Cynthia Viola Photography

Bridal Party

How to Choose Bridesmaids Dresses

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
This above all; to thine own self be true.
— Shakespeare
Flower Girl Fall Wedding Mountains

One of our lovely brides recently asked if I had any tips on how to choose the colors and styles of her bridesmaids dresses. As I was about to send her an email with several images for inspiration, I thought others might have the same question so opted for a full post instead. :)

With over 100 weddings in our back up files I had plenty to choose from. However, I will be the first to say up front; I am no style expert. I've always been a 'jeans and a tee shirt' kinda girl and if I could re-do my own bridal party today it would actually include 5 guys and 2 girls, so there's that. 

I am a FIRM believer that there is no "correct" way to do anything. If you want one person on each side or twenty - do it. If you want a mixture of girls, guys and transgendered friends on both sides - do it. If you want the girls in the most exquisite gold sequin gowns and the guys in the most expensive fitted tuxedo - do it. If you want them all in hiking gear because you plan to hike up to the top of a mountain for the ceremony - do it. Don't ever let yourself feel pressured by ALLLL the opinions you will definitely receive from caring friends and family.  

Extra Large Wedding Party

That said, here are a few ideas.

Winter weddings tend to include reds, hunter green, and black. 

Spring weddings use lighter colors. Think pastels and neutrals like blush, green and gray. 

Summer weddings tend to have bold blues, pinks and violet. 

And autumn brings out the oranges, browns, yellow and plum. 

Again, there is no such thing a a correct way. A.J. and I chose black in the middle of summer and it worked out JUST fine. As far as style of dresses, if consistency and uniformity are important to you, then you should just choose the dress you like the best and go with it. If not, I recommend choosing the color and length you want then allowing your girls to choose the top style that fits their form the best. 

Classic mixes. 

If you've got guys and girls on both sides, a nice way to tie everything together is having all of one party in one color (green dress and ties) and all of the other in a different one (pink dresses and tie). Or have everyone completely mixed up so you can't tell who goes with who and it doesn't matter because everyone loves everyone :)

Mixed Wedding Party
Groomsmen party in gray


Cover ups, jewelry, shoes, getting ready robes...the sky is the limit. Again, feel free to make them unique to the girl or exactly the same. If keeping it uniform I find couples like to purchase the matching items and give as a gift. (this goes for the fellas with socks and ties and cufflinks as well). 

Little People. 

Don't feel like you have to have a flower girl or ring barer. (They are often hard to wrangle throughout the long day anyway). If you want to though, they can make for cute photos. Well trained dogs are fun too. 

At the end of the day, these are just details. Just remember to enjoy the process, choose those you love the most to celebrate this time and plan to have a blast, it's going to be one of the most memorable days of your life!

Bridesmaids Dresses

How to care for your People before the Wedding

Wedding Photography, PersonalCynthia ViolaComment
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted
— Aesop

Entering into the busiest season of your life can be daunting.

It seems like all my wedding couples right now are not only planning their wedding, but they're working full time jobs, they've just started graduate school, they're caring for their small children, they've just moved into a new home, or they're serving in the military all on top of figuring out what this whole new marriage dynamic is going to look like when it comes to bills and having a puppy and in-laws and responsibilities. 

It can really be so much. I've been there as a bride, I've been there as a bridesmaid, as a sister, as a best friend, as a pre-marital counselor and a photographer. I have seen over and over how much the stress can build up for months and explode at the worst possible moment on the big day.

Fortunately most couples also have a team of people who stand beside them to help carry the weight. Parents and college roommates and siblings and coworkers who work long hours in the weeks leading up helping you address invites, finish DIY projects, tell you how fabulous you look in every dress your try on, throw you epic bachelor parties, trudge through the mud to keep your dress clean, pray fervently for your marriage and bring you orange juice and cough medicine when you find yourself sick in the midst of it all.

This post is to remind you to care for them in return. It's easy to get overwhelmed and take out your frustrations on the people you know will forgive you, but don't take the easy road. Take the extra 10 seconds to breathe deeply before you say a harsh word and don't let yourself have regrets for taking advantage of the people you care for most. At the end of the day no one will remember if all the chair bows were tied perfectly, they'll remember how you treated them when you were stressed. So take some time today to write them a note or give them a hug. They'll love you forever. 

Boone North Carolina Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding