think about it whenever I’m shopping for dresses. I own at least five white summer dresses, all purchased because of their similarity to this one. It also doesn’t hurt that the dress caught the eye of this guy:
Haha, the love of my 13-year-old heart. That is, until he made movies that were not Romeo and Juliet, and I was wholeheartedly disappointed that he was not Romeo all the time. Anyway, I also love the halo-like hairstyle and wings she wore with the dress…but then I’d definitely have to wait to wear it on Halloween.
Alas, I haven’t found it yet. I might need to beg my mother to make it for me. I wonder if I could wear it at one of our wedding-related events. Perhaps it would work for my bridal shower or post-wedding brunch…or I could use it for my getaway dress!