bridesmaids in their dresses

What You Need to Know About Choosing Your Bridal Party (part 1)

One of the first things most couples do once they plan their date and let the engaged life settle in for a bit is to chose who they want to have in their bridal party. This, in itself, can create a lot of stress for some people. Couples may think they know who they want standing next to them, but then, the “what if’s” come in.
 

Have you ever said any of these things..?

 

• What if I don’t ask someone, will their feelings be hurt?

• What if my sides don’t match in number?

• What if my bridal party is too small or too large?

• What if I ask someone who really doesn’t want to be in my wedding?

• What if someone in my bridal party can’t afford to be in it?

• What if I ask someone who’s married? Does their spouse have to be in the bridal party too?
 

Bridesmaid for Hire Jen Glantz

Photo Credit: Jen Glantz

If you’ve ever asked any of these questions, then this is the place you want to be. Over the next few months, we’re going to be covering all these topics and more, so don’t worry…we have your back.

 

Now, I know we always talk to experts in the Hudson Valley, but sometimes, the experts we need to give you the best advice are outside of our market, as in this case. We reached out to two bridesmaid experts to give you advice on how to choose and handle your bridal party.

 

Angela Napoletano and Beth Palmisano, are friends and co-owners of Dear Bridesmaid. Based in Virginia, this online resource offers bridesmaids tips, products, and advice, to make their time in that role as easy and stress-free as possible. Jen Glatz is a professional bridesmaid, based in New York City, and is the founder of the website Bridesmaid for Hire & Author of “Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire)”. Together, they share their expertise in helping you choose your bridal party and navigating your bridal party questions.

 

RELATED: 30 TRUTHS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY (PART 1)

 

How do I choose my bridal party?

 

This can be a heavy decision for many couples. I know in other posts I’ve talked about the unromantic side of weddings as a way to help you de-stress and not go crazy over details that might keep you up at night. Mainly, that all you really need are two witnesses and don’t even need a bridal party at all if you don’t want one.

 

HOWEVER, I don’t like to focus too much on the unromantic side of things, because, we all know, a wedding is the most romantic event you’ll ever be a part of. The problems creep in because brides and grooms overcomplicate this process.

 

Glantz says, “Keep your bridal party simple. Use the elevator trick. Who would you want to be stuck in an elevator with? Sounds funny, but it’s true. Being stuck in an elevator is a lot like being at a wedding. It can be emotional, overheated, scary, and people might even get hungry or hangry. Those are the people you want to have as your bridesmaids – the ones who will be calming you down not adding to the drama.”

 

The elevator trick is a great tool to help you decide. No bride or groom wants extra drama. If you are not inviting a particular person to be in your bridal party because of the drama they create and are worried about how they will react to not being invited, think of it this way. it’s better to have that drama be done and over with outside of your wedding than during your wedding.

 

choose your bridesmaids

Man in the Moon Studios

Palmisano says she sees two themes play out most when the bride (or groom) choose their party. First, she says that you need to remember that being asked to be in a bridal party is an honor and should be reserved for the most important people. “These are the sisters, oldest friends, even mothers who are given the badge as a thank you and symbolic gesture of love.” Second, she says some brides go beyond that and invite newer friends. “…Typically friends present in the bride’s life at the time of wedding prep. The ones she sees daily and counts on for a quick favor or to accompany her on errands.” She says having a mix of old and new friends/family members is great because it gives you a nice mix of people you can turn to throughout the planning process.

 

RELATED: THE ONE MISTAKE THAT CAN RUIN YOUR WEDDING AND 4 WAYS TO PREVENT IT

 

How many people do I choose and do my sides need to be even?

 

Ok, so here’s my two sense on this…the smaller the better. I know there are traditional “rules” that say the size of your bridal party should match the size of your wedding, but honestly, the bigger the party, the more stress it means for you. That’s more people you have to organize, more opinions you have to deal with, more of everything, and who want to deal with all that stress?

 

Your bridal party is NOT a position to take lightly and is not for anyone who has ever meant anything to you. You’ve all heard stories about couples who had enormous amounts of people in their bridal party? Why? Use the K.I.S.S Method (Keep It Simple Silly)

 

However, if you really want a big bridal party or if you really want a small bridal party, know that there is no right or wrong answer as to what you should do. Nor, is there a right or wrong decision to having the sides match in number. Palmisano says, “There is no right or wrong and count is really based on the bride’s preference. Bridesmaids and groomsmen don’t need to be even but some couples prefer that.”

 

Does the brides’ side need to be all women and does the groom’s side need to be all men?

 

Of course not! The one thing to remember about weddings is that while there are traditional “rules” like I mentioned before, it’s still your wedding day. Couples today want their day to be different and personalized, so really there are no “rules”, it’s whatever you like. “The bride should choose ‘her person’ to stand beside her on the special day. If it’s a guy he should be up there,” says Palmisano

 

Featured Photo Credit: Kristina Walter

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What top bridal gown trends will you see in 2017?

This past October, I had the privilege of attending New York international Bridal Week (NYIBW) held at Pier 94 in New York City. For those unfamiliar with this event, it’s a bi-annual industry marketplace showcasing top names in wedding gown and bridal fashion from all over the world. Similar to corporate trade shows you might be familiar with, this event allows designers to showcase their upcoming collections while giving buyers of retail stores the opportunity to touch, feel, become educated on the fabric and embellishments used, see what the different design options are for each gown (meaning can straps or sleeves be added to a gown, can different bodices be swapped with different skirts, etc.), and, most importantly, purchase gowns to sell in their stores.

