Choosing bridesmaids' dresses

gray_blue_bridesmaidsThere are many factors to take into consideration when choosing your bridesmaids’ dresses.

The dresses need to suit the age, coloring, and shape of the bridesmaid, and a caring bride takes into account the personal preference of the bridesmaid herself.

The most important factor to consider is probably the color. It is sometimes a very difficult task to find a color that suits the hair and skin color of all the bridesmaids, especially when there is one blonde, one brunette, one redhead...

The tone of the occasion is also important. Are you planning a casual, beach, religious, or sophisticated wedding? Think of sunny and bright colors like yellow or orange or cool colors like blue or green for beach weddings, pastel shades of pink, green or peach for garden venues, or dramatic jewel colors like emerald green, dark red or midnight blue for religious weddings. The time of day is also important: light shades for summer midday ceremonies, and darker shades for evening weddings.

Some brides choose to find their own dream wedding gown and the bridesmaids’ dresses first, and then base the whole color scheme of their wedding around them. Other brides prefer to choose the color scheme and then find the dresses. You could also take inspiration from your favorite flower that you plan to have in your and your bridesmaids’ bouquets. There are so many ways to get inspired, it’s your call!

diana_bridesmaidsThe color of your own dress and the overall color scheme of the wedding will also affect the color you choose. Some brides choose mini versions of their own bridal gown for their child bridesmaids, as Lady Diana Spencer did at her wedding to Prince Charles. This is appropriate for children, but you may prefer to be the only woman wearing a white or ivory dress at your wedding. Kate Middleton took the bold step of dressing her sister Pippa in a white bridesmaid gown that ran the risk of upstaging Kate herself! If you do choose a similar color to your own gown for your bridesmaids, choose a shorter length and accessorize their dresses with a colorful sash, trim or flower.

It is only fair to consider the wishes and feelings of the bridesmaids when choosing their dresses; it may be your wedding but you want them to be comfortable and to feel a million dollars in their dress. If any of your bridesmaids are grown women, bear in mind that they may be conscious of any figure flaws and may prefer not to wear bows and frills. Perhaps save those for the little girls in your bridal party.

A current trend is to pick different shades from the same color palette and in slightly different styles, which is a way of catering for the different tastes, complexions, and figure types of the bridesmaids. Princess Mary of Denmark chose different shades of pink for her attendants at her royal wedding.

Dresses need not be plain and in one color, they can be print, checked, striped, spotted, floral, lacy or with a mixture of fabrics. Satin, taffeta, velvet, chiffon and dupioni silk are popular fabrics for bridesmaid dresses. Beading, sequins, fabric flowers, sashes, bows and asymmetrical ruching are in vogue for embellishing contemporary bridesmaid dresses and enhancing the silhouette.

Many modern brides take into account that it is a thoughtful gesture to choose a dress that their bridesmaids can wear again in the future, one way of ensuring that the outfit doesn’t get put in a wardrobe and forgotten about! Many bridesmaids have to pay for their own dress so even more of a reason to buy something they love.

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The current fashion is towards knee-length or tea-length dresses, which are more likely to be reused on future occasions. Strapless dresses are still the most popular style, although on-trend brides are going for asymmetrical one-shoulder dresses. You may wish to choose long dresses for your adult bridesmaids, but it is perhaps preferable to dress younger bridesmaids in dresses made in the same fabric and color with a skirt that comes to mid-calf to prevent them from tripping up.

Check out our gallery of bridesmaid dress designers for inspiration.

For information on dress sizes and taking measurements, click here.

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