Photo Credit:  Alison Yin Photography (photo org. found on Tumblr)

Your bestie is getting married and it's your duty to support your friend in her nuptials by being her bridesmaid.  We all get asked to do it.  I've gotten the bridesmaid dilemma question recently and thought with spring weddings looming, it would be a good time to talk about it. I actually will be a bridesmaid/Matron of Honor this upcoming August.  Now for the next dilemma.  What will you be wearing? There are a couple of ways this could go.  It could go the traditional route. This is where everyone is required to wear the same dress. The traditional route can be tricky, especially when you have a lot of girls with different body types. If there are major issues with the dress and your body try to appeal to your friend and let her know that the dress doesn't work for you. I tried to go the traditional route, but then  I saw my friend in one the dress I picked out.  It was horrible, so much that I changed up my whole bridesmaid situation.  I didn't want my friend to look horrible, but I also didn't want my pictures to look bad either. It was easier to tell (and less time consuming) to let me allow the brides to pick their own dress in black.  Every bride may not be so accommodating.  If you have to wear the dress that is required just suck it up and wear it.  Now, you could be asked to select your own dress in a specified color. This would sound like a simple option, right?  Often bridesmaids get overwhelmed when the decision is left up to them.  This post is specifically for those who are asked to pick your own dress (which seems to be the going trend). Here are some do's, don't, and some tips to help you pick your dress. 

DO start with a dress silhouette that you usually wear.  A fit and flare dress works for most body types.  Start there, then go into other dress types.  If all else fails then resort back to the fit and flare.  You can never go wrong with that silhouette. 

DON'T try to outshine the bride with your dress choice. I don't care how fine groomsman 2,4, and 5 are. Remember this is not about you. This means, unless otherwise specified, nothing overly tight, cleavage bearing, magnificent, opulent, attention getting, excessive, etc, etc, etc.  I'm not saying don't look beautiful, but trying to upstage the bride is just rude and tacky.  One of my bridesmaids, who shall remain nameless, sent me a photo of a dress where the back was completely vacant. Think the back of J.Lo's grammy dress.  Just know I said...hell to the no (pardon my french). Now if the bride says she wants you to go all out and over the top, then by all means.  

DO get your dress tailored.  A great fit will go a long way.  You dress may be simple, but the a great fit will make you look fabulous and compliment the bride and her photos.  
I asked my own bridesmaids to pick black dress.  I love how it looked in the photos.  They all picked photos that individually were their style and complimented them.  My girls looked gorgeous. 

DON'T ask the bride 50 million times about your dress.  She cares a little bit, but it's not her main focus.  Send her a dozens of text messages, emails, and smoke signals all about you and your needs will just irritate her.  Send messages sparingly and try to include all the information you can, so you don't have to send crazy amounts of messages. 

DO wear makeup.  If you can get it professionally done that would be the way to go.  The lighting of a professional photographer can be harsh and could make you look washed out.  Extra care in your make-up for that will ensure that the photos of you taken will look lovely. 

DO try on your dress every month.  You could buy this dress months in advance and could lose or gain weight in the process. Try your dress on every month to monitor the fit.  The absolute worst would be not being able to fit the dress and the wedding is days away. 

DON'T order too small.  If ordering off the internet and uncertain of the sizing, order big and tailor it down.  

DO look for a dress that you could possibly wear again.   Most likely you will be paying for the dress why not get your money's worth. 

DO evaluate your shapewear & under garments.  Do you have the right foundation for the dress?  Do you need a strapless bra, invisible straps, or a 5 way.  If you need to invest in new under garments then do so.  

DO understand what type of wedding your friend is having.  Is it day or night?  Is it formal or more casual?  Is there a theme? This will help you to find the appropriate dress for the occasion   

Photo Credit: Style So Far

I scouted out a few dresses that could be great in a wedding.  Remember, that the dress doesn't necessarily have to be a "bridesmaid" dress, so you can definitely expand your search to include a variety of retailers. 

Disclosure:  Please note this is meant to be somewhat humorous while providing help.  I am not a wedding planner or bridal expert, but this just advice from my own experiences as being both a bride and a bridesmaid.