Where to Begin: Bridesmaids Dresses

I was talking to a friend over the weekend and she mentioned that she is going to be in a wedding in August. And she's a bridesmaid. She also talked/complained about the trials and tribulations of being a bridesmaid and how it has turned into a nightmare. She was just talking about the dress. She is going to be a bridesmaid for a friend she has known since second grade. Her friend, thinking that she'd make it easy by choosing a black dress, decided on a certain two-piece style from David's Bridal. My friend said that she's never going to wear the dress again because it's so "not her style" and the dress is a waste of money to her. She even said that she's going to suck in her gut in the smaller size dress so she doesn't have to pay for alterations. Oh dear.

So how do you prevent this type of dilemma?

I found my friend's anecdote highly entertaining, although she did have a point. Personally, I'd like to choose a dress that can be reworn by my bridesmaids. Something that they won't want to throw away and think that they wasted a ton of money on. I want them to have a dress that they'll like (at least a little). I've become a big fan of choosing a dress line and color and letting the bridesmaids have at it.

At first, I thought that I would be one of those brides who wanted the matchy-matchy bridesmaids dresses. Then I came to my senses and realized that not everyone looked spectacular in the same cut of dress. I'm thinking that I'll choose a color and let my bridesmaids pick something that they will feel good in. (As much as possible in a bridesmaid dress)
Why not try something like these?
photo from ariadress.com

photo from Aria Dress

 Photo from TheKnot

Bridesmaids dresses don't have to be "bridesmaid-y". Check out the collection at J.Crew too.

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