10 April 2009

Letting the 'maids dress themselves

I feel kinda funny telling my friends what they should wear. Who am I to tell them to buy a $150(ish) dress they might (probably not) wear again? If my bridesmaids want to all wear the same dress, same color, that's fine by me, but I want them to be comfortable in what they wear to my wedding.

A comfortable bridesmaid is a happy bridesmaid, and a happy bridesmaid is a happy bride! (I know, how self-serving of me.)

Luckily, mismatched bridesmaids dresses are becoming a popular way to inject originality into your wedding day!


This first pic (above) is one of my favorites - everyone's in a shade of green or blue, and some of them are wearing patterned dresses! It's all about the effect on the whole. If you stick to just one color, that color might become overpowering. A spectrum of one or two colors, when put together, results in a wonderfully rich palette! Plus, I love how this means that you & the 'maids will look the best when you're together as a group!


I love how these different shades of olive green look together (above)! I guess when you have Rachel Bilson as your MOH, the fashion's a no-brainer!

Of course, there are a few guidelines you should follow to make sure your "mixed" dresses also "match".
  1. Have your bridesmaids wear the same length dress. Whether it's short, long, tea-length - whatever - the length of the dress dictates the formality.
  2. Don't stray too far from a simple color palette. I basically have two colors in my palette - rustic red poppy and faded lavender. Since we're getting married outdoors, espresso is a natural option for a "base" color. I'm telling my girls that they should try to find a dress that's in the spectrum between these three warm colors. *Bonus! Send your girls paint chips from the hardware store! This makes the color-selection a no-brainer.
  3. You don't need to match necklines. This will come as a relief to your bustier gal-pals!
  4. You don't need to match fabric type.
  5. It's ok to mix florals with solids with patterns. In the end, it will look purposefully unmatchy-matchy!
  6. Though not necessary, matching shoes can bring the entire ensemble together! I'm not asking my 'maids to do this, though.
I'm giving my bridesmaids [near] complete freedom to choose a dress. I am, however, providing them with a suggestion for what I think is a pretty dress, but I'm stressing that they don't have to buy it. If they end up wearing a dress they already own, more power to them! Whatever makes them happy makes me happy.

Then again, for all I know, they might all show up matching in the same exact dress :).

How do you feel about letting your bridesmaids choose their own dress? Do you have any more suggestions to make unmatched dresses look more matchy?


  1. I think its a great thing! I actually posted about this recently on my blog! Your bridesmaids will definitely love it! And you're right, its all about picking a color palette and having your girls chose a shade that works within that palette not a dress that matches perfectly. The result will be totally unique & charming! I agree with the idea of incorporating an accessory like a necklace or a pair of bright colored shoes that will tie the look together! Great post.

  2. yes i wholeheartedly agree. i don't really get why brides should get to dictate that their friends wear expensive dresses that they may not even like. i'm all for asking the maids to find their own dresses within a color scheme.

  3. Love this article. I agree that bridesmaids should be granted a little more freedom with choosing their dresses. They're not very cheap and I want my bridesmaids to be able to wear them again comfortable.

  4. Yup. I'm asking my MOH & my other female attendant to wear tea-length chocolate or espresso brown dresses. The odds of us finding a dress to fit and flatter them both while also remaining within rather limited budgets would prove nigh impossible, and I'd much rather they find dresses they actually like.

  5. I actually purchased the recommended dress because a) I love it an b) I will actually wear it again (and again and again).

  6. oh how i love those pics! I swiped a couple for my blog (with full credit to you because you deserve it!!)

    love your blog btw. love it.

  7. That's so sweet of you! Thanks! :)

  8. I purchased discounted dresses for my girls because I personally feel uncomfortable demanding anyone buy anything, much less a party dress, in this economy. I want them to be able to wear whatever shoes or accessories that they want so that they 1) can save money and 2) showcase their individuality. But my family and friends, including some of the bridesmaids, are already expressing concern about my decision not to make them wear the same colored shoes. How do/did you all deal with these sort of well meaning suggestions?