Monday, October 4, 2010

Best of EB: How to Mix and Match Bridesmaids Styles

Originally posted on May  6, 2010

I've received a request from a bride inquiring how to style bridesmaids using different dresses.  I'm actually so glad she brought it up because it's definitely worth talking about. There is (in my opinion, anyway) a right and wrong way to do it. This has become a pretty popular trend in recent years, and I have seen it turn out super cute and, unfortunately, also seen it look really bad.  Note: you can click to enlarge the photos below.   

For example, you have a bride who wants to be laid back and conscientious of her girls' budgets, tastes, and figures.  She says to them, "just go buy a short, red dress.  I don't care where it's from or what style it is, just as long as it's short and red."  This way, she thinks, everyone can pick a style that they feel comfortable in and can afford, but also still look uniform.  This is actually a horrible idea.  What the un-bridezilla doesn't realize is that every designer has their own version of "red" and that "short" can mean anywhere between upper thigh and ankle length.  This is what horrifying results would inevitably occur:

Don't do this!
These are all super cute "short" dresses with "red"-like names, and yet, they all look so different!

Top row, from left: Suzi Chin dress in "tomato" from Macy's, Wtoo #751 in "azalea", Mossimo dress in "red" from Target, B2 #B3091 in "cranberry", David's Bridal #8585 in "apple"
Bottom row, from left: After Six #6559 in "valentine", Alexia Designs #972 in "scarlett", Love by Enzoani #B16 in "burgundy", Calvin Klein dress in "rouge" from Nordstrom, Jessica McClintock #53789 in "red"

If leaving the decision in the hands of your maids is still the route you want to go, then the only way to really avoid the disaster above is to go with black dresses because black is the same everywhere, no matter who the designer is.  However, the only problem with this is that you run the risk of your girls not really looking like bridesmaids anymore.  If they are all running around in little black dresses, they will most likely blend in with the other guests.  However, it does look really chic, so it just depends on the look you're going for.

Do this!

Top row, from left: Vera Wang #11m12, Jordan #535, dress by White House Black Market
Bottom row, from left: Melissa Sweet #ms301, dress by John Paul Gaultier for Target, dress by BCBGeneration from Macy's

There is another way to allow maids some say in their dress style, without sacrificing the overall look.  If you choose the manufacturer, the color, the fabric, and what length you want, you can allow your girls to choose whatever style they want within those parameters, without sacrificing uniformity. 

Do this!
These dresses are all by Bill Levkoff, in his European Satin fabric in "Euro Fuschia" and "Euro Black".  All the girls are in different styles, but it's still obvious they are all members of the bridal party.
Top row, from left; styles: 534, 423, 9100 (maternity), 525
Bottom row, from left; styles: 416, 2801, 415, 414


Another way to do this is to choose two similar styles (maybe one that is flattering on petite girls and one for curvier girls).  This way the look is still balanced and uniform, but everyone's body is flattered.

Do this!
The a-line style is great for plus-sized girls because it balances out broader shoulders and hides bigger hips.  The slim-fitting style is great for petite girls. 
 Both by David's Bridal in "lapis".  A-line style #83312, slim-fit style #39261


Another huge trend I've seen is to have the maid of honor in a different style than the rest of the girls in order to make her stand out.  The rules are pretty simple, just make sure you do either a different style in the same color or do a different color in the same style, not both.  Otherwise, she may look too disconnected from the group.
Do this!
Melissa Sweet style# ms318 in "shadow" and "cosmetic"

or this!
Priscilla of Boston short dress style# pb401; long dress style# pb318 in "leaf"


The last trend I'm going to talk about is the "rainbow wedding", as in each girl in the same style dress but a different color.  This is another idea that starts out with great intentions but can go terribly wrong in the end.  The most important thing to keep in mind is too keep the color scheme in the same hue.  You can't just choose a style, and then pick whatever pink, orange, yellow, green...etc they offer.  Otherwise you may end up with dusty rose, bright orange, pastel yellow, neon green and it will clash.  However, this can look super cute and unique if you're able to find a line with colors that are in the same hue family.  It is a good idea to really utilize your consultant's expertise, because she will be able to offer a lot of insight on what colors work well together.  Also note, this is probably not the best idea for large wedding parties because you will may run out of decent color options.  My advice is to do this only for groups of 3 to 5.

Don't do this!
I've actually seen a wedding use this exact color scheme from B2 and, unfortunately, it looked just as awkward in person.  Individually, these dresses are adorable, but these colors together look so off!
B2 style# B3097 in "tangerine", "cosmopolitan", "seamist", "bahama breeze", "wisteria", and "buttercup"

Do this!
Saturated brights like these are really fun and fresh for a summertime wedding. 
Watters style# 6451 in "midori", "plumeria", "adriatic", and "persimmon"

or this!
Dusty neutral-type colors create a soft and romantic color palette that is really unexpected but so pretty!
Wtoo style# 730 in "wisteria", "frappucino", "rose quartz", "stone", and "marcasite"

{Images via the links shown}

Questions? Comments? Concerns? More advice? Leave in the comments section below!!


  1. What a great article, well illustrated. fabulous :)

  2. So love it! Good post! I'm happy to read it. Images are very beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


Hello lovely readers! I am dying to know what you all think of my posts, so by all means do tell! Please keep in mind, though, I wont approve any comments that are really mean-spirited or clearly self-promoting. {♥ A}


Related Posts with Thumbnails