Wedding Day Essentials: The Ultimate List of Bridesmaid Duties for the Big Day

bridesmaid duties wedding day ultimate list 

So, you’ve been picked to be a member of the bride’s squad. Congratulations! You’ve weighed in on the bachelorette party plans, ordered your bridesmaid dresses and popped a bottle or two in celebration — what else is there to do?

Being a member of Team Bride is equal parts fun and responsibility, and your bridesmaid duties will begin the minute she pops the big question — “Will you be my bridesmaid?” — and won’t end until the last mimosa at the post-wedding brunch. But the big-day duties are arguably the most important, so you’ve got to make sure you’re ready for anything during the wedding weekend.

Though your list of duties is lengthy, there’s no need to stress. You’re already a good friend, as evidenced by your bridesmaid status, so you’ll be a natural! Here’s everything you’ll need to handle for the bride-to-be on her special day, from supplying the a.m. lattes to gathering her things after last call.

GETTING READY: BE THE RIGHT-HAND GAL

Throughout the day, but especially in the hours leading up to her big walk down the aisle, your job as the bride’s bestie is to be her go-to gal. Do your best to anticipate everything she might need at every point in the day, whether it’s a handkerchief to dry her tears or assistance fastening her next-level bridal heels.

group of women sitting in gowns 

  • Be on Time If you’re not early, you’re late: No piece of advice is truer on wedding day. It should go without saying, but don’t show up to any wedding-related event late. The thing is, nothing can start without you there, so make sure to be on time with bells on. The bride will probably assign you a timeslot for hair and makeup, with some as early as 9 a.m., so pick one that you know you can reasonably achieve.
  • Bring Coffee — How to be a hero on her wedding day: Start with a cup of good coffee. The key to knocking this duty out of the park is to know her Starbucks order without having to text her to ask because she’s got more important things to think about. Depending on the crowd, you might also want to be in charge of supplying the wedding morning cocktails. Just make sure the bride is down for a little boozing before the start of the ceremony, and don’t make the drinks too strong.
  • Offer Your Assistance — Don’t wait to be assigned a job. Ask the bride, the mother-of-the-bride, the photographer and the other bridesmaids if there’s anything you can do to help the day run smoothly. There are a hundred moving parts to a wedding, and it’s inevitable — a dozen people will be hurling questions her way while she’s getting dolled up. Do what you can to field the inquiries and provide the bride with everything she needs to enjoy her day without extra stress.
  • Help Her Get Dressed — One of the most important jobs for members of the bride’s squad is helping her get into her wedding gown. Let’s face it: Those things are not designed to be tossed on without additional help. You might have to do a whole lot of lacing, buttoning and bustling while you’re getting ready — and you’ll likely be assisting during quick bathroom breaks. Do yourself a favor and watch some YouTube videos on how to bustle a wedding gown. Trust us, you’ll be the wedding day MVP if you show up prepped and practiced in the art of bustling. Don’t forget to make sure the photographer is ready to shoot when you’re all helping her get into her gown.
  • Calm the Bride  Even the most well-prepared brides get butterflies before their first look or walk down the aisle. Do everything you can to help ease the nerves so that she feels confident and ready for her debut. Simply asking her what she needs at any given moment will go a long way in helping the bride avoid panic.

getting ready graphic

SNAPPING PICS: BE UP FOR ANYTHING

Fair warning to first-time bridesmaids: The picture-taking portion of the day can be boring at best and downright maddening at worst. But know that everyone — even the bride and her spouse-to-be — will be ready for it to be over by the end, so the best thing you can do is to keep a positive attitude, lighten the mood and simply be game for whatever.

