Bridesmaids wearing their own dresses

I've have an idea for the bridesmaid dresses and wouldn't mind a bit of input from anyone who has done this or considered it.

Firstly our aim is for a very low key, relaxed and fairly small wedding, we've no colour scheme as yet (for the flowers I've just asked for colourful and in season for a June wedding) and not having formal photos.

My bridesmaids are my two best friends and I'm considering just offering them each a sum of money and letting them wear whatever they like. This way they can buy something they could wear again, are comfortable in or even use a dress they already have and spend the money on shoes/a bag/whatever they like for the wedding. It also means I don't have any stress about finding a dress to suit them both and as there are no formal photos it won't matter if they are in different colours/styles. If it makes a difference we also have a female best man who we would like to offer the same to.

If you were a bridesmaid what would you think?


  • edited 11 March 2014 at 9:42AM
    Evil_OliveEvil_Olive Forumite
    322 Posts
    Tenth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited 11 March 2014 at 9:42AM
    I can give you a 'Bridesmaids view'
    My friend did this for her Civil Partnership for exactly that reason - one less thing for her to co-ordinate - and, in a twist on your situation, she had a male 'honorary bridesmaid' while her partner had a 'best woman' :D

    I was thrilled that she did it this way - With the money she gave me I was able to buy a dress from Vivien of Holloway (I had been drooling over their website for years and never thought I would ever be able to afford to actually own one) Mine and the other bridesmaid dress (and the guy's outfit) were all totally different in both colours and style but they still looked great in the photos and I have lost count of the times I've worn this dress since - it's still my most special outfit. It also acted as the gift that brides normally give to their bridesmaids.

    It also meant I spent the day in London trying the VoH dresses on and a few hours in Liberties haberdashery department buying bits to make a matching fascinator type hat. One of the most indulgent feeling shopping afternoons I can remember having - so that was a gift to me too :)

    If you wanted to make sure there's no 'clash' you could ask them to look for something that would harmonise with (not necessarily 'match') what the bride is wearing in either style or colour - that would still leave a very wide choice. My friend didn't do this - her only stipulation was that it be 'something very special that makes you feel great' - but obviously I would have been happy to oblige if she had.
    Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s. They are broke!
  • tillyennatillyenna Forumite
    276 Posts
    I think it depends on your bridesmaids - I had offered something similar to mine (that I would make their dresses to a pattern of their choosing, in a fabric and colour of their choosing), however they kept saying things like 'it's your wedding, you pick' and 'whatever you want us to wear, we'll wear' - which was driving me a little bit mad. However I expect it was because the 'anything you like' I said was too broad for them, and they didn't have the time to choose a dress, so instead I narrowed it down (told them I wanted something vaguely 50's style) and since then, and MANY conversations prompting them to choose what they want, they've both picked patterns - although not the fabric LOL.

    If you have decisive bridesmaids who are interested in fashion/dresses then yes, I think it's a great idea. If you have bridesmaids like mine, then it might be easier to give them a little more structure.

    I hasten to add, my 7 and 9 year old bridesmaids designed their dresses the day I told them they were going to be bridesmaids - and they are crazy, but brilliant designs, I can't wait to make them!
    Officially saved enough to cover the cost of our wedding! :A
  • JobseeekerJobseeeker Forumite
    433 Posts
    If they can wear whatever they like, why not just wear something they already own, then you can save a bit of money in your budget
  • sethsgransethsgran Forumite
    2.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Love the idea. For my daughters wedding she just had her younger, adult, sister. We found a fabulous dress on Ebay like this one, grey full flock. With the underskirt etc she looked amazing. Bridesmaid had lost 3.5 stone for the wedding so you can imagine the glow on my girls faces that day....
    Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes
  • DigForVictoryDigForVictory Forumite
    11.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    That I needed a little bit more of a steer as I'm not at all clothes-literate. Your bridesmaids may vary!

    Colourful & summery, something I'll wear both to a wedding as a bridesmaid & again for fun - I'd probably barrel off to a department store, ask if they have a personal shopper, show them the money & whimper for help.

    I might also like to try several & ask you which you prefer as I'm spending your money on a dress for your day.

    Once I'd got the dress, sorted the ensemble, & had a ball at your wedding I'd be the lucky owner of a smashing dress with loads of good memories for which there aren't enough thanks, but getting there I would find lumpy!
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