Bridesmaid dress shopping: The long and short of it.

There have been quite a few times when my ideas, which are slightly contemporary, have clashed with typical wedding traditions. It’s gotten to the point that when my mother talks about my wedding to her friends, she always adds in the qualifying statement “well, you know..they have a lot of different ideas since they live in San Francisco.*”

If you haven't seen this video of a "dancing wedding entrance" - you need to. Talk about nontraditional! And apparently this couple is from Minnesota 'ta boot'! 🙂

One of my “crazy, non-traditional, completely wacky” ideas was that we should consider short bridesmaid dresses. What?! I know- insane, right?

Although I thought short wedding dresses were the new normal, traditionally short dresses could be considered more “slightly informal and more common for summer weddings”. During my quest for the perfect bridesmaid dress I can’t tell you how many times I heard statements like:
– “Well, you could have short dresses if you really wanted them….but it is going to look silly. And how will people be able to tell the bridesmaids apart from the wedding guests?”
– “Short dresses? Your bridesmaids will freeze! It can get cold in September.”
– “Short dresses might show your bridesmaid’s knees- that is just not done. Maybe for a garden party wedding, but not at a church!!”

<sigh> With all this advice floating around, I honestly got to a point where I wasn’t even sure if I wanted short or long dresses. To help me clear my head and really hone in on what I envisioned for my wedding, I scoured the net for inspirational wedding party photos. Here are some of my favorite images:

I love the composition of this photo. Photo credit to Delightfully Engaged.

Super cute and sassy! These dresses look so elegant and clean. I think the similar styling that all the girls have really ties it together. Photo credit Style Me Pretty.

This was the photo that made me want to make all the girls get the same shoes. Adorable! Photo credit The Wedding Shoebox.

Love the shoes here; what a nice pop of red! This photo really drives home that you can have mismatched bridesmaids and still have it look really cohesive. Photo Credit Emily Schiesl Events.

Very elegant. All the girls look great and the sheen of the fabric really gives it a fancy flair. Photo Credit Luster Studios.

These BM dresses are from Priscilla of Boston and look f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c. One thing that I think really helps this photo work is that while the bridesmaids dresses are fuller, the bride's dress is more tailored. Love the styling too! Photo Credit Style Me Pretty.

Inspired? I was! My main takeaways from this research exercise were the following:
– In my opinion, long or short doesn’t seem to makes a big difference in terms of elegance or formality.
– Shiny fabrics (satin, taffeta) seem to give a really fancy flair that I love. Chiffon is great, but for me it does seem like more of a spring/summer fabric.
– Styling makes a HUGE difference! The main reason all these photos POP for me is because the styling is well done and the posing is natural, and yet artistic.
– I do like the more matchy-matchy looks better. I think mismatch is awesome, it’s just not my personal preference.

With all of this information, I was armed to go shopping..again! Did you find any particular inspiration which helped you decide bridesmaid dresses?

And, an even bigger question in my mind, did your wedding ideas conflict with any traditions that you were “supposed” to follow? 🙂

*Not that geography makes me any more “contemporary” than the Midwest, but it’s a great excuse for my craziness! lol


About annlili

ecofreak. wino. explorer. small feet.
This entry was posted in bridesmaid, inspiration, traditions and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Bridesmaid dress shopping: The long and short of it.

  1. Pingback: Bridesmaid Dress Shopping: Minneapolis Bound! | Joyfull Wedding

  2. Emily says:

    I LOVE the dancing down the isle! Every time I watch that video I start to cry (my sister calls it the parade cry). Did you know that couple is from Minnesota?!?

    I’m mean. I’m making my bridesmaids wear short dresses, in Minnesota, in December! 🙂 I wanted a fun cocktail evening look to our New Years Eve wedding and no matter how many long dresses I looked at, I couldn’t see my bridesmaids wearing long dresses. I do want to do some outside pictures so I got hot pink Ugg-style boots for myself and the bridesmaids (and mini ones for the jr bridesmaids and flower girl) and I’m getting pashmina shawls as well to brighten things up and fight the cold.

    I’m all for going against tradition. Who said the wedding rules are set in stone? 🙂

    • annlili says:

      Ohhh…I LOVE the idea of the hot pink Uggs!! So cute. I agree that cocktail dresses look great, and to me a cocktail dress is just as fancy as a floor length gown.

      And, NO! I didn’t know that couple was from Minnesota- that is so awesome! I love that video; it really makes me want to force the wedding party to do something similar going into the reception…but I’m not sure if I could convince everyone to do it. BTW, do you have photographers yet? If not, I could highly recommend a few choices.. 🙂 And where did you end up going for tuxes (I was just noting on your blog that you have that done)? I think we are going to have to end up going to Men’s Warehouse.

      • Emily says:

        We did hire our photographer, Agape Moments out of Oak Grove (northern twin cites suburb).

        And we did pick out our tuxes. We ended up going with Savvi. I think Men’s Warehouse was our first pick but they didn’t have the tux we wanted. The bridesmaids dresses are black with a charcoal sash so we wanted to bring more of that charcoal color in with the tuxes. Men’s Warehouse just had a lighter silvery one. It was really pretty handsome but just a little too light for the look we were going for.

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