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A Dress That Every Bridesmaid Will Love

Seafoam green with puffy sleeves and a turtleneck. This is an example of a bridesmaid dress that definitely won't be worn again! With a wealth of bridesmaid styles and colors available, there's no reason for bridal parties to be anything but stunning and smiling on the big day. Even better, you'll be the best-loved bride if you give them something that they won't mind wearing again.

Don't let the process overwhelm you. It's supposed to be fun! As the bride, you and your attendants should consider the following when choosing a dress: Color: You may have dreamed of dressing your girls in pastel pink since you were 2, but that hue might not look good on your redheaded sister. Choose a color you that complements the girls' complexions and hair color. Dark colors like navy, hunter green and black look good on almost everyone. Pastels look best on blondes and dark-haired girls with fair complexions but won't flatter redheads and darker complexions. If you do want pastels, go for rose-petal pinks, light yellows and pastel blues.

Some brides pick one color that everyone will wear. Others choose a style and let their bridesmaids pick the color. Or you can pick the color (purple) and let the bridesmaid choose a different intensity (eggplant or lilac).

Fabric: Avoid fabrics that are just plain bad, like '80s taffeta. Today's designers are using fabrics like velvet, chiffon, crepe and matte jersey that are sleek and slimming. Style: Do you want one-piece dresses or two-piece ensembles? Some top-skirt sets let you play mix and match, allowing girls to achieve unique looks that make them happy. So variety doesn't get out of hand, you can set guidelines, such as nothing above the knee.

If you want everyone to wear the same style, choose something that suits the largest size in the group. A-line skirts and empire waists generally look good on everyone. It's wise to consult with all your attendants before choosing a specific style, such as strapless, to make sure everyone will feel comfortable wearing it.

Time of the wedding and season: Use common sense. Don't under or overdress for the season. A velvet dress will be a little out of place at an outdoor wedding in July. On the flip side, bridesmaids will freeze in a short strapless dress in the middle of December. If you must have that strapless dress in winter, plan for shawls or bolero-type jackets to be constructed in the same fabric as the gown. Then, your girls will have a way to cover up if they become chilled.

Body types: While one maid is a size 2 and looks great in something short and tight, it might not flatter your tall, full-figured cousin who is a size 16. Also, try to draw attention away from problem areas that could be reasons for self-consciousness (hips and thighs) and focus on the flattering neckline instead.

Price: Generally, bridesmaids pay for their own dress and alterations, so factor in those costs when envisioning your dream gown.

Don't feel like you have do all of this by yourself. Make a few decisions yourself and then bring a few maids shopping with you. (Don't bring more than a few girls or it will get too chaotic). After you narrow it down, then you can get input from the rest of the crew.

Then it's time for all the bridesmaids to get measured. Measurements can be taken at the shop where you are getting the dresses, or the girls can get them done at their own tailor and give you their measurements. Order all the dresses at the same time to ensure they are from the same dye lot, or they might not all be the same exact color. Be sure to order the dresses far enough in advance so the gowns have time to be made and the girls can get them fitted.

Follow these tips and your bridesmaids will be smiling all wedding long!

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