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Do You REALLY Want Nipple? 

I have been reviewing a lot of pictures lately for potential Unfake Bride submissions and was distressed to see a particular photo of a particularly busty bridesmaid nearly popping put of her strapless gown. A beautiful gown, mind you. Stunning, even.  However, I can't recall whether the woman looked particularly happy, but what I do remember is that she looked very uncomfortable. Particularly uncomfortable.

I am begging you brides to be kind to your maids. Gone are the days of matchy-matchy taffeta and tulle. Gone are the days of one or two color weddings that forces everyone into a horrid pigeon hole of nasty colored dresses. I'm not saying that you can't choose a single color for all your maids to be in. No, not at all. What I'm saying is that you should definitely be OK with choosing dresses to flatter your maids.

I'm telling you, there have been times where as a guest, or as a blogger-stalker that I have focused only on the bridesmaid gowns and have said to myself "What was that bride thinking?" Do really want your guests to sit there and focus on the boobs of your bridesmaid? Or the junk in the trunk of another? I wouldn't. It's so much kinder and more comfortable for the maids to feel like what they are wearing fits. No one wants to wear something that is horribly unflattering. PLEASE don't do this. Be kind, these ladies are your friends, right?

Here are some pretty examples of figure-flattering and mis-matched dresses.



And if you do want your girls to be all in one color, you can do that, but let them pick a dress style they are comfortable in. That's not saying you don't get the last call, but you can definitely find great styles that flatter everyone. See?




And not all of us are wafer-thin like a lot of bridesmaid models are. It's hard to tell what might look good on your friends. So ask them. Send a quick email and ask them what kind of dress they feel best in. A-line? Long? Strapless? Full coverage? Ask them to tell you what their favortie and most flattering "fancy" outfit they own is. Do you know it? Do you like it? Are there options by way of bridesmaid gowns that will work in this style?

To expect to be able to wear a bridesmaid gown more than just to the wedding is a high expectation ("You can wear it again! Really!"). It's an added bonus if it is, but I don't think that should be your main concern. I think the biggest concern is that your maids are happy and comfortable in what they are wearing so that they can play their role in your wedding - as someone you have chosen to support you in your decision to commit the rest of your life to another person. It's hard to do that when your primary thought is whether or not a nipple will pop out during the ceremony. And do you really want bridesmaid nipple at your wedding? I didn't think so.


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Reader Comments (13)

Yes and yes!

It's not an easy choice trying to find dresses for all your girls and their tastes but ultimately far more rewarding.

June 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranna and the ring

This is a great idea in theory, but it doesn't work across the board for every situation and every bride although I WISH that it did because it's a great thing! I consider myself a good-natured bride. I can't think of a single bridezilla-like thing that I have done, even when we lost our original venue and catering company. BUT ...

Imagine that you told your maids a YEAR in advance that they would be wearing a black, cocktail length dress of their choice and any shoes of their choice to coordinate. You also encouraged them to buy from discount stores, department stores or online. Anywhere at any price! Just get a black dress. Then imagine that you are 15 weeks away from your wedding and your maids STILL have not purchased a dress. What can you do about it? Absofuckinglutely nothing ...because you set the bar and they think "oh, they make black dresses every day! Don't sweat it! We'll get it in September." Excuse me? No. Now, you're going to look like the bad guy and the stress puppy when you confront them about it.

I wish to all that is holy, I had done the "typical" bridezilla thing and made them get a David's dress in the color I actually wanted from the beginning. Just prepare yourself for the headache if people are lazy about purchasing "oh, get whatever you like" dress for your wedding.

June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNatosha

I think this concept of comfortable bridesmaids needs to be emphasized much more than it already is because I had such a hard time getting the idea across to one of my bridesmaids. Early in the planning process, she was floored when I told her I didn't care what the bridesmaids wore and when we actually went shopping, she kept asking me what to buy over and over. I know, I know, it sounds like she's the dream bridesmaid because she wants to please me. But not for me, I don't want the stress of picking out everyone else's clothes, so I gave them a color and told them to find something they liked. The concept of a laid back bride never seemed to compute with her. Personally, I don't understand why a bride wouldn't want her girls to be as comfortable as possible. Plus, that first photo is absolutely gorgeous, who wouldn't want something like that?

