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yoyoteacher

Bridesmaid for non-member wedding

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I was asked back in July to be a bridesmaid for a dear former coworker. By the time her wedding rolls around, I anticipate having gone through the temple for the first time. We have not tried dresses and I have not yet told her my need for a modest dress, but I plan to when I see her today.

As for trying on dresses, I'm not sure how garments will fit and how much I need to cover, if that makes sense? Ladies, any advice for how to make sure my dress will be appropriate for wearing and not showing garments?

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I'm not a lady, so I shouldn't reply....but I can't help myself.  I have a couple of ideas and then you can take advice from the sisters.  If it is important that everyone have the same dress, they you may have to go with a shawl "tacked" on.  That would be the strict Mormon way. I will say however, you are allowed to "prayerfully" set your garment aside. If the dress is to be worn once (as I understand hideous bridesmade dresses are), and only for a few hours, you are committing no sin by setting your garments aside for that time. I certainly would do that before causing yourself or an already stressed out bride any undue stress. 

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Bit off topic but congratulations. Nothing like being part of someones wedding. I've been best man twice and it was awesome. 

 

Good like finding a dress. Don't let it spoil this special day. 

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I would never advise someone to remove their garments to wear a dress "just once, for a few hours". So we tell our daughters that modesty is only for every day and can be abandoned for special occasions, like prom or their own wedding? Vacation? Friday? That covenants are promises of convenience, not commitment? 

 

My advice to the OP is to let the bride know what your clothing needs (I wouldn't call them "restrictions") are, and that you are willing to bear the cost of alterations or buying a compatible but modest dress, if the style she chose doesn't work.

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I'm with Eowyn. A wedding is no excuse to skip garments. Let the bride know your needs.

As for fitting, different styles fit differently. This does put you in a bit of a pickle as you don't yet have garments or the dress, but I don't anticipate a big problem.

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I'm not a lady, so I shouldn't reply....but I can't help myself.  I have a couple of ideas and then you can take advice from the sisters.  If it is important that everyone have the same dress, they you may have to go with a shawl "tacked" on.  That would be the strict Mormon way. I will say however, you are allowed to "prayerfully" set your garment aside. If the dress is to be worn once (as I understand hideous bridesmade dresses are), and only for a few hours, you are committing no sin by setting your garments aside for that time. I certainly would do that before causing yourself or an already stressed out bride any undue stress.

Please do show us where church leaders have stated that it is okay to take off one's garments "for a few hours" before causing someone "undue stress".

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I guess my big thing is: sleeves, neckline, and rough length on the legs. Being in Missouri, I'm not sure how many truly modest designs will be available. I am really nervous that she won't be understanding...and I suppose at that point I could wait to go to the temple. I don't start prep classes until February. I'm sure someone will tell me that I shouldn't delay the temple for something like this...idk.

Potential tense situations make me anxious. Sigh.

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I would mainly worry about length of the dress, (knee-length) and then ask if the store sells matching boleros or some other shoulder-covering add-on that either matches or coordinates with the dress. It would be a lot cheaper to go that route as opposed to having the dress altered to add sleeves.

 

Definitely let the bride know ASAP, so that she can keep you in mind as she looks over possible dress options.

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I don't think she will, but she knew me and met me during my inactive period so it may come from left field when I explain everything to her.

I'm 5'8, but fairly stocky if that makes sense. I wear a large/size 16, size wise.

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I guess my big thing is: sleeves, neckline, and rough length on the legs. Being in Missouri, I'm not sure how many truly modest designs will be available. I am really nervous that she won't be understanding...and I suppose at that point I could wait to go to the temple. I don't start prep classes until February. I'm sure someone will tell me that I shouldn't delay the temple for something like this...idk.

Potential tense situations make me anxious. Sigh.

Modest clothing is available everywhere.

If she's not understanding, how much of a friend is she? And why would you compromise your standards for someone who isn't understanding about your beliefs?

I don't follow your logic about waiting to go to the temple because of something like this. Especially for someone who isn't understanding. Is her friendship more important than receiving your endowment? Is a bridesmaid dress more important?

