All of the Where, What and How’s of Shopping for Your Bridal Party Attire
by Sara Haugland December 10
The sooner the better when it comes to finding the right attire for the most special people in your lives to wear when they stand next to you on your big day! The process of finding the perfect style, to getting everything ordered to alterations can take a pretty big chunk of time – between six and eight months. Rather than scrambling and stressing toward the end of wedding planning, start organizing your bridal party attire now. We’ve got the 411 on getting your attire: everything you’ll need to know about what to be on the search for, where to shop, who’s responsible for payments and how to prepare for try-ons and fittings. Let’s begin!
Photo // Rachel Elaine Photography
What to shop for
Don’t go in blind! Start by researching styles and colors to match your wedding theme, while also keeping in mind you and your spouse’s own attire when looking at your bridal party’s. Both bridesmaids and groomsmen attire should complement your bridal gown and your spouse’s attire, without clashing or taking the focus away from you.
When searching for bridesmaids dresses, many elements are in play – do you want all of your maids to wear the same dress? The same color? Floor- or knee-length? No need to fret! Take this into consideration when deciding bridesmaids dresses:
- Will all of your bridesmaids be comfortable wearing the same style of dress? It’s very important to take into consideration each bridesmaid’s personal style, personality and bodily features when choosing dresses. Some bridesmaids might be uncomfortable wearing a certain color or style of dress, and it’s oh-so-important to ask about these factors before making any final decisions. If all is okay, then proceed with matching dresses! If not, keep reading for ways to accommodate.
- Mismatched bridesmaids dresses are extremely popular, and we absolutely love to see it! This is a GREAT alternative to accommodating each bridesmaid’s level of comfort, while adding an element of visual interest to your big day. Whether you’re wanting to mismatch dresses based off of color, pattern, style, material or length, make sure they’re all in coordination and complement your lovely gown, not clash with it!
- Finally, remember to factor in the accessories and shoes your bridesmaids will be wearing! If you are going for gowns with patterns, pearls or jewels, it might be best to not have them wear jewelry, or minimal at best. If you’re wanting to make a statement with their shoes, consider going with shorter, knee-length or high-low cut gowns to be able to show them off!
For your groomsmen, this is the perfect opportunity to get your future spouse involved in the wedding planning with you! Talk through your wedding theme and style and decide if you want more classy or casual, suit or tuxedo, and how you are going to distinguish your groom from the groomsmen.
- Deciding if your groomsmen will wear a suit or a tuxedo is based off of your wedding theme – are you going with a classy, elegant day or a more casual affair? For an elegant day, groomsmen could wear tuxedos to add a more chic and classy feel to the day. If you are going for tuxedos for your groomsmen, bow ties and suspenders are traditionally worn – these are essentials for this groomsmen look! Suits can be worn for elegant affairs too, but are more typically worn to casual days. A perk to suits is they can be dressed up or down and easily customized to fit your wedding day color palette.
- If the tuxedo or suit look isn’t a style you and your spouse are wanting, there are plenty of non-traditional options you can shop for. Styles that are becoming popular are: just dress pants with a shirt and tie; dress pants with a shirt, tie and suspenders; dress pants with a shirt and a sweater or cardigan for winter weddings; or a dress shirt with clean blue jeans with a vest and a tie for rustic, casual weddings. Choose the best style for groomsmen, similarly to how dresses suit your bridesmaids!
- You can’t forget about the accessories! Once you’ve decided the style and look you’re wanting, you can begin customizing each groomsman’s look. Each groomsman can have different colored or patterned ties, socks, pocket squares, cufflinks or anything that coordinated to the style you’ve chosen. We have some of the best options for your groomsmen accessories over on our Amazon shop!
- A final key factor in shopping for your groomsmen is having a distinguishing factor between your spouse and the rest of the party. This can come in many forms, from your spouse wearing a tuxedo to the rest of the party wearing suits, having a patterned or different color outfit from the rest or having a different color or patterned tie or bow tie.
Where to shop for your bridal party attire
Once you’ve decided colors, styles and themes for your bridal party’s attire, it’s time to go shopping! Bridesmaids’ attire can come from many places, and with COVID-19 hitting, it’s become increasingly popular to shop online. The good thing for bridesmaids dresses is they can be ordered from multiple places (if you’re going with the mismatched look), or all from the same place. On the contrary, groomsmen attire is recommended to come from the same place, from the same manufacturer and be the same style. No big deal! Whether you’re going with suit or tux, mismatched or matching, there are great local bridal party attire boutiques, like Bella Bridesmaids and Beside the Bride, offering both online and in-person services to help you in every step of getting your perfect attire sorted and ordered.
How to be prepared for a dress/suit fitting
You’ve found the place and you’ve got your style, now it’s time to try it all on! Once dresses and suits arrive, here’s some suggestions when it comes to trying on bridesmaids dresses and groomsmen’s suits:
- Bridesmaids, come with the right undergarments! Wearing neutral undergarments will be crucial in being comfortable when trying on your dress. Don’t be afraid to bring a couple different bra options, too, to determine which one will be the best fit with the dress. The more prepared with undergarments, the better!
- We also suggest bringing any jewelry and shoes you will be wearing on the big day, to see how they will look and if the dress will need to be altered to accommodate. Wear a little makeup and your hair in the style similar to how you might be on the day is also suggested, as you can see how it will all fit together right from the start, instead the day of the wedding!
- Groomsmen, it’s helpful to know sizes coming in to a fitting, but getting an updated fitting is also a great option! Come with any accessories you may be wearing (socks, pocket squares, cufflinks or suspenders) to see how it all looks together.
- For all members of the party, get alterations done to how you look now, versus how you think you will look when the wedding rolls around. It’s very easy to take away material, but very hard to add material back. Better safe than sorry!
Who is responsible for payments?
While it’s not an easy topic to discuss, bridal party attire is an essential expense in every wedding budget. First, decide if you will be renting or buying all of your bridal party attire. Once that is determined, it’s time to pay! Traditionally, bridesmaids and groomsmen and responsible for their own outfits. However, if you have enough money in your budget and are willing, you can most definitely pay for your bridal party’s attire. If the party is paying for their own, it is suggested that they are paying for outfits they are comfortable in and also fit their budget.
Some ways to save money when it comes to bridal party attire can be going with mismatched bridesmaids dresses, like mentioned above! Finding dresses you approve of and are coordinating with the theme of your day can be cheaper for your maids, plus they can find a style that suits them and their personality. For your groomsmen, consider giving them an accessory item as a gift, instead of it being an expense out of their pocket. Purchasing quirky socks, personalized cufflinks and providing them with their tie or pocket square is a small expense they won’t have to be worrying about, and it’ll serve as a great memory from your wedding day!
You’re ready to find the bridal party attire of your dreams! Head to our local attire vendors’ page for locations on finding the perfect attire for your big day. Cheers!