March 20, 2010

Bridesmaid Dresses, Take II

Posted in Fashion at 2:42 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

My first bridesmaid dress plan tanked. Remember, I had put a deposit down on some used Twobirds designer dresses I found on the Weddingbee classifieds? Well, the bride I was getting them from no longer had the size B I needed for one of my ‘maids. Full price the dresses, at over $300, are waaaay out of our price range, so, I got my deposit back, and then it was back to the drawing board.

I found out there’s still time (barely) to order dresses from Aria, so I went to the Pasadena store last Friday and tried on about 50 different styles. It was actually pretty fun. I had the whole salon to myself for two hours, with one assistant who willingly snapped front and back pictures of each dress I tried on! And she even dealt with my slightly-broken-camera issues, in that the camera turns itself off each time a picture is taken. Thanks, Aria assistant lady!

I loved all of the dresses I tried on. Really, how often does THAT happen?!? Each one fit me perfectly. They’re really very well made.

If I go with the Aria dresses, the Paisley ‘maids will pick out any style they like, and now it’s up to me to pick a color and a fabric. Da dum, da dum. *Cue ominous JAWS soundtrack music.

I find it extremely challenging to pick out a dress color and fabric when it’s not me who’ll be wearing it. I’ll think “well, THIS color would be rewearable”–but then realize, to another girl, it might not be a rewearable color.

Or, “THIS cheaper man-made satin is nice and affordable, but I wouldn’t want to wear a cheap-looking dress out on the town. I’d probably just use it for the wedding and then toss it.”

Why this emphasis on rewearability? I know every bride says that, and most often it’s not true. Get over it, they say, your bridesmaids will not rewear their dresses! But I’m REALLY trying hard to achieve this for my maids, because they’re all in college, and one has a new baby, so I want what they spend their money on to be something they can use again.

If I could have, I would have chosen for my ‘maids to wear a cute dress from Anthropologie, or a non-bridesmaid-y dress from J.Crew or a cute boutique store dress. But those stores don’t accommodate the range of sizes I need, damn them!

It’s also frustrating, because I know all these bridal stores ramp up prices just because they’re selling bridesmaid dresses. The fabric quality and construction of most of these bridesmaid dresses is really not worth the $200 price tag.

But, I just don’t know where to shop for non-bridesmaid dresses in the range of sizes I need (size 2 to size 24). Do any of you know of a store with cute dresses in those size ranges?

Our budget is preferably around $150. I’m trying to keep costs down in other areas as well, like shoes. They can wear whatever metallic-colored heel they want. And I’ve bought gorgeous earrings from Anthropologie for them to wear, each are different earrings, so hopefully it will help them individualize their look a bit.

Here’s an inspiration board I made of me wearing one of my favorite Aria dresses at the moment–eyelet lace in powder blue. I included pictures of some of my wedding things to show how the colors will go well together:

Many of our paper products, like the favor boxes (shown above), the candy jar and beverage jar labels, and escort cards feature pale silvery blue and light aqua colors as well as eyelet lace. Plus there’ll be bunches of eyelet lace wrapped candles (also shown above) on all the tables at the reception.

Here’s a close up of the eyelet dress:

Their light blue in silk shantung was gorgeous as well:

Our flowers will be shades of pink, cream and yellow, like the bouquets in the inspiration board above, shown against some navy dresses… which got me thinking, our light-colored bouquets would pop nicely against the navy blue.

So, I tried on a navy blue dress at Aria:

I thought the color looked chic. Navy blue is currently an accent color only in our wedding decor. The addresses on the envelopes are letterpressed in navy, and one of the colors on my invitation suite is navy. The programs will be tied in a navy bow. So, it could work.

Plus my wedding gown, the ever-popular Lia by Melissa Sweet, is very elegant, and the ceremony is at six, which makes me think the navy blue might be the winner.

What do you ladies think would look best? I’m leaning toward the eyelet. It’s just so sweet. Gah! I’m having such a bad case of bridal indecision!

By the way, anyone looking for an eyelet wedding gown, check Aria’s out (I just couldn’t help myself and tried it on while I was there!):

Inspiration board photo credits: personal photos, Martha Stewart Weddings, Style Me Pretty



  1. Amanda said,

    Thanks for the post. Did you happen to try on any eyelet dresses with a fuller skirt? The “shirred” silhouette? I like the 50s flair of that silhouette but wish I could see how it lays.

    • Hi Amanda,

      Yes, I do remember trying on a 50s flair eyelet dress! But sadly I erased my photos other than the ones I posted in my blog! I do remember trying on every single eyelet dress they had and loving them all! Those dresses are really well-made and honestly fit like a dream. I wouldn’t have had to get them altered at all. Good luck in your search!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: