In historic times the number of bridesmaids often correlated with the family's social status. Today, a bride can choose as many of her close friends and family members as she wishes to play this role in her wedding. The maid of honor, or matron of honor, is the head bridesmaid. She is often the chosen one that will help assist the bride in the planning of the wedding as well as throwing her a bachelorette party. The bride and head bridesmaid will discuss the formalities of the wedding, including the style and color of the bridesmaid dresses. Years ago these dresses were purchased by the bride's family. This is not true of today's weddings. Today these dresses are usually purchased by the bridesmaid themselves.
Throughout the 70's and even the 80's bridesmaid dresses were usually not very attractive. They included big fluffy sleeves or bows and came only in pastel colors. These dresses could only be worn for that occasion and were then stuffed into the back of the bridesmaid closet until it found its way to the trash or into a second hand store. The bridesmaid dresses of today are sleek, stylish and are available in many color choices. Some of these newer bridesmaid dresses could be worn many times as elegant evening dresses and even party dresses.
Cocktail length bridesmaid gowns are perfect for informal or modern wedding themes. These dresses come in a wide variety of colors as well as styles. Many brides are choosing this option for their bridesmaids today. These cocktail length dresses are one of the only styles that can be worn for other occasions and allows the bridesmaid to gain more use from purchasing it.
Full length bridesmaid dresses have been around for centuries. These formal dresses can be purchased with a full skirt or straight. The type of wedding theme will often dictate which skirt style will be worn. For a romantic, historic wedding the skirt of the bridesmaid dress is often full. The bridesmaid will need to purchase the hoop slip or crinoline slip to wear under the dress to provide its appropriate volume. They could also use a bouffant type of petticoat to provide a more comfortable way to add volume to the dress. Formal, yet modern, weddings will require the bridesmaid to wear a straight floor length dress. These dresses do not require any special type of slip to be worn to complete the look.