Thirteen years have passed since the final episode of Friends aired in May 2004, but the weddings are still relevant today, according to the show’s costume designer Debra McGuire. In a new interview with Racked, McGuire revealed several fascinating behind-the-scenes secrets from the wildly popular sitcom’s various weddings. See the five most interesting revelations below.
1. Those Famous Bridesmaids Dresses Are Still Thriving
More than a decade later, McGuire continues to receive questions about the bridesmaids dresses worn by Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) for Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry)’s wedding.
“Those bridesmaid dresses got the most calls and enquiries of anything on the whole show,” she told Racked. “We bought them at Neiman Marcus, and they were so beautiful. They weren’t by a big name, just some random formalwear brand. Honestly, if those people didn’t make a zillion dollars as a result of it.”
The designer revealed that she actually receives emails about the bridesmaids pieces on a weekly basis. “People are always rediscovering it or seeing it for the first time. I get these enquiries that are so insane, like ‘I love Jennifer’s yellow dress, can you tell me where I can get it?’ Or some guy will be like, ‘My wife loves Phoebe’s dress, where can I buy it?’”
When it comes to the gold, embroidered gowns in question, McGuire suggests having them custom made. “I always write back,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Thank you so much, I’m so flattered—but that was 20 years ago! If I were you, I would take a really good screenshot and go source some fabric and take it to your local tailor.’”
2. Monica’s Dress Was a Runner-Up
Although the designer made the characters’ clothes in the early days, her dream of designing Monica’s wedding gown was shelved due to time constraints.
“Courteney’s wedding was painful for me because I really wanted to design that dress,” she recalled. “But we just didn’t have much time. I knew there was a chance that I wouldn’t have enough fittings and it wouldn’t be perfect, and that’s exactly what happened. Courteney tried on the dress [that I’d made], I tried zipping it up, and it didn’t fit. So off it came, and on went the backup and it fit her like a glove.”
3. The Girls Were Impatient
According to McGuire, Aniston, Kudrow and Cox preferred store-bought clothing. “Those girls hated fittings,” she said. “For the first couple of years, I made so many of the clothes, and I wore myself out.”
The designer noted that custom outfits require several fittings. “It was hard enough to get them in for one fitting per costume, so trying to get them in for three… It was like pulling teeth,” she continued. “They just wanted me to buy clothes from stores so it wouldn’t be such a big deal.”
4. The Characters Bucked the Trend
McGuire had no desire to dress the characters in trendy clothing. “I didn’t want it to be about fashion, but rather clothes that looked amazing and that didn’t fit into trends,” she told the publication.
Case in point, the designer opted for a light lavender dress for Phoebe’s wedding. “Phoebe’s dress was amazing,” she said. “Before she walked down the aisle, Phoebe wore this embroidered coat over her dress that was from my collection. I had the fabric made in India—it was gorgeous—and it’s lined in faux fur. The colors are just amazing. They pick up the color in her wedding dress, and it really showed her personality. It’s just so Phoebe!”
5. The Coats—Not the Dresses—Showcased the Characters’ Individuality
Although Rachel and Monica wore Michael Kors dresses for Phoebe’s ceremony, it was their coats that showcased their personalities. “When you’re in a bridesmaid dress, you’re not really showing your character. They’re kind of homogeneous,” the designer noted. “So I thought, why not also do coats on the girls that show their individuality?”
McGuire considered every element when designing the wedding scenes. “It was really about the visual assemblage of everyone together,” she concluded. “So whenever I would design a wedding dress, I would also think about the bridesmaids. I was really into the palette and how everything looked together—down to the guys with their ties and vests. I wanted everything to look beautiful together.”