Outfitting the bridesmaids
Posted: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012
Photo by: Nathan Abplanalp Photography
Brittany Sajbel is an associate attorney in Concord. Her March wedding planning has hit quite a few bumps in the road, but she remains positive and sane with the help of her amazing fiance, Neil Love, and their two furbabies, Gemma Bean and Kitty Caroline. Contact Brittany here.
Can all of your bridesmaids be happy in the same dress? Absolutely.Was I going to spend the time and energy to make that happen? Never.To start this weeks entry off with a bang, I have to give a very special holiday shout-out to Tori at New York Bride & Groom, one of the lovely sponsors of the Get Fit Challenge. Despite ordering my bridesmaids dresses near the rush-order deadline, Tori managed to keep the folks at Bill Levkoff in check and spared my girls an extra $40 charge on each of their dresses. She also talked me off the ledge after mentioning that might be a possibility. With two weddings in our family in two months, $40 goes a long way.That said, how is it even possible that a bridesmaids dress takes several months to make and deliver when that is all that a company does, all day, every day? Not only that, but when that companys website states that three months is the average time for delivery, I find it unacceptable to require a rush charge with a one-month cushion, especially when that rush still means a two-month wait. I know that some girls would be more comfortable having their dress two or three months in advance, but Ive got some weight to lose, and I certainly dont want to have to pay $100 for a seamstress to basically build me a new dress when it comes in. I wouldnt ask my bridesmaids to, either. In my lifetime, my mother has put together several excellent formal gowns for me and outfitted a dozen girls in my show choir in less than a month. Im confused about why a team of skilled workers cant do the same with the patterns they already have???With that complaint out of the way, I have to say that finding the right dress for your bridesmaids is one of the most important parts of planning for the big day. Forget about the centerpieces, forget about the cake, forget about the first dance song. Its the bridesmaids dresses that you have to take, for better or worse, because there will be photographic evidence still around in twenty years about what an awful choice you may have made. Your children will see pictures of those dresses. Your bridesmaids children might see pictures of those dresses. Someone might remember that your wedding cake tasted horrible or that your first dance song was cheesy, but evidence will exist to substantiate what you put your bridesmaids through. Entire websites are dedicated to the horror of poorly-chosen dresses.Not only that, but if you choose your bridesmaids as carefully as I did, you also expect those women to remain a significant part of your life. As both a rational person and a divorce attorney, I can realistically say that some women will have relationships with their bridesmaids that will last longer than their marriages. A miserable bridesmaid is a miserable friend or family member, and why would you do that to a girl? From the perspective of my sister who will be married in May, there are many great reasons to put all of your girls in one dress. There may be one dress that fits your vision above all others. There might be a fabric that you want or a designer that you love. You might be having a more formal wedding, or you might have a fleet of girls that makes one dress easier for everyone. With seven bridesmaids coming from near and far, it made sense for my sister to choose one dress and have all of the girls order it from one place (also the incomparable New York Bride & Groom). That said, my sister did not subject us to a heinous dress like many other brides might do for one reason or another. She went simple, elegant, and classic, much like her significantly more formal and traditional wedding requires. She went in a dark color that will flatter her bridesmaids and a higher neckline that will keep all of the bustier girls in check throughout dinner, drinks, and dancing. If one-dress-for-everyone can be done right, my sister has done it, and her pictures will be the kind that her grandchildren marvel at, much like we did upon seeing our own grandmothers. But choosing the same dress for all the girls is an art form, and there are far too many brides that abuse it. I wasnt going to throw myself on the grenade.I let my bridesmaids have the freedom to choose their own dress style, because I kept hearing complaints left and right about what many friends before me had been forced to wear. Having seen pictures of many of these monstrosities, I cant blame some girls for wanting straps, an empire waist, or a sweetheart neckline, especially for the money that will be spent. As ladies, we know that one-size-fits-all is a dirty lie, and that goes for one shape or silhouette as well. The only guidelines that I set down were short, chiffon, and in a color that can only be described as Mardi Gras purple. While this might sound restrictive, Bill Levkoff offers thirty styles in that length and fabric, and despite my griping, hes a great and affordable designer to work with.Regarding the color, well, that was the one point that I knew wouldnt thrill everyone, but it was a line that I needed to set to make me happy on my big daya compromise with my significant other, the bridesmaid, in exchange for her comfort. I was with one of my girls when she saw the color in person for the first time and we both just started laughing. I know its not what she would have pickedeverfor herself, but the laughing instead of complaining made me realize exactly why I chose her to stand up besides me on the big day. Even though shes probably not going to wear that dress after March 23rd, on March 23rd, I want her to be as comfortable and feel as beautiful as I do. I want her to smile in the photos like she means it, and not because she is supposed to. I want her to dance and have fun, and I want her to laugh the next time that she looks at the dress, not because the dress is a relatively ridiculous color, but because shes remembering what a great time she had.
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