Here's some advice on bridesmaid dresses from the book "Where to Seat Aunt Edna: And 500 Other Great Wedding Tips " (Hundreds of Heads Books, www.hundredsofheads.com, $13.95), straight from people who've done it.
“Pick out the dress you want the bridesmaids to wear before you take those girls anywhere near a bridal store. If you want to take the maid of honor with you for another opinion, that’s fine. But don’t take all six of those girls in there while you are trying to pick out a dress. If you do, you’ll get what I got — six different girls wanting six different dresses. And then how do you settle that dispute without upsetting somebody?”
—P.B. Canfield, Ohio, number of wedding guests: 175
“The same evening that my husband-to-be told me how many bridesmaids I could have (three, because he had three friends he wanted as groomsmen), he also said, ‘And you can have any color you want, except blue.’ Well, blue is my favorite color and I’m pretty independent. All of my bridesmaids wore blue. He can’t say he didn’t know what he was getting! Go with what you love, no matter what!”
—Susan, Taylor, Texas, number of wedding guests: 130
“I had eight people to outfit for the wedding, and they represented the biggest variety of figures possible. I started out looking for a dress that would look OK on all of them, then quickly realized that my sister at 100 pounds and my friend at 200 pounds were going to look ridiculous in the same dress. And I had never seen my friend Pixie in a dress at all. I finally told them to find something in black velvet of any length, in any style. They came in a variety of dresses, and Pixie wore a pants suit. Everyone looked fabulous: They would have all looked really stupid in the same dark purple dress, which is where I was going at first.”
—Anonymous, Washington, D.C., number of wedding guests: 150
“I learned the hard way that you should stay away from sleeveless and anything off the shoulder. I had never really seen some of my friends’ arms and shoulders before and I realized they were better off under cover. Unless you know that all your bridesmaids are OK in that department, I say play it safe and cover ’em up.”
—M.J., Frankfort, Ky.
“Don’t worry about buying matching outfits for the bridesmaids. Instead, find stuff that they can wear again. You’ll have happier bridesmaids this way! I had a size 2 bridesmaid, a size 22 bridesmaid, and a 10-year-old junior bridesmaid. I went to a department store, and within 30 minutes the sales associate had found three dresses — one purple, one blue and one a gray-green.”
—Lisa Olkon Vandesteeg, St. Paul, Minn., number of wedding guests: 60
© 2007, Hundreds of Heads Books, Inc.