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Richmond, Minnesota, store shares tips for dressing the wedding party to match a couple's vision

While the wedding dress remains the most important fashion decision of most weddings, dressing the wedding party can be almost as important. There are the bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl and mother of the bride, just to name a few, all of whom need their own special outfit. Sue Spanier and Jennifer Morrison, co-owners of Wedding and Tuxedo Connection of Richmond, share the trends and give advice about how to dress the wedding party.

Sue Spanier and Jennifer Morrison look through bridesmaid dresses
Sue Spanier (front) and Jennifer Morrison look through a rack of bridesmaid dresses at their business, Wedding & Tuxedo Connection in Richmond Aug. 10, 2022. The store carries not only bridesmaid dresses but also dresses for flower girls and mother of the bride and the suits for the groom and groomsmen. The store also is a bridal salon, with hundreds of wedding dresses available to browse.
Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune
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RICHMOND — While white remains the most popular color for wedding gowns, when one moves over to the racks of bridesmaid dresses there is a rainbow of colors, a variety of textures and an assortment of styles from which to choose.

All the wedding couple and their party needs is a vision and an open mind to all the possibilities available.

"It is pretty much everything goes now," said Jennifer Morrison, who co-owns Wedding & Tuxedo Connection in Richmond with Sue Spanier. "There really isn't a norm."

For bridesmaid dresses, gone are the days of a row of matched dresses which may or may not fit all the women in the same way. Instead, couples may just have a color theme and fabric choice in mind, allowing each bridesmaid to find a dress style that flatters them.

"Whatever fits their own body types," Morrison said, "which I really like."

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Jennifer Morrison shows a dusty green satin bridesmaid dress while Sue Spanier looks on Wedding & Tuxedo Connection on Aug. 10, 2022
Jennifer Morrison shows a dusty green satin bridesmaid dress while Sue Spanier looks on Wedding & Tuxedo Connection in Richmond on Aug. 10, 2022.
Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

Styles of bridesmaid dresses are as varied as the women wearing them. There are short dresses and long dresses, dresses with lace and dresses with sequins. There are dresses that would be perfect on a beach, or in a barn or in the middle of a big city. It all just depends on what type of wedding the bridal couple is going for.

Current trends have seen the return of both the long dress and gowns with a more bohemian style. And while chiffon remains a very popular fabric choice, other fabric types have also made a reappearance.

"Satin is starting to come back — and velvet," Spanier said.

Colors are also a category where couples can show their style. They might go with different shades of a single color — or focus on a color family or theme, like autumnal shades. Recently popular colors have been more muted color schemes instead of bright shades, though it all depends on the wedding vision.

"They (couples) go with every color," Spanier said.

Variety of bridesmaid dresses at Wedding & Tuxedo Connection on Aug. 10, 2022
The racks at Wedding & Tuxedo Connection in Richmond hold a variety of bridesmaid dresses on Aug. 10, 2022.
Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

Bridesmaids are just one part of the overall bridal party, which Morrison said is back to being on the larger side. It is common now for couples to have six to eight bridesmaids and just as many groomsmen.

For groomsmen, the suit or tuxedo still reign supreme, but there are ways to show the couple's and the groomsmen's own styles. Items such as the ties or pocket squares are a great way to bring in a pop of color or pattern.

"A lot of blue options," are popular, Morrison said. "Everything is fitted."

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Even though bridesmaids — and even groomsmen — might have more of a say in the style of dress they are wearing, it is still necessary for the couple to give some sort of direction, to make sure the final choices all look good together.

"Talk them through the process," Morrison said. "How do you want your pictures to look like?"

Suits at Wedding & Tuxedo Connection on Aug. 10, 2022
Wedding & Tuxedo Connection in Richmond provides several options for suits and tuxedos, as seen Aug. 10, 2022.
Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

When it comes to mothers of the bride or groom, they can have just as many choices available to them as a bridesmaid. Some mothers actually choose to wear a bridesmaid dress, though there are still styles of dresses made with the mother in mind.

"We've got a good range," of styles, Morrison said, ranging from simple to elaborately decorated with beads and sequins. It just all depends on a person's personal style, budget and comfort.

"They don't want to look like the grandma of the bride," Morrison said.

Then you can't forget the flower girls and ring bearers.

For those important members of the party, the outfits are again moving more toward the comfortable instead of just being child-size versions of the clothes being worn by the adults. The outfits for the children in the wedding are also a place that many couples decide to try to be a bit more budget-conscious.

Bridesmaid dresses at Wedding & Tuxedo Connection on Aug. 10, 2022
Bridesmaid dresses, as photographed Aug. 10, 2022, come in every shape, style and color imaginable at Wedding & Tuxedo Connection in Richmond.
Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

No matter the style of dress or suit that is chosen, there are a few pieces of advice Morrison and Spanier would give all couples planning their wedding. The first is to have an open mind to all the possibilities. Staying within budget is important as well.

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"Everything is going up in price," Spanier said, though so far wedding budgets haven't taken a hit even though the health of the economy is a bit uncertain.

Jennifer Morrison shows a green floral velvet bridesmaids dress while Sue Spanier looks at Wedding & Tuxedo Connection on Aug. 10, 2022
Jennifer Morrison shows a green floral velvet bridesmaid's dress while Sue Spanier looks on at Wedding & Tuxedo Connection on Aug. 10, 2022.
Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

But just as important is to not leave choosing and ordering the clothes for the wedding party too late. Just like with a wedding dress, it can take months for bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen suits and other outfits for members of the party to come in.

"They take three to four months to get in," Morrison said, so it's important to start making decisions at least six months prior to the wedding. That way there is enough time to deal with potential issues regarding fit or supply delays.

The clothes for the couple and wedding party aren't the only part of a wedding with which Spanier and Morrison can help.

Wedding & Tuxedo Connection is nearly a one-stop shop for weddings, offering not only the clothes, but providing florist and decorating services as well. The store has been open for 11 years and, by early September, will have started a brand-new chapter. The store has moved to a larger building just across the street from its original location on Main Street in downtown Richmond.

No matter the wedding couple's vision, budget or schedule, Spanier and Morrison are on hand to help make the wedding great and to try and relieve some of the stress from what can be an overwhelming time.

"It can work," Spanier said. "We'll make it work."

Sue Spanier and Jennifer Morrison, co-owners of Wedding & Tuxedo Connection in Richmond
Sue Spanier and Jennifer Morrison, co-owners of Wedding & Tuxedo Connection in Richmond, pose for a photo Aug. 10, 2022.
Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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