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Call me weird but… I love bridesmaid dresses even more than wedding gowns. They’re colourful, floaty, super pretty and elegant, and if they’re handmade they’re even better. And there’s nothing prettier than a little colour behind a stunning bouquet, don’t you think? I’d happily get married in a bridesmaid’s dress… and I’d definitely get it from a wonderful, independent designer like lovely Kim from AbideMaids in Devon.

I was thrilled when Kim replied to my Facebook shout out for independent designers to feature on the English Wedding Blog. Her boutique sounds fabulous: Kim has followed her passion for dressmaking, which she fell in love with when she was only 13. She now has a pretty little boutique in Devon offering girls the perfect shopping experience, and makes all the dresses in-house and by hand.

Bridesmaid dresses by AbideMaids on the English Wedding Blog (2)

Photo credit: Yeti Photography

The most exciting part of the process is when the girls first come and see me in my shop. We look at colours, fabrics and styles, all over a cup of tea of course! We design the dress there and then, mixing and matching elements and styles to create the perfect dress!

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Every now and then I see a wedding which sort of freaks me out. It’s usually on a US blog, highly styled and coordinated with every detail imaginable. The freaky bit? Seven girls with matching hair, shoes, flowers and dresses. I prefer something more interesting…

mismatched bridesmaids

Image credit Love In Focus Photography http://love-in-focus.co.uk/ on the English Wedding Blog

Matching bridesmaids freak me out

Perhaps it’s a control thing. Perhaps it’s because matching dresses sort of look like wedding uniforms. Perhaps I just love colour and creativity and the fact that everyone is designed to be different.

Traditional bridesmaid dress retailers – think Dessy and House of Fraser – realise that girls come in all shapes and sizes and sell dresses in the same fabric and colour but different styles. That’s not so bad – at least it gives girls a little more freedom to choose.

bridesmaids

Image credit Belinda McCarthy Photography on the English Wedding Blog

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Why buy when you can hire? While the boys have had Moss Bros (since 1851, can you believe!) and happily hire top hats and tails for a startling percentage of UK weddings, girls are expected to buy dresses outright – so why isn’t there a hire service for bridesmaids? Well… now there is. And I’d love to hear your views!

Hiring bridesmaids’ dresses from Girl Meets Dress

The team behind Girl Meets Dress asked me to tell you a little about them – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve hired bridesmaid dresses from them. The premise is simple: you hire dresses for the wedding day, prices start from £29 and your best girls can give their dresses back after your wedding.

hire bridesmaids dresses

 

Bridesmaids’ dresses can often be expensive and will sit in your friends’ wardrobes gathering dust. Girl Meets Dress take out the middle man – they are an online service allowing you to hire designer dresses for a fraction of the retail price.

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Hello again, lovely wedding blog readers! I have a little feature from Kate at Queens & Bowl for you this morning – with some great tips for every vintage bridesmaid. It’s a great article for brides-to-be to read and share with your best girls – with tips on choosing styles, matching or mismatching your bridesmaids and paying for their dresses. I hope you’ll find this one useful! Claire xxx

vintage bridesmaid photo credit chris milner

Vintage bridesmaids on English Wedding Blog. Photo credit Chris Milner – click to see the full wedding (Beautiful bride Katey’s headpiece is from Queens & Bowl)

While I was browsing for beautiful vintage bridesmaid dresses and accessories (it’s a tough job, I know), I kept coming across similar testimonials from dutiful but slightly unappreciated bridesmaids.

While some brides seem to ask a few small favours from their bridesmaids, such as organising a hen party that doesn’t include ‘L’ plates, some naughty brides seem to be guilty of being demanding, unyielding and forcing their nearest and dearest friends into dresses they hate.