The Wedding Party
Emma Margeaux Bride Online Columnist

Bridesmaids' Dresses FAQs

(Courtesy pinterest.com)

One of my bridesmaids hates the dress I have chosen. What should I do?

Before making a final decision on dresses, try to offer your bridesmaids a few choices of styles and colours and then talk it out until you come to an agreement. Consider allowing your bridesmaids to wear different styles to suit their body types. The bridesmaids’ overall look can be kept consistent by using the same colour for each outfit, and/or the same fabric, and/ or by adhering to the same dress style. Communication is the key and if you have to compromise, do it. Lifelong friendship with your bridesmaids is more important than threads on one day of your life. 


Can the bridesmaids wear different dress styles?

This is up to you, but please refer to the above question. Every girl’s body is different and some styles simply don’t suit some girls, which is why brides sometimes opt for allowing their bridesmaids to choose a style that they like. Make sure that your bridesmaids do this within reason and try to keep the style and fabric fairly consistent. Also, try to keep the length of the dresses fairly consistent- this will ensure that your bridesmaids all look equally formal, and stylistically speaking, this looks more cohesive in photos. 


Do the bridesmaids’ dresses have to be the same colour?

This depends on your preference. Bridesmaids dressed in the same colour tend to frame the bride nicely on the altar and in photographs. However, if one of your bridesmaids absolutely hates the colour you have chosen, you can offer a choice between the other colours in your wedding colour scheme. That way, half of your maids can wear one colour and half wear the other colour. Alternatively, your bridesmaids could wear varying shades of your more prominent/ brighter wedding colour. For example, if your theme colours are yellow and white, you could have your bridesmaids wearing pale yellow, a bright yellow, and a deep yellow. This will keep them looking consistent and identifiable as your bridesmaids, as well as on-theme.  Have a chat with your bridesmaids about your options, and see what you’re all  most comfortable with.

How much of the outfit should I ask the bridesmaids to pay for?

The bride isn’t required to pay for any of the bridesmaids’ outfits, hair or makeup but if you have bridesmaids on a tight budget, it is a nice gesture to help them out a little. If you can afford it (and you want them to love you forever), paying for their jewellery or hair and makeup is one way to ease the financial stress of your bridesmaids.


I want to include a man of honour (not a groomsman). What should he wear?

You can either dress your man of honour in a similar outfit to the groomsmen, and have him simply stand on the side of the bridesmaids; or in a suit consistent with your bridesmaids’ dresses, such as a tie and pocket- square of the same colour and fabric. 


One of my bridesmaids is a bit overweight and is ‘planning’ to lose weight before the wedding. She wants to buy a dress a size smaller than what she is but I’m worried she won’t fit into her dress in time. What should I do?

Try to reason with your bridesmaid and let her know that you would be more comfortable if she purchased a dress that fits her now. Then, when it is closer to the wedding date, she can try on her dress again and have it altered, if necessary. Explain to her that you believe she can lose the weight but that it is impossible to predict which part of her body will shrink and that’s why it is better to take in the dress rather than panic about having to alter a dress which is too small in some places. 


One of my bridesmaids will be heavily pregnant at my wedding. What type of dress should I get for her that will match the other bridesmaids’?

This will require planning ahead but many retailers offer flattering maternity dresses for bridesmaids. Try to choose a maternity dress style that you like and then choose similar dresses for your other bridesmaids after that. This will guarantee that the colour, fabric and style are consistent for all of the dresses. Since your pregnant bridesmaid’s body will change rapidly, it is best to purchase a dress in a larger size and then have it altered shortly before the wedding.


One of my bridesmaids lives far away and can’t come to dress fittings. How can I work around this?

There is a lot of planning involved in fitting bridesmaids who live out of town, but it is possible! Start the process 3-6 months before your wedding day. Email your colour scheme to your bridesmaid and some examples of styles that you like. Ask her to read up about dresses that would suit her body type and then ask her to choose two or three styles that she likes. Once you are both happy with the dress style, ask her for her measurements (make sure she gets measured professionally in a bridal store) and then purchase her dress from the same manufacturer as the other bridesmaids’ dresses. Post the dress to her and make sure she sends you plenty of photos of her wearing it. If you are unhappy with any aspect, you can suggest that she have it altered and hope and then email you more photos until you are both happy.  


One of my bridesmaids is very modest. What type of dress will accommodate for her style preferences without looking daggy?

If one of your bridesmaids tends to cover herself up for religious, or other, reasons, make sure that you choose a dress style that she will feel comfortable in. There’s no need to dress her in a potato sack while the other bridesmaids look gorgeous. There are many stunning bridesmaid dress styles which your less modest bridesmaids will be more than willing to wear. High scoop necklines are always a good choice and look very flattering on floor-length or just-below-the-knee-length dresses. You can have the waistline adjusted to suit each maid’s body type but make sure that the dresses have sleeves to keep your modest maid from blushing. Additionally, you can always add on a matching shawl, scarf or bolero jacket to keep your bridesmaid a little more covered up, without compromising style. 


Should I choose dresses that the bridesmaids can wear again?

Since the bridesmaids will probably be purchasing the dress themselves, they may want to be able to wear it again to other events. However, try to discourage them from letting this be the driving force behind their choices. After all, they have agreed to be a part of your special day and they should be willing to commit to your vision. You should also help them look out for styles that can be easily altered to become more versatile or wearable; look out for pieces that simply need to have the hem lifted, to have some extra flounce or detail removed, or sleeves added to make the dress a more permanent and useful part of their wardrobe! Don’t go all bridezilla on the ladies (who are helping you both organisationally and emotionally), but remind them that it is reasonable for you to ask that they submit to your preferences in style, even if that means they may not wear the dress again.  


What if my bridesmaids look better than me on my wedding day?

Many brides worry about this and sometimes secretly contemplate choosing ugly dresses for their bridesmaids just to guarantee that they won’t outshine them on their wedding day. The truth is, even if your bridesmaids are supermodels, there is nothing more beautiful than the look of love on a woman’s face as she walks down the aisle. All eyes will be on the bride no matter what. Plus, if you have chosen bridesmaid dresses that are beautiful enough to make you worry about this, chances are you have quite some style and your dress is equally  beautiful. 


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