  • Prepare for Emergencies — This is the time of day when a wedding day emergency kit will seriously come in handy. Imagine, for example, that someone’s bridesmaid dress — or, gasp, the wedding gown — snags or tears in the photo shoot process. Or that someone’s self-tanner rubbed off onto her dress. Your survival kit should have all the necessities to handle these kinds of snafus, including a sewing kit, some safety pins, a stain-remover pen and extra bobby pins. If there’s rain in the forecast, try to help secure some umbrellas or facilitate indoor shooting locations.
  • Offer to Touch Her Up — Consider adding a few touch-up essentials to your bridesmaid-to-the-rescue kit, including some blotting paper to prevent sweat and moisture from ruining her makeup as well as some travel-sized bottles of her foundation, lip gloss and eyeshadow to provide instant touchups. You could even ask the photographer’s assistant to hang onto a small makeup bag or cosmetics case filled with all these day-of essentials so you don’t have to worry about them while you’re getting your picture taken.
  • Strike a Pose — During this part of the wedding activities, the photographer — and no one else — is the boss. Don’t try to advise the pros and know that the photography team is more than likely doing exactly what the couple asked them to do. Typically, the newlyweds-to-be will have conferred with the photographer beforehand to come up with a list of must-have shots and poses. Be prepared to take pics in a hundred poses and combos, with the bride, the bridesmaids, the groomsmen and solo. Don’t complain, even if it seems like the shoot is taking forever.
  • Let the Bride Shine — Make sure that no member of Team Bride is overshadowing the lady in white! The person who will know how to showcase her the best is the person behind the lens, so take direction gracefully as it comes. If you notice that one of the bridesmaids is taking away from the bride, quietly ask her to step out of the frame and allow the bride to be the star.

bridesmaids wearing royal purple dresses

DURING THE CEREMONY: HOLD BOUQUETS AND FIX GOWNS

When we think about quintessential bridesmaid duties, we often think about holding the bouquet and adjusting the train during the “I do” portion of events. Indeed, these responsibilities are crucial to the big day and should not be taken lightly! Making sure the bride looks perfect beneath the arch or at the altar should be your principal consideration when the couple is saying their vows.

  • Fix Her Dress — Typically, the maid of honor will be in charge of adjusting the bride’s train so that it lays properly while she’s saying her vows. However, if it’s a particularly long train or if the dress has special features that need to be taken into consideration, this might be a job for the entire crew of bridesmaids.
  • Hold Her Bouquet — During the ceremony, she’ll need both her hands to exchange rings, hold her partner’s hand and perform any special traditions, like the unity candle or sand ceremony. Thus, you’ll need to step in and hold her bouquet during a big chunk of the ceremony. The details of the fixing of the dress and holding of the bouquet — who should do it and when — can be ironed out during the rehearsal.
  • Hand Her a Hankie — Sadly, a mini pack of tissues doesn’t exactly go with her outfit. If you can, figure out a way to discreetly hold some tissues during the wedding so that you have something on hand in case there are waterworks mid-ceremony.

hand holding wedding bouquet

THE RECEPTION: ENJOY THE PARTY

After the makeup is done, the photos have been taken and the couple is officially hitched, it’s time to party! But don’t immediately head straight to the bar for shots. There is more pomp and circumstance to be had at the reception, including toasts, dances and the cutting of the cake.

  • Nail Your Grand Entrance — Usually, the couple will have the entire bridal party make a grand entrance to the reception. Be sure that you’ve ironed out the details of this portion of the day with the bride. She may want you to enter with the groomsman you walked down the aisle with or with all the girls at once. She may want you to lighten the mood with a dance, a funny prop or an upbeat song, or she may prefer to keep this portion formal. Let the bride guide the vibe.
  • Maid of Honor Only: Give Your Toast — If you’re the maid of honor, the primary responsibility you’ll have that the rest of the bridesmaids will not have is giving a maid of honor toast. As obvious as it sounds, make sure that you’ve spent some quality time planning for this. You should have your speech written, polished and rehearsed at least two weeks before the big day. The emcee will usually invite the maid of honor and best man to give their toasts during dinner, traditionally after the fathers (or mothers, in many cases) give their toasts to the new couple. Tip: if you’re in charge of raising a glass, make sure to wait to drink any alcohol until it’s over.

