All sizes of bridesmaids need dresses!
May 8, 2011 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Where can we find bridesmaid dresses that are pretty and will be appropriate for a plus size bridesmaid, a regular size bridesmaid, and a 6 months pregnant bridesmaid?

Summer outdoor wedding that is going to be dressy but not formal, and one of the bridesmaids weighs about 300 pounds (don't know what dress size this translates to), one of us is going to be 6 months pregnant, and then normal sized bridesmaids (i.e. size 6-8).

Any advice on how to approach this? The bride just says something blue/purple and maybe chiffon or even cotton.

I'm thinking empire waist... are there any options online other than David's Bridal? Reasonable prices, <$200. Ideas ladies?
posted by treehorn+bunny to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is matchy matchy necessary? If not, buy matching fabric and have dresses made in styles that flatter each bridesmaid.
posted by mollymayhem at 4:25 PM on May 8, 2011 [5 favorites]

An approach I've seen at a couple of weddings is to give the bridesmaids a color scheme and/or fabric and let them source their own dresses in whatever style they want--either the exact same color/fabric but different cuts (there are bridesmaid dress-centric businesses that will let you pick color, fabric, and cut from a catalog, and then send you that dress) or just something along a theme.

I think empire waists are not really flattering for a lot of women; they can have a tendency to make normal weight women look pregnant.
posted by phoenixy at 4:26 PM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Empire waist is the worst idea of all. It will make the bigger girl look bigger, the pregnant girl look more pregnant, and the 'normal' girl look pregnant. Why not pick a color scheme and let the bridemaids pick out their own (different, most flattering/comfortable) dresses, but in the same color?
posted by greta simone at 4:26 PM on May 8, 2011 [11 favorites]

We're working with a somewhat similar range of sizes at my upcoming wedding, plus added difficulty due to every bridesmaid living in a different city. I just picked a color and told everyone to find something in it that worked for them—no need to match completely, no need to have everyone in the same style of dress, no need for it even to be a dress (pantsuits are cool, too). But I'm pretty laid-back about this, some might say to the point of negligence.

If the bride's at all amenable to it, I'd suggest doing something similar, even if the bride's not as laissez-faire as I am, like finding a range of styles in one color from the same store. At very least, I'd find a quasi-empire-waist style and an A-line style.
posted by limeonaire at 4:28 PM on May 8, 2011

Best answer: I'm a bridesmaid in a friend's upcoming wedding, with a very similar set of bridesmaids and price concerns. The bride had us all choose a dress from Alfred Angelo in the same color, but with whatever style made us feel the most comfortable. Their sizing goes up to 30W in the plus sizes, and they have a variety of styles also available in maternity sizes. The dress I chose was $140, and I don't believe any of the other bridesmaids paid more than $175 for the dresses they chose. Super plus: their chiffon and cotton dresses come in many styles, that are cute and informal enough to be worn again to another semi-formal event without necessarily coming off as "bridesmaidy". (No, I'm not a shill for AA -- I'm just super-pleased with my dress!)
posted by Maya Cecile at 4:36 PM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Yes, pick one dress line and say "okay, everyone get the Primrose Blue" and then let everyone order the style they like best. It will look very coordinated with it all the same color, but each style will be more flattering.

Another option is separates (David's Bridal link, sorry). Again, decide on the color, and then each girl can choose the top and bottom she prefers. Or you might all agree on a skirt or skirt length and then each get what you feel is the most flattering top. Etc.

The one thing about separates is people are SLIGHTLY more likely to rewear them; a long satin skirt with a black velvet turtleneck might be a decent Christmas party outfit, for example, and the top may be reusable for clubbing with tight black pants. Or whatever. Depending on what separates you get.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:54 PM on May 8, 2011

Seconding the separates option at David's Bridal. That place is annoying, but I was a bridesmaid in a wedding and several of the bridesmaids fit into the parameters your girls have. We all went to David's and picked out whichever separates seemed most flattering for our individual figures, in the color the bride had chosen.

For my own wedding I chose an "easy" color and asked my bridesmaids to go out and get whatever they wanted in that color. By "easy" I mean a color that was simple for everyone to understand, for example, navy blue, black, etc. If you just say, "light blue" that could be a huge range of colors.

