Charlotte Balbier

the big blog debate: will you let your bridesmaids have a choice?

March 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Found on weddingchicks.com, photography by Peaches & Mint

via weddingchicks.com, photography by Peaches & Mint

Another Friday, another meaty topic to get our blogging teeth into.  Today we discuss a topic that we covered as Official Blogger for The North West Wedding Fair’s magazine this spring and one that many brides-to-be struggle to make a call on – whether or not to involve your bridesmaids in the decision making process when choosing their outfits for the big day.

The Big Blog Debate

rachel says: let them choose!

One of a bride-to-be’s top priorities is naturally going to be to look and feel the very best she can for her moment in the limelight. However not too far behind should be the same thought for your bridesmaids, for they too are playing a key role in the proceedings and will not thank you for putting them in unflattering designs and uncomplimentary colours.

Too many cooks can spoil the broth – agreed, but going ahead and choosing the bridesmaids dresses without consulting or involving them is undoubtedly going to lead to some miserable maids come the big day.

You don’t necessarily need to take all your leading ladies on the first shopping trip, but having a discussion with them beforehand will help no end. This gives an opportunity to talk about what colours and designs are on the short list and for a bridesmaid to raise her concerns if she truly feels a certain suggestion would not suit due to her complexion, hair colour or figure.

It’s also an opportunity to discuss the price range, particularly if you are just putting a contribution towards the dresses, or are asking the maids to fully foot the bill for their attire.

The respect has to come from both sides to result in a winning wedding party that looks and feels great on the inside and out. So I say get the gals on board for a shopping trip that you can all enjoy while being honest and fair in your suggestions and choices.

Found on greenweddingshoes.com, photography by Kati Rosado Photography

Found on huffingtonpost.com, phtography Erich McVey Photography

via greenweddingshoes.com, photography by Kati Rosado Photography ¦ via huffingtonpost.com, phtography Erich McVey Photography

julia says: it’s your decision!

Picture the scene – you’ve found the perfect gown for your maids, it’s in the right price range, it’s the right colour and would fit into the theme beautifully. But come shopping day when your friends see it they each find something they don’t like about it, and worse still they each find a totally different dress that they prefer. Bride meltdown alert.

While in theory it’s a nice idea, including all the bridesmaids in the dress decision making is likely to lead to endless and highly-stressful discussions, shopping trips and tiffs.

To keep the peace I suggest that you build up a mood board of bridesmaid dress ideas that would work well with your big day styling and then run them past a few choice people, such as your mum, the groom and your maid of honour, to get honest feedback before making the final call.

While selecting the shortlist you should also consider your maids’ colouring and figures to try to ensure they will be fairly happy with the outcome. If the maids are buying their own dresses it’s also important not to ask too much of them by looking at designs that carry a high price tag. You might consider intentionally mismatched gowns that work along a particular style or colour theme so they stand more chance of pleasing all parties while still working to your overall vision.

But when all said and done it’s your big day and the ultimate decision should be down to you.

Found on weddingchicks.com, Photography by Tealily Photography

 via weddingchicks.com, Photography by Tealily Photography

what you said on Facebook:

Kerry: “Minefield! I chose them for my special girls and with a slight apprehension handed them out… but they were all well received and my girls are happy…at least to my face!”

Keli: “I’ve given mine a colour scheme but let them choose their own! All of them are completely different in personality and body shape so really wanted them to just have something they’re happy with.”

Emma: “I’m paying so I’m deciding!”

Sarah: “My friend (the bride) set up a Pinterest group of possible options for us all to share. Her budget was really tight and last minute. Three of 4=four bridesmaids met up with her and went shopping together, luckily we found one we all liked and that suited us all, it was over her budget so we all paid the difference each.  I’d rather pay towards something we all liked than be uncomfortable.”

Rachel: “With six bridesmaids aged 40 to 13 who are all shapes and sizes I ‘ve chosen their dresses. That said I showed them all a picture before they were ordered and they like them.”

