Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bridesmaid dresses -- the final account

Well, I hope this is the final account. I feel like I've been stringing everyone along all this time as I (and my bridesmaids) change my/our minds over and over again!

When last we left off, everyone had the choice of a purple or green dress. The acceptable designers/colors were:
-Mori Lee eggplant
-Jim Hjelm eggplant
-Bill Levkoff European eggplant
-Alfred Angelo grape
-After Six, Renaissance satin, eggplant
-Bari Jay, eggplant
-B2, bordeaux
-Da Vinci, aubergine
-After Six, Nu Georgette, aubergine (probably)
-Jim Hjelm moss
-Alfred Angelo clover
-Mori Lee patina, maybe

In the months since, I confirmed that After Six's nu georgette fabric in aubergine was the right color, and determined that no one wanted to wear green. I had thought Paige, Eric's sister, might, as she already had a gorgeous Jim Hjelm dress in "moss," but after it had been altered so much to fit her pregnant belly in October, she didn't think it was salvageable. Plus, she said she didn't really mind getting a new dress and liked the purple color, so I didn't argue. Everyone would be wearing purple.

I mentioned before that Paula, one of my college best friends, already had a dress that we thought might work, and it turns out it does. It's a pretty chiffon, mid-calf-length dress in the exactly right shade -- how fortuitous! I don't have a picture of it, but it's got a halter top, a v-neckline, and some beading embellishment at the bust. Perfect! Maybe something kind of sort of like this:

Minus the sash, and with not as much of an A-line shape, and with sparkly stuff at the neckline. Yeah, kind of sort of like this but really not so much at all :)

In December I was able to go dress shopping with Marjorie and Karen, my two best friends from high school. We went to a bridal salon in New Jersey where the most wonderful thing happened: The salesperson asked what my vision was for the bridesmaid dresses, and when I explained that I didn't care what style, fabric, or designer they were, as long as it was on my list of approved colors, and I knew that the shades might not be exactly the same, she replied: "That's wonderful! How easy!" I was instantly in love.

You see, most places, over the last year or so, have given me the standard spiel that my bridesmaids HAVE to match. If not the exact style, then at least the same designer and fabric. To ensure that the dye lots match, you know. And as much as I've explained that I don't care, no one seems to really believe me or want to agree. So the fact that this woman instantly approved took a huge weight off of my shoulders. Not that I NEEDED her approval, mind you; it just made the experience so much more pleasant.

After a fun morning of trying on dozens of dresses, we went out to lunch, then went back to the store and had Marjorie's mom stop by to give her opinion. Marjorie had it narrowed down to two dresses:

L: James Clifford BH1814 R: Jim Hjelm JH5822

They are very similar, with the ruffle detail at the top. The ruching on the James Clifford dress was really flattering on Marjorie (but that ribbon was random and unnecessary), but the portrait neckline made her shoulders seem very broad. We loved the neckline on the Jim Hjelm dress (awesome cleavage!), but the ruching didn't happen at the most flattering spot. While trying to decide between awesome cleavage and awesome tummy coverage, the aforementioned awesome salesperson came over to see how we were doing. We explained what the problems were, and we brainstormed possible ways to address each dress with alterations. Suddenly, the salesperson exclaimed, "I know!" and ran off to get another dress. She came back with this:

Alfred Angelo 6549, the perfect blend of the two, in satin and chiffon in grape. The portrait neckline isn't as severe as on the James Clifford dress, and even though it doesn't have ruching, the cut of the dress fit Marjorie well. Plus, the fact that the ruffle cascades to the waist really camoflages the tummy area. The ruffle is accompanied by a dangling cord, which none of us really liked -- I believe the word "dingleberry" actually came out while discussing it, but it can be removed easily. Jackpot! Hooray for helpful and nice salespeople!

Karen also made a choice:
Alfred Angelo 6556. Organza and satin in grape, totally adorable!

I emailed back and forth with Paige regarding when she might want to order her dress. You see, she's due any day now, and if we could wait just a few weeks for her to lose at least the weight/girth of having a full-term baby inside of her, getting measured would be a lot simpler. I thought David's Bridal, with it's off-the-rack-if-you-can't-wait-to-order-a-new-one philosophy, might work well, so I checked out their color and style options. After Christmas, Paige stopped in to a store near her to check them out as well, and found one she liked. She'll wait as long as she can to place her order (DB told her the dress only needs a 6-week lead time) for this dress:
David's Bridal D02101, flat taffeta, in plum. I love this dress and want it for myself! The top is good because, as Paige (who will be breast-feeding) said, it "would also allow me to wear a hard-core bra if necessary, which is appealing." Good thinking!

With those decisions made, I told my sisters it was time to place their orders. Shannon had previously decided on Alfred Angelo 6518, and stuck with it:

Here you can see my ghetto photoshopping trying to turn it into a purple dress. I apologize if I've burned your retinas! The satin trim on the dress can be any color, and Shannon chose to match the trim with the nu-georgette body, so the whole dress will be in aubergine.

Laurel had previously chosen Bari Jay 756:

But when she went to order it, she went back to the Bari Jay website one last time and found that a new season's worth of dresses had been posted, and changed her mind to Bari Jay 382:

It's chiffon, in eggplant. I'm not sure what color choices there are for the strap, but I told her I don't care what she does, so we'll see what she ordered.

Finally, my other best friend from college, Jamie, was stuck dress shopping on her own. I did get to go shopping with her and Paula back in September, but I still wish I could have helped her pick out her final choice, if only because she seemed a little more distraught at having to search on her own. She settled on After Six 6513:

"Renaissance" satin, in eggplant. Even though it's pretty damn near to the exact same color as the nu-georgette that Shannon's dress comes in, Jamie's color in "Renaissance satin" is called "eggplant," while Shannon's color in nu-georgette and "Matte satin" is called "aubergine." After Six had to go and make things difficult, but by looking at enough swatches, I figured it all out. This dress has a really long sash that is shown tied in the back here, and was tied in the back when Jamie tried it on back in September, but Marjorie actually tried on the same dress and tied the bow in the front, and it looked really good, so Jamie is thinking about doing that as well.

Here's a composite I made up that shows all 8 of our hot dresses together:

Models standing in for, clockwise from top left: Jamie, Marjorie, me, Paula, Laurel, Karen, Paige, and Shannon. The actual color of purple we're using is somewhere in between all of those, but you get the idea.

After about a year, it's all coming together! I can't wait for all the dresses to come in so I can see how great they look on everyone! What do you think -- will it work?


ami @ elizabeth anne designs said...

these look SO great together! you're going to have fabulous pictures.

Spitzer Tales said...

When I first started reading I wasn't too sure about the different dresses in different shades thing because I have seen it go oh-so-wrong before. But, these dresses are beautiful and they look amazing together. I am so jealous!! And how nice for your BMs. How exciting that it has all come together. Congrats!

hwong14 said...

And actually, I don't think I made this super clear, but the pictures of the models are all of slightly different shades due to what the designers show online, but in reality, they are all the same color, with only maybe the teeniest, tiniest variation. The goal was to make them as close as possible without going so far as worrying about dye lots. But I'm not going to stress if they come out slightly different. Thanks for all the feedback!

PCJ said...

I think it's going to be gorgeous! Can't wait.

jenifer said...

I absolutely love those dresses!! So adorable!