There was an age old taboo against wearing black in a wedding. These days, black bridesmaid dresses have become very common, aside from in the most conservative or traditional families. As popular as they are, black bridesmaid dresses do present special questions, most notably, how to make them appear festive instead of somber. These are some of the best ways to make black dresses work beautifully for bridesmaids.
Before choosing black for your bridesmaids, or any other color, for that matter, consider a few basic things. The colors and lighting of the ceremony venue are important to think about, as are the location and time of day. Black dresses would look chic for an 8pm wedding in Manhattan, but out of place for a 1pm ceremony on a farm. Also give some thought to how black bridesmaid dresses will combine with the other colors you want for your wedding, especially the flowers. Dark purple flowers, for instance, would tend to blend in with black dresses, but brighter bouquets like red would stand out nicely.
One of the main reasons to choose a black bridesmaid dress is that it will probably make your bridesmaids happy (your mother, well, maybe not so much). It certainly is the color that is most likely to be worn again, as every woman can use a few "little black dresses" in her wardrobe, whereas the coral and turquoise number might end up languishing in the back of her closet. Since the idea is that they will be able to wear them again, give serious consideration to allowing each bridesmaid to select the little black dress of her choosing within set parameters like knee length or strapless. As a bonus, if your attendants are friends, they will not have to worry about both showing up in the same black dress to a party sometime after the wedding!
Black is by its nature, somber, yet weddings are supposed to be festive and joyous. Balance out the darkness of black bridesmaid dresses with flowers and accessories that add color or texture. When the dresses are short, you can have some fun with the shoes. Remember that the strappier the shoe is, the more wild the color can be without overpowering the entire outfit. Chartreuse, cobalt blue, and pink are all fun options. Be wary of red shoes which tend to make too bold a statement. Metallic neutrals are always pretty for bridesmaid shoes. Let each attendant choose her favorite pair of shoes in silver, gold, or bronze, for a style that will enhance both the bridesmaid dress and her shoe collection in general.
Customized sets of bridesmaid jewelry are another fantastic way to liven up black bridesmaid dresses. Sparkly crystal bridesmaid jewelry sets are ideal for evening weddings. Either go with classic clear crystals, or make a splash with crystals in your wedding colors. Don't overlook what you can be done with wedding hair accessories, either. A brightly colored flower in the hair for an outdoor wedding or a sleek satin headband in a contrasting shade can go a long way towards breaking up too much black.
Finally, there are the bridesmaid bouquets. When your attendants are wearing
black dresses, you can really get creative with their flowers. The simplicity of the background will allow the bouquets to pop, so this is your opportunity to have fun with flowers like spotted orchids in vibrant shades, bold colors combinations like cherry and lime, or fun extras such as feathers or crystals. With all of the right accents in place, you can rest assured that your black bridesmaid dresses will be anything but somber. Laura Firenze