Bending Wedding Traditions | Bridesmaids Dresses

Raise your hand if you have a bridesmaids dress in your closet that has only been worn once. Raise your other hand if you plan on wearing it again. I bet most of you only have one hand up. Until recently I had several "beautiful-for-my-awesome-friend's-wedding" dresses taking up space in my closet. I say until recently because last December my sister-in-law, Jenny, hosted a holiday party where everyone wore an old bridesmaid dress, and at the end of the night the dresses were all left at the party and donated to an organization that collects dresses for girls with financial need.  The dresses are happily reused by those who may not otherwise have the chance to go to prom or homecoming in a nice dress (because let's face it, even though we may not want to wear our old bridesmaids dresses again, they are usually beautiful, high-quality dresses! Why should they just hang in our closets?).

Check out how many dresses were collected at last year's party!  Jenny was so smart to snag a photo of them all stuffed into her closet.

So to all you brides out there still trying to decide what to do about bridesmaids dress, I offer two, of many possible, solutions:

Solution A - Pick out whatever bridesmaid dress you think is the perfect fit for your wedding day! It is YOUR day, and your bridesmaids are more than happy to spend the money on the dress/shoes/hair/jewelry to be a part of your wedding day (I can speak for myself at least - I LOVE being in my friend's weddings, and I absolutely don't mind buying the dress or the other costs of the day...being there for a friend on one of the most incredible days of her life is such a great feeling).  However! Don't be surprised OR offended if one day your bridesmaids end up participating in one of these lovely "donate your dress" parties and the dress you picked out is among them. The dress was perfect for your wedding day, and now it will be perfect for making a young girl's night at prom magical.

Solution B - Let your bridesmaids pick out their own dress. What!? You heard me!!! Let them pick out their own dress! Choose a color, or a fabric type, or choose several colors and let them go nuts.  I promise, the pictures will still be PERFECTION.

Allowing them to wear whatever style dress they feel comfortable in will ensure that they feel confidently beautiful, and allows you to catch a glimpse of their personality.  And believe me, when a girl feels beautiful it shows in the photos. :)

Maybe you are a little hesitant about having different colored bridesmaid dresses? I understand - I was hesitant about that too (although I've seen it done amazingly!) As you probably know by now, I had a rainbow wedding, and my first thought was to put each girl in a different color dress from Red to Purple...whoa! Talk about overload! I got a little overwhelmed by that idea and decided to go another route.

With a little guidance from my mom and bridesmaids I determined that I wanted my bridesmaids to pick out whatever dress they wanted. The only conditions I gave them - the color had to be black and it couldn't cover their feet .  Then to fit my rainbow colors in, I assigned each of my bridesmaids a color (pink, red, orange,yellow, green, blue, teal, and purple - yes I had 8 bridesmaids...I love you all!) and let them pick out a pair of shoes in that color.  Add a balloon that matches the shoes and voila! The result was perfect-perfect-perfect for my wedding. I was happy because I had my rainbow colors without them being overwhelming, and because I had given my bridesmaids the freedom to wear whatever they wanted.  They could borrow a dress, wear one they already had, or if they really wanted, they could go buy a new one (and a couple of them did! :).

Long story short - don't be afraid to do something different! Get creative! Don't let "the norm" hold back your wedding day vision! You'll be glad you didn't. :)

***Dear person that I might have accidentally offended (but hopefully not!), I understand that traditions are often held very near and dear to people's hearts. If you are a fan of one of the traditions that I suggest breaking or bending, that's stupendous!! :) Follow that tradition and give it a giant bear hug! Make it your own! And if following that tradition to the tee is what best represents you, then by golly I'd say the stars have aligned and all is well in the world of weddings.***