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Fashionable Friends

Selecting bridal party wear

We’ve all heard of or have been the bridesmaid who dislikes the dress she spent a small fortune on or the groomsman whose tux simply doesn’t fit. Your bridal party consists of the best of your friends and the people who will be featured in most of your photos.

There are tried and true ways to ensure your bridal party feels comfortable, looks good and doesn’t break the bank, all while achieving your vision.

Curating Colors

Turns out, the groomsmen enjoy the creative freedom just as much. Photo by Black and Hue Photography

Whether it’s your favorite color or a palette found when seeking inspiration, you likely have wedding colors in mind. It is wise to have one leading color with several complementary shades. Consider skin tone and hair color, too. Certain colors can wash out skin, blend too closely or simply be off-putting to the wearer.

Provide color-swatch options and encourage your bridal party to select the hue. The monochromatic trend is ideal, allowing each person to have a choice in shade while adhering to the color scheme.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with options and bombarded by trends, Maggie Matthews, owner of Margaret Ellen Bridal in Inlet Beach, suggests going with what you know.

“You don’t want to look back on your wedding photos and think what was I doing with that color or style?” said Matthews. “Keep it classic and think about the years to come and what you would want to see in your photos forever.”

Flattering Figures

The cohesive color palette and mix and match print trend has staying power when it comes to bridesmaids. Photo courtesy of Megan Munoz Photography

Your bridal party comes in all shapes and sizes — embrace the diverse beauty. Allow bridesmaids to choose their own style. Many bridal stores or online shops categorize by color with dresses available in a variety of silhouettes. You can have some parameters in place and request to approve the dress before they purchase.

“Thankfully, now, a norm is complementing dresses instead of matching, from necklines to entirely different silhouettes that flatter each bridesmaid respectively,” said Sarah Villella, manager and buyer at Narcissus in Tallahassee.

If your heart is set on the same dress for all, an A-line style typically flatters most body types.

Fabric can fit differently on various bodies, Villella noted. Satin might hang well on some bodies, but cling too closely to others, wrinkling and showing sweat easily. Taffeta or organza can quickly become too voluminous, losing the person to fabric.

For groomsmen, advise that they have their suits professionally fitted, whether they elect to rent or buy.

Considering Costs

Do your research to find dresses that are high quality yet affordable, especially when shopping online. The best option remains allowing the bridal party to select their attire, this will ensure they are comfortable with what they are spending, whether they want to splurge or save. Where renting is common for groomsmen, it should be encouraged for bridesmaids as well. Many websites and some stores offer this option.

Envisioning the Look

Neutral tone dresses and sophisticated black suits will forever be a classic and cool fashion statement for bridal parties. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Sellers Photography

Be clear on your accessory expectations. Consider gifting your bridal party with jewelry, ties, socks or other items you would like them to wear on the wedding day. Provide a shoe color rather than style so there’s the option of flats or heels. Encourage your bridal party to try their outfits in advance to ensure fit and determine undergarment options.

Decisions on bridal party wear should be solidified four to six months ahead of the wedding to ensure time for arrival and alterations.

Feature image courtesy of Elizabeth Birdwell Photography

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