Our post today is by Kunjan Anjaria of ANANYA Designs. Boston’s very own Couture Design Studio that caters to each client’s unique vision. She is meticulous at making and creating each piece. We are thrilled to share her expert advice with all of you today.
I recently read an article on www.mint.com that claimed that bridesmaids spend roughly $1695 for each best friend’s wedding that they accept to be a bridesmaid for. Do you really get to say no to being a bridesmaid at your best friend’s wedding, no matter what the cost? Umm…not really. So, the next best thing is for you as the bride is to be cognizant of your bridesmaids expenses and be prudent while setting your expectations of them, especially with regards to clothing!
I almost forgot — that to add to this cost, Indian brides are notoriously known for changing several times during the wedding and will often expect bridesmaids to follow suit. And we are talking a large group of bridesmaids, Bollywood style, not the typical two or three that you see at most Western weddings. This is no problem, of course, if the bride or her family offers to pay for the multiple outfit changes. But, let’s face it, in a real world that isn’t how things generally happen. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the plethora of options that face a to-be bride as she tries to find the most perfect outfit(s) for her dear bridesmaids.
Take a look at your bridesmaids body types and comfort level with the outfits you have in mind. Do you have bridesmaids who have never worn an Indian outfit and are worried about tripping on sarees? Do you have plus size bridesmaids that would be most comfortable in Salwars instead of lehengas?
Once you get a pulse on where each of your bridesmaid stands with regards to her preference, work out a style that works best for the group. Also, keep in mind that bridesmaids outfits do not have to be identical. Yes, that does make for great pictures when they all look alike but that is not the only way to do it. Consider going the Mix and Match route where you use identical color schemes, but the styling varies to reflect each bride’s taste. This way you are also incorporating your bridesmaids positively in this process where they will end up with outfits that they somewhat selected.
Some of the most commonly used styles include Sarees, Lehengas, Salwars or Chudidars and of course Dresses made out of Indian fabrics paired with a Western Silhouette.
Selecting colors for your bridesmaids outfits can be such a fun and creative process. While it is important for your bridesmaids outfits to pair with your bridal outfit in some way, the colors scheme certainly does not need to be replicated in their outfits. Let’s assume your outfit for the ceremony is a traditional Saree in Parrot Green paired with Gold and Burgundy accents.
Here are some ideas for your bridesmaids outfits:
1. Reverse the colors – Pick Burgundy Sarees with Gold and Green Accents for your bridesmaids.
2. Use the least dominant color of your outfit for the bridesmaids sarees and pair it with a gold blouse so it really makes that particular color pop in your saree.
3. Use a neutral color for the entire bridesmaids saree like a gold, offwhite or beige paired with a blouse that is green or burgundy.
4. Use a different shade of green than your saree so that it’s still within the family but distinctly different.
5. Consider shading the bridesmaid outfit subtly from a light to a dark color if you don’t want a monotone.
I could go on and on, but, I’m sure you get the idea. Don’t you think the possibilities are endless?
Often times, a fabric can change the entire look and feel of the final product. If you have heavy brocades and velvets in your lehenga, mix it up a little by using light and airy fabrics such as a chiffon for your bridesmaids outfit. This will create a balanced look, especially for pictures, and will make it a whole lot more interesting.
Another thing I particularly like is picking fabrics with different prints but in the same color family for each bridesmaids sarees. So if you are picking a peach colored lehenga for your bridesmaids, get them made out of subtly different prints for each bridesmaid. So for example, some would have paisley prints, others would have floral prints etc.
I usually advise my brides to stay clear of the ‘pure’ fabrics such as real brocades or duiponi silks for bridesmaids outfits because those are the primary reasons why the outfits become expensive. Instead, pick mid-grade fabrics that will last a few wears and at the same time look well put together.
If you choose to embroider the bridesmaids outfits, opt for machine embroidery as hand embroidery can often increase the costs significantly. Select pre-made embellishments such a zari laces or ready to sew embroidered borders as these are made in bulk and are usually cost-effective.
Majority of brides that I have worked with like to stay under the $250 mark for each bridesmaids outfit. While this might not seem like a lot to some, it can be pretty overwhelming for many bridesmaids, especially if they know that they are never going to wear that outfit again. In such situations, consider picking outfits that meet everyone’s budget. There’s definitely room to adjust pricing based on the fabric, styling and embellishments you pick for your bridesmaids outfit.
As with most wedding planning, this process might involve a little bit of web based research. Take a look at bridal photo blogs to see what catches your eye. Create an inspiration board and share upto 3 concrete options with your bridesmaids so you are in charge of the process and at the same time you don’t overwhelm them. Most importantly, trust your instincts and involve your bridesmaids in this process. Afterall, isn’t it true that – A Happy Bridesmaid Makes a Happy Bride?