My wedding guilty pleasure is definitely bridesmaid attire. I love the variety: the different colours, fabrics, lengths, and also styles (how good are jumpsuits?). I adore when bridesmaids mix and match patterns, when there is a special meaning behind the colours chosen, or simply when the dresses work super well with the overall theme of the wedding. I could keep going but it’s probably fair if I now introduce to today’s expert. Today we’re chatting to Hayley Williams of Bridesmaids Only, an online store with an exquisite selection of designer bridesmaid dresses. Heaven!

Hayley is the Chief of Bride Tribe Happiness at Bridesmaids Only, which sounds like the best job ever. I picked her brain about current dress trends, what designers they stock, options for the Mother of the Bride, their excellent try before you buy’ service and so much more. Oh, and there are some beautiful Bridesmaids Only gowns from real weddings to admire in this post too…

Tell us about Bridesmaids Only…
Bridesmaids Only is Australia’s premier online boutique of bridesmaid dresses. Our aim is to find quality, designer styles suited to each and every member of your bride tribe.

How did Bridesmaids Only start and what has it become since then?
Bridesmaids Only started out almost 10 years ago with a small showroom in Sydney. As we grew, we received more and more interest from bridal parties spread right across the country, so it made sense for us to move to an online showroom instead.

What’s been the biggest change from going from a showroom to an online store?
It’s always tricky online to showcase the quality of fabric and design that sets our styles apart. Each of our designers are really passionate and proud of the quality of materials, workmanship and fit that goes into every dress. To help our brides and bridesmaids ‘touch and feel’ prior to purchasing, we set up a great ‘try before you buy’ service.

Images: Tomek Photography

What do you love about being an online store?
We love being able to pull together options that every bridesmaid in the group looks and feels fantastic in on the big day! Even when they’re spread apart – be it interstate, or even overseas!

What’s a typical day in the office look like for you?
In the bridal business there is no typical day! On any given day our team work around the clock to help customers with ideas and dress options, even for a last-minute wedding or event. We also spend much of our time working with designers and suppliers to understand new ranges and styles, fabric and colour options, and scoping out trends from across the world.

The highlight of our day though? When we receive photos in from our gorgeous brides… seeing the dresses come ‘alive’ on the big day is always something special!

How many dresses do you have in stock?
Ooooh that’s a tough one! We have samples and availability to order thousands of dresses, in multiple fabrics, colours and sizes. Some of them we have in our warehouse here, ready for any last-minute requests, and some of them we order in specifically for our customers.

Images: Little Black Bow Photography

What designers do you stock?
Our current range includes Shona Joy, One Fell Swoop, Tania Olsen, the Dessy Collection, Jenny Yoo and…. (drum roll please) our very own ‘Talia Sarah’ Collection – exclusive to Bridesmaids Only.

Who is your favourite designer?
Call me biased, but I do love that the Talia Sarah range is completely versatile – from different ways to wear the dresses to being able to have them made in custom colours, or even if the bridesmaids would like a slightly longer sleeve option, this range really allows us to meet the needs of everyone!

Do you have a favourite dress at the moment?
Personally, I am loving the gorgeous silk draping of the ‘Philly’ by One Fell Swoop. I love that One Fell Swoop use sustainable fabrics and natural fibres, and everything is made right here in Australia. Oh, and it looks absolutely stunning in both the light stone and rose colours, or in the dark navy and ink.

Images: Alan Hughes Photography

What style of dress are your finding most popular this year?
One of our other Australian designers, Tania Olsen, has launched a range this year of stretch jersey knit styles in some great colours like berry and teal. This fabric is completely forgiving and helps to smooth any lumps and bumps!

What about colours?
We’re starting to see more and more colour come through. For a while there, the trends were more demure, soft romantics like blush and lilac, but we’re starting to see a trend towards the deeper blues and greens. Burgundy, merlot and cherry tones are some classic, ever-popular colours!

Do you offer other styles of bridal party attire, such as jumpsuits?
We sure do! Jumpsuits are very on-trend in both the UK and US at the moment (we do love an option with pockets!). We also have a range of ‘separates’ from US designer Jenny Yoo – a great look to team a tulle skirt with a flirty camisole!

Images: Luna Imagery

You offer a ‘try before you buy’ service. Could you tell us a bit more about this?
Absolutely! We send out up to four dresses for a period of seven days for our bridal parties to try on. We can also include product information, sizing details and fabric swatches to help make the big decision! If our bridal parties need more than four options, or if some need to be sent anywhere in Australia (or the world!) we can help with this too!

You also have outfits for the mothers of the bride and groom. What’s your advice for brides and/or their mothers when trying to find the perfect attire for these special women?
Similar to selecting bridesmaid dresses, Mothers of the Bride need to wear something she feels fabulous in, but is also comfortable in! Usually, once the colour palette is decided for the bride and bridesmaids, Mother of the Bride outfits tend to complement the girls, so as not to clash in photos! We do love mums who opt for a bit of a shimmer and sparkle on their dresses though – Adrianna Pappell has a great range of dresses for this!

Although you don’t sell wedding dresses, do some brides, perhaps looking for a more casual option, order their gowns through you?
Absolutely – one of our Talia Sarah gowns, the ‘Zara’ in White Pearl is perfect for this. Be it a more informal garden or beach wedding, we find many brides opting for a more relaxed option, and dresses that they may actually wear again!

Image: Zee and Cee Studio

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Definitely hearing from brides and bridesmaids after the big day, when it’s all over and they’ve had a great time and felt fantastic in their dresses! Seeing it all come together is really special.

Can you share any lovely stories or testimonials from bridal parties you’ve helped?
We recently had one bridal party with three bridesmaids, each in a different country! And if juggling different countries and time zones wasn’t enough, the wedding was just 12 weeks away! Thankfully we were able to send sample dresses to each of the bridesmaids to try on and they did an international Facetime to compare looks and discuss options. They were so grateful that this was so easy to arrange, and in the words of one of the bridesmaids, “Who knows what we would have each turned up wearing without this service?!”

What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt after working with brides and bridesmaids for almost 10 years?
Keep calm and enjoy the moment… not just the day, but all the excitement in the lead up to the wedding. It will be over all too soon!

Image: Nigel Unsworth Studios

A big thank you to Hayley for sharing her insider knowledge with us today. What an incredible and extremely handy service Bridesmaids Only provides, especially for those with bridesmaids scattered around the country (or even the globe)! So many gorgeous gowns to choose from too. To find out more about this online store, head on over to the Bridesmaids Only website.

Headshot courtesy of Bridesmaids Only