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Bridesmaid Dress FAQ’s; Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know

From who pays to what’s appropriate in dress styles, the complete list of everything bridesmaid dress related, ever.

4 minutes to read

Who pays for the bridesmaid dress?

The answer is, it depends. Traditional etiquette says the bridesmaid should pay for the cost of their entire outfit. However, many brides these days mix it up; the bride may pay for the dress but expect the bridesmaid to pay for a new pair of shoes or the hair and makeup. Being a bridesmaid can be really expensive and this needs to be considered by everyone involved.

Who chooses the bridesmaid dress?

The bride should ultimately choose the bridesmaid dress. But these days, there should be involvement of the bridesmaids too; they may not be comfortable wearing the style or colour that’s been requested. A halfway measure is taking the bridesmaids shopping and trialling a number of outfits and finding a style that they are comfortable in.

Has a bridesmaid ever worn her dress again?

No. Even shortening it, it still looks like a bridesmaid dress.

When should you buy the bridesmaid dresses?

You don’t want to leave bridesmaid dress shopping until the last minute. Dresses may need to be ordered, and they could require alterations. Six months out gives plenty of time, and if any bridesmaids do change body shape, they can get the dress taken in or let out closer to the time.

What can you do with used bridesmaid dresses?

There is no reason to keep bridesmaid dresses hanging in your wardrobe for the rest of your life. The bride may re-sell them as a bulk unit to try and recoup her costs, or if you paid, you can sell on TradeMe. Or, hang on to it indefinitely and put it in a dress-up box for your future children.

Another option is altering it to wear it again. While simply shortening it isn’t always enough to remove that ‘bridesmaidy’ feel, there may be a way to change it and make it a part of your everyday wardrobe.

Why do bridesmaids all wear the same dress?

To confuse potential kidnappers! Believe it or not, it’s a traditional dating from Queen Victoria.

Can bridesmaids wear black?

Absolutely! There are no rules any more (and, they are more likely to re-wear a black dress).

How much does a bridesmaid dress cost in NZ?

The cost in NZ ranges around the $100- $400 mark, depending on a variety of factors. Pippa Middleton’s bridesmaid dress for her sister’s wedding was a cool $70,000, so if you feel like you’re asking too much, just remember that.

Which is the best bridesmaid dress design?

There is no perfect one-style-suits-all bridesmaid dress. Some styles are more flattering and comfortable than others; a V-neck dress gives a great shape to necklines, and wrap dresses are really easy to wear. The key is to make sure the fabric is forgiving – for instance, satin reflects every line and bump- and the tailoring makes the fit absolutely perfect.

What is the best colour for bridesmaid dresses?

Colours are important for the wedding, and the bridesmaid dress colour is normally one of the accent colours. Colours are also seasonal; you’ll find summery yellows, pinks, and greens, and autumnal neutrals and warm reds. Blue is one of the most common colours, although because of the range from soft baby blues to deep royal hues, it can be hard to match blues throughout everything at a wedding.

Baby’s Breath have noticed the burnt orange, amber, persimmon, dusty blue and sage colours are most frequently ordered as of 2020/ 2021 season.

Can you have mismatching bridesmaid dresses?

Absolutely, yes. If you and your bridesmaids don’t want matchy-matchy, you can do whatever you want. Whether it’s the same dress in a range of colours or the same fabric with different styles, there are far less expectations around matching bridesmaid dresses than there used to be. Infinity dresses are a good option here, as the bridesmaids will all effectively be styling their own gown.

My bridesmaids don’t like what I’ve chosen. What can I do?

This is so tricky; you’ve chosen dresses to suit the feel and style of your big day, and they’re hesitant. First thing is finding out WHY they don’t like what you’ve chosen. If it’s practical—like the style is uncomfortable to wear—then you may need to make accommodations. If you have only ever purchased clothes to suit you, it can be hard to understand that strapless dresses are a nightmare for large-chested women, or that a tight dress can be uncomfortable on someone who is more gender-fluid.

If the colour is causing problems, make sure they can see the colour in person, not just on the internet. Send fabric swatches if possible. If it’s still a problem, find out why. Be prepared to meet them halfway; maybe a sage green instead of apple green.

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