Marla Cooper

Bridesmaid dresses: A motive for murder?

The opening line of my first book, Terror in Taffeta, reads as follows:

“The sea-foam green bridesmaids’ dresses had been a mistake. Not for the obvious reason—that sea-foam green bridesmaids’ dresses are almost always a mistake—but because they added a sickly tinge to Nicole Abernathy’s three very hungover bridesmaids.”

It’s no surprise that when I sat down to write about a murder that takes place at a wedding, the first image that came to mind was of a bridesmaid dress. Because let’s face it, they can be awful. I’m still not over my first. I was a flat-chested pre-teen with braces and a bad haircut, and I had to wear a powder-blue polyester dress that only exacerbated the situation.

Thank God the pictures are tucked away in a box somewhere, because, seriously, no one needs to see that. But not everyone is so lucky. Thanks to the internet, a lot of bad bridesmaids’ dresses are just a Pinterest-search away.

My favorites are from the Seventies, because those ladies weren’t afraid of a bold print and they really knew how to accessorize. Take these gals, for example, with their calico dresses topped off with white straw hats:

Patterns and hats.png

For this winter wedding, the bride thoughtfully included muffs to keep her bridesmaids’ hands warm, hats made out of the extra craft supplies she had lying around the house, and stuffed animals to round out the photo shoot.

Muffs.jpg

There’s so much going on here with these floral dresses, floppy hats, oversized flowers, and multi-hued gloves, I can’t help but be reminded of an Everything Bagel:

Everything.jpg

If you’re going to sew your own bridesmaids’ dresses, may we suggest you top it off with a jaunty kerchief?

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I notice the bride’s eyes are closed in this picture — and I can’t say I blame her.

Pea soup.png

Dangly flower balls are the perfect complement to Easter-hued Wiccan robes:

Capes.jpg

And for the fashion-forward bridal party, let’s not forget bridesmaids’ vests!

Vests.png

(The adorable little flower girl is smiling because she’s the only one who didn’t have to wear a vest.)

Okay, readers, it’s your turn! How have you faired in the wedding-attire department? Any tragic bridesmaid dresses in your past? 

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31 thoughts on “Bridesmaid dresses: A motive for murder?

  1. These are a riot!! Love it.

    I have both victimized and been a victim of bad bridesmaid dresses, although I think I fared worse than the bridesmaids I (accidentally) forced into shiny teal when I was compelled to wear a long knit navy gown with matching over-the-elbow gloves and a shawl. We kept saying that it was part of our required 37 pieces of flair a la Office Space!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. OMG, these pictures are hilarious! :-). I still remember the apricot-colored dresses five of us made for ourselves from the same pattern. Not one of them came out the same! Huh? And each of us tolerated a giant bow of the same fabric on our heads. Not one of us looked good. What we do for our girlfriends!!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m very, very lucky. I get to rent a tux, and there isn’t much that can be too bad with tuxes. And since these women have the same likely hood of rewearing their dresses as I do of wearing a tux in normal life, then I’m definitely coming out ahead.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. No dresses that were really tragic, but let’s face it, none of them could be altered to be worn again — even the ones from my wedding (strapless cranberry watered silk with a bolero jacket — now I’m embarrassed)! One of my sister’s found a bridesmaids’ dress that looked just like the dress Audrey Hepburn wears in the scene at the end of My Fair Lady when she’s at Henry Higgin’s mother’s house — her dress is a beautiful shade of pink. Unfortunately, my sister chose bright turquoise…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ha, Marla, LOVE this! I thought I’d slow-stepped down the aisle in my share of unfortunate bridesmaid’s fashions, but I can honestly say I never had to wear a fuzzy muff instead of carrying a bouquet! (BTW, I believe the Partridge Family had matching outfits featuring those vests)!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. These photos are hilarious! I was a bridesmaid twice. The first dress was a hideous 1980s lavender number. But the second was a made-to-order simple, beautiful dress in a brownish-gold satin. I had the sleeves removed and have actually worn it to events as a dressy dress because it’s mid-calf, not floor length,

    I only had a maid of honor when I got married and I just told her, buy a dress you like and will get some use out of. Which is exactly what she did.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I recognize the pattern from the green dress. I had to wear that in a wedding. I think it was blue. Maybe a calico. Some small print. It was horrid. And then there was the peach colored, spaghetti-strap kerchief-skirt with a full length underskirt and little jacket. Peach is not my color. I’m pretty sure my sister did that on purpose.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I’ve always been the bride, not a bridesmaid. First wedding no bridesmaids. Second one, I let the bridesmaid pick out her dress.
    Although, if you want to see some fun ones, check out the movie “27 dresses”. Olive green? Southern belle in canary yellow? 60s hot pink mini? You get the drift!

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are very kind to let your bridesmaid pick the dress! The closest I ever came was my best friend, who gave us all the same fabric and let us make (or have made) whatever dress we wanted. Mine was a flowy, bias-cut dress. One went for a tailored strapless dress with a jacket. Every one of us had wildly different styles. And we were all super relieved we didn’t have to wear the styles the other ones had chosen!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I loved both of the bridesmaid dresses
    I wore. The first was powder pink satin with a Dorothy Hamill (sweetheart) neckline–just like my old skating costumes but a lot longer. For the other I was the only bridesmaid. I actually wore a Laura Ashley Wedding floral tea length that belonged to the bride. She ended up gifting it to me. Only problem was that my hair was done with a crazy braid over the top of my head, Sound of Music style
    (also Princess Leia) Yodel-ay-ee-OH!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Every one of these pictures is laugh out loud funny, so I can only imagine how many more there must have been to choose from. I think my fave is the coy, over-the-shoulder poses from the prairie chicks with the harvest gold floral bouquets, but the pastel Wiccan priestesses are a close second. Thanks for the giggles!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yay! I’m glad you share my affinity for unfortunate bridal parties. I hope your bridesmaid horror story doesn’t involve a certain floral print off-the-shoulder number — but you looked adorable in it! ❤

      Like

      • I think that floral number holds it’s own, style-wise, even after all these years (in pix, not to actually wear, of course!) And I hope you didn’t hate a certain periwinkle dress that actually looked super cute on you!

        Like

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