After the bride has carefully chosen the style, the fabric, or even just the color of the bridesmaid dress that she'd like you to sport on her big day, it will be your task to head to the store and try it on. But before you step foot in that polyester or chiffon gown, there are several things you'll need to have on hand. So what does it take to be fully prepared for what a bridesmaid dress fitting entails? We tapped bridal fashion expert Gabriella Risatti to shed some light on the situation so you can get the most out of this important pre-wedding experience.
Meet the Expert
- Gabriella Risatti is the owner of Gabriella New York Bridal Salon, where she's accumulated over 13 years of experience in the industry.
You'll most likely need multiple bridesmaid dress fittings, but packing these six expert-recommended essentials will have you feeling like a pro at your very first one.
1. Appropriate Undergarments
If you're at a loss about what to wear to a bridesmaid dress fitting, start with the basics—underwear. "A bridesmaid should wear the exact undergarments that she plans on wearing the day of the wedding to her dress fitting," says expert Gabriella Risatti.
Since you're not sure how the dress will fit, bring along a couple of different bra options, especially a strapless version, to see which one is most comfortable and works best with the dress. Keep it plain and simple by sticking to seamless styles and nude hues, since no one wants to see your cheetah-print bra sticking out. If the dress has a low or open back, it might even have cups sewn in, but having bra variations will still be helpful.
2. Shoe Options
The bride may ask you to pick up a special pair of shoes that are a certain style or color, but, for now, bring a few different shoe options to try the dress with. That way, you can give her a heads-up on what shoes you think will work best while you're trying on bridesmaid dresses. Dresses are usually designed for a 5'10" bridesmaid, so bring shoes with a similar heel height to the ones you might wear on the big day. This will determine how much hemming needs to be done or, if you're a bit taller, whether you'll need extra length added to the dress.
"If the bridal party doesn't have shoes for the dress fitting, and the dress is long, the bridesmaid should definitely wait until she has the actual shoes before doing the hem," says Risatti. "The seamstress can alter the gown almost entirely and just leave the hem for another fitting. It's too risky to attempt to do the hem without the actual shoe."
On the day of the wedding, you'll be all dolled up with a face of makeup and your hair pinned back. So jump forward into how the dress will actually look by sweeping on some lipstick and blush when you go to try the dress on. "I recommend taking the time to make your hair and makeup look nice before the fitting so you can get a great idea of how you will look on the actual day," says Risatti. "You're certainly less likely to love the dress if you just roll out of bed and show up at the fitting."
If the bride gifted the bridal party with new earrings or necklaces that she wants her squad to sport on the big day or if she has a specific jewelry vision already in mind, bring those accessories with you to help visualize the full ensemble while you're trying on the dress. Plus, the bride-to-be will be thrilled knowing that you're on board with her accessory choices. Send selfies of the full look, jewelry and all, to get her stamp of approval and earn bridesmaid brownie points. "Even if the bride hasn't selected jewelry yet, it's often a good idea to at least wear some fancy earrings to the dress fitting, just to get the look," says Risatti.
5. Hair Ties or Clips
Wearing your hair up at the wedding? Bring a hair tie or clip to get a better idea of what the dress will look like paired with an updo. This will also give you more visuals of the neckline and the back of the gown.
6. A Good Attitude
"Most importantly, if the bride is present at the fitting, keep things positive," says Risatti. Even if you're not madly in love with the dress the bride has picked out, keep your thoughts to yourself. Go in there knowing you can add your own splash of personality to the dress with makeup and accessories.