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Dear Nicola...

Can I force my bridesmaids to wear a dress they hate?

Written by . Published on November 9th 2010.

Dear Nicola...

Nicola Mostyn

Friday 5 November, 2010

Can I force my bridesmaids to wear a dress they hate?

Dear Nicola

I am due to get married in March and I’ve picked out some bridesmaids dresses in yellow. But a friend recently confided that my bridesmaids are all sick about the colour choice and they are only saying they like it to please me. I’ve dreamed for a long time about my perfect wedding and I don’t want to compromise on the details for my big day. But at the same time I don’t want my closest friends to be unhappy and talking behind my back…

Nicola replies:

Okay, Bridezilla, breathe. Yes, it’s your big day. You’ve imagined the details for years. Possibly - I’m just guessing here - you’re a bit of a control freak. Possibly - again, guessing - you have a spring theme and you’d like your bridesmaids to look like a host of golden daffodils or something.

But, here’s some news. Bridesmaids are people too. Not dolls. People. Your bridesmaids will be getting their fair share of attention at your wedding and if they feel ugly and uncomfortable, they aren’t exactly going to glow in the photographs. And, let’s be fair, there are not many Brits who can carry off yellow. Most of us are sort of yellow at this time of year.

Now firstly I’m going to assume you are buying the dresses, since it goes against the rules of common decency that a woman should have to wear a terrible dress she bought herself.

So – what to do? The big question is, if these people are your friends, why would you want to make them feel ugly when, with a bit of compromise you could find a solution that will make you all happy?

You really need to involve your bridesmaids in the planning. Take them shopping with you - don’t let them have too much input, or you’ll end up with a wedding like a Benetton ad, or one that never happens.

Instead, choose your top three favourite colours, get them to try on the dresses (after all, it’s possible they might like them more once they’re on) and then ask your bridesmaids to vote on their favourite - the majority rules.

You probably won’t find a colour that everyone adores, but at least, that way, the ones who get stuck in an unflattering shade won’t be just blaming you. This is the kind, reasonable and, indeed, sensible option. After all, what would you rather have - a group of grumpy daffodils because you can’t deviate from THE PLAN or smiley, beautiful bridesmaids in your second favourite colour?

However, if you’re truly heartbroken at the thought of anything but yellow, then the best option is to level with your friends. Take them all for a glass of wine, tell them you know that they would not choose to wear yellow, but that you would be gutted with anything else, and then ask them if they are okay about it. I’m sure they love you enough to do it, which is why they’ve not said anything to your face, but you’ll have a better day knowing you’ve talked it through.

Then show your appreciation for their devotion, perhaps by letting your bridesmaids choose a gorgeous piece of jewellery as their bridesmaid’s present. And by paying for their fake tan…

Nicola Mostyn has been a freelance writer for 10 years. She is 35. Preoccupied with the subjects of relationships, self development and the pursuit of happiness, Nicola’s agony column Dear Kitty was nominated for Best New Blog in the Manchester Blog Awards. Nicola is currently working on her first novel, entitled The Love Delusion.

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