maid of honor quote 

  • Keep the D.J. on Track — More than likely, the newlyweds had a very clear vision for the music before the wedding commenced. But during the reception, they’ll be bouncing from table to table and mingling with their guests, so they won’t have time to keep tabs on the soundtrack. Ask the couple beforehand what they envision for the music and if there are any songs, artists or genres that are off-limits or must-plays. If you have to step off the dancefloor to keep the DJ on track, do so politely and only to honor the couple’s vision. In other words, don’t request the songs you want to hear just because you’re bored with the DJ’s picks.
  • Gather Her Things — Another important role of the bridesmaid crew during the reception is to make sure that all the bride’s personal belongings are accounted for. Ideally, she’ll have all her items — her phone, some cash and lip gloss — neatly gathered in a pretty bridal clutch — to make your job easier. In the event that she traded in her high heels for some comfy bridal flats, make sure to grab her heels and anything else she may have left behind after dancing the night away.
  • Help Clean Up — Depending on the size, budget and complexity of the wedding, you may be employed to help gather decorations, remove linens and collect gifts after the final dance. Ask the bride beforehand what she plans to do for cleanup — will there be a crew, or does she plan to have her family and friends pitch in to help? Remember, the sooner it’s all cleaned up, the sooner you can head to the after party!

bridesmaids standing with bride

REMEMBER: IT’S HER DAY

At the end of the day, your role as a bridesmaid is to provide your bestie with whatever she needs to enjoy the day she’s been planning and obsessing over for years, including emotional support. In everything you do, make sure that you put the focus on her and remind everyone that it’s her day and no one else’s. With any luck, she’ll do the same for you when it’s your turn to tie the knot. Dessy is always here to help you be the best bridesmaid you can be!

Deep Hues and Dusty Blues: The Best Bridesmaid Dresses for Fall Weddings

If you’ve decided to tie the knot in the fall, there’s a good chance you’re all about the warm and cozy. And we don’t blame you! Autumn is everybody’s fave season for good reason. Cooler temps are in the air, the leaves are just beginning to change and everybody’s trading their flip-flops for ankle boots.

Plus, a fall wedding is an amazing excuse to integrate cozy throw blankets, hot chocolate and apple cider into everything. It’s also high time for some of the cutest bridesmaid dresses ever! If you’re struggling with how to style your best gals for fall, here’s some inspo for you based on this year’s top fall wedding colors.

Dusty Blues: A Cool Take on the Fall Wedding

When we think about fall, we often think about warm colors. Reds, oranges and yellows are indeed autumnal essentials, but they’re not the only colors that should be on your radar. This year, it’s all about the dusty blues. Here’s why we love this spectrum of stylish shades: It’s not your typical fall pick, but it still brings the soft, muted feel that you often get with traditional fall schemes. It also pairs perfectly with some of this year’s most popular fall accent colors, including burgundy, emerald and gold. These are this year’s must-haves in the dusty blue bridesmaid dresses department:

 dusty blue bridesmaid dresses

  1. After Six 1512 — This gown features a dusty matte tone that’s perfect for a wide range of skin tones and accent colors. Your ladies will love the open back detail with crisscross spaghetti straps and the elegant trumpet skirt. It also comes in several of the most popular dusty bridesmaid dress colors, including dusty pink and dusty purple. Dust a move!
  2. Lela Rose LR243 — If you’re going for a fall romance vibe, you can’t go wrong with a little bit of dusted lace. This pretty, off-the-shoulder gown keeps things sophisticated and classy with its softly draped trumpet skirt and bodice done top to bottom in luscious Marquis lace. It also comes in various dusty hues, including suede rose.
  3. Jenny Packham JP1015 — Bring a little bit of autumnal glitz and glam to the table wth this luxurious chiffon gown available in an assortment of dusty hues. With a sweetheart neckline, a pleated overlay bodice and stacked mirror bead trim, this dusty delight is equal parts trendy and timeless. 

