Outfitting the Wedding Party

Outfitting the Wedding Party

Let’s get one thing straight right now:
 On a couple’s wedding day, no one will be as beautiful and
radiant, or look as gorgeous or stunning as the bride and
Let’s get one thing straight right now: On a couple’s wedding day, no one will be as beautiful and radiant, or look as gorgeous or stunning as the bride and groom. No one. But, even though it’s the couple’s big day, (don’t worry brides – no one will steal your spotlight) it’s important for the bridesmaids and groomsmen to look good standing up in front of family and friends, too.

“I would say that picking out the bridesmaid dresses can be one of the most complicated parts of planning a wedding,” said Mafalda Freitas, owner of Mafalda’s Bridal Shop in Gilroy. “We tell brides, ‘It’s your day, you choose what you like. Just choose something that will look good on the girls who will be up there next to you, not what looks good on the hanger.’ But we have had some very tense moments in here with brides and bridesmaids.”

When choosing the bridesmaid dresses, Freitas recommends the bride come in with her mother, her best friend or her sister. When the entire bridal party comes in, there can be too many people and opinions involved in the decision-making process.

Modern attendant dresses have come a long way from satin monstrosities with massive bows and tons of ruffles. Currently, the most popular styles are strapless dresses with torso design elements, such as sashes or gathered material, designed to look flattering on any figure, Freitas said. Long or tea-length gowns are appropriate for evening weddings, while short and tea-length dresses are best for day weddings. The attendants’ dresses usually match or complement the color of the wedding flowers.

“What is also very popular is picking the color of the dresses and having all the girls in different style dresses,” Freitas added. “Lots of companies let you choose what skirt you want with what top, so you can pick the exact dress you want that would look best on people’s different body types. But, they look like they go together because the color is all the same.”

It took about six hours for Jamie Brandhorst, who will marry her fiance, Tim Nava, in July, to find a dress for her bridesmaids. She plans to have one maid of honor, one matron of honor and two bridesmaids, all of whom vary in size and shape.

“It took a lot of patience, but it was important to me that everyone liked the dress I picked and everyone felt comfortable in it and looked good in it,” said Brandhorst, who grew up in Hollister but now lives in Newman. “My matron of honor is going to be in a long gown, and everyone else will be in a tea-length gown. They’re all strapless and apple red. We went through a lot to find them – there were definitely some grouchy moments where I was ready to go home – but I’m really happy with what we ended up with.”

Picking out tuxedos for the groomsmen was a far easier task, Brandhorst said, because they simply didn’t seem to care as much about what they would be wearing on the wedding day.

“Tim did care about what he and his friends wore, so we did a lot of research online and looking at catalogs beforehand,” she said. “He didn’t want any pinstripes and he didn’t want a long jacket. But we found a tux he liked and we matched the vests to my attendants’ dresses. It was a lot easier picking something for the guys.”

Nava will wear a long white tie and vest, his groomsmen will have red ties and vests and the father of the bride and groom will wear latte-colored ties and vests, which match decals on Brandhorst’s dress.

Long ties with tuxedo rentals have been more popular in recent years than bow ties, said Sheila Stevens, owner of She’s in Hollister. Otherwise, it’s hard to pick out trends in tuxedos because people choose so many different combinations when it comes to wedding parties, she said.

“Some people have a cummerbund or a vest in all different kinds of materials; some people don’t have either,” she explained. “Some people have the tuxedo shirt and jacket and pair it with jeans and boots for Western-style weddings. I’ve seen lots of brown tuxedos going out, all white tuxedos, some with pocket handkerchiefs, some without, some with long jackets, some with short. There is a lot of choice.”

Many grooms come in with their brides at least once because women are more comfortable shopping and have an idea of what they want, but Stevens said it’s important to let the groom have a say in what his friends will be wearing, too.

“It will show if the men are up there in tuxedos that they’re uncomfortable wearing,” she said. “It’s one of the most important days in a couple’s life, so you want everything to be just right, even the clothes other people will be wearing.”

Kelly Savio is the Lifestyles reporter for South Valley Newspapers. Reach her at (408) 842-2205 or [email protected]

More Tips for Picking Out Attendants’ Clothes

The wedding Web sit www.theknot.com literally has pages and pages of advice on how to pick the right outfits for the attendants, including blogs, articles and Q&A pages. Here are a few highlights from those pages.

– Make sure the groom looks special standing next to the groomsmen. Pick a slightly different vest, boutonniere or even tux for the groom.

– For more casual weddings, groomsmen don’t have to be in tuxedos. Khaki pants and navy blazers or matching suits with ties made of the same material as the bridesmaid dresses are nice alternatives.

– Remember that bridesmaids typically pay for their own dresses, so pick a dress and style that will be affordable for everyone in the party.

– Ask yourself if you would feel comfortable wearing the dress – think style and color – you’ve picked for your bridesmaids. If the answer is no, pick another dress.

– Bridesmaid dresses don’t have to be all one color. Many designers make dresses that incorporate different shades of one color, which can help tie the dresses in with the flowers.

– If there is a bridesman, he should wear the same thing the groomsmen are wearing.

– If there is a groomsmaid, she can wear the same dress (or one similar to) the bridesmaid dresses, or she can wear a black dress.

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