First pick your bridesmaids, then pick the dress. Easy, right?

TLC has a show “Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids” dedicated to the proposition that bridesmaids should pick their own dresses. They’re wearing the dress, after all. But how do you get six girls and one guy (yes — I have a male bridesmaid) to agree on one dress???

Not easily.

So, of course, you could loosen the standard. What about one color, different dresses?

David’s Bridal has built a chiffon-and-satin empire on this concept. Pick on trademark color — and the cuts will follow.

I wore a brown satin dress to our Hometown editor’s wedding (#acpressLOVEfest). Her colors were brown, orange and blue, and it was easy enough to mix and match the colors and styles. You can play around with solids and patterns, too. The blues and blue-flower patterns look super cute together.

But what if you need a past-the-knee hemlines and sleeves? That’s a bit harder to find. Do you get a dress with a jacket? Do you pick colors and let it come together?

If you’re me, you spend weeks scouring the Internet.

I had a couple different ideas going at once. One was a dress-and-jacket set. But I was unimpressed by what I found — dowdy and dowdier. Dress + jacket usually = mother of the bride. Kind of blah.

So I tried to find a pretty dress and a shrug that I could pair together. The advantage, I thought, would be that my ’maids would be more likely to re-wear a regular dress opposed to a “bridesmaid” dress. (The delusion — er, dream — is that bridesmaids will re-wear their dresses so we don't feel so guilty about the cost.) A Suzie Chin — a brand sold at Nordstroms — caught my eye. Silver and pleated, it had a black sash with a little bit of bling on it that would match the bling on my sash. It would have been very pretty, not too costly — though not entirely summery. I presented it with a black shrug to my mom and ‘maids, but they said it was *too* ordinary.

That didn’t stop me. Two of my three sisters recommended the same sky-blue dress with black-and-white flowers at Shabby Apple. So cute! It had sleeves and everything!! Problem? The dress was cut straight — like Uma Thurman straight. Only a Greek goddess would look good in it.

So I searched some more.

My sister/matron of honor suggested Light-in-the-Box. I highly recommend. Beautiful dresses — the kind with tight, intricate bodices and long, flowy skirts — abound. I loved those A-line dresses — affordable and in 15,000 colors. I returned to them again and again. But where were the jackets?

Exasperated, I turned to Joel. “It’s impossible!” He barely looked up from the game, “Google ‘modest bridesmaid dresses.’” And I did. I discovered the most amazing website, one you will probably only appreciate if you’ve spent three weeks looking for the impossible —

I didn’t like every dress, but I had my pick. This website is versatile — every dress has sleeves and a properly long hemline in either knee-, tea- or floor-length. Other stores claim to have knee-length hems, but really just mean “somewhere around the knee. Not the same.

So I started obsessing over the beautiful Mormon duds. The dresses come in satins and silks in various levels of adorable and glam. I went for the more glam-end of the spectrum. It’s A-line with a long sash. It has cap sleeves and a high enough neckline. It will look fabulous on everyone — except Ben who will wear a tie that coordinates with the other ‘maids.

And when I got the samples, I couldn’t pick one hue. So I picked all of them.

The ‘maids will wear shades of blue — cobalt, sky blue and Tahiti — and purple — indigo, boysenberry and lavender.

I picked the dress and assigned the colors. Even though I consulted with my bridesmaids along the way — I reserved the final decision, to get exactly what I wanted: Elegant. Bohemian. Garden Party.

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