Congratulations! You’re engaged. Wedding thoughts have engulfed your life, and you’re counting down to the Big Day. And if you’re thinking about planning a bridesmaid fitting, chances are you’ve chosen your women and perhaps even have some initial thoughts on designs. So how do you approach this step in the process? Simplify. Visit the local wedding boutiques for inspiration, but when it comes time to schedule the fitting and actually figure out where to purchase the dresses, choose one of these five nationwide options: Alfred Angelo, David’s Bridal, Eden Bridals, Mori Lee, or the department stores (RedBD). Once you’ve chosen a shop with the dress you want, consider making the fitting a girls’ outing, complete with female bonding and memory-making.
1. You probably recognize Alfred Angelo from your prom days, because these guys do it all. They’ve got options for you, your girls, your mom, and your flower girl. With six different collections and 55 color options, choices also include jersey-knit dresses—for the wedding on the beach, or out in the desert. The shop’s color mix collection is a great place to pair different shades of colors with accessories such as bows, ribbons, and other embellishments.
2. David’s Bridal, perhaps the behemoth of all wedding apparel options, not only has every single one of their creations available online, their website also features a “Style & Fashion Guide” where visitors can sift through fabrics, dress sleeves, bustles, and a bridal glossary. The site’s other avenues include special offers, a video gallery, gifts and favors, real-life bridal stories, and a spot to book your fitting at the David’s Bridal nearest you.
3. With a category for quinceañeras and sweet 16s thrown in for good measure, Eden Bridals caters to all types of formal events, including, of course, weddings. Perhaps the most helpful section for brides planning a wedding on the beaches of Hawaii or the shores of Lake Tahoe is the company’s “Bridal Informals.” Billed as “perfect for outdoor weddings,” the collection is “designed to capture the beauty and spirit of a destination wedding.”
4. Four collections comprise options for bridesmaids at Mori Lee: Bridesmaids, Ava, Affairs, and Sticks & Stones. Each has its own distinct style, with Bridesmaids taking the cake for most traditional and Sticks & Stones clearly being the most modern. The dresses within Ava are very Grecian and elegant, while Affairs leans toward classy couture.
5. And as always, the standard department stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom are fine venues for dresses as well, though are of course not as zeroed-in on the Big Day as the above shops.
6. Now that you’ve narrowed down which boutique suits your style best, your next step should be to contact each of your gals to find out which day is best for the fitting. While Saturdays or Sundays are obvious choices, keep in mind that those are also the busiest days for appointments, and you’re less likely to receive personal attention. If you can swing it, try for a Friday afternoon when women aren’t jostling each other to reach the sales racks. Make sure to finalize the appointment with the store. If you book the day and time online, be prepared to complete a short form asking for bridesmaid dress styles, colors, even basic sizing info for each of your maids.
7. However it works out, whether the fitting is planned for a weekday or weekend, try to work something extra special into the day. Think: afternoon tea, a sushi lunch, coffee and bagels, or an informally-catered supper at home. Take your time with everything you do that day. Don’t rush through dresses, take lots of photos, and remember to have a great time. You’ll have one shot at a bridal fitting, so make it special. Let your maids know you appreciate their support and financial contribution to your special event (they will, more than likely, spend $200.00 or more on just the dress and shoes). Tell them how much they mean to you with a small photo book of the fitting, and don’t forget to include a dedication inside the front cover. They’ll treasure it forever.