There are six lovely ladies in my bridal party: my sister, my FSIL, and four of my friends from graduate school and law school. Let me just say that Team Hot Cocoa is pretty hot. And if I were a jealous bride, I'd outfit them in these masterpieces from the Hong Kong wedding mall:
The gold number on the left is spectacular. I mean, nothing gives off mixed signals like an extra panel of frilliness in the crotch area. It's like Scarlett O'Hara meets Eve in her fig-leaf days. And the silver lamé gown would be perfect for a jaunt down the yellow brick road with the Tin Man.
Lucky for Team HC, I'm not so into the Marie-Antoinette-meets-Rampage aesthetic. I just wanted them to wear something that would make them feel beautiful and special, so long as it was appropriate for an evening black-tie-optional wedding. And since I was going to be purchasing the dresses, I was hoping to find something relatively affordable too.
We started out with the cotton cady dresses from JCrew. They came in a few styles that would work well on a variety of body shapes (sweet!), arrived quickly (sweeter!), and were on clearance sale (sweetest!). The only drawbacks were that the "royal purple" of the cady dresses didn't really go with the more sedate purples in my wedding palette, and the cady fabric seemed a bit too casual. The JCrew wedding reps bent over backward to help me locate sizes/styles appropriate for all six ladies, which was difficult to do given that the dresses were on clearance. Unfortunately, JCrew wasn't able to locate dresses for the whole party. But how's this for good service? They kindly allowed me to return the dresses I had in my possession (even though they were on final sale).
Our next stop was Bridal Reflections, a boutique in Watertown, MA. Owner Anita runs the business out of her home, and her second floor is crammed with hundreds of bridesmaid dresses from most of the major lines, including B2, Watters & Watters, and Alfred Angelo. Because of her low overhead costs, she passes on major savings to her clients. So you get the prices of a discount retailer (like Netbride) with the opportunity to try on a number of gowns under the discerning eye of a patient and attentive expert.
Two members of my bridal party, L and A, came with me to scope out the gowns. A tried on the B2 gown above, which we liked on the hanger. Once it was on, though, we saw that it had a strangely high neckline for a strapless dress. Seriously, the dress looked like it was trying to throttle her.
A also tried on the above Dessy, which was okay, but it left us a bit uninspired.
We liked the Alfred Angelo gown above on L. The empire waist was flattering on most body types, and the loose shape of the gown meant that the ladies could partake heartily in our dessert bar without worrying about a muffin-top (or should I say cupcake-top) effect.
But we loved this adorable lace dress from Alfred Angelo. The lace had metallic threading, which amped it up for a formal wedding, and it came in two delicious shapes -- a chic empire waist number (modeled by A above) and a sweet tank style dress (modeled by -- holy cupcake tops -- me below). The dress came in a mauvy-lilac shade that seemed to go well with the color palette of the wedding.
The plan, upon leaving Bridal Reflections, was to have the six ladies choose from the two lace dresses, as well as a satin strapless style (modeled by L above). All three styles of dresses would be in the same color, but each woman could pick the style that went best with their aesthetic and their body type.
We were all set to place the order when I found something even better! To be continued . . . .
Was finding the perfect dress for your bridal party even more difficult than finding a dress for yourself? Did you change your mind a million times over like me?