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the big debate: should you ask someone to be your bridesmaid, just because they asked you?

February 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Found on brit.co, via Lucky Mag

Image via brit.co via Lucky Mag

In this brand new Friday morning feature on the wedding blog, we’ll be debating all the most difficult wedding planning topics. Starting off with an awkward one, we ask: Should you ask someone to be your bridesmaid, just because they asked you?

Found on stylemepretty.com, Photography by Bryce Covey Photography

Found on stylemepretty.com, photography by Bryce Covey Photography

rachel says YES:

It’s not that you should feel obliged but if a relative or friend asks you to be one of their leading ladies it’s nice to return the favour, right?

As I see it there are enough catalysts to cause rifts and rows in the run up to a wedding without throwing another in to the mix by not returning the bridesmaid honour to someone who has deemed you worthy of the role.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve stepped-up to the position more times than perennial bridesmaid Katherine Heigl in the chick flick 27 Dresses, it might be that you couldn’t possibly return the invitation to all without a hefty entourage following you up the aisle. However, if you’ve had the honour bestowed upon you just a couple of times I think it’s a nice sentiment to include the ladies that invited you into their wedding party in your own.

Think of their strengths and the relationship you have with them and how this could contribute to their role as bridesmaid, in both the approach to and actually on the big day itself. For example, if one of the people that made you a bridesmaid is your go-to when you need a care-free and slightly crazy night out, they could well make a fabulous hen do planner. Likewise you might have been a bridesmaid for a relative who you can discuss your plans with and trust to give you an honest opinion – again, important bridesmaid skills. It could even be as simple as that the individual in question isn’t lacking in the confidence department and so would be the perfect contender to say a reading or poem allowed in church.

While you can preserve the role of maid of honour for your very nearest and dearest, building up a group of varied bridesmaids (rather than those that just look pretty in a dress) can make for a top wedding team. I also think that if you did a good job for them, they will certainly want to do their best for you and having got wed themselves they understand the importance of the role – instead of just thinking it’s a jolly.

Ultimately weddings are a pricey business and if you’re footing the bridesmaid dress bill numbers will have to come into consideration, but where possible it’s sweet for bridesmaid buddies to stick together and keep the peace.

Found on brit.co, via Kayla Elizabeth

Found on brit.co, via Kayla Elizabeth

julia says NO:

Take some advice from a girl who has pulled on a bridesmaid frock more times than she can actually remember (seriously, Katherine Heigl has nothing on me) and think twice before reading out your bridesmaid honours list.

Bridesmaids. Ask who you want to ask. Don’t ask who you don’t want to ask. And if you don’t want to ask, don’t ask anyone. That’s fine too.

First up: this is absolutely your wedding – you can do things the way you want to.  And secondly, are you sure your best girls wouldn’t rather pick their own hats for your special day?

Don’t get me wrong. Being asked to be a bridesmaid is a big deal.  A sort of public friendship badge of honour. But with great power comes great responsibility. Being a bridesmaid is about more than turning up in a pretty dress – and everyone involved needs to know it.  It’s easy (and fun!) to ask everybody in your friendship circle to take on the job, but before you get carried away in the excitement, take some time to reflect on who you really want by your side on your wedding day, and who you think will be up to the job. It’s not just about holding your bouquet during altar duty, after all.

When it comes to picking the team for your wedding day, it’s easy to get emotional. But that’s exactly the point: this choice should be based on emotion, rather than logic or loyalty. This isn’t a case of tit for tat and everyone’s idea of the perfect wedding is subjective. So what if you did the bridesmaid thang for your second cousin twice removed?! It’s your day, and I’d ask you to choose your attendants based on the people you know and love best.  After all, they’ll be hanging around in your wedding photos forever (and more).

Choose the people that mean the most to you, right now. Who cares if they asked you (or not)? Who cares what your mum thinks? Who cares what your mother in law thinks? This is your wedding.  These are your girls.

If you have to think twice, they’re not the ones for the job.

