You have known them for years... you got chicken pox together... you kissed a boy first... she got her driver's license first... ah the memories. So why do you want to make her wear a dress that makes her look like she's been attacked by a giant cotton-candy? You don't... but how to find a bridesmaid dress that looks good on everyone from your size 2 friend to your size 42 friend? And how do you pick a color that looks good on your red-head friend and your Asian friend? It's really not that hard. Notice, I didn't say it was necessarily that easy. But, hey, you found the right guy, the right gown... you can do this! Like everything else, take it step by step.
Step One: Style
Your bridesmaid dresses should complement the style of your gown. They don't need to be identical though. If your gown is an A-Line, you're not restricted to A-Line bridesmaid dresses. However, if your gown is a fairy-tale ball gown, you won't want your maids' dresses to be modern or high fashion. You want an overall theme and aesthetic flow. The basic styles for bridesmaid dresses are A-Line, Empire or Sheath. There are a few ball gown styles. Most are floor length.
Step Two: Color
A-Line or Princess
|Almost every figure. Especially great when your maids range in size.
||Pregnant bridesmaids in 3rd trimester.
|Good for most maids. Helps add height to petite maids. The loose fit waist is great for pregnant bridesmaids.
|Works best if all your maids are relatively close in size. Otherwise makes small maids look smaller and larger maids look larger. Great on busty brides.
||When you have a wide range of bridesmaid sizes, ie a size 4 and a size 40.
|Works best if all your maids are relatively close in size.
||When you have a wide range of bridesmaid sizes, ie a size 4 and a size 40.
(We have made every effort to display as accurately as possible the colors of our products that appear at the Site. However, as the actual colors you see will depend on your monitor, we cannot guarantee that your monitors' display of any color will be accurate. We suggest viewing an actual fabric swatch for true color representation. We typically do not charge for fabric swatches.)
Your bridesmaid dresses' color is usually the color for your wedding. You'll use touches to accent your decorations and help carry a unifying theme through your entire wedding and reception. For example, if you've decided you want Dark Purple, you might use dark purple and light purple flowers, purple ink on your invitations, purple bows on the chairs,... As you begin to choose the color, think about your wedding and reception site. If your church has dark red carpet, those pretty Peach dresses might clash. If your reception site is full of dark wood and burgundy carpet, then your burgundy bridesmaids and accents might all blend in. Finally, think about your bridesmaids. Think about their coloring and what colors they look good in. Does Susy look great in red but horrid in gray? What about Joan? Here's a little list to help.
|Hair / Skin
|Blonde / Fair
||Pastels, Navy, Hunter, Orangy-Reds, Salmon, Turquoise, Dark Purple
||Black, Jewel Tones, Browns, Burgundy, Blues, Cobalt
||Some light to medium shades of gray, Silver
||Jewel Tones, Reds, Ivory, Turquoise, Jade Green, Purple
||Black, Navy, Hunter, Burgundy, Fuchsia
||Light Grays, Light Yellow, Mint, Mauve
||Navy, Jewel Tones, Reds, Silver, Gold, Salmon, Purple
||Black, Hunter, Burgundy, Blues, Cobalt, Fuchsia
||Light Yellow, Mint, Taupe
||Jewel Tones, Reds, Silver, Gold, Salmon, Oranges, Fuchsia, Lime
||Black, Navy, Hunter, Burgundy, Blues, Ivory, Purple, Cobalt
||Light Yellow, Mint, Lavender, White
|Red-Head / Fair
||Emerald Green, Navy, Ivory, Brown, Hunter Green, Peach, Purple
||Black, Hunter, Blues, Mustard, Rust, Olive, Turquoise, Teal, Gold
||Yellow, Blue-Reds, Mint, Mauve
|Brunette / Olive
||Red, Hunter Green, Navy, Brown, Cobalt
||Fuchsia, Charcoal, Burgundy, Peach
||Aqua, Light Yellow
|Brunette / Fair
||Emerald Green, Red, Fuchsia, Navy, Peach
||Black, Hunter, Navy, Burgundy, Gold, Ivory
||Light Yellow, Light Blue, Light Green
