Deciding the Dress: Bridesmaids

It’s up to the bride to choose the dress, or dresses, that her bridesmaids wear along with her maid of honor. There is much leeway when making this decision, but there are many opinions and attitudes to handle. Everyone wants to look beautiful, especially when they are in the wedding. That’s why it’s easy to understand that the girls may put up a fight during this process to get what they want. Try not to give up the vision you have of your wedding because of a tantrum; this day is about you, not them. Choose your girls wisely, and do your best to make them look pretty in your wedding. Four steps in deciding on the perfect bridesmaids’ dresses are color, length, fabric, and accessories.Options

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Color ChartFirst, you should decide color. Normally it is chosen to correspond to your wedding theme and/or color scheme. When shopping for a dress or ordering one online, you should have the color you want in mind to avoid getting attached to a dress that won’t go with your theme.

  • The Maid of Honor—The color for the maid of honor’s dress can be the same as the other bridesmaids, or be different so that she stands apart. This is a decision that is up to you. Some prefer a more uniform look in order to not distract from the bride. Meanwhile others wish to do something special for the maid of honor to show her importance to the bride or to reward her for her hard work in planning the wedding.

Second, try to narrow down a length. The rule with this is that the bride’s gown should be longer than those of her bridal party. Don’t get too hung up on the length being too long; you can almost always hem it. Word of caution, if the bottom is overly detailed it may be difficult to find someone to do it for you. Also, consider the time and place of your wedding when choosing a length. If it will be cooler maybe lean towards floor length. It may be smart to choose a knee length dress for an outdoor wedding with a chance of rain.

  • The Maid of Honor—The length for the maid of honor doesn’t have to agree with the length of the other bridesmaids, again it is up to you. Note that the rule of thumb saying her dress shouldn’t exceed the bride’s still stands. It is more common to see the maid of honor with a dress that is slightly longer than the other bridesmaids than for it to be shorter.

Third, think about what type of fabric that would work best. This is important for two reasons: theme and flattery. Fabric helps develop your wedding theme. For example, a chiffon dress appears breezy and light which is perfect for a beach wedding. Meanwhile a vineyard wedding with long satin dresses creates elegance. Fabric can also make or break whether a dress flatters your bridesmaids. Fabrics lay differently on body types. A polyester satin dress may not look so great on a heavier set lady, because it shows what every inch of the skin is like underneath. Organza might make a bridesmaid look plain if her shape it’s well defined.

  • The Maid of Honor—The fabric of the maid of honor’s dress is normally the same as the other bridesmaids, assuming the bride chose to use one type explicitly.


Fourth, after finding the dress that fits you, the wedding, and each bridesmaid it’s time to accessorize. Hair, shoes, and jewelry can either by synced or left to the girls to choose.

  • When it comes to hair the bride can choose one of three approaches. One, she can tell them to do as they please. Two, she can decide whether they will wear it up or down and leave the rest for each girl to decide individually. Three, she chooses one style for them, and they all get their hair done together. This depends on budget and personal preference.
  • Shoes are much the same story. The bride can give her bridesmaids free reign, choose a color or style they must stick to, or buy multiple pairs of the same shoe so that they all match exactly.
  • Jewelry and other accessories are often a combination of the methods above. For example, the bride gives them a hair piece or earrings they must wear and let them add anything else they wish to.


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The bridesmaids’ dresses offer room for creativity. Let them speak for your wedding and personality. Make them uniform or give them variety, choose one color or a pallet, have your maid of honor stand out. Whatever you decide on make sure that it’s what you want for your wedding!

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