Searching for Dresses

Hands down, this is one of my favorite parts of being the maid of honor (MOH). Then again, who doesn’t like finding the perfect dress? But today we’re not going to talk about finding the perfect wedding dress. You can find that on any bride’s blog, I’m sure. Instead, let’s talk about finding the perfect bridesmaid dress!

Looking for a needle in a haystack.

Go in with a game plan. 

Liz and I stepped into the first store with an open mind. We focused on style over color because Liz wasn’t set on a certain shade. Her colors are silver and an aqua-ish blue, but that’s as specific as it got. She wanted me to wear a darker shade than the other bridesmaids, but wanted the dress style to be the same. Therefore, our game plan turned into this:

  • Hunt for something that looks flattering on everyone.
  • Only look at dresses that hit at or slightly above the knee. No floor-length gowns except for the bride’s.
  • Search for a top that still looks cute when covered with a shrug (Liz is Russian Orthodox and the women’s shoulders must be fully covered while in the church).

Be willing to try on many, many dresses. 

We were lucky that we found the dress we wanted in the second store we looked at. Our first day was spent at Picker’s, a local dress boutique, and I tried on a ton of different dresses. Some of them looked good…

This one was a favorite, but didn't fit Liz's theme well.

A shoulders-covered option.

And some of them looked not so good…


This one made me want to cry.

When we left Picker’s, we thought we had decided on this style:

Not my best angle, but you get the idea.

Liz and I both really liked the top and we thought it would be flattering on every girl in the bridal party. Most of us have smaller chests, except for one, and we thought this top would reign in her “girls” nicely. The only thing we weren’t certain about is how good it would look with a shrug.

We didn’t like this store’s policies and charges (way over-priced because they tried to tell us it was a rush order and it definitely wasn’t), so we headed to David’s Bridal the next week, which brings me to my next point.

Browse online.

After we had an idea of what style Liz wanted, we jumped online and looked for similar styles in stock. Liz printed off those pages and made sure to bring them with her to our next appointment so the consultant knew what we had in mind. Once we were there, more dress-trying-on ensued.

Another from Picker's because that's all I have to show. Sorry!

Lime green and a big bow doesn't go with me.

Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. 

I am all for making this day exactly what Liz wants, but I’m also not one that’s going to sit idly by while someone tries to purposely make me look ugly. Liz is a beautiful woman in general, so I told her in the beginning there was no way I could ever possibly outshine her on her special day. So basically, I begged her not to put me in something horrendous.

At one point, there was a dress that she seemed to like, but I absolutely hated it. I told her immediately and that dress quickly dropped out of the running. I can only imagine what would have happened if I didn’t speak up.

*Quick tip to the bride: don’t bring your entire bridal party. 

It’s great to have multiple minds working, but too many voices can make things overwhelming. If you’re like Liz and want the style of each dress to be the same, bring the two girls that are on either end of the spectrum. In this case, that happens to be me and Kelly, one of the bridesmaids. I was going to tag along anyway because I’m the MOH, but bringing Kelly was extremely helpful because we could see what worked best on her body type as well. What looks good on me doesn’t necessarily look good on her, and vice versa.

Extremely blurry, but I wanted you to see the style.

P.S. I apologize for the low quality of these photos, but they are all cell phone pictures. I’m bringing my camera next time!

Plan for your budget. 

Tell the bride as soon as possible how much you can afford to pay for a dress. I’m a recent college grad who’s moving to New York City, which isn’t the cheapest place to live. So Liz knew upfront that I could not drop a ton of my savings on this dress. Liz later told me that information was extremely helpful in narrowing down dress options. If it was out of my budget, it was eliminated. What a great friend 🙂

Finally, we found a dress we’re all happy with! We bought a strapless top because it looks best with the shrug and it is the most flattering on each girl. My dress came in the other day and lucky for me, no alterations are needed! I found my shoes at Payless  and I’m wearing my own jewelry, so I’m all set!

Please excuse the crazy hair and awesome tan lines.

Other things to remember:

  1. Bring whatever type of shoes you’ll wear at the wedding. Liz wants me in flats at the wedding because I’m taller than her, so I wore flip flops each time.
  2. Bring accessories. I should have brought a shrug with me because I knew my shoulders needed to be covered. Don’t be afraid to wear the jewelry you think you might wear to the wedding either — you’ll see right away if it goes with the dress.

And there you have it! My tips for finding the right bridesmaid dress without yanking out your hair.

Have you ever shopped for a bridesmaid dress? What tips can you share? 


Posted on June 2, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. That is a flattering dress! I was my friend’s MOH last year when I was pregnant. That didn’t make dress shopping too fun. Especially when she wanted a shiny material watermelon colored dress. How fitting. I DID look like a watermelon. 😉

  2. Oh no! You’re right, I don’t think I would have too much fun dress shopping if I were pregnant either. And I’m glad you like the dress! Lucky for me, the bride and I have been best friends since we were young and we’ve always “pinkie promised!” that we weren’t allowed to purposely make the other one look ugly! I’m 100% for the idea of making your bridal party look as good as possible…leads to much better pictures if everyone looks fabulous!

  3. Don’t ask me for dress advice 😉

  4. I have to say I was getting nervous looking through the earlier dress pictures. But the one you decided on is so feminine, simple and elegant. You look stunning! Especially with those toned arms lovemuffin. xo

  1. Pingback: Wedding Pictures Part 2 | Just Resting Up

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