Deep Hues: Classic with a Twist

If you want more of a classic but still updated fall color palette, consider dressing your besties in some deep hues and jewel tones. This year, it’s all about the navy, emerald, burgundy, mauve and ruby. The beauty of these shades is that they play perfectly to your cool-weather vibe, so they’re especially ideal if you’re hosting an autumnal affair somewhere that’s likely to be chilly in October and November and you want to warm things up. From emerald to gold bridesmaid dresses, these looks scream fall. Pair any and all of these hues with soft creams and blushes or dusty accent colors for a perfectly pleasing palette.

  1. After Six 6799 — This flattering floor-length gown is guaranteed to please your entire crew, thanks to the thick shoulders that make it supportive and bra-friendly. It features a stretch crepe feel that drapes just right, plus a cute low V-back for some 360-degree style. This gorgeous jewel-toned bridesmaid dress comes in a variety of fall-perfect shades, including burgundy and hunter green.
  2. Alfred Sung D745 — We love the plunging illusion neckline on this aubergine bridesmaid dress. The elegant chiffon knit construction, center front slit and pretty pleating add extra intrigue without being overdone. If you’re not a huge fan of the eggplant color scheme, this style comes in an assortment of dusty colors and jewel tones. Be sure to explore all our burgundy bridesmaid dresses for more.
  3. Dessy Collection 3027 — Try a little emerald on for size! This lovely fall bridesmaid dress bridges the gap between classic and up-to-date, thanks to the floor-length style and long sleeves coupled with a wrap-style top and side tie. It’s made of a jersey fabric that’s flattering and gives it a not-too-formal vibe.

elegant-bridesmaid-dresses

Tying it All Together

The first step towards planning your perfect day is to pick a color scheme that captures your special vision. Once you’ve got that nailed down, it’s all about the fashion! Pull together your fabulous fall motif with all the fall wedding finishes you can dream of, from cozy plaid throw blankets to dreamy chrysanthemum bouquets. Just remember to be true to yourself and don’t feel like you have to adhere to a traditional fall theme if that’s not your thing.

A Match Made in Heaven: Six Tips for Choosing Mix-and-Match Bridesmaid Dresses

We’ve got good news for the bride-to-be who believes that one size should not fit all! Ultra-trendy mix and match bridesmaid dresses are here to stay. With mismatched styles, the bride’s crew can sport dresses in different colors, styles and textures for a totally unique and one-of-a-kind approach to bridesmaid styling.

Why mix and match? This trend is both high-style and highly practical — because let’s face it, your girlfriends are not carbon copies of one another. It allows them to select gowns that are figure-flattering and complement their personalities. When your girls feel like themselves, they’ll shine like the stars they really are!

Mix and match bridesmaid dresses

Ready to hop on the mix and match bandwagon? Here are some of our best tips for choosing mismatched bridesmaid dresses that please all bridesmaids and still play into your dreamy bridal theme.

  1. Pick a Base Color — If you like the idea of a little bit of matchiness, you can start by choosing one main color and then ask your ladies to pick gowns in different variations of the same theme. For example, if you’ve decided that you want blue bridesmaid dresses, decide on a few specific shades of blue and then allow your ladies to choose the one they like the best. You can mix turquoise, dusty blue, navy blue, berry blue and more to create a cohesive look that doesn’t feel forced.
  2. Pick Complementing Colors — Not keen on going all in one shade? No worries! Think about creating a color palette that includes a wide range of complementary colors and then allow your bridesmaids to choose the hues that speak to them. Popular palettes include soft hues, pastels and jewel tones. You can also pick just two colors, like pink and gold, to create a two-toned look.
  3. Go Convertible — One of the simplest and most popular ways to achieve the mismatched bridal look is through convertible bridesmaid dresses. These dresses are designed so that they can be worn in an assortment of ways, from cap sleeve to halter to one-shoulder to backless. The beauty of going the convertible route is that your crew can match in color and texture (or you can opt to mismatch there too), but everyone gets a totally flattering fit. These are also some of the best bridesmaid dresses for destination weddings because they’re made with packable fabrics.

