Photo: Amy and Stuart Photography
You love your bridesmaids. In fact, their different tastes, styles, and personalities make you love them even more — but when it comes to getting everyone to shimmy into the same dress, drama can definitely ensue.
Luckily, you live in NYC, where there's a slew of stylish bridesmaid dresses to suit every style and budget. So your only real issue is reeling everyone into a dress you love (and let's face it), one they won't gawk over.
We sat down with Claudia Hanlin, owner of The Wedding Library, to help decode the best dresses for every bridesmaid scenario under the sun. Here are Claudia's top tips to help each of your girls feel beautiful on your big day!
The pregnant bridesmaid
It's tough to be pregnant for your friend's wedding, since it's difficult to gauge what your growing body will look like in six months' time. Add pregnancy hormones, changing lifestyles, and other stressors to the mix, and it's easy to see why your most chill girlfriend can become your most fickle bridesmaid. "It's key to find a bridesmaid dress that accommodates her growing belly," says Hanlin. Sometimes this means letting her wear a different silhouette than the other girls. "Let her choose an empire waist to accommodate her tummy," Hanlin adds. "And be sure she picks a size up from her current bust size."
The out-of-town bridesmaid
Your college girlfriend who lives thousands of miles away may feel left out by local wedding planning activities. Once you've narrowed down your bridesmaid dress choices, Skype her at the post-shopping brunch. You'll make her feel included, without adding more mayhem to the appointment itself. "Once you've decided on a style, have her provide accurate measurements provided by a professional tailor," Hanlin adds. This way, you can place one order, and not worry about color variations, which is a common issue when gowns are ordered separately and cut from different dye lots.
Bridesmaids with varying budgets
Remember that bit about how you love your bridesmaids for all their differences? Their lifestyles play a roll here, too. If you're planning a full-out fete at the Plaza and have your heart set on expensive gowns for your girls, consider their budget before taking the plunge. Ladies who need to travel, or those who are still in school, might struggle to purchase a pricey dress. "Buy during a trunk show where the best prices are on offer," says Hanlin. Another great option? "Quietly supplement the cost of all dresses, so as not to call out your budget sensitive friends."
The non-responsive bridesmaid
We've all been there... For some reason, your normally giddy girlfriend has gone completely off the grid when it comes to all things wedding planning. If she's not responding to dress shopping cues and potentially holding up a final purchase, it's time to take the plunge. "Choose for her," says Hanlin. And be sure to keep your cool. While she definitely wants to be there for you, life happens. Jobs, family, finances — really, anything — could be keeping her busy, and she probably doesn't want to weigh you down during this happy time.
Dealing with too many opinions
While radio silent bridesmaids can happen, a more common situation is having too many opinions, which can be totally dizzying! Keep in mind that your girlfriends are likely working off your cues. If you engage them in every step of the bridesmaid shopping experience, they're going to share all their ideas. Instead, do the bulk of the research solo. "Offer a selection of two to four dresses," says Hanlin, "and allow each girl to choose the one they like best." You can take the final decision from there!