From budgeting to matching (or mismatching), here’s our complete guide to choosing bridesmaid dresses. Make sure to have fun while you’re at it!
Among the few daunting tasks assigned to every bride before her wedding includes choosing bridesmaid dresses. And this task alone could be nerve-wracking when you’ve got a dozen bridesmaids with different preferences and tastes. Luckily, the bride always has the final say in choosing the bridesmaid dresses, and all the girls have to respect it, so you do your bride!
However, with that being said, you, as a bride, would have to consider several factors before dropping your final opinion. So if you think that choosing one out of many options will be easy, you’re so wrong! You will have to select the bridesmaid dresses following the wedding theme and consult every one of your bridesmaids because the last thing you would want on your big day is an angry cousin spoiling your mood.
Choosing Bridesmaid Dresses
But how to choose bridesmaid dresses that fit everyone’s taste and go with your planned theme? Follow the steps mentioned in this guide to know how and avoid the big day bridesmaid dress drama.
Step 1: Stick to the Theme
You have to make sure while selecting the bridesmaid dresses that everyone has to stick to the theme. Even if one of the bridesmaids goes out of the theme, the whole wedding shot will be ruined, and there are chances that your bridesmaid outshines you. You obviously wouldn’t want the bride’s thunder to be stolen; therefore, make sure everyone follows the theme. By ‘theme,’ we don’t mean a particular party theme, but it could be anything set as the bridesmaid dress code like color, silhouette, or neckline.
You can set the bridesmaid dress theme according to the wedding venue, like a beachy dress theme or a formal one. You can even create a theme based on the season; for example, if you have a fall wedding, then dusty rose or vintage mauve colors could be the base of your bridesmaid dresses, while soft colors would contrast wonderfully with a snowy background. You get the idea; that the bridesmaid dresses have to compliment your wedding gown and stand out in the venue’s background because it is all about the best bridesmaid shots.
Step 2: Group Consultation
Even though the bride is in charge of finalizing the bridesmaid dresses, you have to consult all your bridesmaids as they will wear the dresses and pay for them eventually. The best thing to avoid chaos is to create a bridesmaid group and consult all of them at once. This is where things can get messy; when everyone wants it their way, we suggest you go with the easy path – voting. Put forward your ideas and let them vote with the options they have been provided with.
Now to the main question; what exactly are you consulting them for? Giving the bridesmaids the idea of the theme or dress design wouldn’t be as much fun as surprising them on the trials would be, right? But you should take their dress silhouette into account; you never know which friend is comfortable in which type of dress. While most of them might be comfortable in full-length dresses, there could be one or two who would like to wear a knee-length dress.
Step 3: Pinterest Ideas
If you’re out of ideas for the best bridesmaid dresses for your dream wedding, go for the free option on Pinterest instead of consulting designers. You can find a whole world of bridesmaid dress ideas on Pinterest that match your theme, including the different demands of your girls.
You can pin your favorite ideas and discuss them with someone reliable (other than the bridesmaids). The most reliable person to discuss the bridesmaids’ dresses should be none other than your own dress designer as they could guide you better about which dress theme complements the wedding gown. Remember, the main idea of the bridesmaid dresses is to make your wedding dress pop out in the pictures as well as in real life, so don’t get too carried away with the shopping.
Step 4: Decide the Budget
After getting the bridesmaid dress ideas, the next step is to fix a budget after talking about it with your bridesmaids. Bridesmaids usually pay for their dresses, so fix a pay rate that everyone is agreed upon. Since bridesmaid dresses are nothing too formal or party-type, it is better to go with an affordable price tag. The definition of ‘affordable’ for each of your bridesmaids would be different, so we suggest that you go for a range acceptable by all after discussion, instead of assuming what would be comfortable for them.
The bridesmaid dresses’ prices also vary according to the type of fabric you choose, along with the length of the dress and the material or embellishments used on it. The mentioned minimum price range of GBP 80 to GBP 100 is ideally ‘in-budget’ to shop for quality dresses that are well-designed and created with finesse. If you want your girls to look glammed up, you can opt for bridesmaid dresses with sequins and embellishments with minor customization like a dress slit or V-neck.
Step 5: Mismatched Dresses
After you have decided on the budget and have listed all the expert opinions by the bridesmaids, it is time for action. Select the boutique or brand that has the best reviews and submit your dress theme with the designer, as they will guide you throughout the process. Not all bridesmaids need to wear the same dress with the same silhouette and colors. Since different silhouettes suit different body types, certain colors don’t go well on certain skin tones. Keep in view while shopping that the bridesmaid should be able to wear the dress again, so it should suit her body type and skin tone, and it should be unique.
Go for mismatched dresses if you have to, and select two contrasting hues for the base of your bridesmaid dresses. Don’t hesitate to select opposing tones. Your girls can also nail it if you choose the proper shade; for example, a light shade of lavender compliments a dark shade of grey magnificently while expanding options for the girls to choose from. Different silhouettes and necklines would also add diversity to the wedding group shots; plus, it will maintain the wow factor of each dress independently.
Step 6: Accessorize the Look
Selecting bridesmaid dresses doesn’t just mean selecting the dress; the bride is responsible for accessorizing and styling the look of her bridesmaids. This means that you have to select the appropriate accessory that becomes the theme of the bridesmaid look. You could go the plain old boring way by handing the bridesmaid a flower bouquet or putting a little extra effort and making your wedding photos slay your friend’s timeline. And what better tool to ask for the trending bridesmaid accessory than Pinterest. Discover the best bridesmaid accessories and get them customized for your big day. It could be something as small as a bow belt or something as prominent as a floral tiara. Whatever accessory theme you choose, make sure it goes with the venue and season.
Step 7: Do the Trials
The next step after selecting the complete look is the fitting trials. Mark these words in your notebook, ‘Never ever buy your bridesmaid dresses without fitting trials.’ Fitting trials are as necessary for your bridesmaids as they are for you. Boutiques always offer fitting trials before purchase, and likewise, many online brands have a return or exchange policy that allows you to do trials at home. Fitting trials will not only save the bridesmaids from last-minute wardrobe malfunctions, but will also give you an idea of the overall wedding photo so that you can plan it accordingly. Besides the many reasons, fitting trials can be helpful for the bridesmaids in deciding their complete look beforehand, for example, the type of jewels or hairstyle they want to wear.
Save Some Time to Enjoy!
Imagine having the privilege to select your wedding dress and your bridesmaid dresses; if that isn’t a privilege, then what is? But with privilege comes responsibilities, and being a bride comes with its fair share of responsibilities, but it is all worth it. All you have to do is become the boss of your event and lead your way through the countless options to distract you. Choose the best for your bridesmaid but don’t overdo those dresses because you’re the bride of honor; keep some thunder for yourself.
Lastly, play with the available options rather than running after those that are unavailable. Save your energy for the big event, and don’t tire yourself too much. A pro tip is to wind the dresses up at least a month before the wedding day to save you time and money. After all, weddings aren’t free, you know. Enjoy the bridesmaid shopping!
Anika Sachdev is a freelance writer, who writes about fashion and lifestyle. She is currently pursuing her diploma in Fashion Design from iNIFD. She enjoys styling, making fashion illustrations and is a big fan of the work of Coco Chanel. Based in Mumbai, she likes to draw and listen to Bollywood music in her free time. For any questions, feedback or concerns, please email [email protected]