Your best girls will share in the dress shopping highs, hen night hangover lows, favour bagging cramps and cupcake sampling sugar rushes. Choose them because you love them, not because you think you should. And even if they’re not the same girls you’d choose in another 10 years’ time – so what? – you had lots of fun on the way,

And the ones you thought you left behind? The already marrieds? They’re just relieved.  They never suited peach anyway,

Found on stylemepretty.com, Photography Taylor Lord Photography

Found on stylemepretty.com, photography by Taylor Lord Photography

what you said on Facebook:

Adele: “I think if I had been a friend’s bridesmaid I would feel inclined to ask her to be one of mine.”

Shelley: “My best friend was mine but I wasn’t hers as she just had her sisters. Mine was a bigger wedding and was no hard feelings or awkwardness but we really are best mates so totally understood.”

Hollie: “I wasn’t going to have adult maids but then chose two friends who have asked me – I didn’t feel obliged though.”

Suzy: “I wouldn’t ask someone just because I was theirs, and I wouldn’t feel like they should ask me either. Everyone wants different things from bridesmaids.”

Found on elizabethannedesigns.com, Photography by Stephanie A Smith Photography

Found on elizabethannedesigns.com, photography by Stephanie A Smith Photography

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a bridesmaid rainbow

January 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Fuschia twobird dress I recently shared a post on the rise of black bridesmaid dresses, favoured for their sophisticated looks, versatility and availability, but the dark hue is not for everyone. At the other end of the colour spectrum many brides-to-be choose the dress their maids in vibrant shades with dresses that pop at the side of their pure ivory attire.

Particularly well suited to weddings in the warmer spring and summer season, as well as destination weddings, bright bridesmaid dresses can really make a wedding party stand out from the crowd. Duck Egg twobird dress Initially brides-to-be need to decide if they will be picking their maids’ dresses to set the colour theme or to fall in with it.

Ladies’ skin tones and hair colours should also be taken into account to avoid any embarrassing clashes that could result in a mardy maid or two. A growing trend for mismatched bridesmaid dresses means one shade need not suit all. Brides can pick a style of dress for her girls and then allow them to pick a suitable colour within a particular palette to achieve a selection of hues that complement each other. twobirds For brides choosing to go down the rainbow route After Six’s 6556 dress is an ideal option. The simple floor-length, floaty gown will flatter most figures and is available in a delicious variety of shades, such as Apple Slice, Clementine, Spa and Sunflower. Even better, if a bride doesn’t want her maids in solid hues, the dress is offered in three ombre designs. There’s Tropical in exotic greens and blues, Citrus in zesty orange and pink or Vintage, featuring soft purples and yellows.

Alternatively, a bride might like to mix-up both the colours and styles of her maids’ dresses. The answer here has to be twobirds. One dress that can be tied in 15 different ways to create varying looks. And the colour range is just as varied, with options spanning from Butter Yellow and dazzling Duck Egg to fierce Fuchsia.

Meanwhile those on the hunt for sassy short-length dresses in bold hues should consider one of Alfred Sung’s mini masterpieces.  The likes of Sung’s structured D634 or D697 designs are available in opulent jewel tones, including in Daisy, Mandarin and Mediterranean.

For a burst of colour in a longer length, Jim Hjelm has several punchy designs with stunning back detailing worthy of a double take.

Main images by twobirds bridesmaid.

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look book: black magic

January 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Black short taffeta dress with lace bodice - Monique Lhuillier

by Monique Lhuillier

I’d say 80 per cent of my wardrobe is black, something I’m often told off about but it’s a classic, right? Slimming, timeless and flattering against pretty much every skin tone and hair colour. This is why in my eyes it’s a great choice for bridesmaids.

The dark, elegant colour palette provides sophistication and class, and is unlikely to rock the boat with any of your maids.

Initially the trend was mostly isolated to New Year weddings with brides and grooms going for a polished black tie theme. But now the little (or long) black dress has become more acceptable for ceremonies in seasons beyond the winter.