And it sounds like you are saying it is okay to wear immodest clothing as a Mormon as long as you haven't been to the temple yet. That is not how we're taught.

I realize that the trend these days is for strapless dresses in weddings. That's not appropriate for a Mormon even if you haven't been to the temple yet.

Personally, I as a bride would never ask a bridesmaid to wear something she's uncomfortable with. Just explain to her where the boundaries are.....no strapless dresses, no plunging necklines and no mini-skirts. There are plenty of beautiful dresses out there that fit the bill. You see them every weekend at any temple.

If she decides to be all bridezilla on you instead of being an understanding friend, then I guess you have to decide what is more important....your faith and the standards and obligations that go along with it, or wearing an immodest dress for a "friend" who is so insensitive.

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I don't think it's fair for any commentary to be made about my friendship and the bride. As I said, I was inactive for seven years. I met her during those seven years and was definitely NOT acting in a way that would indicate to her that I am a member of the church or have any unique needs as far as the wedding is concerned. She was joking about stumbling back to her parents house the night of the wedding after partying it up, if that gives you an idea of how far off the straight and narrow I was.

 

So this is 0% about her and how she will respond. Well...maybe a small percent about that. This is more 'I was not doing the things that I should have done (and don't need a reminder of that, thanks) and now I am back on the right path but I have to go back and explain a LOT of things and help people adjust their thoughts of me and who I am as an individual' sort of concern.

 

I don't think she is a bridezilla by any means. I actually really dislike that phrase and its use. I don't think she will value our friendship less because of this fashion concern. But at the same time, I know that every girl has a dream wedding, and I don't know if having all her bridesmaids match is part of that dream. And if it is, is it fair of me to demand that she alters what she wants on her day? Or is it fair to the other bridesmaids who have to pay for their own dresses as well to purchase a modest dress when I'm the only one with this need?

 

And while I agree that modest clothing is available everywhere, I don't think you can say that modest FORMAL wear is available everywhere. I had to special order all of my modest prom dresses following my baptism. Outside of Utah and Idaho and maybe a few more select places, it's not possible to find 100% modest items. Items that aren't strapless sure. Items that aren't mini skirts, yes. But something that would cover past the shoulders...not necessarily.

 

Just because I threw out that idea of waiting (with a note saying that I already knew there would be people who would jump all over me for it) doesn't mean that's what I am planning to do. It also doesn't mean that I was planning on going with a mini skirt strapless combo. But maybe waiting will be what I decide to do because I have a lifetime of preparation to catch up on prior to going and making covenants that shouldn't be taken lightly or entered in to simply because I'm being encouraged to do so by my priesthood leaders. I don't have parents that have been prepping me for this since I was a tiny child. I frankly have no freaking clue what to expect or do and in some ways I'm a nervous wreck over my worthiness based on the things I've done in my past, despite having repented of them and forsaking those sins.

 

And if waiting is what I choose to do, that's between the Lord and myself and nobody else except for maybe the priesthood holders that hold my temple recommend interviews. 

Edited by yoyoteacher

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When discussing dresses with the bride, keep it simple. There's a good chance you'll be through the temple, this is where you want your life going, you'll need realistic dress options. No need to get all high n mighty or apologetic about it.

It's your journey and her wedding, but that doesn't mean things can't work out.

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Please do show us where church leaders have stated that it is okay to take off one's garments "for a few hours" before causing someone "undue stress".

Our Church Leaders don't need to instruct us on every letter of doctrine or obedience. We are allowed to use common sense. Setting aside the garments was not my first suggestion. If it is "impractical" to wear the garments, then they can be excused. We don't wear them swimming, or during athletics, or in my case, I can't wear them with some work I do. We are instructed in the temple to "set them aside prayerfully". 

 

This is Missouri, not Spanish Fork. There won't be a scandal. A wedding is a big deal, hence so much emotion. The bride can be asked to accommodate the dress request, but if impractical, I wouldn't cause myself or anyone else stress over it. 

 

She not setting them aside to have sex. She's accommodating a friend.

