Plan Your Wine Country Wedding: Dressing Your Wedding Party

Location: Vintners Inn - Santa Rosa, CA || Photography: Emily Jean Images)

Traditionally, the groom and groomsmen wear the same suits, with the groom wearing a different tie, boutonniere, or pocket square (just to name a few examples) from his groomsmen. The bride, in contrast, is very much noticed in her white dress while her bridesmaids will be in pretty shades matching the wedding colors. Here's how we went about dressing our wedding party with some tips you can hopefully borrow too!

1. Know what colors look good on you and your husband

I was originally leaning towards a more blush-toned dress but when I tried one on, I blended in with the dress. Ultimately the champagne-colored dress I decided on went perfectly with my complexion. My husband's complexion is fairer. We wanted a darker color on him (but not black) so we chose a dark grey suit for him. We ultimately ended up with grey, blush, and champagne as our "official" wedding colors.

2. Pick the best colors that will suit your wedding party

The ladies: I wanted a color for my bridesmaids that would go well with most skin tones. I found a warm grey dress from JCrew that looked beautiful on all of them. It even had the same v-neckline as my dress! And let's be real, Brides... have you ever noticed when looking through other peoples' wedding photos that your eyes almost immediately gravitate towards the colorful bridesmaid's dresses before looking at the bride? This may sound vain but it's your wedding so you're allowed to be - you want to steal the show in your own wedding photos! When picking bridesmaids dresses, a neutral color in a medium-dark tone will go with almost any complexion, creating a harmony amongst your ladies, and will also add contrast so that you are the focal point in your photos.

The men: Once we determined the bridesmaids dresses it was time to focus on the men. I started to fear that with my husband in grey and my ladies in grey, that if the men were in grey too, we'd just be one big sea of grey! Then it dawned on me: Adam was in dark grey and my ladies in a medium grey. I was in (light) champagne... why couldn't the groomsmen be in tan (i.e. "medium chamapagne")?! Matching the groom to the bridesmaids and the bride to the groomsmen sounded like a different and fun idea, so we pursued it!

3. Decide where to rent or buy

The ladies: While I was shopping for my own dress, a couple of the boutiques we went to also carried bridesmaids dresses. One of my bridesmaids tried on a couple of options, which helped us decide on the shade of grey and style for their dresses. Since they lived in different places, ordering online was best. I had them help me find dresses because I wanted them to feel good about the price point and style too. My ladies ended up buying this dress from JCrew - and in the nick of time! JCrew announced its plans in November 2016 to say goodbye to its wedding line, to everyone's surprise. They had such a good quality line so I would expect to see in-demand (and limited) JCrew bridesmaids dresses popping up in the pre-loved online market like Poshmark, Tradesy, etc.  If your bride has offered some flexibility in choosing your dress, definitely keep your eyes peeled for one of these worn likely only once and for a lower price!

The men: My husband has more of a European build and we wanted his suit to fit him well, so we decided to have his suit custom-made at Indochino. They have a boutique in downtown SF where you can browse the fabrics, pick your style, and get measured (appointment necessary for measurements/fittings). It is recommended to start the process about 3 months before the wedding so that adjustments can be made if needed. The suit came in about a month after measurements were taken. We definitely needed some adjustments here and there so definitely don't wait! We were very happy with how it turned out and it was for the same price as a regular nice suit would cost - but custom!

For the groomsmen, renting a suit here in SF didn't seem practical and I was concerned that if they rented in their local cities, they'd turn up at the wedding in 50 shades of champagne! After some research online, we found GenerationTux. On their website, you can pick their entire outfit, down to the shoes and belt! You then send the groomsmen an invite to pick the items in their size and they'll get mailed to them a week before the wedding. They try on their suit right away and if it doesn't fit, they can let GenerationTux know and they'll either send them a new size or if it's something small (i.e. pants are too long), they can take it to a referred tailor locally and get a temporary hem at no charge. It's the perfect solution for your wedding party if they are flying in and you want to make sure their suits are all the exact same color.

4. Choose your wedding party's accessories

The ladies: I decided that as part of their gift, I would offer them a beautiful statement necklace to wear on the wedding day. Etsy is a great place for this and other little wedding nick-nacks. The necklace has little crystal and flower-shaped stones in blush, grey, and champagne (all 3 wedding colors!). Since the boddess of my dress had beading and theirs was plain, this helped to provide a cohesive and stunning elevated look!

The men: I found this perfect champagne and grey-striped tie on Bows-N-Ties and originally ordered it for all the men. However, a friend of mine gave me the bright of idea of having the groomsmen wear the inverse grey tie with tan stripes, adding a bit more dimensions to their ensemble. I thought that was brilliant so after a little adventure I found a place that had them and they arrived 6 weeks before the wedding (phew!). Bows-N-Ties has a lot of different color and pattern options that match if you want to do the same inverted idea. As part of their grooms' gifts, we gave them tie pins engraved with their initials on the front and a personal message to each from Adam on the back.

It was challenging to create the look of our wedding party with everyone spread apart and the bulk of our orders being made online, but with the help of some imagination and piecing together photos on a google doc to get the best visual possible, it was totally worth it to get the unique look we were going for!

Next up - stationary!