The Wedding Party
Andi WillisBride Online Columnist

Top Tips on Selecting your Bridesmaids' Dresses

If you're a bride deciding on what style and design of bridesmaid dresses will be worn at your wedding, there are some fundamentals you'll need to consider. We've listed and explained the most popular tips below:

Bridesmaids in aqua strapless dresses with bride in white from behind

(Courtesy aisleready.com)

Make Sure They Look Great

Despite what you may have heard, it is absolutely in your best interest to find gorgeous bridesmaids gowns. Your bridesmaids, and therefore, your wedding party will look fantastic. They'll also appreciate your making them look great, and will more likely have great attitudes in the lead up to, and during, the wedding. Don't even bother worrying if they'll outshine you- you'll be the natural centre of both visual and social attention on your big day!

Size and Shape

It's easy to forget that your bridesmaids will most likely come in different shapes. If they're all wearing the same dress, ensure that the cut is universally fitting. Sweetheart necklines, A-line skirts and medium- tick straps tend to suit most women.

Suit the Scene

When shopping for dresses, it is essential that the gowns you purchase match the theme of the wedding. If the motif for the occasion is red and gold, the dresses should either be red or gold, or have both hues. Clarify with your bridesmaids whether you want both hues on the dresses, or if it’s okay for the dresses to at least be red, or at least be gold – this is if you don’t plan for the bridesmaid dresses to be made in uniform style.

Be Kind to your Bridesmaids' Wardrobes

It would be pretty irksome to have to buy an expensive dress that you know you'll never wear again. Try to help your bridesmaids avoid this situation by picking a dress you know they'll wear again. Remember that they dont have to necessarily be able to wear the same dress exactly as is, but something which can be made more versatile with some talioring, such as taking the hem up or removing the sleeves.

Tonally Useful

A big part of what renders a dress reusable or not comes down to its colour. Darker and neutral colours tend to be more versatile. This doesnt necessarily mean that you're restricted to blacks, browns, greys and navys, but even any dark version of your wedding colours. If your main wedding colours are red and yellow, for example, a burgundy or deep yellow dress will manage more miles than a cherry red or a canary yellow.

Keep their Preferences in Mind

A great idea is to devise a list of your bridesmaids' 'absolutes' and 'preferences'. An 'absolute' request could be nothing above the knee for a religious friend, for example, whilst a preference could be a cut which shows off her waist. Consolidating this information in one spot could enable you to find a cut which suits everyones tastes, which you love.

Get Communicative

Rather than taking all of your bridesmaids shopping- which can be an absolute nightmare- get an email conversation going. Let everyone give in their input, and consider what they want as a group before going shopping.

Cover Them

If you find a dress that you love that is out of your bridesmaids' price range, offer to pay the extra cost. That way, everybody wins.

Get Flexible

If youd like to distinguish each of your bridesmaids from eachother, consider having each of them wear different versions of the same dress. This could mean each of them wearing the same dress in different colours, or wearing different dress cuts made in the same fabric. This way they can all play to their strengths whilst simultaneously being uniform.

Comfortable Dresses are Musts

Weddings take hours and if your bridesmaids aren’t comfortable in what they are wearing, they might not be able to perform their duties well. Skin allergies, breathing trouble – these are some of the things that could result from uncomfortable wedding clothes and could ruin your wedding.

Dress length should be appropriate

Generally speaking, bridesmaids dresses tend to be worn on the longer side (but this depends on the formality of your wedding). The main consideration is to have the dresses be classic and tasteful- not something you know you'll cringe over in years to come. If in doubt, go long! The more casual the wedding, the lighter weight the skirt material can be. This also has the magical effect of suiting just about every wedding type- ranging from the casualty of a beach wedding to one held in a beyond- formal cathedral.

Delegate!

Chances are that once you've picked the dresses, you'll be busy with other aspects of your wedding to organise. Delegate all bridesmaids- dress related tasks, such as having the dresses dry cleaned and fitted properly, to your maid of honour and/ or other bridesmaids. Let them know, however, that you're always available for any serious issues or questions

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