    Multicolored vibrant bridesmaid dresses

  4. Mix Different Textures — Color isn’t the only thing that you can mix and match! You might also consider pulling together different fabrics to add a the-same-but-different feel to your bridesmaid style. Pair chiffon with velvet, jersey material with satin or mix them all together for a totally multidimensional look that still looks intentional and tailored. You can also mix and match with finishes. Pepper in lace, rhinestones, beaded trim, mesh, pleats and more for a fun take.
  5. Add Some Prints — Who says bridesmaid dresses have to be solid-colors? Not us! In fact, patterned bridesmaid dresses are some of the trendiest options du jour. Dress a few ladies in floral prints, stripes, dots and other fun patterns, then ask the other bridesmaids to sport solid-colored gowns in matching hues. This is the perfect way to bring a little bit of excitement to the bridal party style without the overdone feel of dressing everyone in busy patterns.

    blue and pattern bridesmaid dresses

  6. Think Beyond the Dress — Some bridesmaids won’t feel comfortable wearing a dress, and it doesn’t hurt that nothing is more in-style than the dressy jumpsuit. Allow one or two of your ladies to swap the traditional gown for a bridesmaid jumpsuit that screams chic! You can have the entire crew don the jumpsuit or just include it here and there for a runway-ready feel.

Matching Is for the Birds

When you’re picking out bridesmaid dresses, remember one thing: There’s no formula to fashion. Don’t feel like you have to follow a specific set of rules or prescriptions when you’re tying together your wedding theme. If you’re all about breaking boundaries or if you want your best girlfriends to feel their absolute best on your big day, you can’t go wrong with a little mixin’ and matchin’! 

Bridesmaid Dresses in Steel Blue

Steel Blue Wedding Inspiration

Steel blue bridesmaid dresses are elegant, chic and work beautifully from day to night. What's more, steel blue is an ideal color to choose for your wedding day for all sorts of reasons.

  • It blends beautifully with white flowers or contrasting vibrant shades.
  • It works through spring, summer and looks dazzling in winter

steel blue bridesmaid dresses

Above from left to right: After Six Bridesmaid Dress 1514, Dessy Bridesmaid Dress 3025

Dessy Real Wedding: Steel Blue Wedding

Dessy Real Wedding | Color: Larkspur, Fabric: Rococo Lace, Photographer: Carly Fuller
Shared by Norah: "...everyone looked beautiful in their Dessy dresses, ties and pocket squares. It was the perfect look for our winter wedding by the sea!"

What about the style?

Don't feel either that you have to put your girls in the same style dress. Think about who would suit a halter neck, who'd look good in something strapless and who would look best in sleeves. If your girls are curvaceous, Dessy styles are all available in plus sizes. If you have young, pre-teen bridesmaids who are too old to be flowergirls but won't fit an adult style, then check out our Junior Bridesmaid dresses. For more inspiration read our previous advice on necklines to suit your bridesmaids and dresses for different types of girls.

steel blue bridesmaid dresses

Above from left to right: After Six Bridesmaid Dress 6728, Studio Design Bridesmaid Dress 4525

Your color reference for Dessy steel blue shades are Windsor Blue, Larkspur, Cloudy. Use our Pantone color reference tool and fabric swatches to get your exact color match and share with your vendors.

A Final Touch

For your wedding bouquet, you could choose the blue shades that your bridesmaids are wearing. And then get the counter-contrast by having all-white bouquets made for your maids, to tie in with your wedding dress.

Now that would be super-stylish.

5 Beauty Mistakes NOT To Make Before Your Wedding Day

5 Beauty Mistakes to Not Make Before Your Wedding

Sadly some brides make classic beauty mistakes before their wedding day and have to live with them long afterwards. Every time they look at their wedding photographs. Not something YOU want to be doing.

