The Bridesmaids

Last week I wrote about the overview of the day, how we hope it will pan out. We now move on to filling in some of the details in more depth. As the wedding is still over 4 months away, some of the details are still in progress but I will start with the things which are pretty much sorted.

So, the bridesmaids. I said last week that I have chosen to have three adult bridesmaids: my two younger sisters and my older sister-in-law-to-be. I usually refer to them as A1, A2 and T on my blog but I had some feedback that this was rather confusing. Short of giving them fake names, this seemed to be the best way of keeping their anonymity but allowing readers to identify them from each other. If anyone has a better idea, please do let me know.

From reading American wedding blogs it seems that it is common place for the bride to choose the dresses and then the bridesmaids to have to pay for their dresses themselves. In England, it is traditionally the bride who chooses and the bride (or her father!) who pays for the bridesmaids attire. There is however a growing trend on both sides of the Atlantic for the bridesmaids to choose and pay for their own dresses. Although this does mean that the bridesmaid will have a dress she is happy to wear again I did not want my bridesmaids to have to outlay any money just because M and I are getting married.

Once we had decided on the place and the theme of our wedding we were a little clearer in roughly what we wanted the bridesmaids to wear: a blue (ish) dress which complemented mine in style. Our only restrictions were that they must all wear the same dress (within reason) and that the dresses must come under our budget of £150.

Now, I know what dress I have chosen, but I will have to postpone that post until much later as it is still very much ‘in progress’. I can however tell you it is a simple strapless column dress so anything I chose for the bridesmaids has to reflect this. So, I started where any blogging bride-to-be does and started looking for images. This was the initial board that I compiled.

Top Row Left to right: (1) & (2) Dessy (3) vera wang/alvina valenta
Top right: niche by Suzanne Neville
Middle: Little Jo
Bottom Left: Pocket Venus
Bottom Row Left to Right: (1) vera wang maids (2) & (3) Ann Louise Roswald
Images from &

As you can see, two main ideas were emerging: strapless and a bright peacock-y blue or green. Sadly all of these dresses were outside of my budget so I turned to the Great British High Street for further ideas. I went through website after website and selected any dresses which roughly fit my criteria. I then e-mailed all the images to the bridesmaids and had them give me their feedback. After all, A1 is living in Australia so she couldn’t just come round and try things on. I then edited the images into some inspiration boards:

Images (clockwise from left) Dresses by Oli, Whistles, Topshop, Monsoon & Topshop
Shoes by Dune

Images (L-R): Dresses by Oliver Bonas, Oasis, Warehouse, Monsoon & Oliver Bonas

I then persuaded A2 and T to come to the shops and try some of them on. After seeing T in the blue one on the right I bought 3 of them and thought I had picked a winner. Sadly, when A2 came to try it on it simply didn’t suit her (her girls looked like they were shouting “hello boys” and might escape at any moment – not the look she, or I, wished for the wedding). Sadly it was back to the drawing board for me, and back to the shop for the dresses.

My Mum then came up to London and we went to the newly opened Westfield Shopping Centre in West London. To any one in the US this is, I presume, much like your average mall, but to us, it is the largest shopping centre in Europe. It was there that we found the dresses I eventually bought, from a shop I never thought I would choose. They were reduced to £55 in their pre-Christmas sale and so brought them within budget. They are strapless, elegant without being cleavage revealing and complement the theme beautifully. Sadly the photo on the shop’s website is hideous but it is the best I have at the moment:

Images (clockwise from L): Dress by Debenhams, Shoes by Rupert Sanderson, Headdress by Boring Sydney via Etsy, the venue (by me), Peacock via Style Me Pretty, Shoes by Monsoon

On my bridesmaids the dress sits a little lower and therefore looks more flattering and we have opted not to use the detachable straps. The ribbon belt sits a little looser and lower and I have trimmed the unsightly net hanging out of the hem line. As you can see from the image above, I did choose them some shoes to go with the dress but in the end those went back to the shop as well. A1 prefers flats, T prefers designer shoes. I decided that on the day the bridesmaids shoes would probably be the least of my thoughts or concerns so I decided a happy bridesmaid in shoes she feels comfortable in was all that mattered. My only rule – they must be silver.