Wedding Politics: My Bridesmaid Dress Is So Ugly! How?

Going to be a bridesmaid for a friend of yours? Congrats! It’s a real honour. But what if the dress she picked out for you for her big day is just so, well, ugly?

Last year, a bride-to-be posted this question on Quora: “My bridesmaids don’t like the dress I chose for them. Should I force them to wear it? Many of the people who replied, which consisted of both brides and bridesmaids, responded with a resounding “no” and opined that a true friend wouldn’t make friends wear something they don’t feel totally comfortable in. Which, if you think about it, sounds about right. 

Don’t want to be made to put on a dress that’s just not “you”? Here’s how you can try to resolve the issue without ruining the friendship. 

Talk it out

“To be chosen as a bridesmaid, you must be one of the bride’s closest friends. This means that there should be nothing the two of you can’t discuss openly,” says Wanyong, a manager at Bridefully Yours.  Jas Alyssa, the head stylist at Grace Atelier Weddings, agrees. She also points out that this conversation should be brought up early in the planning process.

But just because you shouldn’t wear a dress you’re not comfortable in doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to accommodate the bride as much as possible. After all, it’s her big day, not yours.

Follow the colour or colour scheme as it’s integral to the wedding’s theme,” advises Wanyong, adding that you can try to look for a compromise when it comes to the dress’ length, cut, and neckline so that it’s more flattering.

If you don’t…

A dress might seem like a small point of contention, but if you resent the bride’s taste in your dress, it’s definitely a better idea to talk about things than to let the tension simmer.

Amy W., 26, was asked to be Rachel’s one and only bridesmaid. When first asked about the bridesmaid dress, Rachel had said “anything goes”, but one month before the wedding, she decided to add a second bridesmaid to the party and that they should have matching bridesmaid outfits.

Rachel selected casual, floral rompers for her bridesmaids to wear—an outfit Amy found incredibly ugly.

“I was quite annoyed because I’d already paid for the first dress. Yet, she wanted me to buy a second outfit that was not only unflattering, but also too girly for me,” she explains. She decided to ask if the bridal party could select a dress that suits both bridesmaids together.

“I didn’t even ask her to pay for the outfits. All I wanted was a say in what I would be wearing at the ceremony,” says Amy. “But as soon as I brought it up, she… accused me of being selfish. I bit back by saying it shouldn’t matter what I wear since it was just a shotgun marriage.”

After a week of silence, Amy texted Rachel saying to say that it might be better for her to not participate in the special affair. She never heard back from Rachel and didn’t attend the wedding.

“Part of me feels like I should have just sucked it up and worn the ugly dress. The only reason she was getting married was because she got knocked up and their parents made them do it,” she expresses forlornly.

“Maybe I could have swallowed my pride and made her life just a bit easier.”

In a nutshell, thrash things out with the bride if you’re not a fan of the dress she picked out, but consider giving in if she refuses to budge. Better to wear an ugly dress for a day than to lose a friend for life, no?

Text: Claire Soong 


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