So here are five key bridal beauty errors to avoid ...

1) Getting tan and having strap marks which show at the neckline of your wedding dress. This is an easy one to forget about until it's too late. I've seen several photographs of brides with visible white strapmarks showing above their dress - and that goes for the bridesmaids too. So if you're trying to get a bit of a glow before your wedding day, watch what you're wearing and make sure your tan isn't going to leave visible marks - you need to have even skin color at the neckline of your wedding dress and you don't want to be trying to patch things up last minute with fake tan. Far better to be careful in the weeks before your wedding when you go out in the sun.

2) Completely changing your make-up. You may lack the confidence to do your own make-up on your wedding day and decide to use the services of a professional make-up artist. In that case, give her plenty of photographs of you so that she can see what your normal look is. You don't want to walk down the aisle looking nothing like your normal self - your bridegroom will get a shock and he fell in love with the way you look - not somebody who looks like a stranger. Oh, and ditch the lip gloss on your wedding day - it's likely to stick to your veil.

3) Overplucking/waxing your eyebrows before your wedding. Again, this comes under the advice given above - don't make drastic changes to your look. If you've never waxed your brows you might have a reaction to the procedure so you don't want to do it just before your wedding anyway. Your eyebrows frame your eyes and are a key part of your face - so don't change them dramatically in the build-up to your wedding. Get them professionally shaped by all means - but don't do anything too much.

4) Having a facial in the week before your wedding. Facials are supposed to wake up your skin, brighten and get rid of toxins. Which means that you're stirring everything up and those toxins are likely to come out in the form of spots and blemishes. (Ewww - not a good look for those all-important wedding photographs.) So have a facial a few weeks before so that your complexion has time to calm down.

5) Dyeing your hair a completely different color, having extensions for the first time, having a drastic hair cut. Again - you really don't want to have something done that you can't change before your wedding day and which doesn't suit you. Certainly, you should have your hair trimmed and deep conditioned so it looks its glossy best but don't become a platinum blonde if you're a brunette (or the other way around). If you must, save hair style explorations for after your big day when the photographs are safely taken.

Have you ever been to a wedding where you a) Didn't recognize the bride because her look had completely changed? b) Heard of pre-wedding beauty disasters? Let us know on our Facebook page to warn other brides to be!

Soft, Elegant, Timeless - Why Velvet Bridesmaid Dresses are a Fabulous Choice

5 romantic velvet bridesmaid dress ideas

Velvet has a wonderful sheen, depth of color and drapes beautifully. And if you're planning a winter wedding or a wedding during the cooler months, it's the perfect fabric. Dessy has created a number of bridesmaid dresses in velvet, in different styles, to suit different girls and different wedding moods.

Velvet Dresses

For a formal wedding and top notch glamor, choose a full velvet dress with a diamante belt feature. Add some chandelier earrings and diamante detail on the shoes and you're dressed to perfection.

For an elegant wedding, choose a romantic velvet and tulle dress featuring a black velvet bodice with a flattering sweetheart neckline and matched with a floaty tulle skirt available in a variety of different colors from blush to burgundy.

romantic velvet bridemaid dresses

Velvet Separates

Or what about separates? Choose a velvet spaghetti strap top or velvet halter top and match with one of Dessy's bridesmaid skirts - choose a matte finish for the skirt in a heavier fabric or a lighter tulle for a summer wedding. Of if you want to mix it up a bit, try Dessy's velvet skirt matched with a silk, strapless fitted camisole.

velvet bridesmaid separates

Choose a velvet dress for your girls and they'll certainly want to wear it over and over again. A velvet dress is a timeless classic that every girl should have in her closet.

7 ideas for a fabulous fall bachelorette party

7 Fabulous Fall Bachelorette Party Ideas

If you're holding your bachelorette party in Fall, then you need to make the most of the season. It may be a little cooler than in summer - so no beach parties - and it may not be cold enough for skiing - but in fact it's a perfect season for being out and about and going places. 

