Maid to Order

1197662709Choosing a bridal gown is stressful enough, but just wait until you have to find one dress to flatter six women. Six women with six varied skin tones, hair colors, and body shapes, no less. I began the bridesmaid dress search for my late spring beach side wedding months ago. While I wanted the entire bridal party to like the dress I chose, I knew the chances that everyone would be happy were slim to none.

But Aria Bridesmaids at 39 Newbury St. confronts this potential crisis head on.

The boutique offers 39 bridesmaid styles in dozens of colors, and sizes ranging from zero-to-24—and, did I mention they cost less than $200 each? Brides simply settle on a color combination and material (for fabrics, they have shimmery silk shantung, rich duchess satin, and whimsical eyelet lace). Then each maid can choose an individual design. And since Aria sells ties, vests, and pocket squares in the same textures and shades as the dresses, groomsmens’ getups are guaranteed to match.

Unlike bridal chains, Aria grants one-on-one bridal party attention. I booked an appointment a month in advance, because weekends fill up quickly. When the day came around, we had the whole shop to ourselves.

While the store doesn’t stock every style in all sizes, I was able to show my girls an example of the colors (perwinkle blue with a baby blue contrast), and as long as they stuck to cocktail length and duchess satin material in these colors, the girls could take it from there. The fact that the shop offered such a wide range of sizes quelled my fear that they wouldn’t fit everyone.

We browsed freely through strapless, halter, spaghetti strapped, cap-sleeved, and boat necked frocks, full and cocktail lengths, and a-line or column fits. Then the store manager individually helped each woman find the right cut. Ultimately, they all chose strapless.

Once the choices were made, we put the order in, and they are being shipped right to my door as I write. Even my far away friend in Colorado who couldn’t get to the store for a fitting was able to use the shop’s online sizing chart to match up her measurements and find the perfect size. But note: Be sure to order the dresses with four months to spare before the wedding, because they take up to 12 weeks to be completed, and you’ll need some extra time for alterations.

In the end, Aria made dressing six different women as easy as it was for my fiance to get all his guys in tuxes. I’m still stunned that I was able to find bridal wear that won’t leave me despised by my bridesmaids!

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