Has bridesmaid dress shopping entered a new era?

facebook-profile-picture By Claire

I ask this both as a bride to be and as a bridesmaid. With so many high street and online retailers now selling stunning and affordable bridesmaid dresses, is there really any point going to a bridesmaid dress fitter anymore?

Previously as a bridesmaid, I’ve been invited to a dress shopping day, visiting specialist shops for bridesmaids gowns. All the bridesmaids have gathered together to filter through the rails and rails of different colours and fabrics, trying on so many different styles, before settling on the right dress. Although typically settling on the right dress usually does involve just that, settling, as it’s inevitable you’re going to have a number of different body shapes and you have to make one style fit for everyone, without taking into account personal style. The dressmaker usually has quite a job on their hands to ensure the dresses are altered to be right for all the bridesmaids. That being said, it is a lovely experience. Not every bride takes her bridesmaids to find her own dress and so the bridesmaid dress shopping is the next best thing. It’s probably the only time the bride and bridesmaids all meet to plan something together, and can be made into a great day out, if not a series of great days out.

However, with the likes of ASOS, Missguided and Whistles, to name a few, now dabbling in a bridal range, offering an extensive range of bridesmaid dresses, is there really any need for the bridesmaid dress stores anymore? There is an abundance of choice, and the dresses are made to standard sizes. This is the reason my friends have, rightfully so, turned to the internet to buy bridesmaid dresses, and I don’t blame them. I’m certainly thinking of doing the same, as I don’t see the point in paying the lofty prices of bridal shops when you can get something just as beautiful online. The one thing I feel this is missing though is the experience. Both recent times I’ve been a bridesmaid I’ve been given a dress bought online to try on in my own bedroom. It’s fine, we found a dress that fitted everyone that the bride was happy with, but it left me thinking was this the experience I had envisioned for me and my bridesmaids when choosing their dresses?

My wedding is in 11 months so I think I need to start thinking about bridesmaid dresses, and I really want to find the right way round this. Add into the mix bridesmaids that don’t all live in the same city and it can become a bit difficult. I’m thinking of planning a girls shopping day to try on dresses in loads of stores, just to get a feel of what dress styles people like and suit, before I can narrow it down to potentially ordering some online. Separate to that, I also think a shoe shopping trip will be another fun experience. This is something I’ve recommended to my friend who I’m bridesmaid for in July, so we all have the chance to get together for a girly day.

Some brides don’t feel the need to have that experience at all, but I want to make sure that both my bridesmaids and I enjoy the experience – plus I love shopping so this is a great excuse!

What did you do for your bridesmaid dresses and how did you combat this? I would love to hear your comments!

P.S. Can you notice a colour theme here? All pictures from Pinterest.

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Clare Richards //

A friend of mine, whipped out the credit card – bought tonnes of lovely dresses online (coming to around £2k) and had a lovely bridesmaid trying on session with them all together. They get a lovely group experience in the comfort of home. Once they’d decided she simply returned all the unwanted dresses. I think I’ll be doing the same for our wedding! x