Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bridesmaids Dresses

In "Wedding Gown Girl," Kienna works at a bridal boutique. She loves finding the perfect dress for her clients at work every day but secretly designs gowns at home by night. Not bridal gowns but bridesmaids dresses.

The bridesmaid dress causes conflicting emotions in many. Some ladies have been forced to wear a dreadful or distasteful gown to please the bride, others have had the opportunity to look beautiful for a day. Nowadays, most bridesmaids pay for their own dresses, but they often receive gifts from the bride. There is a saying, "three times a bridesmaid, never a bride." Laughable, but I suppose no one wants to continue being the less important woman in the bridal party forever.

The history of bridesmaids dresses goes back far and is immensely fascinating. Nowadays, bridesmaids are there to assist the bride - carry her bouquet, check that her make-up and hair is neat, help with some wedding arrangements before and on the day and generally ensure her happiness. Especially, the maid of honor who is usually a close friend or older bridesmaid or sister. If she is married, she is the "matron of honor." One of the modern bridesmaid's most important duties is to organise a bridal shower or bachelorette party. These can range from wild drinking parties with male strippers to tame teas with kitchen tea gifts given to the bride. (I was subjected to wearing this outfit of sponges, scourers and pigtails, blindfolded and made to guess what was in the gift and if I guessed wrong, had to drink this strange concoction of mello-yellow and chocolate logs.)

In ancient times, bridesmaids dressed similar to the bride and would accompany her on the way to the groom's village, fending off other suitors from kidnapping her or stealing her dowry. In Roman law, they copied the bride's dress to confuse evil spirits to who the bride was. That was where the bridesmaid originated from.

One of my favourite channels to watch is TLC. Sounds boring, not like those gripping thrillers or sensual sensational series that people stay up late watching. I enjoy watching what people wear. Wedding Gown Girl was inspired by "Say Yes to the Dress" on TLC. The TLC channel has a website. They advise against ten colors for a bridesmaid dress. The colors are salmon, gold, silver, yoda green, bright orange, barney-purple, turquoise blue, neon and banana yellow. Check here for the full article: TLC Channel. The article describes these colors in a much more humorous way than I did.

Bridesmaids dresses vary as much as wedding dresses. There are some gorgeous creations with short, flared skirts, sweetheart necklines and long elegant skirts with high slits to show off a sexy leg. You could go simple and elegant or bold and embellished. The 2013 trend seems to be short, soft skirts, ruched bodice or waistline and sweetheart neckline. A satiny, simple look is in.

I'm curious to know what bridesmaids dresses my blog readers have worn. I was a bridesmaid twice before marrying. My first dress was a mint green with puffed sleeves for my step-sister's wedding - it was the early '90s. The second was a navy dress with puffed sleeves too - it was also the '90s. I enjoyed being a bridesmaid and felt particularly beautiful in the navy dress. I tried it on a couple of years ago, knowing it wouldn't fit but just hoping. I couldn't even get it past my thighs.

Here is a pic of my bridesmaids at my wedding. Maroon is my favourite colour. Doesn't it look striking with their dark brown hair? Ladies, I hope you don't mind me using your pic. You both looked lovely.

I'm giving away a PDF copy of "Wedding Gown Girl" to any commentor on this blog. Please put in your email address as follows: joeblog(at)webmail(dot)com.


  1. What a lovely post. Having just survived my daughters wedding, I wish I read this post earlier. A wedding is a dream day for all involved and goes by in the blink of an eye despite all the months of preparation. (please don't enter me into the draw as I already own a copy of Wedding Gown Girl)

  2. Hi Kathy :)

    What a lovely post! I love weddings and everything that goes with it - especially the cake :)

    (I already own a copy of Wedding Gown Girl - which I loved reading!)

  3. Thanks, Yolande. Yes, it's such a big day. I suppose in about fifteen years time, I'll be doing the same for my daughter.

  4. Ashleigh BredenhannApril 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Now there is something new I have learned today, the history of bridesmaids’ dresses. Interesting.
    I have to add, this is one day I would love to repeat. My hubby and I have been together for 13 years, married since 2004. The day was special, but we were still so young. At the age of 23 and 24, how can you possibly appreciate each and every detail that accompanies this day - my opinion though.
    A family member made my dress with a red belt. My belly was "5 months" huge...does this have "Scarlet Letter" written all over it?? I think this family member tried to tell me something...
    I would love to sit and pick and choose each color and dress design etc.
    Yes, this day can become extremely stressful, but I think it's one of the most magical moments we can experience.

  5. My wedding day was wrought with anxiety and stress for several reasons, but it was a wonderful day in that it bound me with the one I love. For many years afterwards, I wanted to redo the day so I could have it my way, but I'm slowly growing out of that. I've come to accept it's just one day in my life.

  6. What an awesome post, Kathy! I, too, didn't know about the origin of bridesmaid dresses.

    Being of Indian origin, we don't really have bridesmaids as the Western world has them. In our weddings, there's usually a traditional wedding where the vows are exchanged, and everyone will be in saris or lehenga suits (those long embroidered skirts with long/short tops). White, off white, cream are the bride's colours, and the girls in the entourage of the bride who will accomplish bridesmaid duties will wear lehenga suits in trendy colours like turquoise or gold. Never red, coz that's the colour of the ceremony on the eve of the wedding, when henna is applied to the bride's hands and feet.
    Then there's also a Western-style reception, where the bride will probably be in the princess white dress. This reception doesn't have bridesmaids, though - they have a handful of flower girls. The 'bridesmaids' from the traditional ceremony would still be around, and that day, again, is one spent in lehenga suits (a whole new outfit, btw!)

    When I was little, I was 'automatically' a flower girl for every wedding of every cousin in the family (and there were tons!). Flower girls usually wear a miniature replica of the bride's dress. All I remember of that time was how the seams itched coz they were in hard tulle (this was in the 80s/90s. Tulle wasn't soft back then!)
    Then in my teens, I've been 'bridesmaid' for many cousins and even one aunt. The colours were emerald green, aqua, and fuschia pink - all with silver embroidery.

    Wow, memories, memories... Thanks for making me remember them!

  7. Zee, those bridesmaids dresses sound stunning with the green, aqua and fuschia pink with silver embroidery. I love the Indian dresses. I wore a sari once for a fancy dress we had at college and it made me feel beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing your customs in so much detail.

    1. Lol, what a nice way to say 'you rambled a lot' ;) Nah, I really get on a roll sometimes. xoxo