What to Consider When Choosing Your Bridesmaid Dresses

mismatched bridesmaid dresses example
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We’ve all heard horror stories and urban legends about the most horrific, unflattering, hideous bridesmaid dresses. It’s such a common idea that there are movie portrayals and advertisements hinting at the risk you take when you agree to be someone’s bridesmaid. After you’ve carefully selected your group of girls to be your bridesmaids, the next step is to think about what kinds of dresses they’ll get to wear. Don’t become one of those infamous brides who made their best friends wear terrible bridesmaid dresses! Here are the most important things to consider when you’re choosing your bridesmaid dresses.

Wedding Theme

What is the style of your wedding? Vintage glam, classic romance, rustic chic? If your wedding has an overall theme, it’s important that your bridesmaids’ dresses go along with this theme. The mismatched bridesmaid dress trend has become more and more popular, so if you’re planning to go this route, make sure all the dresses fit a cohesive look. Even though you want each woman to look unique in a flattering dress, it should still be apparent who is a part of the bridal party and who is not.

mismatched bridesmaid dresses example

Photo Credit: Skyla Walton

Budget and Costs

It’s your big day, but usually bridesmaids are responsible for paying for their own gowns. This means that you shouldn’t choose a style that’s outrageously expensive or difficult to find. Keep your bridesmaids’ budgets in mind when browsing for potential gowns; on top of these dresses, they are also paying for the bachelorette party, pre-wedding events and possibly a gift for you. One good budget-conscious option is to give the girls the shade you want them to wear, and allow them to choose their own dress of that color. Or, select an affordable bridesmaid dress style that comes in a variety of options, such as strapless, one-shoulder, halter, etc. These options give them the freedom to select a dress that is both flattering for them and wallet-friendly. Bonus points if you choose a color and style that they’ll be able to wear again for other events!

how to choose bridesmaid dresses

Photo Credit: Wedding Window

Body Types

Not all women have the same body types. This means that more likely than not, not all of your bridesmaids will look good in a certain type of gown. When shopping for bridesmaid dresses, make sure you consider their body types and what would look good on them. Of course when it comes to dresses, it’s certainly not one style fits all. Provide your girls with options that will suit their figures, such as different necklines and skirt lengths. One of the biggest fears of being a bridesmaid is being forced to wear a dress that is completely unflattering, so do your friends a favor and find styles that look good.

flattering bridesmaid dresses

Photo Credit: Phomentum Photography

Colors and Complexions

If your wedding has a color scheme, you may want to choose dresses that go along with it. When choosing appropriate colors, keep your bridesmaids’ complexions and hair colors in mind. Fair-skinned girls will look very different in a blush-colored gown than tan-skinned girls. Redheads will clash with orange and pink dresses. Be considerate of your bridesmaids’ skin tones and hair colors when selecting bridesmaid dress colors. If there is too much variety amongst these women to find a color from your palette that is flattering for everyone, consider offering a base shade and allowing them to each find a dress in a similar hue to fit them best. You’ll achieve a beautiful and trendy mismatched ombre look.

ombre bridesmaid dress

Photo Credit: VPON Sale Wedding

Weather and Comfort

One of the most important things when choosing wedding day attire for your bridal party is the weather and setting. Are you having an indoor or an outdoor wedding? Is it springtime or fall? Is the ceremony in the afternoon or during sunset? These are all important questions to ask when determining an appropriate style of bridesmaid dress. You want everyone to not only look great, but be comfortable with the temperature and their clothing. You wouldn’t want your bridesmaids in long sleeved floor-length gowns in the middle of the afternoon of an outdoor summer wedding, nor would you want them in sleeveless above-the-knee frocks in chilly evening receptions. If needed, plan ahead for outdoor heaters or fans to keep your bridesmaids comfortable as they stand next to you at the altar.

comfortable bridesmaid dresses

Photo Credit: Lauren Fair Photography

Choosing a bridesmaid dress is a fun, bonding activity that you and your closest girlfriends will get to experience together. Make sure they don’t become fashion victims with horrendous styles and colors that don’t flatter them. Be open and honest with these women about your ideas and goals, and ask them their opinions. Keeping a clear line of communication with them throughout the process will result in everyone’s happiness.

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