For Kathryn's bridesmaids, Carson selected a J.Crew cocktail dress in a neutral color. "It's every bridesmaid's worst nightmare that they're going to have to buy some ugly dress and shell out like 300 bucks," he says.

Skipping the standard satin shoes, Carson chooses nude patent pumps by Aldo. "They lengthen the leg and make everyone look tall and glamorous," he says.

To give each bridesmaid a slightly different look, Carson purposefully avoids matching jewelry and adds fabric to the dresses when needed. "We did three of the girls in a strapless. The girls that needed coverage and wanted the support of a halter, we added the halter detail and we put them in statement earrings," he says. "The girls in the strapless have a statement necklace."

Carson says since all of these fashions "don't look so bridesmaids-y," Kathryn's wedding party could easily wear them again.

Dresses: J.Crew: Arabelle in graphite, $225; shoes: Aldo, $75; jewelry: Old Navy, Ann Taylor, Express and New York & Company; hair styling: Salon Buzz Chicago; spray tan: Ortanic.


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