Matching Dresses Are For Girl Scouts, and Other Bridesmaid Facts


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Being bookended by a passel of identically-dressed bridal bodyguards is sooo over; we want bridesmaids, thank you, not Gwen Stefani-esque Harajuku girls. So what to do, then? Rather than dressing your girls up like quintuplets, take the matching trend only so far: if you’re committed to your wedding colors and you want them to match, offer autonomy in the shape of mix and match separates so you can have your daydream theme of creamsicle orange gowns without forcing your BFFs into identical strapless contraptions. Not that committed to color? Go the opposite way with freedom of shade in the shape you decide.

The key to pulling off different colors for your bridesmaid dresses is contrast, contrast, contrast. If your idea of different colors means various shades of light pink, stop immediately and reconsider: do you really want it to look like your bridesmaids just couldn’t find a matching shade? Perish the thought. Separate shades should stand out while still flattering each other and you, so choose a range of shades with a unifying theme, like cool shades (think icy pastels), warm colors (neutrals and deep reds), or jewel tones.


The most important thing to keep in mind when offering these options to your bridesmaids is that they need to coordinate with you and each other; if you tell them to pick jewel tones and three of them decide on emerald green while the fourth chooses sapphire blue, you’re going to have a problem. The best way to get around this is shopping together, but if that’s not possible, have a get-together and let each girl pick her shade. If geography is preventing that, go for a conference call, instant messenger chat, or Gmail thread, and if a bridesmaid changes her mind, be sure she knows to inform you immediately. To add a bit more style to your bridesmaids’ look, coordinate with dresses that feature sashes, like the one above, from Eden Bridals, and have each girl’s sash match the dress of another bridesmaid. This looks especially good with nontraditional shade combinations like pale blue, chocolate brown, and taupe.


If you’d rather mix and match with style rather than color, the way is somewhat simpler; all you need to do is pick a color and dress length and you’re good to go. The tastes of each bridesmaid can be accommodated whether she’s the modest type who prefers to cover up or would rather bare her shoulders in a saucy strapless look. There’s even more freedom to match, so long as you only have two matching dresses for every two different dresses, so they’ll have a look that’s deliberate rather than scattered. David’s Bridal has a simple style guide that lets you compare and contrast, and the high number of shade selections guarantees you’ll find the one that fits your theme.


Finally, if traditional bridesmaid dresses aren’t quite what you’re looking for, do what we do in a pinch: go designer. We’re in love with as it is – discount designer fashion? Yes please – so finding out that they sell bridesmaid dresses was a boon. But why limit yourself? With their search by color function you can select your favorite shades out of all the dresses they offer, from evening and day to simple knit jersey, great for an afternoon wedding. We especially love the Shoshanna dress pictured above – it’s great as a maid of honor dress; simply request that the other bridesmaids echo the colors in the dress’s pattern for a candy-sweet pallette that doesn’t overwhelm.
Picture at top courtesy of Eden Bridals.

2 thoughts on “Matching Dresses Are For Girl Scouts, and Other Bridesmaid Facts”

  1. All of my bridesmaids will be wearing the same color. I told them that I wanted them to feel comfortable, so the style of dress was up to them. But they had to have my specific color or they weren’t allowed in the wedding.


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