Q: I'm having trouble choosing a dress for my 10 bridesmaids. I want them all in the same dress, but how do I choose one that will look good on all of them? Do I have to pay for all of them? Do they need to match my wedding gown?
A: Just like most things in life, one size usually doesn't fit all—and one dress won't suit all unless your bridesmaids have similar body types. When it comes to your attendants' attire, uniformity is nice, it's expected, but it’s absolutely not necessary. In fact, mixing up the styles a bit is practically the norm these days. At the very least, it is nice to set your maid of honour apart by choosing a different dress or a different colour.
Choosing a bridesmaid dress shouldn’t be looked at as an opportunity for retribution for that frilly sea-foam green number taunting you from the back of your closet. Be nice. These are your friends! Most women are initially thrilled when asked to be a bridesmaid, but if they’ve ever been a bridesmaid before, inside their head they’re groaning, “What is she going to make me wear?” Consider choosing a colour and style grouping from one designer and letting your bridesmaids choose which one they feel best suits them. That way, the girls will match but your best friend won’t be hiding in the corner all evening for fear of falling out of the strapless dress you’ve chosen for her.
The bridesmaid dress should match the formality of your dress, so don't put them in a sundress if you're wearing a formal gown with a train, but it is no longer necessary to have your attendants’ dresses emulate your gown. Way back when, bridesmaids’ dresses not only matched the wedding gown, but were identical to it, as the original purpose of a bridesmaid was to confuse the evil spirits. These days, they’re there for moral support and to look pretty walking down the aisle.
It is typically expected that the bridesmaids will cover the cost of their own attire; however, some brides opt to pay depending on the cost of the dress they’ve chosen or the financial circumstances of their friends. So, unless you are planning to foot the bill yourself, be kind with both style and price.
Q: Help! I’m having a very hard time choosing a maid of honour. I have a few girlfriends that I’m fairly close to, but my very best friend is a guy. We’ve known each other since junior high, and he’s seen me through everything. Would it be weird to choose him instead of a maid of honour? Should he just dress like the groomsmen? Will I give my grandmother a heart attack?
A: Unconventional, yes! Unexpected, you bet! Acceptable, absolutely!
You want your honour attendant, whether a maid of honour, matron of honour, or man of honour, to be the person you feel closest to. Choose your best friend, the person you want standing beside you on your big day, not the friend that would look best in the bridesmaid dress.
If you choose a man to be your honour attendant, you may opt to eliminate some of the “typical” duties like hosting your bridal shower or helping you get into your wedding gown. But the most important part of the job description is being supportive and serving as the legal witness to your marriage.
Choosing your attendants can often be a difficult process, for both the bride and the groom. There may be family politics involved, or you may have served as a bridesmaid for a dozen of your friends and family members and feel obligated to ask them to stand up for you in return. Well…don’t.
This is your day, and although it is impossible to accommodate everyone’s wishes, you can’t make your choices based on not wanting to offend someone. You can’t make everyone happy, nor can you make everyone your bridesmaid, so just choose those you are currently closest to. You can always assign tasks, like performing a special reading, to those you want to feel special and included in your wedding but aren’t in the bridal party.
When you decide on the attire for your attendants, he can wear a suit or tuxedo and coordinate his tie to the other bridesmaids. This scenario holds true for the groom as well. It is also perfectly acceptable to have a woman be the best “man.” A best “woman” looks great in a black strapless gown to coordinate with the other groomsmen.
So, feel free to choose your best guy friend or brother to stand up for you at your wedding. Just keep your “man of honour” away from the lavender chiffon and size 11 purple pumps—and your grandmother’s heart should be just fine!
Lisa Hanslip, MA, CESP
senior event designer
the wedding planner, inc.
During your engagement, your relationship with your fiance is probably crowded with big things: plans to buy a house, the buzz of wedding planning, and so much more. But, when you and your fiance start your life as husband and wife and settle into a daily routine, your relationship can start to feel mundane if you lose focus on what really matters…the little things.