Something to suit wedding belles
Blue dress (€179), by Ossie Clarke London at Debenhams
Anouk dress (€250) at Coast
Blush pink dress with embellished shoulders (€480), by Hoss Intropia at Arnotts
Purple dress (€345), by Heidi Higgins
Yellow dress (€179), by Ossie Clarke London at Debenhams
Rosamind dress (€230) at Coast
Rose pattern dress at House of Fraser
Mint embellished dress (€840), by Catherine Deane at Harvey Nichols
Mayfair dress (€225) at Coast
Coral belted dress (€795), by Thakoon Addition at Costume
Pink dress with silk frill (€325), by Niamh O'Neill
Polka dot dress (€199), by Fran & Jane
The quest for the right bridesmaid dress can be almost as fraught as the hunt for a groom
It’s the season to be bridal, apparently. With more weddings happening in my world this summer than one could shake a stick at, conversations have, somewhat inevitably, turned to bridesmaids’ dresses.
It’s a minefield, at best, and the more bridesmaids you have, the trickier things become. Will one dress fit all? Should you cater to differing heights, body and bust sizes? I’ll be popping my cherry in July, as bridesmaid to one of my oldest friends. She’s having four of us to keep her company on the altar, and the quest for the right dress has been almost as fraught as the (earlier) quest for the groom. I was filled with an irrational fear about being dressed by someone else, something that hasn’t happened since my mother handed over the reins to a bold and belligerent 12-year-old, determined to wear a black pinstripe shift dress to her Confirmation.
What if I didn’t feel comfortable in the dress? What if it just wasn’t my thing? How much negotiation do you get? And what if the other three were in love with their garments while I was in a state of reluctant acceptance?
As it happens, the dresses chosen for us are all the same – and really gorgeous. Somehow they manage to suit and flatter four very different women, and my fear of the dress has now subsided (to be replaced by a fear of the make-up artist). It is worth trying to keep everyone happy, and although that will always start with the bride, when it comes to bridesmaids, there are plenty of options.
If it suits the wearer . . .
There is nothing stopping you going for a wide variety of different styles, to suit each bridesmaid. While traditionally bridesmaids would have been in the exact same colour of the exact same dress, many modern misses are selecting dresses based on the wearers. A top tip is to pick your dresses from the same shop, where they’ll have colours and styles based on the same theme or trend, meaning they’ll complement each other well. And pick a palette; we’ve chosen to go for metallic neutrals with this selection (right) from Coast. Although they fit in the same colour scheme, they’re all different styles.
Around the block
Solid colours can work really well for bridesmaids, allowing you more leeway to play around with accessories and the colours in your floral bouquets. Pink has always been popular, but less traditionally feminine colours such as blue and yellow can also work really well. These dresses (right) by Ossie Clarke London at Debenhams have little sleeves and waist-ruching detail, and will be flattering on all sizes.
There’s nothing to stop you going for a pattern. Given that wedding dresses are often solid white, cream or ivory, it can be a nice way of breaking things up. Don’t go overboard, though; if you do go for a pattern, such as this Fran Jane polka-dot dress or House of Fraser’s rose-covered number (below), stick to one colour for your bouquet and don’t over accessorise. It’s a wedding, not a nightclub.
Break the budget
If you have just one bridesmaid, this may offer more freedom in terms of budget. If you are going for something high end for your bridesmaid(s), it is a good idea to give them a lot of input into the decision. You don’t want to spend heavily on a dress they’ll never wear again, or spend the night fidgeting with.