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Wedding Wednesday: Wedding Party

So yesterday after school I had a meeting and then Justin and I had friends over for dinner. No time to blog! Therefore, “Wedding Wednesday” is happening on a Thursday. And in my own little blog world, there is nothing wrong with that. 🙂 So let’s get to it!

Wedding Wednesday: The Wedding Party!

Since the last two Wedding Wednesdays have focused on what Justin and I wore, I decided to keep that theme going and discuss the bridal party!

From day one of planning, Justin and I knew that we wanted our wedding to be FUN — our goal was for the whole day to just be a celebration! Nothing super fancy and stiff because that’s just not us. We wanted our wedding party to be comfortable and happy so we gave them a lot of freedom with their outfits. I did this mostly because I have been in a few weddings and I’ve learned a few things. For starters, while it is a HUGE honor to be part of this special day in someone’s life, it is really kind of annoying to have to shell out $200 for a dress/suit you hate and will never wear again. Nothing against the bride or groom, but if their style is not yours, it’s hard to spend lots of money on clothes that aren’t “you.” In addition to that, everyone in our party was either a young professional just starting a career, starting graduate school, or still in college (a.k.a. BROKE). Our wedding took place in my hometown and many had to take off work and pay for travel just to get there. We didn’t want to put a financial burden on anyone so letting them pick their outfits ensured they not only felt comfortable in what they wore but also spent an amount of money that was comfortable to them.

Here are the results (all photos copyright the incredible Rothwell Photography):

Copyright Rothwell Photography

I absolutely LOVED how everything came together! I’m so glad everyone put some personality into their outfits.

While I was very pleased with how everything turned out, there are some things you should consider if you’re giving your wedding party freedom in choosing their own outfits. Here are my top tips:

1. Give your attendants clear guidelines. For my girls, I told them to pick a knee-length navy dress. Since my family is fairly conservative, I asked that hemlines be no more than one inch above the knee. I did not care about sleeves/strapless/neckline other than to ask that there not be cleavage. I also sent them pictures of dresses I liked as examples and a few of them ended up buying dresses that I sent as examples. SHOW THEM PICTURES! They might think they know what you’re looking for but they could be on the wrong page — make sure they see the type of overall look you’re going for with your wedding.  I also told them to pick nude shoes that they would be comfortable in (flats, heels, sandals, etc) but asked that they not be flip flops.

Copyright Rothwell Photography

For the guys, I asked them to wear khaki dress pants and brown shoes (we provided the shirt and suspenders). I did not care about color or style, although in hindsight I wish I had told them not to wear pants with pleats because that ended up looking a little strange with suspenders. For the tie, I sent them a link to the Bows N Ties website because they organize their ties into color palettes. I asked them to choose a tie from a specific page that they liked and would want to wear again.

Copyright Rothwell Photography

2. Make sure to approve of all outfits . . . I had my girls text me a picture of their chosen dress before they bought it just to make sure it was okay. They were all really willing to do this because no one wanted to stick out by being the oddball in a dress that looked “off” from the party. I didn’t ask them to, but most also texted a pic of the shoes to make sure they got approval. We also approved all the guys ties before they bought them to make sure there weren’t a ton of duplicates or one that clashed.

3. . . . but be flexible with individual styles. One of our ushers felt that he didn’t look quite right in thicker ties and wanted a skinny tie that was not offered on the website we sent. We told him to order one he liked (but just double check with us before buying to make sure the color worked) and felt comfortable in. Be willing to consider all requests, and think about what is really important. You might not love lace, but if your sister picks a dress with lace that she loves and is happy in and it fits in with the rest of the dresses, that might be worth letting slide even if it’s not your favorite. If you feel yourself wanting to control the dresses on a micro-detail level, letting your attendants pick their dress might not be the right move for you.

Copyright Rothwell Photography

4. If you don’t want to give up complete control, consider allowing attendants to choose details. For example, consider a dress that can be worn multiple ways (strapless, one shoulder, spaghetti strap) to let each girl wear what they’re comfortable in. Or allow them to choose their jewelry or shoes even if they’re all wearing the same dress. I bought my girls each a piece of jewelry, but I let them pick it out so it’d be something they’d wear again and again and think of our wedding!

5. Make sure it all “fits” by choosing a few details to keep consistent. Giving too much freedom can look chaotic or keep your party from looking like a cohesive unit. For example, if you just want attendants to wear a blue dress with no other guidelines, they might all wear something totally different and not look like they belong together. I’ve seen weddings where you can’t even tell who is in the party because the outfits are all so different. If that’s your style, go for it! For me, I wanted my party to still look coordinated. I had the girls all in dresses of the same length and the guys in the same shirt and suspenders. While our ushers wore white shirts and our groomsmen green, their looks still coordinated well together! Because there was so much variation in style of dress, shade of khaki pant, and style of tie, the party needed a few key details to be the same in order to “fit” together.

Copyright Rothwell Photography

I hope you have found this list helpful! I had many compliments from guests (and even some people who weren’t at our wedding but saw pictures) on how great our party looked and several attendants commented on how much they appreciated getting to choose a style that they liked and would wear again . . . AND that fit their budget! I highly recommend considering letting your attendants in on some of the decision making — I’m really glad we did!

Previous Wedding Wednesday Posts:

The Suit

The Dress

The Planning

My #1 Advice

 ***

I was feeling polka dots for today’s outfit so I kept piling on the dots! Details to available pieces on Wear page.

teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.comSweater: New York & Company

Blouse: New York & Company

Skirt: Kohls

Tights: Express

Pumps: Maurices

Necklace: Forever 21

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