June 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermiss fancy pants

My bridesmaids all wore the same black, knee length cocktail dress and I think it flattered all of them, even the two that were pregnant! Even though they wore them strapless for the ceremony and pictures the dresses came with spaghetti straps that they could wear for the reception/dancing if they felt more comfortable. I think if you have girls that are across the board on sizes then it's best to pick different style dresses that flatter each size.

June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

I have some thoughts about this topic since I have been on both ends of this situation. When the TSB was my MOH, I told her she could pick out a dress and told her what color I wanted. I think I suggested a color that wasn't good on her (wine or brown, I can't remember), and she told me another color would work better. We agreed on something. Then, she called one day and asked if she could wear black. I thought for a minute. "Sure!" I said, because it really didn't matter to me. I just wanted her to feel comfortable. At the wedding, several guests commented on how smart I was to tell her to wear black. I didn't take the credit.

Granted, it was easy for me to leave it all up to TSB since she since was my only maid and since she is the queen of style. (Plus, I gave birth 10 weeks before the wedding, so I was not very focused on the details of the big day. I handed those over to other people.)

At TSB's wedding, I was her only maid, so she said I could pick a dress but she gave me some color suggestions. In the end, somehow we came around to black, which was very easy to shop for.

When I read Natosha's post, I thought, "Whoa! She would be stressed if I didn't have a dress *15 weeks* before the wedding?" And then that made me think, "I wonder if TSB was stressed that I didn't have the dress earlier?" Because here's the thing: Even though the bride is thinking about the wedding details *way* in advance, the bridesmaids might not be. It would be *very* unlikely that I would buy a dress 3-4 months before the wedding--unless the bride told me to. It's not that I'm especially lazy; it's just that I wouldn't have ever thought that maybe I should have the dress that far in advance. However, if a bride said, "I want you to have your dress in hand 16 weeks before the wedding," I would make it happen.

I think clear communication is the key for the timing and for the issue raised by Miss Fancy Pants. I think the concept can totally work, but the brides need to give maids a deadline, and there needs to be real clarity about how much freedom vs. bride approval is involved.

June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGEW

GEW ... Thanks for the clarity of your comment. I think the stress that this just came up two days ago has my head in a spin. You are absolutely right, it isn't necessary to have the dress that far in advance nor would my sisters/bridesmaids consider that *to me* 15 weeks is a very short amount of time, especially since I have been planning for 15 months now and have a million other things to coordinate. I did tell them that it would be okay to wait until 2-3 months in advance at which point one of them suggested waiting until September. I wasn't happy about that, but due to other circumstances haven't had the opportunity to express that this week. I will take your advice and give them a very specific deadline. My fear was that they will pick something they aren't happy with if they rush at the last minute. We're a family of procrastinators!

