Q. I am getting married in November (Australia) so it will be coming into summer there. I have 3 bridesmaids and want them to look and feel beautiful on the day, but I am unsure what style dress I can get to suit all of them. Bridesmaid #1 is 5'2, medium-large bust, curvy, with a defined waist and a big bum. Bridesmaid #2 is 5'2, small busted, slim athletic build with a bit of a bum. And my 3rd bridesmaid is average height (5' 7), large busted, defined waist and a big bum. They all have nice shapely calves and I was wondering if a tea length dress would suit them, or would it cut them off? Am I better off with a full-length dress for them? I am in a full-length gown, which is quite formal and elegant. Will tea length dresses clash with me?
-Bridesmaid Dress Dilemma
A. I hope to help you and other brides-to-be with dress shopping, as well as help the girls you choose to be in your bridal party. I can’t make this clear enough to brides-to-be: your bridesmaids don’t have to wear the same exact dress to look good on your wedding day. Choosing the same color, fabric and length with just slight variations in the dress style can be the right combination to make everyone happy and allow them to look their best.
For busty girls, look for halter styles or wider straps to hold up and cover a bra better. For “big bum” girls, look for the skirt portion of the dress to be an A-line cut which will help define the waist and hide the bum and thighs. Cocktail or tea length gives girls the best chance of possibly wearing the dress again and makes it easier to hit the dance floor.
• Please, no shades of color (each girl wearing a different color dress-I’ve never seen it work).
• If you choose a black cocktail length dress that is simple and chic, your bridesmaids will have a better chance of wearing it again rather than tossing it in the “I can’t believe she made me wear this” donation pile.
• Choose a dress style that works best for most body shapes. Don’t make a curvy girl wear a column style. A-line dress styles are most flattering. Empire dresses are sweet on slender or proportioned girls, but can make petite girls look too young and other girls look pregnant.
• No dyeable shoes. Consider giving a shoe color choice to your bridesmaids and let them buy their own. Some girls can’t wear a really high heel while others wouldn’t attend a party without them. They may already have that color in their wardrobe and it will lessen the burden on their bank account.
• You can make suggestions of jewelry, but unless you’re giving the girls a gift of jewelry to wear with their dresses, don’t expect them to buy accessories as well. If you do give your bridesmaids gifts, please try to mix it up by choosing various colors or slightly different gifts so they all don’t feel or look like clones.
• Don’t make your bridesmaids spend a fortune on the dress. Every girl doesn’t have a bundle to pay for a dress, heels, gifts galore, bridal shower, bachelorette party and perhaps travel costs. Be kind to their cash flow.
• Don’t ask every girl you think is your good friend to be a bridesmaid. Many hope to just come to your wedding and have a good time in their own dress choice without additional responsibilities.