Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Step 26 - Order Bridesmaid Dresses and Tuxedos for the Wedding Party
(9 Months to 24 Months before the Wedding)
Now is the time to switch focus from the bride's dress to gowns and tuxedos for the wedding party. It is important to note, there is a pecking order on the lady's side of the bridal party. The bride has to come out very glamorous, all dolled up everything about her is fabulous, the wedding gown, the hairdo, and the makeup. The maid-of-honor is semi glamorous too, but not as glamorous and doesn't overshadow the bride. All the other bridesmaids are made up pretty too, but not dolled up to the extent that the bride and maid-of-honor are.
Early on in the wedding planning process, the bride to be should have decided on a wedding theme and/or a color scheme. As now the attention shifts to focus to the bride to be's court, the bride should call a meeting of her court, share some of her ideas on the wedding theme and color scheme of her wedding. She may show off some of her thoughts by rummaging through bridal magazines, and from printing out bridesmaid dresses from wedding related websites such as bridal related websites, wedding photographers websites, from wedding websites, and wedding articles. One goal to keep in mind when hunting for bridesmaids' dresses, is to find a dress that each of the bridesmaid can wear again and again, dresses that can be worn at special events, such as to dances, dinner dates, and special occasions, not a one and done type of outfit.
After formulating what the basic look shall be, the bride her maid-of-honor and other bridesmaids now are ready to go on a roadshow and hunt for their gowns. How many bridesmaids she should invite along depends on the personalities of the ladies. If they all have strong personalities, you might want to take along one or two, which may be the maid-of-honor and a close friend. You don't want in-fighting because they all push their preferences. If it's a go with the flow crowd then maybe you can invite the entire crew. Whoever goes, make a fun day out of it.
Usually bridal salons will have bridesmaids outfits but tend to offer higher prices, but they are worth a look. Then there's department stores, prom stores, thrift stores, some dress shops, hand me down wedding boutiques, and there's always online if you don't find the color you are looking for. You might look online at wedding related websites too. The first time out is the hunt, you might find outfits in one store but you want to be sure to look see what other stores have to offer before deciding on a bridesmaid dress.
The ultimate decision on choosing the bridesmaids' outfits is the bride-to-be, she will get the input of the maid-of-honor and the bridesmaids and then the decision is hers, do their dresses exert a look she likes, yea or nay! Once a decision is reached, she then wants to check with all the bridesmaids on what day is good for them and makes an appointment with the store where the gowns were found, and sets a time and how many bridesmaids will be in attendance. It's important, that all the bridesmaids order the gowns together, if the dresses are not ordered together, then there is a risk that some dresses will come out in a different shade which will disrupt the visual effect of the wedding party.
When the bridal group first goes to the store, all of them need to be professionally measured together from the store. Many manufacturers, bridal shops, and department stores all have their own unique way of measuring and their own size charts, you can't assume measurements will be handled consistently from store to store. If any bridesmaids are missing from the appointment, work with the store on how to best handle that bridesmaids measurements. That bridesmaid's maybe can make a separate appointment, go get measured at a sister store, or she can be informed on how to perform her own measurements and email, phone or fax the information to the store.
Make sure the bridesmaids are all content with the choices, there are all sorts of body types, how one dress may look on one lady may not look good on another. You want to be sure all the bridesmaids outfits are comfortable and attractive on all the ladies. Who pays for what? It all is up to the bride to be and her affordability. In many weddings, it is presumed the bridesmaids will pay for their own dresses and that is why it is a good idea to find gowns that can be worn again and again. If the bride can afford it, especially for dresses that are unique and unlikely to be worn again, the bride should cover the cost. In some cases, the costs get split 50/50. In other's, the bride-to-be will help buy gowns for bridesmaids that don't have much funding available but do so quietly.
Once the bridesmaid's dresses are ordered, plenty of time should be set up for alterations of the bridesmaid's gowns, even allow for two fitting appointments. Make sure the bridesmaids wear similar shoes with correct heel sizes to the fittings as well as appropriate hosier and slips, you don't want straps to be showing. It is recommended that bridesmaid dresses get picked about 2 1/2 weeks before the wedding, this is so there is a little bit of time to make alterations to the gowns.
The flower girl's dress can go three different ways, her outfit could match the outfits of the other bridesmaids, her outfit could be a slight variation of the color scheme of the wedding, or be a white flower girl dress. Make sure if she is getting the same dress as is the other bridesmaids, that she comes along for the fitting, gets measured like everyone else, that is if the store has a dress for the size of a 4 to 8 year old.
You may end up looking for the same color dress but in a children's store. Bring along a color patch to match the colors up. Order the dress a little bit on the larger size, the flower girl will probably grow some in the time leading up to the wedding. Don't forget to pick up a flower basket that will match up with the colors at the wedding and be careful on choosing the flower stems, some flowers stain and some do not and as you want to avoid getting flower stains on the flower girl's dress.
Next comes the groomsmen. A standard tuxedo leasing package often includes jacket, pants, vest,, or cummerbund, tie, bow tie and cuff links and/or studs. Believe it or not, the bride-to-be often gets involved with helping to find the tuxedos. The bridesmaids and the groomsmen often need to gel. The look of the two of them together needs to be coordinated. Sometimes even, a little color is added along with the tuxedos to get that color scheme look. There could be a color scheme in the shirts, the bow ties, the ties, pocket squares, and sometimes a three inch flower is pinned on the tux.
Usually the groomsmen rent the tuxedos and they can be found at tuxedo stores, department stores and also at bridal shops. The bride-to-be is the decision maker for which tuxedos are chosen. She may go and meet the groomsmen at the store, she may choose both she and her fiance to meet the groomsmen at the store, or she may just tell her fiance to take care of the tuxedos and leave him with marching orders on what color to shoot for. Most of the time the bride-to-be picks out a pattern, usually black or silver and patterns or no-patterns. The groom generally wears a lighter color to stand out, often his tux color is white or grey. In some instances, usually for smaller weddings, if the groomsmen have tuxedos at home, the tuxedos are checked out and they are given the okay to wear. For middle sized or large weddings and with all the photography, the bride-to-be wants beautiful pictures and everybody should be color coordinated to what look the bride-to-be wants.
The groomsmen should get resized around two 1/2 weeks before the wedding and a lot of tuxedo leasing stores allow the tuxedos to be out about a week. Many stores charge a $25 late fee per day, the fees are money makers for the store, so you need to be mindful on when the return date is due and get somebody to return the tuxedos right after the wedding and not wait until after the honeymoon or you may be left with hefty tuxedo late charges. Arrange for the best man, a groomsman, or good friend to return the tuxedos if the bride or groom are unable to meet the deadline.
Collared shirts and French cuff links are also a must to go along with the tuxedo. Matching cuff links make a great groomsmen gift favor. Many men need cuff links around the home for special occasions and often don't have them or can't find them or loose them. Make sure the tuxedos are thoroughly checked out at the fitting and when they are being picked up, they are thoroughly checked for rips, or loose threads, or stains.
As for the ring bearer, it's a choice decision if the ring bearer should look like the groomsmen or not, the ring bearer is generally between the ages of 4 and 8 and you take the risk of the tuxedo getting dirty or the store might not even have tuxes for the ring bearer's size. You might just be better off buying the young gentleman a nice suit, remember to order it a little big, the youth have their growth spurt periods. Don't forget to pick up the ring bearer's pillow for the wedding rings.
So now you've ordered the bridesmaid dresses and the groomsmen tuxedos for the wedding party. Next come some embellishments, make sure none of the bridesmaids goes overboard, it's the bride's day to shine! See you on the other side.
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