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Carissa Loethen, Bridal Blog

Courtesy Joanna August

Poor bridesmaids dresses, they get such a bad rap. As we've learned from movies like 27 Dresses (and occasional real-life weddings), brides sometimes deviate from their typical sense of style for the sake of having a perfectly coordinated wedding. Think about it, a bride's life is full of questions like: Do the invitations match your theme? Are the flowers the right shade of pink? Do the linens match your color scheme?

Our brains become programmed to concentrate on coordinating. I can see where a bride could get lost in the obsession of matching everything that when it comes to picking out bridesmaids dresses, your usual fashion sense gets a little clouded. Designs that would typically repulse you are suddenly "amazing" because you finally found something that matches (you guessed it) your theme and scheme perfectly. Hey, I can see it happening.

Carissa Loethen, Bridal Blog

Courtesy Joanna August

However, if you're shopping without too much criteria, you'll quickly realize there are hundreds of really pretty options.

Luckily for my six bridesmaids and two junior bridesmaids, I had absolutely nothing about my wedding's theme or colors decided before I picked my/their dresses. So, I was shopping with a very open mind! All I knew was I wanted something figure-flattering and fitting for the beach (I'm getting married in Islamorada, Fla.!). Oh, and for at least the grown-girls (not junior bridesmaids), I wanted them long. I just personally think it looks nicer.

Carissa Loethen, Bridal Blog

Courtesy Joanna August

After several weeks of endlessly browsing online, I found myself continuously going back to the designs by Joanna August. They're so pretty. The poly chiffon fabric is elegant and chic. It also is one of the few long dresses that was still light enough to wear on a warm summer beach. I just love how the skirts flow when you walk in them. Best of all, they have gorgeous designs that fit all different body types. I sent an email out to each of my friends individually so they could be honest with how they felt about the designer I chose. Good news: They all loved the dresses! Yay!

Each bridesmaid picked out the style she liked best. I had no preference. I literally liked them all. Plus, I think the variety of styles will photograph beautifully.

Carissa Loethen, Bridal Blog

Courtesy Joanna August

The most difficult part of the process was deciding on a color. Joanna August has an amazing number of colors to choose from. I couldn't decide if I wanted all of the girls in the same color, each in a different color or if we should do a mixture of a couple colors. My bridesmaids were so easy-going. They just kept telling me to pick whatever I want (Come on, this was your chance to be picky guys. You should have taken it.). Ultimately I opted for having them all wear a champagne-like color in order to have freedom to play with my flower colors (And, don't worry, I was a thoughtful bride and already gifted them some tanning spray.).

I cannot wait to see my friends walk down the aisle in their gorgeous gowns! I'm also secretly hoping they'll let me borrow their dresses after the wedding.

Special thanks to Joanna August for the fashion guidance and bridesmaids dress discount.