Mix and match your bridesmaid dresses

Planning your bridesmaids’ attire doesn’t have to be a stressful ordeal. It is normal to want to please everyone; however, if you go into dress shopping with the attitude that you must find the one perfect item that will meet everyone’s approval, you may overwhelm yourself from the outset.

This is why many brides have come around to the belief that being surrounded by a happy crew who feels great in what they’re wearing is the main ingredient to everyone looking fabulous — not whether all of the bridesmaids are dressed in identical garments. It only makes sense when you think about it. We all have different style preferences and body shapes. Choosing one dress to flatter all of your ladies hardly ever really works out, so why not try something new? Here are a few tips to get you started.

Ask your maids about any concerns ahead of time

Determining everyone’s needs or wishlists ahead of time will help you streamline your shopping experience. For example, if your Maid of Honor cannot stand bare shoulders or if your little sister really loves the A-line style, these are helpful hints to know before you hit the bridal shop.

Ask your girls to make a list of their favorite fabrics, cuts, straps and lengths so you can determine if there are some similarities. Most will be supportive and want to cooperate with your bridesmaid master plan; however, it is normal for there to be a certain amount of discrepancy during this phase so don’t panic if that’s the case.

Shop with an open mind

Start shopping with lots of options on the table. This will enable you to experiment with a variety of fabrics and dress styles. When you’re in the store and browsing, keep these four factors in mind as you consider each dress:

  • Color shades available (you may want to use more than one hue of the same color)
  • Hemline (above the knee, floor length, tea length, the possibilities are endless)
  • Straps or strapless (will there be enough bust support?)
  • Are special undergarments required? (remember additional costs for slips, bras and seamless panties)

Mix and match your bridesmaid dresses

When you have a wide variety of tastes and body types to try and style, consider the popular option of mixing up your bridesmaids dresses. This ensures that everyone will feel radiant in her garment and possibly even wear it again sometime in the future.

Many bridesmaid dress designers offer a strapless version, a long and short hemline version and can even make custom alterations. If more support is needed, consider adding straps. If the dress seems perfect minus the severe straight-cut neckline, consider having it altered to make a sweetheart neckline. The talented staff at the bridal salon can help you customize the gowns so that they perfectly match your vision.

Same color, different style

A great option is to simply have everyone in the same color family with different styles. This will create the cohesive look you want for your wedding photos and still allow some individuality. If your favorite color is a particular shade of yellow that completely washes someone out, consider using a darker or lighter shade.

Rainbow dresses

Alternatively, some brides prefer everyone dressed in the exact style of dress but in a separate color. Only you know what the vision of your day entails. Perhaps summer dresses and flip flops will suffice. Maybe everyone can wear a formal little black dress and have matching accessories such as belts, scarves or shawls to tie them all together.

Consider your venue

Trade places with your bridesmaids for a minute and consider how comfortable you would be wearing their dresses. Are you going to be overheating or freezing during the reception? Adjust as needed to ensure that everyone will be comfortable throughout the ceremony.

Covering costs or separate purchases?

If you, the bride, are paying for the bridesmaid dress and any alterations, technically you should have the last say. However, if your wedding party is paying their way and purchasing their own dresses and shoes and accessories, you may want to allow more flexibility into your decisions.

The bottom line is this should be a fun part of the planning process. Keep it light and take some good pictures. Don’t make any rash decisions. Go for lunch or coffee afterward and discuss the pros and cons of your contenders. When the final decision has been made and everyone is satisfied, order your dresses and look forward to the big day.

New York Bride & Groom of Raleigh has a stunning selection of designer bridesmaid dresses. Come shop with us to find something for everyone in the bridal party. You never need an appointment at New York Bride and cameras are always welcome in our store.