Today’s bride has a lot of options when choosing dresses for her bridesmaids; not just for the dress itself, but for the overall look of her bridesmaids as a “group” . . . which is what this blog post is all about!
Your bridesmaids will be front and center in your wedding processional, during your vows and in your wedding photos, so their bridesmaid dresses play an important role in the overall look of your wedding décor.
It is worth taking the time to consider the overall look you are going for and what you want your bridesmaids to wear … and to research your options. I hope the information presented here will make it a little easier for you!
First Decide . . .
Long Dress or Short
The first decision to make in choosing bridesmaid dresses is whether you want your bridesmaids to wear long dresses or short dresses. It will add focus to your shopping and be one less option to deal with.
Tip: For both short and long styles, once the dress is chosen, be sure to decide how far from the floor it should be hemmed and then make sure they all are notified … and remind them to wear their wedding shoes when they have their bridesmaid dresses measured for hemming. This consistency will add a lot to the total picture.
I think the length of the dress will be the most important “dress decision” you will make because the look you get from each length choice is very, very different. Sometimes the weather and locale can make the decision easy … Are you getting married outdoors on a hot, summer afternoon? If so, then short dresses may be an obvious option! Is your wedding formal or semi-formal in the evening? Then long is the perfect choice.
Tip: I have seen photos of wedding parties where some bridesmaid dresses are long and some are short (in the same wedding), but you won’t get a cohesive, “put together” look that way. I think you will create more overall visual appeal with all bridesmaids/maids of honor wearing dresses that are the same length.
Once you have decided on long or short bridesmaid dresses, you are ready to make one more important decision from eight choices shown below.
When deciding how much variety you want for your bridesmaid dresses, there should be at least one element that “ties” the dresses together … such as fabric, color, and/or style. Having bridesmaids in exact or similar styles, colors, and/or fabrics will create a a lovely effect and present a cohesive scene.
Do you want your bridesmaids to wear the exact same dress style? If so, then consider these four options:
- Same Dress – Same Color
- Same Dress – Ombre Colors (Different Shades of Same Color)
- Same Dress – Two Colors
- Same Dress – Multi Colors
Bridesmaids – Same Dress – Same Color
This choice works especially well when your bridesmaids are similar in size, shape and coloring or when you have chosen a dress that tends to looks great on everyone, as in the photo below.
If you want your bridesmaids to wear the same dress style but you want a little difference among them, perhaps one of the ideas below will work for you.
Bridesmaids – Same Dress – Ombre Colors
In this scenario you choose a basic color and then choose a range of shades within it, such as seen in the photos below. For large wedding parties, have two (or more) bridesmaids wear the same color, as shown in the second photo below. The result of this choice can be really luscious!
Bridesmaids – Same Dress – Two Colors
With this choice you have two distinct colors, with half your bridesmaids wearing one and half wearing the other. It’s important to use two colors that work well together to create a beautiful and interesting palette, as shown below.
Bridesmaids – Same Dress – Multi Colors
With this choice, each of your bridesmaids wears a different color. It’s best if you choose the same intensity of color for each dress, though … that is important … which you can see in the two photos below. I show examples of a pastel and a vibrant interpretation of this choice, so you can see how different they look. The look is much more subtle with the pastel choice.
Do you want your bridesmaids to wear different dress styles? If you do, here are four options . . .
- Different Dress – Same Color
- Different Dress – Ombre Colors (Different Shades of Same Color)
- Different Dress – Two Colors
- Different Dress – Multi Colors
Bridesmaids – Different Dress – Same Color
Using mis-matched dresses gives your bridesmaids a chance to choose something that they really like and feel “good” in. Perhaps one will have a cap sleeve, one will be strapless, etc. but they will have the same basic “feel”, as shown below. This is a really good option, I think, if you want to give your girls the freedom to choose their dresses but yet keep the look consistent. In this case you can work with the bridal salon to select the color and fabric and the dresses your girls can choose from. Click here for an entire blog post on this choice.
Bridesmaids – Different Dress – Ombre Colors
The first photo below shows varying shades of green with each of the seven bridesmaids wearing a different dress. The dress styles are a bit more varied than I typically prefer but I think this works, especially since their bouquets and hair styles are the same.
The second photo is a huge favorite of mine! Each of the bridesmaids is wearing a shade of gray and the maid of honor is in gray and white. They just look sooo good! The bridesmaids and the bride look mah-va-lous!
Bridesmaids – Different Dress – Two Colors
The photo below is another example of how different dresses can work. They all have a similar “feel” and the fabric looks similar. In this case the maids of honor are wearing turquoise and the bridesmaids are wearing sapphire. The color combination is lovely!
Bridesmaids – Different Dress – Multi Colors
Although, in the photo below, the dresses are different and the colors are different, this works! The reason is that the dresses are all in the same tone and all are a soft “flowy” fabric. Notice how the skirts of the dresses all hang in a similar manner. And the bridesmaids’ bouquets match and their hair is styled similarly. It all comes together to create a unified look!
I need to mention this, just in case … Do think twice before deciding to have your bridesmaids wear dresses of their own choosing with no guidelines at all from the bride. This will not achieve a unified look and most likely will appear that they simply took something out of their closets. You will lose the powerful impact that bridesmaids can make on the overall look of your wedding.
Take the time to figure out what you want your bridesmaids’ overall look to be and then … go for it!
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