When you agree to be a bridesmaid for your sister, your best friend, or another special lady in your life, the last thing you want to do is outshine her on her own wedding day or inadvertently offend her or cause some sort of grievance thanks to your fashion and beauty choices. While you certainly want to look your best when you stand beside the bride and pose for photos, it’s best to keep in mind that all eyes should be on the woman getting married, not on you. So you need to listen to what the bride wants in terms of makeup, hair, accessories, and so on, and follow some basic guidelines to ensure that you are appropriately coiffed and shellacked on the big day. Here are some major no-nos you’ll want to avoid along the way.
- Overdone makeup. Trying new makeup trends can be fun, but you don’t want to look like you’re on your way to the clubs as soon as the happy couple says their vows. So skip the smoky eyes, the glitter shadows, and the bold lips. The best look for a wedding revolves around looking natural and flawless, creating a smooth complexion with foundation, concealer, and powder and then adding a natural flush to cheeks, enhancing your lip color just slightly, and adding a little emphasis to eyes with mascara and a neutral shadow (although you could probably get away with some liner and extra lashes if you want). Of course, the bride may have some kind of makeup scheme in mind, or she might not care if you glam it up a bit. Your best course of action is to ask so you can plan accordingly for cosmetics.
- Underdone hair. This is a special occasion, and your hairstyle should reflect that. So skip your regular ponytail or flat iron routine and vamp it up a little. You don’t necessarily have to create a braided masterpiece or go nuts with perfect ringlets, but you do need to step up your game where your coif is concerned. A good stylist can help you find a look that works with your dress and is appropriate for your status as a bridesmaid.
- Too much bling. If the bride fails to deliver guidelines on jewelry and other embellishments, it’s best to keep it toned down. Generally accepted options include diamond or pearl studs, a small gemstone pendant, a tennis bracelet, and of course, your own wedding and engagement rings, if you have them. But overall, you want to keep jewelry simple and understated, rather than loud and ostentation, so you might want to leave the tiara at home.
- Last minute beauty treatments. It’s okay to have your mani-pedi the day before the wedding; after all, you want it to be fresh. But having a major cut or color on your hair mere hours before the big event could prove disastrous if anything goes wrong, and the bride will always have a reminder of your flub thanks to the photos. You should also avoid having skin treatments like facials, peels, spray tanning, or hair removal (waxing, depilatory creams, etc.) immediately prior to the ceremony, especially if you’ve never done them before. They can leave your skin tender, red, and peeling, making you uncomfortable both physically and socially. In short, schedule accordingly.
- Drastic dress alterations. As bridesmaid fashion tips go, this is a major one. You do NOT want to alter your dress beyond recognition or significantly compromise the level of taste in the process. Alterations are meant to create a dress that fits you perfectly and flatters your body, not to raise the hemline several inches so you can show off your legs or to completely change the structure of the garment so you can stand out from the other bridesmaids. Whether you purchase your gown at Kleinfeld Bridal, Winnie Couture, or a department store, make sure that any alterations you make are minor and acceptable to the bride before you start snipping.