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As for trying on dresses, I'm not sure how garments will fit and how much I need to cover, if that makes sense? Ladies, any advice for how to make sure my dress will be appropriate for wearing and not showing garments?

Addressing your original issue: There are different styles and fits. It also depends on size, fabric and shrinkage. I don't know that you could fit a dress to your garments unless you have a specific garment top to wear. My wife's experience shows that the newest styles are less concealing; meaning they conceal less of you and are better for fitting to modern dress. You won't get away from the need to have cap sleeves and you won't get a really low neckline. Some garment might peak out a bit on even a modest dress. 

 

My first comments were based on the stereotypical "bridesmaid" dress image. Everyone in same style and color and you sell the dress when you are done. If that were the case, I would go with what everyone else wears and not cause heartburn. But if you are buying a dress to wear regularly, then yes, I would put the extra effort in finding something you can "live" with.

 

Hope that helps.

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I say talk to her.  You might be causing yourself undue stress worrying about this.  When coming up with bridesmaids dresses you have to think of all body sizes and shapes.  It's never a one size fits all kind of thing.  So just talk to her and explain your individual needs.  

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This doesn't solve hemlines but it does solve the issue of garments showing at necklines or strapless apparel. Try matching or finding a complimentary colour to your bridesmaid's dress in a nice blazer or sweater top. You can find both at stores like Ross and TJMaxx at super affordable prices (in lots of colours and styles!), and plus, you can wear it afterwards with everyday t-shirt and jeans. If you're looking for a slimming affect, try finding a blazer with shoulder pads, as this will square off your shoulders. I personally think blazers look great on any woman, they're just so feminine looking, no matter your size or shape or what you wear it with - dress, casual, etc. (If you're not particularly crazy about this image, sorry, I just grabbed one of the first images I Googled.)

 

i_just_wanna_be_in_london_living_a_life_

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Well, today was the big dress shopping day. Because there wasn't much option, we ended up deciding to go with an online order option, which I think will help tremendously. I even talked to her today about needing a cap sleeve and why and she was definitely understanding. So yes, undue stress.

 

So I have a color and a fabric limitation (and I know she would prefer knee length...as would I with it being an early summer wedding), but anything available on the website is okay. Which just means figuring out which of the options there will work. If anyone has any suggestions...here is the website with my options! At this point, this dress is winning out because the front and the sleeves will work and I can order some extra length to make sure the hemline is good, but I know the back may cause problems? I also spoke to my branch president (per the suggestion of my YW leader in my teen years who ended up as a sort of LDS surrogate mother-figure for me), and he's given me the name of an endowed seamstress who has done many alterations in the past. 

 

In some ways, I know I made this out to be a big deal, but in others I feel like it's good that I care this much? I want to do the right thing here, and I want to move my life in that right path (even if I'm intimidated beyond belief and afraid that I'm going to fall by the wayside again, but this time with an even deeper covenant having been made). I've got a week to order this dress, hopefully one of them will work for both myself and the seamstress to adjust everything. Thanks again to everyone who had some input.

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Glad this is all moving toward a favorable outcome.

 

And doing the right thing is always a big deal, even if it seems like a small deal.  The best financial advice I ever got was "Watch your pennies, and the dollars will watch themselves."  This idea, that the small things in life disproportionately steer the big things in life, has rung true for me in so many areas.

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That dress is lovely, and I think an alteration would be easy, or you could even just wear a pretty camisole underneath to cover the back. I'm glad it's working out! 

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The sister who will be doing the alterations for me thinks that the option I've been eyeing as the easiest to alter may not even NEED alterations. According to the website, for $10 I can get an additional 5 inches of fabric at the bottom, which they recommend for anyone taller than 5'9". I'm only 5'8", but I figure that will give me enough to definitely cover the hemline for the garment bottoms as well as a small amount of fabric to make a slight alteration at the top if necessary.

 

I can't tell you all how much I prayed about this situation for the last two weeks; even just praying about the adjustment to life with garments once I am at that point. I was pointed in the direction of halftee.com, which looks like it will be a very useful site for layering items.

 

I was also pointed to this post, which had some helpful hints. I figure I would share it as well, in case anyone else can make use of it.

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