I'm late, I'm late, I'm late-- Assignment 1, step 5
- Recently, I was a bridesmaid in my good friend's wedding. I noticed
particular fashion expectations and traditions surrounding the bridal
party. First, the bride is typically in white or a similarly pale
color (ivory, eggshell, champagne, etc.), harking back to Victorian
times. Her dress may also take up more space than those of her
maids. Think 1860's crinoline hoop gowns or late Victorian-styled
bustled gowns with extended trains. Such dresses may be richly
decorated with ruffles, ribbons, bows, beadwork, and/or embroidery.
And often a veil will top the bride's crown. On the other hand, the
bridesmaids' dresses are often simple, less ornately decorated, and
usually in a different, if not darker, color. This contrast in
clothing definitely sets the bride apart from her accompanying
maids. As one woman wrote in a wedding website, she saw the
bridesmaids as an accessory; they were there to augment the bride.
My friend chose to follow most of the fashion expectations. Her gown
was ivory, with a beaded bodice and a full skirt with semi-cathedral
train. She also chose to honor the tradition of "something old,
something new, something borrowed, something blue" by wearing jeweled
hairpins fashioned out of her mother's old earrings (her mother had
passed away a few years ago), her new gown, borrowed pearl earrings,
and a necklace studded with blue pearls. However, she did forgo the
Unlike the bride, the bridesmaids often wear matching if not exactly
the same attire. Typically, the bride makes the decision about what
her entourage shall wear. If a bridesmaid is lucky, she will not be
forced to purchase and wear an unflattering (i.e. hideous) AND
expensive outfit that will never again see the light of day.
Luckily, my friend the bride gave us the opportunity to choose our
own dress, shoes, hairstyle, and jewelry (no Bridezilla for us, thank
goodness). She wanted us to wear our attire for future occasions,
which gave us the freedom to exhibit our distinct, individual taste.
However, there were set parameters. The dresses had to be black,
floor length, and sleeveless. Our shoes were to be black; our
jewelry silver or silver accented. Thus, we maintained a sense of
uniformity that set us apart from not just the bride but the guests
Another sense of uniformity is in "the colors." The bridal party had
to match the colors of the wedding décor, which was black and
silver. A thoughtful friend pointed out that it looked like Oakland
Raiders colors, to the chagrin of the happy couple who are both
staunch Charger fans. A touch of lavender was added to prevent
similar comments. So, the bridal party was decked out in black
dresses and shoes, silver accessories, clasping ivory and lavender
bouquets, with silver ribbons. We couldn't have blended in better
with the table linens, centerpieces, and china.
What remains is the constant distinction between the bride and her
bridesmaids. Perhaps there is some truth to what the website woman
said. I mean what bride wants to be upstaged by her own bridesmaids
on her wedding day?