5531 - Jim Hjelm

5531 by Jim Hjelm

Those opting for the dateless hue can keep things clean and simple with black or nude accessories, add a little sparkle with glittering metallics or opt for a contrasting colour to achieve a vibrant pop. Black maids’ dresses won’t district from or determine your choice of blooms either, giving you and your florist free range.

Looking at what’s available, designers have clearly noted the rise in popularity with most offering a fair few black creations within their collections. The simple hue is available in designs incorporating other top bridesmaid trends such as lace, illusion necklines and detailed backs.

2940 - Dessy

2940 by Dessy

For those wanting a full lace number Dessy has two stunning options in contrasting lengths; the 2911 strapless knee-length and the floor-length 2940 with illusion neckline, which can be picked to suit the season and maids’ preferences on whether they would rather flaunt or cover their pins.

5476 front - Jim Hjelm

5476 by Jim Hjelm

Meanwhile for those that desire just a little lace detailing Jim Hjelm and Monique Lhuillier have some truly striking options that are bound to result in very merry maids. Hjelm’s 5420 and 5524 offer mini length dresses with lace appliqués and panels while the elegant full length 5476 and 5531 feature just flirty touches of the regal material.

Lhuillier’s black short taffeta dress (top) with lace bodice is a real show stopper and a LBD that I would love to own myself.

2925 - Dessy2925 by Dessy

If any brides are planning to have black maids’ dresses for a New Year 2016 wedding, then all out glamour is the way to go. Full length designs that would hit the right level of opulence include Hjelm’s 5428 with high-leg split and Dessy’s elegant 2921 and 2925. For those wanting to bring the hemline off the ground, it has to be Lhuillier’s mid-length strapless taffeta dress – pure perfection!

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lookbook. peachy keen

October 28th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Wtoo 6501

oh so sweet peaches and cream is set to be one of the hottest colour schemes for 2015 weddings.

Personally I couldn’t  stand the sight of peach at one point as I was doing up a house where all the woodwork was layered in shiny peach gloss (pass the sick bucket) but just recently the pretty blush tone has sneaked back into my good books and so I’m totes in favour of this upcoming trend.

Perfect for those tying the knot in spring and summer, the palette is light, playful and girly.

It’s also a particularly good choice of hues for bridesmaids’ attire as the warm peach and subtle cream work well with pretty much all skin tones. So what are the dress options I hear you cry?

Brides can either choose to find maid gowns that feature both colours or alternatively select frocks in alternating colours, so one in cream and one in peach and so on. Or if they prefer one colour to the other on their bridesmaids they could dress their girls in just one colour, say peach, and then incorporate cream elsewhere in the wedding, like the flowers, décor, stationery or the maids shoes.

Wtoo 693

Dessy has some stunning options, particularly for those looking to feature another top look for 2015 in their wedding – bohemian. Designs such as 2919, 2920 and 6677 are long, flowing and flattering and offer a choice of different neckline options. Meanwhile for those wanting to dress their maids in cute cropped numbers for weddings during the warmer months, design 2780 in ginger and/or cream would fit in with the desired colour scheme perfectly.

Jim Hjelm also has a couple of floor-length and mini maid options in various peachy shades.  The strapless 5410 design with fashionable scalloped edges is a particular favourite of mine that would look great on a young group of adult bridesmaids who aren’t afraid to show off their pins.

Wtoo 772

Meanwhile Dessy’s After Six range and Wtoo have some fabulous options that allow brides to pick different colours for different parts of the dress, meaning they can create their very own peaches and cream showstopper.  Take the Wtoo 772 dress for example, brides can select different hues from a plentiful palette for the top, skirt and ribbon of the dress (the apricot and pearl shades work well with this theme). Likewise the incredibly gorgeous 6675 After Six dress in ginger with the choice of ivory lace over the top creates a delicious winning combination.

And the result – bridesmaids that look good enough to eat!

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