Shop for your attendants’ dresses as soon as you find your wedding gown. Like your gown, bridesmaid dresses are made to order and need a significant lead-time to secure. You should have your attendants’ measurements on file when you shop. Each bridesmaid’s dress will be made to fit her, and the dress manufacturer needs the same six-month period to fill the order.
Bridesmaids are traditionally responsible for the cost of their dresses and accessories. You should therefore pick a dress in the price range your attendants can afford. The reality is that these dresses will probably never be worn by them again and are for them a one-time item.
Not all of your bridesmaids will have similar body types. You should try to select a dress that complements all of them, if possible. It can be helpful to ask the woman or women with unusual body types or a few extra pounds to accompany you when you shop. Have her (them) try on dresses. If a dress can be found that is attractive on her (them) it will probably look good as well on the women whose bodies are less difficult to fit. In some cases it may be best to select a dress for the majority of your bridesmaids, and find a reputable seamstress to custom-make a similar dress for the harder-to-fit woman (women). Another approach is to choose a color and dress length, and allow your bridesmaids to select the style of dress to wear in that color. You could also purchase the fabric, and each bridesmaid could have her dress made in a style that is flattering to her.
As with the search for your gown, tearing pictures of attractive bridesmaid dresses from bridal magazines can be quite helpful. By showing the boutique or department store salespeople the styles you like, you’re helping them find similar dresses to show you.
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No matter how hard you try to find the “ideal” dress for your bridesmaids you will never please all of them. Do your best to come to a decision that serves all of them, but find the dress style that pleases you. After all, it is your wedding!
For bridesmaids traveling a great distance to be part of your wedding, alterations can be done where they live. The bridesmaid dresses can be sent there and be altered by a local seamstress with time to spare. Decide on a shoe heel height for your attendants, and have all the dresses hemmed the same length from the floor.