The weather is crisp and clear, probably not too wet so it's ideal for hiking or exploring a city. Here's some ideas for a bachelorette party in Fall to enjoy with your squad.

1. Apple Picking: It's a Fall tradition so why not spend the day in the orchards? This is also a great idea if the bride and groom are doing a combined bachelor and bachelorette party. You can follow the apple picking extravaganza with with a late lunch or early dinner at a nice restaurant nearby.

spa bachelorette party

How wonderfully relaxing does this look? The bride and her bridesmaids will have a fabulous day spent in bliss.

2. Spa Day Pampering: While this can be done in any season, this is always a fun bachelorette party idea. Especially if your bride isn't into going to a club or bar hopping for her bachelorette party. This makes for great bridesmaid bonding and always needed relaxation. My friends and I did this for a close friend of ours for her bachelorette party and it was a total hit. We topped the day with dinner and drinks which made for a wonderful bachelorette party day.

3. A Spot of Tea: This is also a great idea for the bride who isn't into going to clubs or bars for her bachelorette party. Enjoy delicious pastries, scones, sandwiches and variety of teas. You can find various tea themed restaurants in most major cities or you can host one at home with the bride and her maids.

4. An Old Fashioned Sleepover: I don't care what anyone says, girls are never too old for a sleepover. Take everyone back to your middle school and high school days and do each other's nails, watch a scary or chick-flick movie (chick-flicks are my favorite, personally), make delicious but so bad for you food and let the bride enjoy one of the last nights as a single girl.

5. A Night Out with the Girls: If the bride is the type who wants to party, take her to a major city like New York City and rent a hotel room, go to dinner and club or clubs. You can also do a pub crawl and enjoy the night with some great music. You can also take your bride to a Broadway show or comedy show, that will be both entertaining and promise a lot of laughs.

NYC Bachelorette Party

Enjoy a night in a major city like New York City! Eat, drink and be merry with bridesmaids and friends.

6. Toast the Bride at a Winery: Every fall I tell myself I will do more visits to wineries, but I never do. But what a fabulous idea for the bride and her maids! Travel to one winery and have a private party with assorted cheeses, wonderful wines. Or go to multiple wineries and have a variety of tastings and pick your favorite one! (I would recommend getting a party bus or limo with this as well.)

7. A Night at the Casino: Take your bride to the casino where the evening can begin with a delicious dinner and drinks and slot machines. This is always a bachelorette party favorite, many casinos also have clubs and bars in them that will surely complete the evening.

 

How To Achieve Evening Elegance Without Dressing Your Bridesmaids in Black

Evening Elegance Bridesmaid Dresses

So here's the thing. You're having an evening 'do' and you want your bridesmaids to look chic and elegant.

But you don't want them to wear black. (The bride above chose midnight blue for her girls and don't they look classy.)

Spring Midnight Blue Bridesmaid Dress

Magic in midnight. Dessy Bridesmaid Dress 6767

Mix N Match Midnight Blue Bridesmaid Dresses

Above: Studio Design Bridesmaids Collection 4503 and 4514

You want them to look classy, sophisticated and stylish during evening dinner and for the dancing.

But black bridesmaid dresses? Maybe you're a little superstitious about the color. Maybe you find it a little draining on some skin tones. Maybe ... you just don't want to.

Well, there are other colors than black which offer evening elegance and style. 

 

A post shared by The Dessy Group (@dessygroup) on

Dessy style 8183

Think about some different shades of drama

If you want to go for the drama of dark shades then are plenty of hues to consider. Midnight blue - the new black. A deep aubergine. Burgundy. The darkest of dark green. Perhaps an eye-catching dark ruby red.

You could also opt for sequins, which would work dazzlingly from day through to night. Your maids would just love wearing one of these bridesmaids dresses to channel their inner diva!

