It’s a special day when you get asked to be a part of someone’s special wedding day as their bridesmaid but – what exactly does that mean? For starters, it means being there for the bride while she is trying to plan her special day. It also means there is bridesmaid dress shopping involved but don’t worry! We've got you covered with answers to all the questions you might have when bridesmaid dress shopping! Finding your perfect bridesmaid dress is equally as exciting as it is important to the ceremony because you will not only be in majority of the pictures, but you will also be wearing it on what is going to be a long day.
Let's be honest--weddings are overwhelming for everyone involved, not just the bride! You've been asked by your bestie to be a bridesmaid, and you were so excited to accept! But now what? Any questions or confusions about the bridesmaid dress colors, how to measure it and exactly how many bridesmaid alterations you need are absolutely normal. It can also be confusing to manage finding a bridesmaid dress that fits while you’re pregnant that helps you feel comfortable and is still flattering. No worries though-- here are a few pointers that will help calm any nerves about finding the perfect bridesmaid dress.
Before bridesmaid dress shopping, be certain that you know what the bride wants her dream wedding to look like. What is the wedding palette? What color does she want you lovely ladies to wear? What does she want her wedding aesthetic to be (rustic, light and airy, classic, etc.)? Check out her wedding Pinterest board! After you have an idea of what she is looking for, do some bridesmaid dress research for what you like as well! Although this is the bride's big day, you should feel beautiful in the dress you wear too. Find dress styles that will match well with what both of you are looking for.
It is a good idea to research beforehand which bridesmaid dress shops you want to visit and set up appointments with them. Ask them what you should do to best prepare for your visit. Be sure to eat before shopping because no one likes hangry bridesmaid dress shopping! And don't forget to wear comfortable shoes and clothing that is easy to slip on and off.
Would rather shop for bridesmaid dresses in the comfort of your own home? Kennedy Blue offers hundreds of bridesmaid dresses that you can try on at home! Buy a bottle of wine, grab your favorite chick flick, and throw an "at-home try-on" party with the bride and all of the other 'maids! Kennedy Blue offers a fun and easy way to bridesmaid dress shop, and we also offer a great excuse to party! Order some color swatches before throwing your party so you and the bride can get an idea of what colors to order your try-on dresses in.
Be honest about what dress fits your size and makes you look the most beautiful! Nothing is worse than finding a bridesmaid dress that is too big or too small. The best way to avoid any uncomfortable catastrophes is to get your measurements for a bridesmaid dress.
During your fitting, you will be measured at your bust, waist, and hips. While being measured for your chest, wear the bra that you plan to wear with the bridesmaid dress so the measurement can plan accordingly. While measuring your waist, do not suck in your belly because if not, the dress will fit too tight and you will be uncomfortable for the whole day. Your hip measurement should be taken at the fullest part of your hip. Overall, do not order a dress that is too small because having to fix it later will be impossible.
For those who are pregnant, there is no need to measure the waist. The pregnant bridesmaid dress should be measured with a few extra inches to take into account that your belly might grow by the time the wedding comes around; don’t forget that your shoe size might also increase. As a general rule, a pregnant bridesmaid dress should add an inch to each measurement for each month left in the pregnancy by the time the wedding day is here. For example, if the wedding is three months away, add an extra three inches to your bust and hip measurement.
If possible, it is a good idea to leave the last bridesmaid alterations as close to the wedding date as you can get to make sure the pregnant bridesmaid dress fits well. Additionally, if you have a say in the matter, opt for an empire waist bridesmaid dress or a flowing, chiffon dress that will help your pregnant bridesmaid feel comfortable, embrace her shape, and still feel beautiful!
Fabrics and colors will look different in person than they do online and in photos so try not to think that the bridesmaid dress color must be perfectly identical to what the bride might want. Photographers will also edit the pictures and you might also fall victim to having a slightly different color on your bridesmaid dress. A good idea is having the bride pick a certain bridesmaid dress color and having her bridesmaids pick the styles, and maybe even the hues. The style is both on trend and comfortable for everyone!
Need something more exact to see how a color will look like on a certain fabric? Look no further than ordering swatches to see just how your baby blue option will look like on a lace dress. The options are endless!
Unfortunately, yes, bridesmaid alterations are a must-do. The bridesmaid dresses are not custom made and can be fitted to make sure you and your body look beautiful the day of the wedding. When ordering your dress, don't be afraid to ask the shop where they suggest you get your alterations done. Be sure that the bridal store you bought your bridesmaid dress from is an expert in the wedding industry. Every good bridal store will have a list of the best places to alter your dress.
With every bridesmaid wearing the same dress, a few accessories can really make it your own so the bridal party can look both uniform and unique. Before you start buying a statement necklace that would look out of place with your bridesmaid dress, talk to the bride and make sure if she wants anything specific like only pearl accessories. Choosing your own accessory and making the bridesmaid dress unique can also help with your budget if you choose to use your own jewelry.
Take the time you need to help pick out the bridesmaid dress with the bride and her bridal party but remember that alterations do take time. It is always a good idea to order your bridesmaid dress sooner than later (unless you are pregnant). Regardless of whether or not you're pregnant, as long as you have the dress ready at least a month before the day of the wedding, you should be good to go.
All Kennedy Blue dresses are under $150 while the average bridesmaid dress costs $210. You can even find Kennedy Blue bridesmaid dresses for $89 or less! While alterations are at an extra charge, you won’t find any other bridesmaid dress at such good quality for your budget.
Don't forget accessories, shoes, hair, makeup, and wedding gifts! Expect accessories and shoes to cost anywhere between $60-$130. The average salon charges $70 for hair and $50-$60 for makeup. Sometimes brides will cover some of these expenses, but more often than not, it's on the bridesmaid to cover all of the expenses associated with her role.
Before beginning to shop for your bridesmaid dress, talk to the bride about any budget concerns so the two of you are on the same page and can compromise for a style that makes both of you happy.
Being a bridesmaid comes with a lot of great memories like bridesmaid dress shopping, finding the perfect accessories, and practicing catching the bouquet. Although bridesmaid dress shopping isn’t your usual Target run, always ask if you’re unsure of anything. You’re going to look fantastic no matter what, so don’t be nervous. The most important thing is that you are going to have a great day, supporting the bride and groom!
Ever had a dress mishap? Have any tips for shopping for bridesmaid dresses? Leave us a comment!
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Taking Your Measurements
For the most accurate measurements, do not measure over your clothing. Your measurements should be taken while wearing undergarments similar to the ones you will wear with your dress. The measuring tape shouldn’t be pulled too tight or have too much slack, and should always be parallel with the floor.
Wedding apparel is typically sized differently than retail clothing, so keep in mind that it’s not uncommon to find yourself requiring alterations.
Wrap the tape around your back and under your arms at the fullest part of your bust (not underneath the bust).
While standing up straight, bend at the waist to one side. Take the measurement where the natural crease happens in your side. This should be a few inches above your belly button. Stand up straight and do not “suck in” when taking this measurment.
Standing with your feet together, wrap the tape around the fullest part of your hips and butt to get this measurement.
Compare these three measurements to the Kennedy Blue size chart above. It is very important that you order the largest size that corresponds to your measurements. For example, if your bust measures 40.5” (size 12), your waist measures 31” (size 10) and your hips measure 41.5” (size 8), we advise that you order a size 12, and get your dress altered down to custom fit your body.
Depending on the fabric, a dress can be altered down up to 2 full sizes, but can be very difficult to let out as there is only about .5 inch of fabric to do so at the seams.