Wedding 101: Dressing Your Bridal Party

When I think about the things that have the biggest potential to cause issues for you during your wedding planning process, the number one thing that comes to mind is dressing your bridesmaids. Just think about it. You wouldn’t want to spend a small fortune on something you hate, that doesn’t look good on you, and that you’ll never wear again. I mean, no one wants to end up with a closet full of bridesmaid dresses like Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses. You know, big, fluffy dresses that are in the most awful colors you can imagine, locked away never to see the light of day ever again. So of course, they have opinions. And sometimes, these opinions clash with your vision. And sometimes, not all the bridesmaids agree. And all of the sudden the bridal shop has turned to a war zone, and everyone is fighting and the bride is crying.

Well good news. I’m here to help you avoid this potentially sticky situation all together! These simple steps will help you to get in the right frame of mind, and help to keep a smile on everyone’s faces.
Before You Go
  • Be open minded. I know… it’s kind of hard. Especially when you have a vision you want to stick to. But try to remember that your vision may need to be tweaked just the tiniest bit.
  • Decide on the color, nothing else. The color is the one thing as a bride you should not budge on. So pick the color and stick to it, no matter what anyone else says. But seriously, be nice when choosing the color. Don’t expect your red-headed best friend to be rocking a shocking shade of lime green.
  • Decide if you want all the girls to have the same dresses or not. Honestly, I’m a big believer in letting your bridesmaids choose their own style dress. This way, you know they will be comfortable and confident.
  • Think about long or short. When you get to the bridal shop, you’ll have to tell them if you are looking for long or short dresses. When deciding, consider the time of year and location of your wedding. If you’re getting married in the middle of the winter, you might not want your bridesmaids in short, sleeveless dresses and sandals. They will freeze.
  • Prepare yourself to NEVER say “You can totally wear it again!” or any version of that phrase. That’s the last thing anyone wants to hear. Because chances are, they won’t wear it again.PHO_7776
While You’re There
  • Be Flexible. Go in knowing that what you have in your head may not work. And you’re going to have to be okay with that. Don’t let it throw you off, and be sure to stay positive! Letting any type of doubt creep in to your head can change the entire experience into an awful one.
  • Be Kind. Don’t judge the dresses harshly, even if they look awful. You don’t want to break someone’s confidence. Try saying things like “It’s not my favorite.” or “I really like <something about the dress> but I think we should try <something else about a different dress> instead.”
  • If you are having all your girls match, let them try on multiple styles, and try to pick the most flattering on them all. I know, this may seem almost impossible because everyone is shaped differently. (This is the number one reason I’m pro; Let them Choose themselves!) But I’ve heard that it can be done!
  • If you are letting your girls choose their own dress, be supportive! Even if it’s not what you would choose for them, remember that they are the ones that are purchasing it. They need to feel confident and happy with their purchases. Also remember… it is about cohesion. When other guests look at them, they should be able to tell they are a part of the wedding party. And while their dresses don’t have to match, there should be something similar about them. (Like all one color, but different styles.)
  • Don’t forget about the cost. Remember, your bridesmaids are paying for their dress, and chances are, they don’t want to spend $500 on it. Be considerate when choosing the dress, and don’t even suggest styles that are over your bridesmaid’s budgets. (Unless of course, you are being the BEST BRIDE EVER and are paying for all their dresses. In that case, you do you.)
  • Think about how it will look next to your dress, and in photos. For example, my dress was ivory with a champagne overlay. I wanted my Maid of Honor in a cream color. We had to make sure we found the right shade so that it didn’t clash with my dress on the day of the wedding, because OF COURSE we wanted tons of pictures together.
  • Think about who you are shopping for. Chances are, if you’re shopping for a bunch of little girls (like I was!) you’re going to choose something completely different than if you’re shopping for adults.PHO_8339
After You’ve Found the Dresses
  • Think about your bridesmaid’s accessories. I tend to believe less is more in this department. Consider simple jewelry that they might already have (think diamond studs in their ears) and then buy them a necklace or bracelet you pick out. It makes a great gift for them to say thank you for being a part of your special day, and they don’t have to worry about making another purchase.
  • Pick out the shoes. Do not expect your bridesmaids to fork out almost $1,000 for a new pair of Manolos. In fact, consider letting your bridesmaids choose their own shoes. Just give them a color and a style. If they aren’t exactly alike, people won’t notice. Especially if their dresses are long!
  • Be sure to check in as the wedding gets closer. Don’t be a helicopter bride, and constantly asking about their dresses being fitted and ready. But a few weeks out, make sure that your bridesmaids have it all under control. (Chances are, they will!)