 

Designers and their representatives are there to answer any questions buyers may have regarding the dresses, as well as give buyers the opportunity to see the gowns “in action” during fashion shows held throughout the day. These events are only open to industry insiders.

 

We spoke with representatives and designers of the industry’s hottest and most sought-after brands, and want to share the trends you can expect to see in your local bridal shops this year.

 

Versatility and Customization

 

Photo Credit: Enzoani

Badgley Mischka and Enzoani will be bringing you something unique in that their lines will offer separate pieces you can mix and match to create your perfect look. Very similar to ready-to-wear, you can choose the bodice and gown to meet your exact vision. Kang Chun “KC” Lin, Creative Director for Enzoani Bridal Division, says, “The dresses are lighter; there are more color options like champagne and blush; and you can customize your look with pieces like bodysuits and removable skirts. It’s all about giving our brides everything they need to make their dreams come to life.”

 

Photo Credit: Badgley Mischka

Skirts are also going to play a different role. A brand representative for Badgley Mischka Bridal Division, said, “Going on the same page of separates is gowns that come with overskirts.  The overskirts for this season are larger volume, usually with ruffles, and when taken off reveal a sexier beaded mermaid gown underneath.” In addition to skirts, other customizations include gowns that have removable capes and jackets.

Look from convertible looks from Candace Wu, designer of Candace Wu Couture, as well. Convertible looks are great for making it seem like you are getting two gowns in one.

 

Soft, Feminine and Comfortable

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

Girls, we’ve all done it before. How many of you suffer through wearing something uncomfortable because whatever you are wearing looks amazing? On your wedding day though, you really want to take comfort into consideration as it’s a long day full of photos and dancing. Saundra Farr, US National Director of Augusta Jones, said their line for this year expect to see lighter fabrics, alternatives to the traditional lace and structured looks. Think more bohemian style with 1970s inspiration. Farr says, “Brides are looking for lighter fabrics, they’re looking for alternatives to lace, so a lot of structured looks, definitely boho bohemian looks so some of the 70s flares. … They still do like lace, but little cap sleeves, straps, some sort of alternative to strapless as well has been very popular, too.”

 

Photo Credit: Sam Aronov

From Casablanca Bridal, you’ll see comfort showing through in many different ways. Charlotte Pratt, Marketing & PR Associate for Casablanca Bridal, says, “One of the things we’re seeing a lot of, obviously with the rise of social media, brides want to capture their whole day on their cell phone. … So you’ll see this season and beyond, a lot of our gowns are starting to have pockets in them and the reason why you’re seeing that is because brides want to have pockets to keep their cell phone.” Their gowns for 2017 are also going to be very clean and modern. Pratt says, “Fall 2017 is clean modernism, so Casablanca has traditionally been very elaborate and beaded. That is still a huge signature and part of who we are; but we also are moving more toward designs that are a little more simple, like satin fabrics with maybe minimal beading at the waist or the neckline, but very clean, modern and fresh looking.”

 

“Brides are looking for comfort,” says Martin Thornburg, the head designer for David Tutera and Mon Cheri and head merchandiser for Mon Cheri Bridal. “They want to have a good time, so comfort is a really big fashion trend. Even though you might not think of it as such, it is.”

 

The Classics with a Twist

 

Let’s face it: Trends come and go, but some gown styles and fabrics always seem to withstand the test of time. If you are looking for lace or classic ballgowns, you might want to look at the Christina Wu brands. “Lace is still a very big trend, and I can also see brides wanting more glitz and bigger ballgowns, and that’s a little bit different than (what we’ve seen) the last few years,” says Wen Wu, CEO of House of Wu.

 

Photo Credit: Kat Irlin

Sam Pappas, co-designer for Amaline Vitale Bridal, says the most important thing about trends and more classic gowns is that

 

that you need to feel like yourself in the gown and “you want to look back 20 years from now and still be in love with the dress.”

 

For a bit of a twist from the classic look, designer Tadashi Shoji says to be on the lookout for off-the-shoulder looks as a variation of the more traditional strapless gowns.

 

What about Bridesmaids?

 

If you are a bride who already has a dress and are in the market for gowns for your bridal party, Vivian Diamond, owner and designer with the Dessy Group, says brides should always keep the bridal party in mind. Bridesmaids want to “feel really pretty and special too,” Diamond says, “because she’s walking down an aisle and being viewed prior to the bride, so she’s really a precursor to the bride coming down the aisle…”. What she sees happening sometimes is brides fear taking over. “So many brides are a little fearful of bridal party looking too good.” However, she thinks quite the opposite. “I think it’s a statement, it makes you look better as the bride. It makes you look really good if your bridesmaids look beautiful because they’re smiling and happy”. She says it gives everyone a very good sense of the effort put into your wedding.

 

Bridesmaid Trends

Photo Credit: Dessy Group

Following the trends of what you read earlier, Diamond says, “Chiffon I still a very, very strong trend”, as well as more romantic fabrics such as crepe and tulle. Additionally, you are going to see sleeker and sophisticated party looking dresses, as well as varying lengths. The trend of brides wanting longer dresses for their bridal party versus shorter dresses always flip-flops, but both styles are available.

 

 

 

Which of these gown trends excites you the most? What does your dress look like?

 

Make sure you check out part 2 of this series where we give you tips on how you can prepare for your first bridal gown appointment.

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