So you hate your bridesmaid dress? I feel your pain. Being asked is such an honour, however discovering you dislike the dress has to be a solid nine on the scale of awkward. I remember being asked to be a bridesmaid at my cousin's wedding and just shuddered when I saw the red frilly frock that was pulled out.
You'll be glad to know we're not alone. A recent study from FizzBox showed that 66% of bridesmaids hated the colour of their dress and 21% of bridesmaids claimed that their dress didn’t fit them properly. But what can you do when you're handed a bridesmaid's dress so bad it makes you want to weep?
Tip 1: Just Say Something
Easier said than done admittedly, but if you've been asked to be a bridesmaid, you must be close to the bride. Ask if there is any wiggle room - usually there is. From personal experience, this is your best bet.
Tip 2: Make Sure The Dress Fits
What exactly do you not like about the dress? Is it the style, colour, or fit that's bothering you? More often than not, it is the fit (trust me). If you've got the budget, take it to a tailor to get it fitted. Prices tend to start from around £20. If it's too small, they can cut sections from the bottom of the frock to add in at the sides. If it's too large they can take it in at the seams and shoulders, depending on the material. Just remember to run all this past the bride.
Megan says: 'Alterations to your bridesmaid dress don’t need to be dramatic or change the entire composition of the dress - I certainly wouldn’t suggest making a maxi into a midi or cutting the sleeves off. It’s important to remember the bride has chosen the bridesmaid dresses because she believes they will look good and fit into the general theme of the wedding.'
If you hate the neckline:
'If the dress has a neckline that you feel accentuates parts of your body you don’t like, like a bandeau or cowl neck, simply get your tailor to add some small straps to shift focus. You can also ask a tailor to adjust the bust size which will help if the fabric is stretched too thin around that area, or there is too much fabric.'
If you hate the length:
'If you are petite and the dress length is swamping you, simply ask your tailor to get rid of the excess material. While you may not be able to make your dress longer, a tailor can add a longer skirt underneath. You can also wear shorter heels to create the illusion of a longer dress.'
Tip 3: Use Accessories And Styling
I've noticed accessories can work wonders in transforming a dress. Consider statement jewellery, or a cute shawl to enhance the overall look and bring it more in line with your personal style. Accessorising allows you to express yourself while still adhering to the bride's vision. Just make sure you get the green light beforehand!
Megan recommends: 'Of course you don’t want to detract from the bride, but cute accessories and fun styling can shift the attention away from the dress and give the guests something else to look at.
'Liaise with the bride and find out if bold accessories are something she can get on board with. A statement necklace can counteract a dodgy neckline and the right heels can help with unflattering skirt lengths. You can also suggest creative eye make-up or hair accessories to take focus off the dress. If you love everything else about your look, it’s probable that your hang-ups about the dress will be eased.'
Tip 4: Wait For The Ceremony To Be Over
Once you have completed your bridesmaid duties - ceremony, photos etc - you can relax and really enjoy the rest of the day. At this point, the bride and groom will be pretty busy and won’t notice that you’ve made subtle tweaks to your outfit.
Megan suggests: 'Whilst I wouldn’t suggest changing into an entirely different outfit, or that the bride and groom wouldn’t notice, once the ceremony and photo-ops are wrapped up, you can subtly alter your outfit in a way that will go largely under the radar and make you feel more comfortable.'
Tip 5: The Bigger Picture
Even if you hate the dress, remember it's just for one day. And while the dress may not be your taste, prioritise your relationship with the bride and the celebration of love and happiness.