Monday, February 17, 2014

DIY Wedding #4: What to Wear.

We left off last week with how to ask the people that you want to be in your wedding party. Now you're left with another mission to accomplish--choosing what everyone should wear.

Prior to engagement and even shortly after, I thought that I had this all figured out--but no, my friend, I didn't. Once I sat down and started looking--I realized that my initial plan wouldn't work or was too hard to achieve, I was also in love with several color palettes. Not to mention, halfway through the process--once everything has been sent out and purchased--I started to question the answers that I thought were so good in the beginning stages (but that was wedding stress--it ended up completely fine).

 So I recommend giving yourself plenty of time to decide--not cramming it in and making yourself choose something that you hate or succumbing to said wedding stress and not thinking straight--bad combination.

I also recommend having your bestie or Mom alongside to help consolidate your thoughts. Maybe you're better off alone, but for me--I had so much on my mind that I wanted to be able to spit something out of my brain and have someone with sense tell me what worked.

I've long since pitched the paper--but I actually drew stick figures for each person or role in the wedding, and "dressed" them accordingly to see "in my mind" what coordinated. It actually worked--because there are a lot of roles to dress.

So now, how do you decide? What works together?

Well, look at your theme--the colors that you decided on, with that in mind what is the first thing that you see?

For me, being a vintage-rustic-outdoor-summer wedding, I saw dressy-casual, summer dresses, mismatched styles but similar color palette, neutrals with pops of color.

I already planned to have a lot of white and patterned vintage fabrics in my decor, so rather than follow the popular trend of white bridesmaids that I always wanted to do, I chose to highlight my two favorite colors in the wedding: peach/coral & mint--what better way than on the people standing in the front.

I'm saving the details on the bride & groom's apparel for another post--so let's start with the bridesmaids & groomsmen, working our way down the line.


It was super important to me to not require my bridesmaids to purchase one expensive dress, that they hated or would never need to wear again. It's also really hard to decide on one dress that suits all body types. On top of that--I was trying to go for a fun, casual but still "weddingish" theme. I initially wanted to have each girl wear a vintage-floral print dress--but alas, no pretty ones to be found within my budget. Then I was opting to buy a few yards of fabric and include the sewing pattern for a simple shift dress--that way I still controlled the fabric, colors, and styles. However, I was so stressed trying to find all of that--and that's not the point of a wedding--you're getting married, you should be loving it!

So I considered other alternatives. I have always loved weddings where the bridesmaids have their own unique dress. I chose for my bridesmaids to wear mint and my Jr. Bridesmaids to wear peach--although, you could mix it up and have your MOH wear the alternate color, etc--be creative! And after following through with that plan, I highly recommend it for the following reasons:

1) You are relieved of the burden of picking out the dresses for your girls.
2) Your girls can pick out something that suits their taste and fits their body & price tag to their liking. Since they get to pick, it's probably something they can continually use--and they probably won't try to pick something that would be an eye-sore in your photos, I'm assuming that they like you.
3) It adds a fun, whimsical style to your wedding and pictures.

Some girls really like the matching look--it's balanced, and you KNOW that it will coordinate because you picked it out. That's ok! David's Bridal offers a lot of coordinating and matching dresses that you can choose from. My cousin had her bridesmaids wear the same dress, same color, but they each had a custom neckline (strapless, spaghetti, wide strap, etc), I always thought it was a super idea.

If you do decide to go the route that I chose, I recommend giving the girls some guidelines like I did in my bridesmaid box (you can see it here). I included pictures so each girl could see what styles I had in mind. I also wrote a little tag with some rules of dress--to keep it modest and similar, I asked that each girl purchase a dress with some strap or cardigan and that it would come to just above the knee (not that I doubted my girls, but it's good to cover your bases and communicate your thoughts). It's good to direct the girls towards some sites that will help them--my favorites are Modcloth, Ruche, Francesca's as well as JCPenney and Bon-ton.

 The girls were also allowed to choose their own shoes--as long as it was "nude," it could be a heel, flat, or sandal--whichever they preferred. I do recommend considering the location--heels don't work the best in grass--FYI. 

Their accessories were included as part of their gift, which we'll talk about in a later post. But I chose some cute, coordinating, vintage brooches, necklaces, hair pieces, and bracelets for each one to "decorate" herself with. It's a great way to give your bridesmaid's gift in the form of something that every girl loves to get! Or you could continue on the simple route and tell them to wear whatever they like and give something else as a gift.

There is one more thing that you should consider--the hair. Since I was going with a "mismatched" look, I told the girls to do their hair however they liked. Some brides like their girls to have the same 'do, or to have it all pulled up somehow, or half-up or...well, you get the idea. You can always take the girls to a salon for hair and make-up as part of your gift--but I was on a tighter budget, so they were allowed to do whatever they wanted and my wonderful stylist-friend was available to help.

