The Enduring Bridesmaid Dress Misconception

"Cheaply made"? "Sadly disappointing"?! A bridesmaid would have to be the most demanding stitch-counter in the world to take issue with higher-end bridesmaid dresses, such as this silky taffeta style from LOVE by Enzoani.

This morning on Lemondrop, I read something interesting: Side-by-side interviews of two women who wanted to wear red wedding dresses as girls. One of them stuck to her plan as a thirty-something bride, while the other had a change of heart when she realized she’d only get to wear white once.

But that wasn’t the important part of the story, at least not to me. I’ve seen enough pictures and heard enough stories of red-frocked brides . . . and brides in navy, black, pink, green, orange and purple . . . that I didn’t bat an eyelash at the idea. What did make me pause was a quote from the bride who wore red, Erin:

“The dress wasn’t easy to find. They don’t have monstrous, temple-like wedding emporiums filled with nothing but scarlet gowns. They don’t publish 5-pound magazines full of rosy red frocks. If the stores I visited had any red dresses at all, they were for bridesmaids – cheaply made and, as every bridesmaid knows, sadly disappointing.”

Regardless of the color choice, this bride was out of her mind!

It’s true that most bridesmaid dresses don’t have the painstaking attention to detail common in couture wedding gowns — because, as the saying goes, “all eyes are on the bride,” not the bridesmaids. With couture attention to detail comes couture prices, and what bridesmaid is going to want to shell out $3,000 for a dress she wears as a wing-woman? But “cheaply made” is hardly how I would describe the exquisite JLM Couture gowns my bridesmaids wore (at $240-$270 a dress) or the fun and funky Vera Wang Maid-to-Order collection ($190-$300) or the custom-look coolness of Alix & Kelly bridesmaid dresses ($260-$500).

As for disappointing . . . well, here’s how disappointed my friends and I have been: For my own wedding, I loved the bridesmaid dresses so much, I was jealous I didn’t get one. For my friend Danielle’s upcoming wedding, she loves her bridesmaid dresses so much, she wishes she had a good excuse to get one, too. For my friend Tiffany’s wedding, she loved her bridesmaid dresses so much, she did get one, in a different color, and wore it for her rehearsal!

I’m curious — what have other brides and bridesmaids out there thought of the bridesmaid dresses on the market these days?

~ Laura


2 responses to “The Enduring Bridesmaid Dress Misconception

  1. Can you not dye the dresses red?

    • I’ve never heard of a bride dying a gown. In fact, I’m not sure if dying a pre-made dress would produce even color, or if the thicker parts of the dress would soak up more dye. But I’m no expert in this — you would need to check with a qualified dressmaker.

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