How to select dresses for your bridesmaids

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When it comes to dress selection for bridesmaids, there are generally two types of brides out there: the ones who require a very strict bridesmaid "dress code" (all the bridesmaids dresses must have the exact same style, shade and brand of lipstick, shoes, earrings, etc. - in fact, pretty much must be purchased at one place) and the ones who are open to a certain range and variety among bridesmaid dresses. Needless to say, the first type is generally much less popular with their bridesmaids :)

So how do you have your bridesmaids looking just perfect while keeping them happy (and smiling in all the photographs)? Below are a few tips from

Choose the color first

The very first thing to do is to choose the color. Remember that the color you choose for the bridesmaids' dresses will define your wedding color palette (read more on how to select the wedding color palette in our related article). That is, based on this color, you will need to coordinate the colors of the bridal bouquet, boutonnieres, centerpieces, ceremony and reception decorations, etc. etc.

Therefore, a little word of advice for those on a budget: do not pick the colors for bridesmaids' dresses that would result in expensive flowers and decor. Generally, it is far easier and less expensive to find decorations in primary natural colors (think red, beige, green) rather than some very unique shades that you would need to match (such as, pale "china rose" shade).

Choose the length

Choose the length for the bridesmaid dresses that would create contrast with your own wedding dress. That is, if you are wearing a long gown, ask your bridesmaids to shop for dresses that are knee-length, and vice versa.

Choose the style

While being chosen a bridesmaid often gives your wedding party member a great excuse for buying a new dress, we at see too many people who complain about the prices and styles of dresses brides make them buy.

The simple rule here is that the style of the bridesmaids' dresses should be simple and should not distract from your own wedding dress. This does not mean that the dress should be ugly, of course. In fact, considering typical costs of bridesmaids dresses, your bridesmaids would not be too happy if they can only wear that dress once, at your wedding, or perhaps a second time to a Halloween party (because the style, color and comfort of that dress would keep them from wearing it anywhere else).

A simple dress is just a dress without embroidery, designs or decorations. It's a dress with a regular, traditional cut. Go shopping with your bridesmaids and let them pick their dresses as long as they are of the same color and a similar shade of that color and comply with the length that you've chosen (more on this in our next point below). This will definitely make for far happier and eager bridesmaids!

Be open to a certain range in the style and color of bridesmaids dresses

Unless it is absolutely paramount to you that all the brides wear the same style of dress, be open to a certain variety. For instance, if you have chosen purple as the color for the bridesmaids dresses, let your bridesmaids choose their own style of dress as long as it is purple and of the length you specified (give or take a couple of inches).

The dresses your bridesmaids choose may not be the exact same shade, but you can actually use that fact to create a unique effect by lining up your bridesmaids in the procession starting with the one wearing the lightest purple and finishing the procession with the one wearing the darkest purple in the group.