Btw, the risk in having them pick out their own dresses--paid off! This was the final product:


I found the guys to be a lot harder than the girls--believe it or not. I'm not sure if that's because I never really had to do intensive suit shopping for a guy before OR if it's that they tend to not care so you're not going to get any executive decisions out of them.

Some groom's parents offer to pay for the guy's attire--which is fabulous, you have more to work with. But if they can't do that, it's either on you or them. In my case, just like the girls--it was on them (it would be rather unfair, otherwise).

In the same fashion, the guys were asked to be classy-casual with a vintage twist--so they sported their own unique pair of khaki dress pants, brown shoes, and white shirts--you can't go too wrong with that. As part of their gift, we provided mismatched but coordinating ties & bow-ties, the suspenders, and funky socks--to be fun.

In passing I thought that I should add in where I got said ties and socks. The socks were part of clearance pack at H&M--love that store. The ties were randomly purchased at various stores on clearance such as JC Penney, Amazon, the TieBar (online), and even the good ole' thrift store.

I purchased the suspenders through Amazon for roughly $5 a set. You can go fancier, with real leather and such. But I knew my guys weren't huge on suspenders in every day life--so I just bought something that matched for cheap, something that would get them through the wedding.

It's important to consider the boutineers in your planning! My florist-friend really emphasized this--because shirts have a tendency to not hold the bout upright, so it's best to have something sturdy like a vest, jacket, or suspenders for them to pin to. Unless, you nix the bouts all together.

Again, consider the location--you don't want to torture your guys by making them wear full-on suits in the daunting summer sun. Be kind.

If you're going with the matching look--I've heard good things about Jos. A. Bank, JCPenny, Macy's, Mens Wearhouse--there's more, but those are the popular ones and rentals tend to be expensive. Andrew's suit came from Jos. A. Bank--and even though we didn't make use of it, these specialized suit stores often offer great deals for buying several suits at a time. So you can always take all the guys with you--for them to try on and purchase together OR you can snag sizes and get them all yourself. 

It's really important, and I'll stress this later as we work closer to the time of the wedding, that you communicate well if you expect people to bring things, like their attire, to the wedding. An example, I tried to state that the guys should bring a brown belt in case their suspenders don't work, fit, etc. However, they took it as a requirement and sported belts WITH their suspenders. However, it was a minor thing that I don't even think twice about in the pictures and it provides a laugh. But, don't let it be something more detrimental--COMMUNICATE!

Once you make out what the groomsmen and bridesmaids should look like--you're gold! The rest can be based around that foundation that you just laid. 


The flowergirl is actually quite easy, because they are stinking cute either way. Etsy is a great place to find little, ruffly dresses and hair pieces.

I coordinated with my flower girl's Mom and had her pick up this adorable ruffle dress on clearance from JCPenney. I bought some pearls for her from Target to complete the look.

Isn't she adorable?

Ring Bearer

Most ring bearers dress in accordance with the groomsmen. Since my groomsmen only wore wwhite shirts and khakis--it was easy for the ringbearer to duplicate

I had bought a little bow tie for him to weqr-on sale at JCPenney, but it got mixed up and the officiant took it instead, Thankfully my florist/ planner for the day was on top of things and made this make-shift bow tie out of leftover fabric.

Mothers & Fathers

In my opinion, Mom's love to pick out their dress for this special day. If you point them in the right direction with a complementary color--they should be good to go. Of course, you could always make it fun and plan a Mom-date to go shopping! I chose for the Mom's to sport Champagne dresses--there are a lot of MOBG dresses in this color, it's elegant, and it's close to white, which was perfect for the Mom pictures that I was planning without them matching my dress.

 In our case, Andrew's Dad was the best man--so, to prevent the line-up and pictures from being thwarted, we had the Dad's dress similar to the groomsmen. You could also show differentiation by having them wear another shade or color of tie, or perhaps a unique boutineer.

Most cases, Dad's wear a nice complementary suit or dress pants to show off when they make their way down aisle. Dad's, like groomsmen, have a tendency to not fret over dressing--so it's probably best to give them what you want them to wear in their size and be done with it.

Extended Family

This is something that you could easily forget about. Not because you don't care--but because your extended family are not in the immediate line-up and we brides have a way of "spacing out" with all that is on our minds.

But this might be something you want to consider if you plan to have full family photos taken. I actually completely forgot about this until my sister-in-law and Granny asked what they should wear so they could match for pictures. *Brain-dead moment*

I told my sister-in-law to complement the bridesmaids--wearing a cute, mint or peach dress. And I asked Grandma's to wear light, floral patterns of their choice. Keeping it neutral but mismatched. Andrew's Grandpa sported a neutral suit coat--and it all worked together perfectly.

Don't quote me on this, but I believe that next week's post is all about "the dress" aka, YOU--the bride. Don't miss it!

P.S. Don't forget to check out what Jacqueline's tips for groomsmen attire! Also, her post on bridesmaid's attire

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