Your maids don't all have to wear the color. A wonderful Southern tradition is to have the Maid of Honor wear a different shade of the bridesmaid dresses or a totally different color. For example, if your maids are wearing Desert Blue, have your Maid of Honor wear Navy or Rose. This is wonderfully effective when you coordinate the Maid of Honor's dress color with the Best Man's vest and tie! Another popular and pretty trend, especially for spring and summer weddings, is a 'color run'. That means that each bridesmaid wears a different color of the same dress. One example of a light color run might be Pink, Pale Yellow, Light Blue, Mint, Lavender. In dark colors, you might try Emerald Green, Royal Blue, Royal Purple, Red, Gold. Shades of a color also work well (red, medium pink, light pink), but you have to be very careful that the colors don't clash with each other! You can also consider alternating colors. Half your maids in one color, half in another color. If your wedding will be near Valentine's Day you could put half in red and half in pink! If you're going to use a color run or alternating colors, BEFORE you order the dresses for your maids, find out how tall each maid is! Your maids will walk into the ceremony, stand by your during the ceremony, exit the ceremony and be arranged in pictures based on their height. Make a list in order from shortest to tallest (leave your maid of honor off the list). Is your maid of honor at the taller end or shorter end, compared with everyone else? If she's at the tall end, then your tallest maid will be next to her and the maids will get shorter the further they stand from you. If your maid of honor is at the short end, then the shortest maid will stand next to her and the maids will get taller the further they stand from you.
Step Three: You're Ready to Shop!
Keep in mind the season of your wedding. You won't want your maids wearing satin and velvet in July. Likewise, chiffon dresses look out of place in a winter wedding. You'll also want to decide if you want your maids to have sleeves. Most bridesmaid dresses today have straps with fewer having short sleeves and almost none with long sleeves. Now go shop! Of course, we think the best place to do that is our Bridesmaid Department.
Sizing the Dresses
The sizing of bridesmaid dresses, like your gown, had nothing to do with your bridesmaids' regular clothing size. You will need to tell your maids to get measured and compare their measurements with the designer's actual size chart. You then order the size that will fit their largest measurement. So, if Susy's measurements work out to a size 10 for the bust, a size 14 for the waist and a size 12 for the hips, you'll need to order Susy the size 14 and she'll have to get it altered. Because your maids will probably need to get their dresses altered, if they don't live near you, it's best to have the dresses shipped straight to them. When you order your bridesmaid dresses from us, you can just tell us which size needs to go to which bridesmaid and we'll take care of sending it to any address in the US!
A Word on Dye-Lot
You do need to order all your bridesmaid dresses at the same time. Fabric dye-lots can vary. If you order the dresses one at a time, the dresses might not all be from the same dye-lot so they might not all be the exact same color. A lot of brides tell their bridesmaids to order dress #XYZ in a certain color. When you order from us, we can help with that. Just email us the style number of the dress you want, the color you want, your wedding date and the names of all your bridesmaids. That way, we will watch for their orders. We will let you know who has ordered and who hasn't and we will hold all of their orders. Then after the final bridesmaid places her order, we will order all of the dresses for you at once so that they will all come from the same dye-lot! With this option, the bride or designated bridesmaid should call and set up an event with an associate. All girls then must speak to the same associate when placing their order. If placing individual internet online orders, the comments need to specify whose party and the associates name handling the event.
Even if you don't see it in the picture, most designers do offer shawls that can be purchased to match their dresses. You'll want to order the shawls at the same time you order the dresses so that they come from the same dye-lot. In addition to shawls, you'll want to decide if you want your maids to wear gloves. The most common length of glove for maids is elbow length. Gloves are available to match every color by every designer. Remember too, when you order 4 or more bridesmaid dresses that are all the same color from us and the shoes, we will dye the shoes to match for free! The shoes need to all be from the same designer.
Return to Tips directory