Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bridesmaid Take Four

I enjoy going to weddings as a guest. I'm always up for a big party. I rarely enjoy being a member of the wedding party as much as I enjoy being a guest (except for my own wedding of course). I was in two weddings when I was younger but I don't really remember them so I guess I shouldn't complain. As an adult, I have been a bridesmaid three times and am signed up to be in two more weddings next year.

The worst part of being a bridesmaid is definitely the dresses and accessories. In the first wedding that I participated in as an adult, the bride choose designer suits for all of us to wear. She was 19 years old at the time and the entire bridal party was in their late teens to early 20's. The best way that I can describe the suits is that they were burgundy with a curtain print and a lace collar. These dresses would have been suitable for the mother of the bride, not for a group of teenagers. So it's spring break, and every inch of our bodies is covered with long sleeves, a high neck and a tea length suit all topped off with burgundy shoes dyed to match. We all looked horrible next to my friend in her handmade ballgown. The marriage lasted for less than a year but I still have the dress in the back of my closet.

The next wedding was my college roommate's. She chose a designer and a color and allowed us all to pick whatever style dress we felt suited our bodies. While I don't think I will ever wear the royal blue dress again, at least we all look great in the pictures. We did have to buy royal blue gloves to match the dresses but that's a lot better than having shoes dyed to match. I don't understand why anyone would want all of their bridesmaids to wear the exact same dress. Everyone has a different shape and not all dresses look good on all shapes. Usually, one bridesmaid looks really good in the dress, a couple look okay and one looks horrible. I have yet to see a dress that suits all body types. Unfortunately, my college roommate's marriage ended in divorce but she is getting remarried next year and I'm excited to be in another wedding party for her.

For the next wedding that I was in, the bride thought it would be fun for all the girls to go to David's Bridal together to try on dresses that came in sea foam green (her chosen color) and pick a dress together. Luckily, sea foam green doesn't look good on anyone so we all settled pretty quickly on a very simple dress and then headed off for lunch. The wedding was kind of a drag but all the partying before and after the wedding were great. The pictures of us in our shiny pastel green dresses that show every bulge and imperfection are pretty funny. We know we look bad and we just don't care. We're about to rip off those dresses, pull on some jeans and head to the bar!!

For my wedding I had everyone wear red and white, the colors of my wedding dress. I didn't given anyone a particular dress style, just the color codes. The two girls next to me wore red; there were more than 30 dresses in my shade of red for them to chose from. The next two girls wore the mix and match two piece sets. They each ended up choosing a red skirt and a white top but in completely different styles. They also chose to accent their dresses with a satin shawl (one in red and one in white). The last two girls wore white dresses (more than 50 to chose from) and added a red sash. My flower girl wore a white and red dress similar to mine. Everyone had dozens of choices and they were all able to pick dresses that they felt comfortable in and that flattered their bodies.

One of the bridesmaids from my wedding is getting married next year. At my wedding she told me how great it was that they all got to choose their own dresses and that she was going to do that at her wedding. Last weekend all the bridesmaids for her wedding got together, at the brides request, to watch her try on dresses and to pick out bridesmaid dresses. I am not a girly-girl. I like to dress up but most of my friends are guys or non-girly girls so shopping with a group of girls isn't high on my list of fun things to do. I chose my wedding dress by myself in less than a hour. No one saw my dress until the day of the wedding. I like to go shopping by myself. I have never enjoyed hanging out at the mall or hanging out with the girls. I usually get to the store the second they open so I can get in and out before most people wake up. This past weekend we were dress shopping from 10 am to 4 pm.

You would think that with 5 hours of shopping (we did break for lunch in the middle) at two different bridal stores we would have everything wrapped up. Nope. My friend couldn't make a decision on what wedding dress she wanted or what she wanted us to wear. The color, style, etc. of all dresses is still up in the air. The bride was constantly questioning the 6 of us that she dragged with her about what dress we wanted her to wear and what we thought looked good on her. We all told her that this was her day and she should wear whatever she wants. She didn't like this answer and kept pressing for our guidance in choosing a dress. By the end of the day we were all pretty snippy and bored out of our minds.

The worst part of the day was that she had us shopping at these little boutique bridal stores. You know those stores that have every dress in one size (usually and 8-10) and one color and where all the employees are snotty and condescending. Apparently these guys didn't hear the news that the average American woman is a size 14. I tried looking for dresses in one of these stores initially for my wedding. I ran for David's Bridal as quickly as I could after I was told that most of the sample sizes were 8's and that they could pin the dresses on me to give me an idea of what it would look like in my size. I wear a size 16; I couldn't get most of the dresses over my hips. They told me they would be glad to order a dress for me in my size but after I ordered it I owned it. The big stores have most of the styles available in the store from size 0-32 so that you can see how the dress fits your body. You can usually leave the store with your dress that day (I did with my wedding dress). If you do have to order the dress they tell you it will take 3-6 weeks to come in. I have never waited for more than a week and a half for a bridesmaid dress.

My horrible dress shopping experience did wonders for my self esteem and I recounted this story to all of my close friends, including my friend who I went shopping with. Eight months ago, my friend would have gone through the same experience that I went through because she was a size 16. Now she is a size 10-12 and could fit into most of the sample sizes. Apparently losing 20 pounds included the loss of her compassion for her bridal party. There are five bridesmaids. One girl is a 00 (I'm not joking, that's her actual size), another girl is an 8, I am a size 16, another girl is an 18 and the last girl is a 24. We range in height from 5'1 to 5'11 and in bra size from nearly A to H cups. There is no dress that will flatter all of us but the bride has now decided that we should all wear the same dress and none of my bridesmaids waited for longer than 3 weeks.

Last weekend she had all of us go into the dressing room and try on every dress that she liked so she could see how it looked on each of us. After the first few dresses didn't go over our hips, three of us gave up and left the fitting room fun to the size 8 and the size 00. The size 8 is short so while all the dresses fit her body most of them made her look stumpy because the length and cut of the dresses. The size 00 was swimming in the dresses and even with the store employees pinning the dresses as tight as they could she still looked like she was wrapped in a beach towel in every dress that she walked out in. We tried on every color from fuchsia to light blue to black and she still doesn't know what color she wants. Did I mention that we also range in skin color from porcelain white to Puerto Rican tan to chocolate brown? Hopefully we won't take any pictures at all.

I don't understand why you would want everyone to wear the exact same dress. It makes for boring pictures and an unflattering day for all. It's the equivalent of dressing all your children in the exact same outfit even though they aren't twins or twins still dressing a like when they're in their 30's and no longer look alike. In the next few weeks I will have to order my bridesmaid dress because at the little boutique shops it takes 6-9 months for a dress to come in. So i will give them my measurements, get a dress that doesn't fit and spend at least as much money on alterations as I did on the dress. I can't wait.

1 comment:

  1. Makes me glad I got married early and got to serve cake, greet people, do the guest book, organize etc. most of the time, matrons of honor aren't real popular around here for some reason?