Bride-to-Be Blogger Danielle: Bridesmaid Dress Fire Drill

One of the first things I decided on after Tim and I agreed on a beach wedding was the bridesmaid dresses. I loved the Cotton Cady line from J.Crew, and thought it was perfect for our “beach chic” event. Even more, I loved one of the featured colors: a light aqua color called Fresh Mint. Tim didn’t hate it, so I just figured that’s what we’d go with.

Once Tim and I set a date, I asked my five best girls to stand next to me while I said my vows. After they agreed, I sent a note out with everyone’s contact information and a link to the dresses that I loved. I pointed out the benefits: In stiff cotton, these dresses really are re-wearable. They came in several styles, as well as petite sizes, so each maid could pick the one she liked best, order several styles and sizes, and return those that she did not want. The color flatters each of their complexions. No one objected, and maybe they’re just the greatest girls in the world, but they all sounded enthusiastic. Still, we were 15 months out from wedding day so I didn’t ask them to order anything yet. I emailed a J.Crew wedding specialist to ask how long they would have them, and was told at least through the summer.

Flash forward to a night late in July when my sister sent me an instant message that the dresses in Fresh Mint were on final sale. I quickly checked the site. There were only two styles left and on each the color said “final sale”. My heart sank.

This is going to sound silly, but I had envisioned the entire wedding revolving around the dresses in this particular color. (See? Totally silly, especially for someone who is relatively pragmatic.)  I had been saving images of flowers that I thought would coordinate well with the color. I had started seeing invitation designs in my head. I looked at napkin colors on Dover Rent-All, my rental vendor’s, web site. I even found pictures of some cute coordinating items that are in a folder as consideration for bridesmaid gifts. Safe to say, I was disappointed.

Then about a week later, more of the dresses appeared on the site again. I got excited. They still said “final sale” though, so I was torn about what to do. I decided to ask my maids what they wanted to do. It was really very early to order bridesmaid dresses, and I didn’t want to inconvenience them with a final sale dress. On the other hand, they were cheap enough (all under $100) that it could justify ordering a larger dress and having it altered.

There was a lot of back and forth about it, and I sensed some apprehension. I had mentally thrown in the towel, and was seriously (but ridiculously) depressed, when I got a call from a bridesmaid in Los Angeles. She had called J. Crew on her lunch break and asked if they could waive the final sale clause. A bridal consultant told her that as long as everyone registered with their weddings department as bridesmaids they could order as many as they wanted, and return them hassle-free! I was so excited I think I leapt in the air! It seems that the crisis was averted by good, old-fashioned verbal communication.

We conveyed the good news to the other girls, and everyone went ahead and placed their orders. They’ve started trickling in and it seems that they fit mostly everyone well, and all the maids still say they like them. We ended up with three girls in the same style, and two who will wear different styles, so they will not look too matchy-matchy, which I really like. I’m going to visit one of my lovely ladies this weekend to check out her dress in person, and cannot wait to see how it looks on her!

When did you decide on bridesmaid dresses?  Are all your girls wearing matching dresses?  Did you choose the dresses before or after other elements of the wedding?

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