Bridesmaid Dresses: Past, Present & Future
Bridesmaids. They’re a fixture at almost every wedding, and have come to represent the beautiful friendships the bride has made along her life’s journey. From the dramatic antics parodied in movies like Bridesmaids to the insanely poufy dresses of the 80s, the definition of a bridesmaid incorporates humor, drama, support, love and above all, sacrifice in the name of the bride. But as the flamboyant taffeta silhouettes of the 80s and 90s made way for a simpler, streamlined look in the 2000s, the notion that a bridesmaid dress was inherently unflattering has subsided.
Now more than ever, bridesmaid dresses are taking their cues from the runway with chic styles that reflect the current trends. In this vein, JVN is so excited to introduce our very own line of bridesmaid dresses meant for the modern woman. To celebrate, we’re delving into everything bridesmaid – from history to current fashions and everything in between.
History of Bridesmaids
The tradition of having bridesmaids has been around for centuries. The first bridesmaids were actually considered protectors of the bride. Bridesmaids were around to provide far more than emotional support to the bride – they were expected to help ward off evil spirits. And much unlike today’s bridesmaids, who are typically dressed quite differently from the bride, bridesmaids in history used to dress just like the bride to confuse the evil spirits.
Evil spirits were not the only dangerous threat that bridesmaids were expected to thwart. Historically, would-be suitors could come along and steal the bride-to-be. Bridesmaids who were dressed similarly would serve to confuse men attempting to steal the bride as well as the supposed evil spirits – talk about responsibility!
White isn’t traditionally thought of as a great color for a bridesmaid dress, but in the Victorian era it was the official color for both the bride and the bridesmaids. The idea of a white wedding dress and matching white bridesmaid gowns is said to have originated with Queen Victoria when she married Prince Albert. Previously, wedding gowns were colorful in nature, with nobility wearing gowns that had metallic threads in silver and gold to stand out in their finery.
Interestingly, it seems as though modern brides are taking a page out of the history books. Despite decades of colorful bridesmaid dresses, white bridesmaid dresses have made a comeback in recent years. This trend may be in part due to the popularity of monochromatic, softly hued wedding color schemes that are very much en vogue. Instead of choosing a bridesmaid dress in a color that contrasts with the gown, many modern brides have opted to dress their maids in simple white gowns the same color as their wedding dress.
Will You Be My Bridesmaid?
Being asked to be a bridesmaid is considered an honor, and today’s brides are having fun with the process of asking their nearest and dearest to join their wedding party. Instead of simply calling your girls up on the phone (or texting them), avoid the impulse to get it over with and plan out something sweet. From a card with a note of gratitude for their friendship to a surprise video montage sent to them all, have fun with the process. Above all, make sure that they feel valued and appreciated for the role they are about to step into. Being a bridesmaid may be an honor, but it’s not all fun and games. Bridesmaids have some serious duties to uphold aside from wearing matching dresses.
Official Business: Bridesmaid Duties
Aside from providing moral support for the bride-to-be, bridesmaids have many official duties to carry out throughout the wedding planning process. Once the bridesmaids are chosen by the bride, they should be there to assist the bride with preparations for her wedding. This list can include anything from giving advice on which dress to say yes to, to helping seal and send out hundreds of wedding invitations.
Two of the most infamous tasks on the bridesmaid to do list include planning a beautiful bridal shower and throwing a fabulous bachelorette party. These two tasks can take a lot of time, planning and financial resources. We suggest spreading the list of what needs to be accomplished among all the bridesmaids fairly to ensure it all gets done. Many times the responsibility for spearheading the bridal shower and bachelorette party planning process falls under the Maid of Honor duties.
Aside from planning the bridal shower and bachelorette party, the bridesmaids are traditionally also involved in the decision making process for the bridesmaid dress. Though bridesmaid dresses have typically been the same for all the women in the bridal party throughout the 20th century, brides have now recognized that a dress that may look great on one bridesmaid can look not-so-great on another. Because of this, many women are allowing their maids to pick a dress of their choice within the wedding’s color scheme. It’s a great way to give bridesmaids the freedom to feel comfortable and beautiful in a dress of their own choosing.
Starting an email chain with all the maids that includes everyone’s contact information is a great way to kick things off. Thanks to today’s technology it’s easy to keep in touch with all the bridesmaids during the planning process, even if the girls are scattered across the globe. Creating a to-do list and splitting the tasks is another great way to ensure it all gets done – just be sure to have regular check-in emails so none of the balls are being dropped in the process.
During the bridal shower itself, bridesmaids typically plan out the venue, invitations, food and beverages, favors and the decorations. It’s also nice to include a little bit in the budget for a photographer, or ask a talented friend or family member of the bride who owns a nice camera to take some meaningful snaps. The bridal shower is a major milestone on the bride’s journey to the altar, and while the wedding is typically photographed and documented well the bridal shower is not.
Many times bridesmaids will make a scrapbook of the wedding planning journey and give the bride a photobook on her wedding day to enjoy. Making the memories lasting and meaningful is a great way to slow down and enjoy the process – help the bride savor every moment by commemorating it with lots and lots of great pictures.
Bridesmaid Dress Trends
We’ve already touched on a few of the current bridesmaid dress trends – such as outfitting the bridesmaids in white dresses, or in dresses of their own choosing – but there are few more worth highlighting for 2017. Here are our favorites:
Bridesmaid Dress Trend #1: Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses
For the past 100 years, bridesmaid dresses were typically the same for all women in the bridal party. As the 2000s arrived, nontraditional brides began tiptoeing in a new direction: mismatched bridesmaid dresses. From choosing slightly different gowns in the same color to having maids wear dresses in all different hues of the wedding color scheme, mismatched bridesmaid dresses are now very much in vogue.
It not only allows bridesmaids to express their own personality, but it also ensures that each maid will feel comfortable and beautiful in the dress she has chosen. Finally, it removes pressure from the bride to choose the bridesmaid dress that will leave some of her friends feeling disgruntled. Overall, we think mismatched bridesmaid dresses are a big win-win.
Bridesmaid Dress Trend #2: High Fashion Bridesmaid Dresses
Forget bridesmaid gowns that were for shrinking wallflowers. Today’s confident bride isn’t trying to downplay the beauty of her friends – she wants them to shine in high fashion style just like she is. For brides who want their bridesmaids to look stylish, choosing a brand of dress that is known for their fashion-forward sensibility is a smart decision.
JVN’s Bridesmaid Dress Collection
Bridesmaids are your best friends and your biggest support system throughout the process of planning your wedding. What better way to thank them for their years of love, support and friendship than by choosing a beautiful bridesmaid dress? The current demand for high-fashion bridesmaid dresses was the inspiration behind JVN’s new bridesmaid dress collection. This ever-growing collection embraces many of the latest dress silhouettes and fashion trends. It’s the perfect pick for looking your best on your best friend’s big day.