1. Start Early Manufacturers are constantly adding and discontinuing styles and often increasing prices on more popular carryover styles of bridesmaid dresses. As a result, it is strongly recommended shopping for and ordering your dresses as soon as you have made a decision on the dress(es) you want. Different manufacturers have different lead times. You will also want to leave enough time for alterations Ė usually at least 1 month before the wedding if not sooner. 2. Get Ideas The Internet is a wonderful resource for finding bridesmaid dresses. A couple of web sites you may want to use for this are modernbride.com and weddingweddingchannel.com We also recommend thumbing through the more popular wedding magazines, such as Brideís and Modern Bride magazines. 3. Make a Shopping Date It is recommended that the bride go shopping with her Maid/Matron of Honor and/or 1 or 2 of her bridesmaids and see what styles of bridesmaid dresses they like. Make a date to go shopping and have fun! Once you narrow it down, you can then get input from your other bridesmaids if you desire. Itís usually helpful to have a second opinion, especially from someone who will be wearing the dress. However, ultimately it is the brideís decision. 4. Make an Appointment Appointments are often necessary in bridal shops and department storesĖ even for bridesmaid dresses. You will want to call ahead to find out if an appointment is needed so you donít add to your stress level when you arrive only to find out they canít see you with out one. You might also want to find out what manufacturers they carry and if they carry the ones you are interested in so far. 5. Get Measured The first thing you want to do is to have all of the bridesmaids professionally measured for their bridesmaid dresses. You can often do this at your first bridal shop or department store. This way you can cross reference them with the size chart for the manufacturer you have selected in order to ensure you order the size that is closest to their figure. Most designers make their dresses in accordance with the measurements of their own size chart and not to each individual. As a result, you won't be able to assume that a size 8 from manufacturer "A" will fit the same way a size 8 does from manufacturer "B". Also remember that your taller bridesmaids may need to add extra length to their dresses. 6. Consider Your Bridesmaids When choosing a dress, it is the bride's privilege to select the color and type of fabric of the bridesmaids' dresses. It should complement the bride's gown, but it should also be comfortable and attractive for the attendants. Consideration should be given to the bridesmaidsí styles, color preferences, their figure types as well as their budgets. 7. Shop Online Help your bridesmaids save money by finding a reputable service online. 8. Order All At Once You should order all your bridesmaid dresses at the same time as fabric dye-lots can vary. If you donít order the dresses one at a time, the dresses might not all be from the same dye-lot so they might not all be the exact same color. This goes for dyed shoes as well. 9. Leave Plenty of Time for Alterations Once you order your dresses, be sure to set up an appointment for alterations for your bridesmaid dresses. Since most dresses will need some degree of alterations, you should allow plenty of time for 2 fitting appointments. Bridal attendants should bring shoes with the correct heel size to the fittings, as well as appropriate hosiery and slips. 10. Accessories Accessories, such as shoes, gloves, shawls, purses and hair combs should also be decided upon once the bridesmaid dresses have been selected. Leave plenty of time for shoes to be dyed and picked up. Also consider what color hosiery you want everyone to wear, as well as bras and slips if applicable. 11. Keeping The Bridal Dress Perfect on The Wedding Day There are steps you can take to make sure the dress stays clean and wrinkle free on the big day. Below are some great tips in making the bridal dress and bridesmaid dresses a success: Make sure to choose types of flowers that don't stain. You can also ask your florist for this information as well as to remove any parts of the flowers that may stain the dresses (if possible). Bring an iron and spray bottle with you. It is also helpful to remember an extension chord and mini ironing board if possible. A garment bag is key to making sure the dress stays nice, especially if you are going to change. Use both a deodorant and antiperspirant on the big day since both will help in keeping your bridal dress clean. If you are doing your makeup, make sure to do it before your dress is on and if you have to touch up the makeup after the dress is on, use a towel or some drape cloth to make sure no smudge hits the dress. Use barrettes or something to hold the long dresses up so they do not get dirty on the ground before walking down the isle or taking pictures. Make sure to think the worst when getting into a car, leaning or sitting down that there may be something dirty you will be pressing against. Always make sure to wipe off or look at what you are pressing against whether sitting or leaning. In outdoor weddings, watch out for ledges where birds may be resting. It has happened before for a bride to be pelted by a bird which is not a pretty site. 12. Wedding Flowers - Seasonal Recommendations When you are planning on what flowers to use for the bridal dresses or wedding dress as well as the wedding itself, we have listed the top choices for each season. These are the flowers that seem to work the best: Fall - Celosia, Chinese Lantern, Chrysanthemum, Crosnia, Dahlia, Statice, Yarrow. Note that in the Western US, most flowers are available this season. Winter - Amaryllis, Casablanca Lily, Freesia, Gerber Daisy, Heather, Holly, Narcissus, Poinsettia, Rose, Stephanotis. Summer - Anemone, Azalea, Calla Lily, Camellia, Daffodil, French Tulip, Hyacinth, Hydrangea, Jasmine, Lilac, Lily of the Valley, Mimosa, Pansy, Peony, Primrose, Ranunculus, Sweet Pea, Tulip, Violet. Year Around - Baby's Breath, Carnation, Cattleman, Chrysanthemum, Cymbidium, Orchid, Daisy, Dendroblum Orchid, Freesia, Gardenia, Gerber Daisy, Gladiolus, Iris, Lilies, Protea, Roses, September Aster, Snapdragon, Stephanotis, Tuberoses. Let us know if you have any other flowers you would recommend. Donít forget that bridesmaids are there to support the bride Ė so have fun and enjoy each moment!