Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Thought on Bridesmaids' Dresses

I know I still have to show you the insides of our invitations, but that post is just not quite ready yet. So, in the meantime, I thought I might as well prompt a little light-hearted debate by throwing an opinion out there that might be a touch controversial. Hey, we're all melting to death (on the East Coast, at least), why not sit inside in the air conditioning and argue on the Internet?

Anyway, here it is: when searching for bridesmaids' dresses, I was not (and still am not) particularly concerned with whether or not my bridesmaids find their dresses re-wearable. (Is this news to you, Octo-Bridesmaids? Sorry! Don't hate me!)

So, I have two reasons why. First of all, I have six bridesmaids, and unless I told them to choose and wear literally whatever their hearts desired, I don't think I possibly could have picked a dress that all six would happily wear again and again. For example, Bridesmaid/Cousin Katie often opts to wear dresses that feature texture and detail, but none of the other girls do. Bridesmaid Leigha has strawberry-blonde hair (heavy on the strawberry), and because of her coloring, doesn't usually wear the cranberry red color that I love so much. I did decide to go for a range of non-matching options in the hopes that each bridesmaid would find a dress that was especially flattering and comfortable to her, but I don't think I realistically could have found an option that would make each of the six girls think, "YES!!! This is my new go-to cocktail dress!!!!"

For the record, these are their bridesmaids' dresses.

MOH/Sister Lauren is wearing the one on the left, Bridesmaids Clara and Hannah are wearing the strapless one, and Bridesmaids Katie, Erica, and Leigha are wearing the one with the sweetheart neckline. (Source.)

Second--and this might be the controversial part--I don't necessarily think bridesmaid dresses need to be re-wearable. I think they should fall soundly within a reasonable budget (however "reasonable" is defined for the women in your party) and I think they shouldn't be something that the bridesmaids would be embarrassed to wear again (a highly unflattering cut or material, for example), but other than that, I dunno. Wearing a dress that the bride chooses, even if it's not necessarily something you'd choose yourself, is kind of a hallmark of the bridesmaid experience, I think, and it's one that I didn't feel compelled to revolutionize.

For example: I was a bridesmaid for the first time in April, for my beloved friend and mutual bridesmaid, Erica. She chose this dress for us to wear:


It's beautiful, for sure. However, I will not wear it again, because it has spaghetti straps. I've mentioned before that I've got quite a bit going on in the bra department, and because of that, strapless bras are the bane of my existence. When left to my own devices, I never wear dresses that don't allow for normal-bra-wearing. Does it bother me that, in my case, it's not re-wearable? Not in the least. It's a lovely dress, it was comfortable and flattering, it was reasonably priced, and I would happily wear anything that Erica picked, regardless of how closely it matched something that I would pick for myself, because that's how being a bridesmaid typically works.

So that's my confession. I think the dresses my bridesmaids are wearing are classy, simple, pretty, re-wearable in theory (as in, cocktail-length and fairly casual fabric), and reasonably inexpensive, and I think that's good enough. If they do like their dresses enough to wear them again, I'll be thrilled, but if they re-sell them or stuff them in their closets and forget about them forever, I won't bat an eye......and I won't feel especially guilty about it, either.

What's your stance on this issue? How important was it to you that your bridesmaids' dresses be something that the girls will really, truly, wear again?


  1. Hi Katie! Maybe other bridesmaids could re-wear the dresses your bridesmaids looked smashing in for the wedding, but might not want to wear again? A friend and I -- she married a Pittsburgh native and we both love, love, love the city - have an bridesmaid dress re-selling business called Bridesmaid Trade at Free to sell dresses on the site and then another bride can have beautiful dresses in her wedding, too (and happy bridesmaids!). Hope you have a beautiful wedding!


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