At a contemporary wedding, beautiful, stylish bridesmaids do nothing to detract from the bride — they simply enhance the day and make it even more glamorous. We asked four bridesmaid experts how to makeover your maids.
“Having glamorous bridesmaids can be a challenge for some brides,” says Vivian Dessy-Diamond, creative director of the Dessy Group. “They worry that the maids will look better than they do. I always assure brides that they can never be outshone — they will always be in the spotlight.
“A glamorous bridesmaid shouldn’t overdo it with her accessories or make-up. Too much jewellery becomes a distraction and simple shoes that can be worn again, like pretty metallic sandals, work best. Hair can be understated too; Adele’s take on 50s glamour is going to be one of the most popular looks this summer.
“Letting your bridesmaids have a say in their style also helps to achieve glamour,” Vivian adds. “If a dress isn’t flattering, your bridesmaids can’t look glamorous, so you need to be flexible. Bridesmaids wearing different styles in the same colour can look really gorgeous. The fit makes all the difference so it’s hugely important to have any alterations done well.”
Tara Alderink at Jasmine Bridal agrees that happy bridesmaids add glamour to the day. “Your bridesmaid is supposed to be an honoured friend or relative, so make her feel good,” says Tara. “Ensure the cut of dress flatters the shape, age and personality of your maids and keep it simple — it’s so nice to have something classic that will enhance the look of the day and not make things appear too busy. Classic doesn’t date and works well with any venue and bridal gown.
“Choose a colour to bridge the groomsmen and bridesmaids’ style,” Tara also suggests. “Guys look stunning in hot pink or strong blue and it gives a great look to the photographs when you’re all standing together. Cobalts, teal, berry and burnt orange also look good on both men and women, and vintage pastels are very popular - but choose wisely so you don’t wash-out anyone’s complexion.”
Lyndsey Granger at JLM Europe advises brides to think about the season and destination of their wedding when styling the bridesmaids. “For a spring or summer wedding, lighter fabrics and colours may be more desirable,” says. “For a beach wedding, a tea-length gown will keep the event light and fun, and for an evening wedding a floor length gown will give a look of elegance and sophistication.
“Don’t be afraid to have fun with the colours,” Lyndsey adds. “It’s becoming increasingly popular to see bridesmaids’ in a variety of different styles or colours all toning together beautifully and creating fabulous wedding photography. Look through bridal magazines for a wealth of ideas and inspiration, and visit designers’ websites to get an idea of what you like and the colours available before you start your shopping trip.”
If you’re having flower girls at the wedding, designer Nicki Macfarlane says their dresses can be used to bring a lovely, co-ordinated look to the whole bridal party. “Many brides choose to reflect their own gown in their flower girls’ dresses by using a similar fabric or style. One of our current bestsellers is the Grace because it has a lace overlay that beautifully mirrors many of the bridal gowns worn this season.
“It’s important to remember that your wedding photographs last forever, so choose dresses that are elegant and timeless,” Nicki adds. “It’s good to be able to reflect the fashions of the day but don’t choose outfits that will look silly in a few years time. Bespoke bridesmaid dresses are perfect for brides who want to bring their own individual style to the big day and I love working with them to create their dream, but there are also some beautiful ready to wear dresses out there.”
And Nicki says that younger bridesmaids should look pretty and sophisticated rather than glamorous. “I don’t think you should ever go glam with younger bridesmaids and flower girls,” she says. “When you choose to have children in your bridal party, they’re guaranteed to bring the cute-factor to your wedding but it’s important to remember to make sure they are comfortable and have a good quality, itch-free dress, otherwise they’ll be miserable. Our aim is to make little girls feel, and look like, a beautiful princess for the day.”