Bridesmaid Dress Shopping - Top Tips

Any bride with a troop of great bridesmaids by her side is a very lucky lady! She knows she'll have a lot of support, advice and help in the run up to her wedding, but when it comes to choosing the all important Bridesmaid dresses careful thought and planning is often required to avoid unnecessary stress.

We have a put together a list of tips to help you along the way...

1. Discuss the budget

Many of us Brits can find talking about money very uncomfortable. Unfortunately shopping for Bridesmaid dresses is one of those areas where you will need to be completely upfront about this and discuss it as early as possible.

If you plan on asking your bridesmaids to pay for their own dress then you will need to consider their personal situation, how much you think they might be happy and able to pay and also consider that if they're footing the bill they'll probably have more of a voice about which styles they do or don't like.

If you plan on gifting the dresses to the girls then be sure to let them know what your own budget is before they start looking, to avoid any upset or uncomfortable situations later on.

2. Find out what they DON'T want first.

Asking your girls what they do not want to wear is far easier than asking what they do want. It's much less stressful creating a short list by eliminating dresses rather than adding them, you will find yourself narrowing down your options and hopefully reach your end goal much quicker. Make sure to ask your bridesmaids about colour options, dress shapes & lengths and which fabrics they do not like.

3. Do give your girls some ideas about how you would like them to look.

Telling your bridesmaids that they are completely free to choose anything they want often ends with lots of messages containing images reading 'how about this one?' filling up your inbox. If you give them a few boundaries to work with then your are much more likely to end with everyone on the same page when looking at style ideas which will save time in the long run.

4. Leave plenty of time.

Bridesmaids dresses can take between 12 and 16 weeks to arrive, depending on the time of year they are ordered. Allow extra time for alterations, approx 4 weeks, and a little extra time so you don't feel rushed or pressured into making a decision. Ordering 6 months before your big day should give you plenty of time to know that your dresses will arrive in good time and allow you some time to focus on other areas of your wedding planning in the run up to your big day.

5. Make a few appointments if possible.

Bringing all of your bridesmaids to your first appointment can be really overwhelming! You might want to consider just taking your maid of honour or your mum with you on your first appointment and narrowing down the selection available based on your list of ideas from your girls. After this you can arrange a second appointment for the whole troop to come and choose from your shortlist.

6. Remember to move in the dresses!

When trying on bridesmaids dresses it is important to remember that this dress will be worn for a whole day - a wedding ceremony, reception dinner and party. That's a lot of movement! Ask your bridesmaids to try sitting down and walking around in the dress to check that it is comfortable on their body before you commit to buying.

7. Be sure to get measured by a professional.

Each dress designer uses their own size chart. A size 12 dress from one designer might fit your size 12 bridesmaid perfectly where only a size 14 dress from a different designer will fit the same girl. Ask your Bridal consultant to measure your bridesmaids properly and choose their size from the designer's size chart before you place your order. It is always best to order a dress for the largest part of your body as it is much easier to have areas of a dress altered to make it smaller rather that making it bigger.

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