You asked, Lori answered! See the answers to your burning bridesmaid etiquette questions, and find out Lori’s most important piece of advice for bridesmaids.
1. Should all the dresses look the same? –Joye C.
Yes, yes and yes. You don’t want to be sitting there looking at dresses coming down the aisle like you’re at a fashion show. You forget about the ceremony and the bride when there are too many styles. The bridesmaids are there to enhance the bride, and the same dress makes the frame of the picture around the bride.
2. Can some of the bridesmaid dresses be short and others be long? –Keirsten R.
Never mix long and short. Never, ever, ever.
3. Who pays for the bridesmaid dresses? –Stephanie O.
If the bride can afford to, it’s a lovely gesture for her to pay for the dress or to pay for a portion. But the bride’s not able to a lot of times, and the bridesmaids have to pay. Traditionally, the bridesmaids do pay. They’re responsible for hair and makeup, too. If the bride can’t pay for any of these items, she needs to be very budget-conscious and not pick a $1,000 dress and a $200 hairdo. That’s where a lot of these issues lie between brides and their bridesmaids.
4. How many bridesmaids are too many bridesmaids? –Cristina S.
We’ve seen up to 22 – plus honorary attendants. And they all have to have a matching dress. It gets to be that you’re asking everybody you’ve ever known since kindergarten to be an attendant! It’s a personal decision how many attendants you want, but double digits is too many. Plus, you don’t want them all crammed up there at the altar. You want to see the bride’s dress.
5. I’m my sister’s bridesmaid this summer but I’m going to miss the rehearsal because of an unavoidable schedule conflict. Any advice for how to get up to speed when I show up the morning of the wedding? –Amanda F.
Show up with a good gift and some champagne!
6. Is it appropriate to walk down an aisle barefoot in a church? –Caroline A.
No. Barefoot on the beach? Maybe, since you don’t want heels sinking into the sand. But not at church.
7. If one bridesmaid wears stockings, should they all? –Melinda C.
Since pantyhose aren’t in style right now, I say nay to bridesmaids in stockings.
8. What if the bridesmaid looks better than the bride? –Heather B.
If the bride chose the dress, and you show up with a wonderful attitude and you do everything she needs you to do, so be it. You can’t help that – it’s genetics!
9. Do all of the bridal party and groomsmen have to stand up by the groom and bride, or can they stand somewhere else after they walk down the aisle? –Amanda H.
Traditionally, they stand with the bride and groom. But I’ve seen weddings where there are too many people up there, and they have to sit down. That can be distracting – and with all the moving around, the dress gets wrinkled.
10. Does there have to be a gift for all the bridesmaids if there’s a tight budget? –Rachel E.
Yes. For a tight budget, I suggest buying a beautiful frame and having your photographer take individual pictures of you with each bridesmaid. Get a 5×7 afterward and put it in the frame. That’s a wonderful gift.
11. What’s the best way to get out-of-town bridesmaids fitted and altered? –Carrie H.
Every girl needs to be measured at a bridal store to get professional measurements. Most stores have a size chart from each designer (you can even see ours on our Web site). See where the sizes fall, and fit the biggest part of your body. So, if you’re hippy or busty, order up a size. Be sure you order in enough time to get the dress altered. The dress will come into the bride’s store, then have it shipped to the bridesmaid so she can have it altered in her city.
12. What if a bridesmaid becomes pregnant before the wedding? –Brittany S.
That happens all the time. What we can do is order a maternity style – lots of designers make them – or, if the dress has already been ordered, we can remake the skirt with extra fabric.
13. Is it rude to tell a bridesmaid she can’t be one anymore? –Kylie S.
I think you’ve got to have open and honest communication with each girl. And a lot of negativity in the bridal party comes from confusion about money. Often, the bridesmaids don’t communicate before they come in shopping for dresses about how much they want to spend. They need to discuss that beforehand. It’s not our business, and we don’t want to get in the middle of it. Clear-cut communication would avoid so many problems. If there’s a girl with money problems but you want her in the wedding, talk to her and help her. As far as “unbridesmaiding” a girl, it happens. She might be totally uncooperative or lose interest in the wedding – even after the dresses are ordered. If she’s really causing stress on the bride, that’s when you’ve got to have a conversation about whether she’s going to be involved or not. Have that conversation in person.
14. Any final words of advice to bridesmaids? –TLC
I always tell girls not to come in here choosing a dress thinking that they’ll wear it again. This is something you’ve agreed to do for someone you love. For that factor, you’ll wear a bright pink or fire engine red dress – and you’ll smile all the way down the aisle. Know that you need to do exactly what she wants you to do to meet her vision.
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