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Styling tips to ensure your New Orleans bridesmaids are picture-perfect 

A fashion merchandiser shares tips for styling a picture-perfect entourage

Traditional or modern silhouette? Classic ivory or blush hues?

Lace or tulle ... or both? Any woman who's in the market for a wedding gown knows the array of options can be overwhelming — and that's before she takes bridesmaid dresses into consideration. Their colors need to complement the bridal gown. Their aesthetic should vibe with the venue. They should flatter a range of figure types and, ideally, make every bridesmaid happy. It's a tall order, which is why we asked Kaitlyn Tufts, a newlywed and co-owner of Lucy Rose Boutique, to weigh in. Here are her expert tips for finding dresses that brides — and bridesmaids — will love.

You had an advantage when it came to styling your bridesmaids, thanks to your years of experience in fashion. tell us about your background.

I've worked in retail since I was 13 and went to (Louisiana State University) LSU for fashion merchandising. I manage the fashion side of Lucy Rose and my sister, Lindsay Alvarez Laws, does the home side. I keep up with the trends — Los Angeles versus New York — and although New Orleans is sometimes a step behind, you learn to wait two years and then the trend will pop up.

What trends did you incorporate in your wedding?

When you go to market, you get a feel for the colors. Bright orange coral is really in. I love that pastels are a huge trend. I definitely brought a mauve look. Most bridesmaids get pale pink, and it washes everyone out. This fig color made everyone look like a million bucks. I had 11 bridesmaids, and every one was like, "I'm obsessed with this color." The off-the-shoulder look was on trend, so I picked that because a lot of people don't look good in strapless. I knew I wanted flower crowns.

Did you get your dress first or the bridesmaid dresses first?

I found my bridesmaid dresses before I found my own. The process was based on the venue. I fell in love with Il Mercato (an events venue on Magazine Street). It's ideal for someone who likes a rustic feel, but it is elegant as well. I had a vision of a very Spanish wedding — I'm half Cuban — with a fun, vibrant feel. I recommend picking the venue first and making sure your dress complements it, because otherwise, the photos will be all off. It won't flow together.

How did you make sure your gown looked good with the bridesmaid dresses?

I got swatches of (fabric from) the bridesmaid dresses, and I brought those swatches everywhere I went. That way, I had the color palette with me. It helped so much, because the color palette was beyond perfect and flowed so nicely.

What advice do you have for people who are in the market for bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses?

Pick the venue first, because then when you put on dresses, you can picture what they'd look like in that venue. Look at magazines, talk to people and get ideas of your style. Bring someone along [when you try on dresses] who likes fashion and wants to be there for you and give you advice. Ultimately, it is your decision, but it is helpful to get another person's opinion. You can't plan all this by yourself.


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