Rhoad to the Altar: Finding a
bridesmaids dress for every body

This dress was one that I had originally picked out as a possible bridesmaids dress, but after I tried it on, I wasn’t as big of a fan.

As our wedding date nears, I’m starting to get really excited about making our decorations, the (hopefully soon) arrival of my dress and planning the details of our big day. With the big stuff out of the way — venue, DJ, caterer, dress, cake and invitations — we’re starting to get down to the nitty gritty.

One of the last big things to do was find my bridesmaids dresses. I was really stressing about this because I feel really bad telling people to go spend their hard-earned money on a dress that I demand they wear and that they’ll probably never take out of their closet again.

I originally had the idea for the girls to wear grey and use teal as the accent color. I tried on a few grey dresses myself, and they looked so drab on my pale winter skin that I quickly changed my mind. With the guys wearing grey tuxes, I thought it also might look like a solid wall of grey standing around us. Besides, I figured teal will look great against the backdrop of autumn colors at Lauxmont Farm’s Cobblestone Courtyard, and it’s a great color on just about everyone.

At first, I thought it might be easier and cheaper if everyone just found their own dresses; I don’t really care if they’re matchy-matchy. However, I realized this only works well with simple colors: navy, black, grey, brown. Teal is not an easy color to find, let alone in relatively specific shades.

Read all about how we picked our wedding colors.

Everyone seemed in agreement that they would wear whatever I chose. Now came the task of finding something all four girls would look good in. I, personally, am not a fan of the standard “bridesmaids” dress, and even though they will be teal, I still wanted to find something the girls would hopefully be able to wear again. I feel like this rules out most strapless dresses and dresses made out of satin, tulle or taffeta. I thought chiffon or a jersey-knit would be comfortable and rewearable, yet still look nice.

Courtesy of Flickr user Roubicek’s
If you have a fall or winter wedding planned, consider giving your bridesmaids pashmina scarves in complimentary colors to wear during outside photos or on their way to the reception.

It’s important to take into account the variety of body styles in your bridal party. Consider letting each bridesmaid pick a different style gown from the same designer’s line. Some people might not be comfortable in a strapless gown, while others might have problem areas they would like to de-emphasize. Every dress doesn’t fit every body shape.

When looking for dresses, keep in mind the formality of your wedding and what the dresses will look like in relation to your gown. Because my wedding is outside and less formal, I didn’t want my bridesmaids wearing floor-length, satin evening gowns. Also think about the time of year you’re getting married. If your wedding is outside in the summer, remember that lighter colors do show when your bridesmaids are, um, “glowing.” During a fall or winter wedding, add a fun pashmina scarf that compliments your bridesmaids’ gowns as a pretty way to keep your party warm.

Because my girls are all one or two states away, I decided to try on some dresses myself to see what they would look like. After trying dresses on at a few stores, I was disappointed because the three I liked the most came in neither teal nor grey. I then began an arduous search online. For me, online shopping is a great place to get ideas, but if I’m buying something, I want to try it on. I would never ask anyone to spend $150 on a dress that I hadn’t personally tried on or at least seen what it looked like on an actual human.

Courtesy of Leslie Roush
My maid of honor didn’t know she was going to be famous. I decided on this dress, in teal, from Alfred Angelo’s. I think the style is classic and flattering and will look good on everyone in my bridal party.

While on a trip to Lancaster, I stopped at Alfred Angelo to check out their selection. Because that’s where I got my gown, my bridesmaids can save money buying their dresses there.  After trying on five or so dresses, I ended up finding one that I absolutely fell in love with. It’s very classic, flattering and it comes in teal! Finally!

Now on to accessories, shoes, jewelry, hair, make-up …

Related articles
Read all about my week of wedding dresses.

Check out last week’s post on blocking hotel rooms for your guests.

Miss any Rhoad to the Altar blog posts? Check out the planning process so far from engagement to cake and decorations.

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3 Responses

  1. April 5, 2013

    [...] weeks ago, I picked out my bridesmaids dresses, but I wanted to check the color swatches in person before deciding on “jade” or [...]

  2. April 11, 2013

    [...] Finding a bridesmaids dress for every body [...]

  3. June 23, 2013

    [...] See what my bridesmaids will be wearing. [...]

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