Maid of Honor Advice
Maid of Honor Dress: Getting the Bride to Pick a Good One!
We've all seen unfortunate maids of honor and bridesmaids in what can only be described as horrid dresses. It makes you wonder if the bride just didn't take into account who would be wearing the dresses or if she really did want to make herself look better by comparison. I have to believe that ugly bridesmaid dresses are more the sin of ignorance, not malice, on the part of the bride and that she really thinks the dresses are pretty. Just because you're the bride doesn't make you an instant fashion expert!
That being said, the maid of honor, as a close confidante of the bride, can use her power to insure that she and the other bridesmaids have no cause for complaint about their dresses come the wedding day. You just need to figure out what type of dress to suggest, and then devise a plan to steer the bride in that direction. Also, if you want your dress to be different in some way from the other bridesmaids it's a good idea to come up with an idea before talking to the bride. Perhaps the maid of honor could have the reverse color scheme from the other bridesmaids (ie. dress the color of the bridesmaid's sash, and sash the color of the bridesmaid's dresses).
Assuming you're also trying to look out for the sake of the other bridesmaids, it's important to consider what kind of dress looks good on different body types. If the maid of honor and bridesmaids are of similar builds, then you can just look for pretty dresses you happen to like. It's trickier once you start dealing with bridesmaids of different body types, as is typically the case.
One option for dresses is to select separates. This is where the maid of honor and bridesmaids can mix and match different size skirts, sashes, and corset-like tops to find just the right size combination. Honestly I don't think separates look particularly flattering on anyone, but they could at least keep anyone from looking terrible.
One of best ideas I've heard of for the maid of honor and bridesmaids dresses is for the bride to pick a fairly specific dress color (like "emerald green," for example) and a length (ie. above the knee, three quarter length, floor length, etc.). Each member of the bridal party then goes out and finds her own dress in that color, selecting a style that best flatters her own body. This can look beautiful in pictures, with a small range of shades of the same color. Of course, the maid of honor should be ready to give the bride color suggestions because, dress styles aside, there are some horrible colors out there too!
Once you've got a few dress ideas in mind, it's time to approach the bride. But be careful how you do this! It's important not to make the bride feel like she's being forced into anything concerning the dresses. Instead, the maid of honor should just let her own enthusiasm shine through and show the bride several concrete examples of dresses she likes. That way, if the bride likes your suggestions, she still gets to feel like she made the final bridesmaid dress decision.
My final piece of advice to improve the odds that you and the bridesmaids will look fabulous on the wedding day is to absolutely go dress shopping with the bride. If you're not there, you can't give her your opinion (and that makes the pepto bismal pink dresses partially your fault!).
If you need a place to start looking for attractive bridesmaid dresses (which are also on the less expensive side!), check out these discount dresses.