If planning the rest of the wedding turns out to be as difficult as buying bridesmaid dresses, I’m eloping!
The only criteria I had for bridesmaid dresses were:
- Finishes below the knee
- Not too bridesmaid-y
- Under $300
Sure, there were a lot of dresses that met that description, but not as many as I would have thought. Have fashion designers gotten lazy lately? Most of the dressed out there now look like pillowcases with arm and neck holes cut out with sequins glued on. Too short, shapeless, and ugly. When did potato sack chic become fashionable? And don’t even get me started on actual bridesmaid dresses. Yuck. I love my friends too much to make them wear that crap.
My lovely sister, the maid of honour, had the dubious task of choosing the bridesmaid dresses. She was given the above criteria and told that she could pick something that she likes that she’ll be able to wear again. After trawling through 100 stores in 2 cities, she found “the dress(es).” Simple, midnight blue, silk, fell just below the knee, buttons and loop closure in the back (to match my wedding dress), white skirt poking out from underneath, perfect! And…on sale! From $350 to $155! Deal.
Then came the hard part: finding sizes for four (yes four) bridesmaids. Three of whom live overseas. My fiance insisted on 4 groomsmen, hence four bridesmaids.
My sister was described perfectly as ‘about as sturdy as a Barbie doll.” Tiny bones and no meat. Size 6. Not in the store, but not to worry. An altered size 8 would do in a pinch.
One bridesmaid and I haven’t seen each other since her “I’m obsessed with food, really, and I actually eat, see? (proceeds to munch on celery)” phase that nearly shut down her vital organs, five years ago. She’s been living in the UK for six years now. Fortunately she’s healthy again and is taking good care of herself. But damned if I know what size she is now. We’re the same height and judging from pictures about the same weight. We’re guessing an Australian size 8.
Another bridesmaid is petite. Short, small and adorable. We guessed an 8, but decided on getting a 10 and getting it altered upon her arrival because she has a strong upper body.
The other bridesmaid lives in Sydney so we didn’t have to guess her size. She’s a 12 but we were told that the 12’s were out of stock, so we got a 14 and will have it altered closer to the wedding date.
Sizes chosen, 2 bridesmaids fitted, problem solved, right? Wrong. The day we tried on dresses there were plenty of dresses available. The next day, not so many available. When gorgeous silk dresses are on sale for a price like that, they go like hotcakes.*
Begin mad scramble for dresses. We purchased the size 14 and a size 8 on day one, but all the other ones we were counting on being there the next day were either sold (oh no!) or on hold (grrrrr!).
bitch bride also decided that these dresses would make good bridesmaid dresses, and put 3 (in sizes I needed) on hold for a week. Store policy says that they’ll only hold items until the end of the day. I don’t know who she is, but I loathe her and her special treatment. Earlier that day I had been told by the head office that those were the only dresses left in the nation. Being the unabashed American that I am, I decided to take a trip to said store (I was in the neighbourhood anyway). The bitch bride just happened to be in the store with her bridesmaids at that very moment! Sorry to disappoint, but there was not a knock-down drag-out bridezilla fight. I simply told the shop assistant that if she didn’t buy all of the dresses, to let me know and I would buy the remainder. Soon afterwards she called and said that the size 6 was available. Score! Three down and one more to go.
Head office hunted down a size 12 at the Meyer in Chatswood and the set was complete. Relief.
One week, a gazillion phone calls, a lot of begging and 5 (different) store visits later, we had our dresses. Victory!
* I never quite understood that expression until I discovered ricotta hotcakes. If you live in Sydney, treat yourself to some at Flat White Cafe or Bills in Woollahra. You won’t be disappointed.