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Always the Bridesmaid…: A Guide to Styling Bridesmaids

By Claire

Bridesmaids Style GuideWhat would a bride-to-be do without her crack squad of bridesmaids to help her through the emotional rollercoaster that is planning a wedding? Bridesmaids help organize the big day, accompany the bride to her dress fitting (and sometimes provide some frank opinions!) and provide an ear and a comforting shoulder to cry on when things get a bit too much.

And they do all of this because they love you…oh, and because it gives them a chance to either revisit or experience the glitz and glamour of a wedding too! For all their hard work in the months leading up to a wedding, it makes sense that bridesmaids should be rewarded with a gorgeously glam look on the day itself. With that in mind, this post is going to focus on bridesmaid style…with a vintage wedding twist!

Choosing bridesmaids’ outfits, whether you’re a bridesmaid yourself or a bride deciding on an overall style, is a something of a balancing act; you need to look gorgeous but without upstaging the bride herself! Generally, the bride will decide on a style for her bridesmaids. If you’re having a vintage-themed wedding, then you should find this easy as the overall theme will dictate the style of your bridesmaids.

As with the bride, the dress is the most important part of any bridesmaid outfit. However, remember that you’re not just buying for one woman and as such, you need to consider the shapes and sizes of your bridesmaids. A dress that suits one of your bridesmaids may make another feel self conscious and the last thing you want on your big day is an unhappy bridesmaid!

I’d suggest rather than picking one certain dress for your bridesmaids, set a color and style and let your bridesmaids buy their own based on these suggestions – go along with them to provide a bit of guidance if the prospect of this makes you nervous! The color and style should be dictated by your theme if you’re having a vintage-themed wedding; for example, gold flapper-style dresses would look great for a 1920s themed wedding.

Traditionally, the bride gives their bridesmaids a gift and I can’t
think of a better gift than some beautiful wedding accessories! Now, we’re not talking a pair of £500 vintage wedding shoes here (unless you have an exceptionally high budget) but rather something that’s beautiful without breaking the bank.

Certain accessories definitely work better as gifts than others. I would advise against buying earrings as, like dresses, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ style. Different styles of earrings flatter different facial shapes and unless you want to buy each of bridesmaids a different set, it’s probably best to let your bridesmaids decide what they feel comfortable in.

Waterlilly Pearly Necklace by Ivory & Co

Waterlilly Pearly Necklace by Ivory & Co (£60)

I would suggest that necklaces and bracelets make for the best gifts – opt for a style that fits your overall theme. If you’re planning a vintage wedding, you’ll probably need to buy vintage-style rather than authentic vintage as it’s highly unlikely that you’ll stumble upon five identical vintage wedding necklaces! If you want to maintain some degree of control over what your bridesmaids wear, make your gift the ‘statement’ piece of their outfit – that way, you lessen the risk of being outshone!

As for the rest of the accessories, I think understated but glamorous should be the order of the day. Think pearls rather than diamonds and silver rather than gold! Shoes can be used as a way of adding personal expression to a bridesmaids outfit, but don’t be tempted to wear 7-inch red stilettos if none of the other bridesmaids are too. Co-ordination is key!

However, I think the most important thing to remember when styling bridesmaids is to remember that they are your friends rather than your personal Barbie dolls. Even the meekest of us can become Bridezillas when the pressure is mounting, but don’t become a dictator – listen to your friends’ suggestions and let them adapt your suggested style so that they feel comfortable and more importantly, gorgeous!

Kate x

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