For another wedding I was in the bride sent us fabric samples reflecting the color she had selected. We went out and bought on our own. It wasn't too hard.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:01 PM on May 8, 2011

Nthing don't go the matchy-matchy route. Something that it may be hard to focus on as The Bride!!!!!! and Star Of The Show, but being a bridesmaid sucks enough. Don't make it suck more.

I'm asking for floor-length and one of a range of colors- black, light pink or grey. Everybody can pick things they feel their best in, be they pants, skirt and blouse or a full-on ballgown. I've got a list of suggested styles for under $100 at Amazon, but beyond that I am not asking much.

I'm making matching knitted stoles and asking them to buy shoes to at least wear for pictures. You can quite easily get everybody happy here, and if you keep the dressing expectations low, they're more likely to go for matchy accessories or something else goofy and twee for the pictures. The less regimented the dressing is, the happier they are.
posted by Hwin at 5:31 PM on May 8, 2011

Best answer: And a bit late; the Amazon wishlist of dresses to consider. The vast majority of them are under $100, and I particularly like this dress, which comes in several different lengths as well.
posted by Hwin at 5:35 PM on May 8, 2011

The bridesmaids at my sister's wedding were similar in range to what you are describing, except I'm smaller than normal and no one was pregnant. When we were shopping for dresses, she was looking at the various bridesmaid dress sites, and they had lots of dresses where you pick the style and choose the fabric so everything matches.

I'd rather she'd've gone with "everyone go with the lilac fabric from the "after 8" collection (or whatever it was), and everyone choose a floor-length dress you like". (In fact, she had us all wear the same style dresses. it's not clear the dress was super-flattering for any of us, but there you go.)

But anyway, choosing the same fabric and the same line should be doable, and you wouldn't have to go for the same style. Under $200 should be totally doable, even if you go with bridesmaids dresses. But be aware things are likely going to need to be altered, even if you send the bridal shops your measurements.
posted by leahwrenn at 6:03 PM on May 8, 2011

Yeah, my bridesmaids were all built pretty differently, and I just picked out the color (at David's Bridal, it was the easiest for everyone) and they tried on different dresses until they each found whatever looked good on them. Everybody got to look and feel nice!
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:12 PM on May 8, 2011

Shabby Apple has a bridesmaids' line. I'd have everyone pick which dress they like and just have them all wear the same color. I have a few of their dresses and the quality is fine and the fit is generally as described on the site.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:16 PM on May 8, 2011

My aunt had like eleventy billion bridesmaids. At least one was pregnant. We all came in different shapes and sizes, down to thirteen year old size zero moi. She chose a fabric and made a few specifications, and left the rest up to us. (I believe it was a yellow silk shantung, calf length, with short sleeves?) Everyone arrived in something appropriate, and the matching fabric made everyone look suitably bridesmaid-ish.

That said I grew up in a part of the US where it was (at least back then) pretty easy to find patterns and get someone to sew you a dress.
posted by Sara C. at 6:20 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some very differently shaped bridesmaids and I went the Alfred Angelo route mentioned above, and we were totally happy with it. The bride specified a color and fabric, and it was up to us to figure out the rest. We all walked away happy and I'll probably wear the dress again to a Christmas party or similar later this year. Very reasonable priced, and better quality than the David's Bridal bridesmaid dress I had to get for another wedding.
posted by olinerd at 6:35 PM on May 8, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for these great responses! Love all the dress links.

For those who said the empire waist will make the more averaged sized ladies look pregnant, I think I am biased on that one - my figure is such that if I wear anything that enhances my waist I look pregnant, so I have a tendency towards empire waists. But you do have a point I should consider for the the others because this may not suit them as well.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:54 PM on May 8, 2011

I don't know if this is possible, but the larger bridesmaid may be happier if dress style options include sleeves. Many of the Alfred Angelo dresses above were lovely, but as a larger-sized woman myself, I would hate having to wear anything that didn't involve at least short sleeves. (Either that, or at the very least make it clear that a shrug or a wrap of some kind that matches the dress would be acceptable.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:16 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: dlugoczaj, we just went to Alfred Angelo and David's Bridal today and could see what you meant about the sleeves, there are so few options. Good thought about the shrug!

p.s. for anyone else wondering about this same question, DB and AA go to size 30
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:17 PM on May 10, 2011

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