Don’t forget about the flower girls. If you have a large wedding party, chances are you might forget the littlest member without even realizing it. I HIGHLY recommended taking the time to make your flower girl feel extra special and shopping for her dress with just her (and her mama). Also, don’t feel like you HAVE to go to a bridal shop for the flower girl’s dress! My flower girl’s dress was from Macy’s. It was BEAUTIFUL and it was super on sale because they bought it during their big memorial day sales. I think it ended up being around $40 after all the discounts.

Now let’s talk about the men. They are a million times easier to dress! (Please note… these tips are for those that are renting their suits!)
Before You Go 
  • Decide what you want your guys to wear. A full suit? Maybe they’re wearing jeans. It’s all up to you. And you have to know what you’re looking for before you go shopping. (Now obviously, if they are wearing jeans you’re not going to go to the nearest Men’s Warehouse. So consider what you’re looking for before you choose a place to shop.)
  • Look around online. You don’t want your dudes to have to spend a bunch of money on an outfit that they are most likely renting. Do some research online for suit/tux rentals.
  • Look for coupons! Sounds weird to say about a wedding, but if you’ve ever opened up a copy of The Knot magazine, you’ll find little flyers falling out with some pretty solid discounts not only for the groom, but his groomsmen too.
  • And as always… be flexible and keep an open mind. If you are renting a suit, chances are you’re going to have limited options to choose from.pho_8022
While You’re There
  • Unlike your bridesmaids, the groomsmen don’t all need to go pick out the suits together. In fact, it’s way easier if it’s just the bride and groom. (Or bride and bride or groom and groom!)
  • Let your groom choose what he likes best. Chances are, his groomsmen will like it best too.
  • Decide what they are going to wear, because prices will either go up or down depending. Do you want them in just pants and a vest? It’s going to be cheaper than if you want them in pants, jackets and a vest. Also, if you don’t care if their shoes are all the same, you can take them off your rental and save some money!
  • Don’t sweat it. Wherever you go, I promise they will have a system for you. Picking out our guys outfits was SO EASY. We said “we want them in tan.” They showed us the tan suit, we picked out the tie color and they set up an account online for us. That way, all our guys had to do was go to Men’s Warehouse, tell them they were with the Klumps, and get measured. And boom. Done.pho_7993

Just one quick thing I’d like to mention… I’d highly recommend going with Men’s Warehouse. They had it down to a science, and it was really convenient. We were able to pick up the suits at any Men’s Warehouse in the country (which worked well for us since we were getting married not by where we live) and return them to any place as well. We grabbed all the guys suits the next morning and dropped them off on our way home.

Don’t forget about the ring bearer. You can easily choose a rental for the littlest dude in your party, but don’t think that is your only option. Sure, kids in suits are ADORABLE but think about it. Is it really practical? That’s why we chose to put our little man in khakis and a button up. Then we bought him suspenders and a bow tie. Which he could take off after the ceremony and just as comfy as the rest of the kids there.


I hope this quick little guide helps you! I’m off to try and fix my car. I decided to roll down my window and enjoy this beautiful, sunny, 80 degree October day. And my window got stuck inside the door. Yay.  I hope your Wednesday’s are happier than mine!


One thought on “Wedding 101: Dressing Your Bridal Party

  1. I had visions of my girls dressing in all different dresses and colors; unless I had found the perfect ones. I found my dresses at Davids Bridal and we all loved them so much and they were reasonably priced so I decided those were the keepers. Only took us a day of shopping to find the ones I had come across on Pinterest. But, I do like the thought of letting them choose for themselves as well. They all chose their own shoe and hair style; so that worked well :).


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