Formal, Elegant Wedding Colors

Left: After Six Bridesmaid Dress 6786, Right: After Six Bridesmaids Style 6784

A dress your maids will want to wear again and again.

One of the advantages of choosing a long bridesmaid dress in a dark color that's suitable for an evening wedding is that your maids will probably want to wear it again to another smart event because it doesn't scream 'bridesmaid'. Like a school prom if they're teenagers.

These dresses aren't going to linger in the closet unworn. They're much too glamorous.

Formal, Elegant Wedding Colors

Left: After Six Bridesmaid Dress 6794, Right: Jenny Packham Bridesmaid Dress JP1011

Formal, Elegant Wedding Colors

Left: Studio Design Collection Style 4538, Right: Jenny Packham Bridesmaid Style JP1005

Neutrals and earth tones ... naturally beautiful wedding colors

neutrals and earth tones wedding themes

Think about the shades and colors that are found in the natural world and you'll realize that Nature doesn't get it wrong when it comes to blending hues.

To illustrate the point, we picked out two weddings featuring deep earth tones combined with neutrals - and we think you'll agree the color combo is perfection. Because there are so many shades of both, you can create a fabulous palette that will suit everyone's style and complexion.

Coffee and cream wedding colors

Coffee & Cream Wedding

The bride at the wedding directly above, photographed by the wonderful Tucker Images, chose a variety of earth tones and neutrals for her bridesmaids and just see how great they all look. She's chosen strapless gowns for all her girls - but you could mix and match the necklines as you wish. However, it's usually best to keep to one skirt length, whether you go for cocktail style or ground sweeping.

Beach Wedding

At this gorgeous beach wedding shown above, the groom and groomsmen are in cream and the bridesmaids in a rich brown - and set against that beautiful blue sky with the greenery waving in the summer breeze, the photograph taken by the talented Gia Canali makes you almost taste the salt in the air and feel the sand between your toes. Even the celebrants are working the colors.

The groom and the groomsmen are perfectly dressed for the beach in their neutral suits, color merging the two sides. (Check Dessy's similar men's classic summer suits.)

If you're having a beach wedding, remember to choose dresses for your girls that won't float up too much (because you don't really want any of your girls having a Marilyn Monroe moment at your wedding ceremony, do you).

All the ones we've picked out here by Dessy are suitably airy - but won't fly up in the breeze! You're looking for a breezy, fluttery effect but with some structure.

neutral colored bridesmaid dresses

Left Alfred Sung Style D538, right After Six Bridesmaid style 1505

bridesmaid dresses in neutrals

Left After Six Bridesmaid Dress 6786, right After Six Bridesmaid Dress 1515

20 wedding songs that are surefire dance floor fillers

wedding reception music list

(Image credit David Pascolla)

Want to make sure only crowd favorites are played at your wedding reception? Of course you do. Who wants songs playing that no one wants to hear?!

Who wants songs that make people leave the dance floor en masse? Thought not.

We've picked out 20 tried and tested pieces of music that will get the party started ... and going on until the small hours.

Music plays a huge role in any party - it's a real atmosphere and mood builder.

This list below by no means includes all of the best wedding reception songs, but it certainly will help to get you started. It includes hits for all generations too. (We've ideas for great music to walk down the aisle to here.)

1. Macarena - Los Del Rio. Who can resist?

2. Vogue - Madonna

3. Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke & Pharrell Williams 

4. Senorita - Justin Timberlake

5. Word Up - Cameo 

6. Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars

7. Shake It Off - Taylor Swift

8. Crazy in Love - Beyonce

9. Push it - Salt 'n' Pepa

10. I Feel Love - Donna Summer 

11. Hey Ya! - OutKast

12. Funkytown - Lipps Inc.

13. Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees

14. September - Earth, Wind & Fire 

15. Blame it on the Boogie - Jacksons 

16. Brown Sugar - Rolling Stones

17. Think - Arethra Franklin

18. Happy - Pharrell Williams 

19. Estelle - American Boy 

20. My Sharona - The Knack