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Tete-a-tete: The downside to the world’s most flattering bridesmaid dress

The world's most flattering (albeit restrictive) bridesmaid dress. From left: me, Best Friend, Sister of Best Friend and Younger Sister. Photo courtesy of Carlen Images.

The world’s most flattering (albeit restrictive) bridesmaid dress. From left: me, Best Friend, Sister of Best Friend and Younger Sister. Photo courtesy of Carlen Images.

You may recall, dear readers, that I penned a column back in March about the discovery of a bridesmaid dress that was universally flattering, making every member of my best friend’s bridal party look like gorgeous Greek mermaid goddesses in spite of our varying body types.

Best Friend’s wedding took place last weekend (as of this writing), and I regret to inform you that there is a minor downside to the world’s most amazing bridesmaid dress. The downside is that this dress is strapless.

The bridesmaid dresses from another angle.

The bridesmaid dresses from another angle.

Obviously, I was aware of this when I first tried on the dress, but I had never worn a strapless dress before and I was trying on a sample dress that was a size too small anyway. Upon receiving my proper size, the dress felt comfortable, even a bit roomy, though it wouldn’t quite stay up.

The alteration process taught me that a strapless dress has to fit more tightly than a dress that does have straps because, since there aren’t any straps to hold up the dress, the only thing that can hold the dress up is the dress itself. It does this by squeezing you to such an extent that you feel like you’re wearing a full-body boa constrictor.

Best Friend, might I add, happens to be a devout Catholic. For those of you who have never attended a Catholic mass, you are constantly going back and forth between standing, sitting and kneeling. I opted to sit during the kneeling portions, as I didn’t want to detract from the ceremony by requiring assistance to get back on my feet.

Sitting was a challenge all its own, as breathing had to be done more shallowly and more frequently due to the restrictiveness of the bodice. After the ring ceremony, I noticed that Best Friend was sweetly playing with her sparkly new wedding band, turning her hand this way and that to catch the light in such a way that you might almost imagine she was waving at the priest – or maybe I was just hallucinating due to lack of oxygen. I had to stifle a laugh, and it took me several minutes to get my breath back.

Due to my lack of experience wearing strapless dresses, I initially thought I was the only one experiencing such difficulties. Perhaps I had gained a few pounds since we bought the dresses. It wasn’t until later in the evening, when the festivities had died down a bit, that I had an opportunity to compare notes with fellow bridesmaid Younger Sister and discovered that she was likewise in discomfort.

The hitherto unknown challenges of wearing a strapless dress were worth it, however, in order to be a fitting accompaniment to Best Friend on her wedding day. I like to think of the bride and her female attendants as a bouquet – the bride is the big, beautiful rose at the center, and her female attendants are the surrounding flowers that serve to enhance her loveliness.

And Best Friend was an absolutely exquisite bride. She had decided against a strapless wedding gown in favor of a dress with sheer, rhinestone-embellished straps, but her dress came with its own unexpected challenge. While we were posing for pictures outdoors, a curious fly mistook her for an actual flower and became trapped beneath the net overlay of her dress.

There were a few moments of consternation and confusion as to how to deal with the errant insect without running the risk of splatter before Sister of Best Friend, who was the maid of honor, delicately extricated the fly with her bare hand and carefully released it back into the wild. We did a thorough check of Best Friend’s dress and veil before continuing with the photos.

Wedding day fashion, however, took a backseat to the obvious joy of the couple being joined in matrimony. Best Friend was thrilled to be marrying the love of her life, and he was equally elated. For those of you who are long-time readers, Best Friend is the friend I attempted to visit when she was in the hospital – and instead passed out and ended up being admitted to the emergency room. Her husband is the boyfriend who was there for her through her whole ordeal. It was an honor to be part of their special day.

And after this wedding, I consider myself better prepared to handle the rigors of bridesmaiding at Oldest Younger Brother’s nuptials this fall. I liked the pre-altered dress for Best Friend’s wedding so much, I ordered it in burnt orange for Oldest Younger Brother’s wedding.

But this time, I will be familiar with the dos and don’ts of wedding attire: don’t kneel, abstain from strenuous laughter, sit carefully, breathe shallowly, and check the bride’s dress and veil for wayward insects before the photographer starts taking pictures.

– Teresa Santoski


Originally published July 31, 2014.

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