June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNatosha

Just to clarify - GEW's mom sent me a swatch of the color for the vests/ties of the tuxedos. It was a light green color. I searched high and low and found a groovy Shelli Segal dress. I emailed the pic to GEW and got the thumbs up. I needed a smaller size than the store had, so ordered it and had it sent to the house. It never came. After weeks and calls and such, turns out the package was delivered to my neighbor's house (she was 96 at the time and it was her nurse who signed for it). I finally got the smaller size, tried it on and it fit all kinds of funny. It looked simply rancid.
So I went shopping for another light green dress for a July wedding in late June. Could. Not. Find. A. Damn. Thing. Bridal shops couldn't order one in time. I was in hell. So when I called GEW and asked if I could wear black - I remember being totally frantic. She was cool with the black and that was that. WHEW!
What's funny about the whole thing is that when the wedding day arrived and I saw the tuxedos? The swatch that the people at the tux shop had given my aunt was NOT the same green as the tux accessories! So, if I had found a dress to match the swatch, I wouldn't have matched the green of the tuxedos anyway! It would have been way too light! It all totally worked out in the end!
And yes Cousin, I was worried about the timing of dress shopping. However, I gave myself a deadline versus giving you one. "If she doesn't have a dress 'x' weeks from the wedding, I'm going to call for a shopping intervention." And since she and I were doing all this long distance, it made things harder than if your maids are local. Additionally, the only on-line picture of GEW's dress was horrid. HORRID! But she prefaced the picture with a warning and detailed description. And most of all, I could tell by the way she talked about it fitting that SHE liked it. That SHE was comfortable. While I don't give GEW a ton of fashion cred, she doesn't normally gush. And she was actually gushing a bit over the dress. And she looked great in it! It was perfectly HER and I think she was comfy in it - although maybe not in the Spanx so much. ;)
GEW, I think it's awesome advice to give the maids a deadline! They might balk at it, but if you (the bride) let them know over a friendly glass of wine versus a frantic email or bitchy voice mail, you'll probably be more successful. 'You get more bees with honey," as my mom always says. Sadly, I don't take that advice nearly as often as I should!

June 17, 2010 | Registered CommenterLouise

That's right! It was green! I couldn't remember. And, yeah, my dress for your wedding wasn't stylish, but I felt pretty in it.

As for deadlines, in the end, I think it's good for the bride give the maids the deadline rather that holding it back. If the bride has timelines the maids don't know about, and then the bride stages the shopping intervention, the maid(s) might think, "Oh no, I've done something wrong! I've screwed up."

Best to put expectations on the table, I say. Something like, "My stress level would be lower if you have your dress in hand and altered 8 weeks before the wedding." Bridesmaids do not want to create extra stress for the bride and will, I would think, meet the deadline (or something close to it).

As for me--No fashion cred? What?!?

June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGEW

This post totally made me think of this card.

June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

I'm going to try to have my ladies pick their dresses but we'll see how it goes. My sister told her bridesmaids (including me) to pick whatever we wanted at first. Then she ended up getting so many questions from everyone wanting dress approval that she eventually told everyone to wear black. It turned out great. And here's a link that's a little more productive than my last comment.

June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

Yeah I totally hear you, Natosha. I said the exact same thing except the color was pale grey - a little more difficult than black (but they all wear grey most of the time anyway and had 13 months to shop) and yeah. I could see that EXACT same thing happening (and has happened with the one person in the wedding who did NOT order a typical bridesmaid dress . . . and we're only a week away from the event). Plus two out of four of the women kept asking me what they should buy, which frankly, I didn't have time to figure out for them, so I finally just suggested going to look at bridesmaid dresses at the typical bridal store just for fun and we fell completely in love with a whole range of dresses by a designer. Each dress is gorgeous, but still very unique on its own and every single woman has squealed with glee when her dress arrived. So what I'm saying is . . . if your entire wedding party is made up of very fashion-confident women, just throw them out into the world with some minor guidelines and see what they come up with. IF, however, some of the women struggle with shopping for everyday clothes, let alone formal attire, I guess it's easier for them if you choose a range of dresses and have them choose from within that group. I personally have no problem shopping and never imagined that it would ever have become an issue, but perhaps that industry was created for a reason and them people went insane with the matchy-matchy. Who knows.

June 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterveronica

I think that a variety of styles but in coordinating colors for bridesmaid dresses is the way to go. I think all of the maids in the same style looks boring. And considering that maids come in all different shapes and sizes, it really does make sense to allow them that flexibility.

June 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

Just for the record, you "catch more FILIES with honey than vinegar". :) I do love that today's bridesmaids can wear dresses that they like and can re-wear. All my maids ( a LOOOONG time ago) wore pink cotton lace dresses with cap sleeves and a-line skirts. A sort of classic style (for the 60's) that looked ok on them all, but definitely not re-wearable, and not the best color for all of them. Today's brides are SO much smarter!

June 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMom

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