Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Follow the Bride: Say Yes to the Bridesmaid Dress

Last weekend I was lucky enough to gather all but one of my lovely bridesmaids to go dress shopping. Whoa. What an experience. I had such a great time with my friends, but I didn’t know looking for bridesmaid dresses would be overwhelming. I had an idea of what I wanted, but I also wanted to keep an open mind and give my friends a little say in their attire. I really don’t feel comfortable telling anyone what to wear. I don’t know what silhouettes and colors they feel their best in and seeing how they are honored guests on the big day, I think they have the right to look great. Plus, I’m pretty lucky to have five great friends—I want them to still like me when this is over.

Alyson, Erin, Ali and Maura look like they'll all be moving on the the next round of The Bachelor. And don't they look pretty in J. Crew's Arabelle? Too bad that navy blue looks black!

We started our day at J. Crew’s new bridal boutique on Madison Avenue in New York. There was one dress I really liked and two colors I was considering—vintage blue and beechwood. I spotted the beechwood dress on the center display and asked if we could try it on. My excitement was met with a grim head shake. “That’s discontinued,” the woman said. Hmmm. Ok. Why is it on display? My next request for styles in vintage blue was also denied—that color was out of season and they were only carrying fall 2011. (Why didn't anyone tell me this when I asked to see these dresses a month ago?!?) So we headed to the changing rooms with navy blue, aluminum and lavender. One color I swore was too dark, one color I swore was too light and one color I swore too many bridesmaids already wore. The dress, Arabelle, looked great on everyone and all four ‘maids loved it. But I just didn’t like the colors and I was feeling too much pressure from the sales woman to pick the gray. “Thanks, I have to sleep on this decision,” I said and we made a beeline for the door.

This is where I almost had a panic attack: Standing on the sidewalk in front of J. Crew with nothing to show for our appointment but a style everyone liked. My college roommate Alyson got on the phone and called Bella Bridesmaid across town. She saved the day! They invited us to browse the racks and try dresses on even though we didn’t have an appointment. And the staff members were so friendly and helpful. I’m sure they’re even nicer when they are devoting their full attention to you. I was able to find the chiffon dresses I wanted from Amsale in the right color, French Blue. We didn’t officially settle on anything because we only tried on two styles, but I’m 99 percent sure we’re going to place our order at Bella Bridesmaid. I told my friends they could wear whatever they wanted, but everyone seems to like the same style. I don’t think I could have found cooler friends.
This is not French Blue, but the dress of choice for the ladies.

Readers, did you have a hard time picking out bridesmaid dresses? Did you take your whole bridal party shopping or just the maid of honor? And what did you decide on? Please, tell me that I’m not the only one who thought this was one of the harder parts of wedding planning.


Anonymous said...

I imagine it's gotta be the hardest part. It's the only part that isn't all your and the groom's decision.

I like them both. The bottom one is beautiful! And your friends are fabulous to all agree on the same style. I guess they have more in common than just you :-)

Cute choices!

Unknown said...

Very cute dresses!

I have been crying & whining about how much I dread bridesmaid dress shopping!!! It may have something to do with the fact that I sold bridesmaid dresses for a short time & I hated it but I digress. My Maid of Honor finally gently suggested we start the dreaded process & I chose Bella Bridesmaid in Madison, NJ because I admire their stores, dresses & service. We start the process on Saturday & I'm glad to hear you had a positive experience with them. Wish us luck!

Elizabeth said...

I think you'll really like Bella Bridesmaid. Make sure to ask them about any special events or trunks shows. We're going to order in November because they are having an Amsale event and the dresses will be 15 percent off.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog while looking for pictures of bridesmaids in the Arabelle dress (trying to see how short it is on someone who is not a model). I am also hating this process... My sister and maid of honor is VERY picky and VERY hard to fit. I'm glad you were able to find somewhere that worked!

P.S. I wanted navy too, and I wish that J.Crew one wasn't so black!!

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