Advice for choosing bridesmaid dresses they will want to wear again

So you’ve visited the bridal boutiques and you’ve all had a wonderful time as you tried on countless gowns (or perhaps just THE ONE if you were lucky enough to have love at first dress!) and it’s now time to consider the bridesmaids.  This can be tough terrain to navigate through as bridesmaids will be torn with thoughts of wanting to make you happy and not be the trouble maker but will also feel anxiety about the possibility of having to pretend to love a dress that’s unflattering for them or a colour they hate.

A lot of bridesmaid dress dramas can be resolved with some very honest conversations between the bride and the bridesmaids about what each of their vision is (and make the bridesmaids speak up at this point not just say “I don’t mind, it’s up to you”).  It’s equally as important for brides to respect the wishes and opinions of her bridesmaids.

Pastel lace bridesmaid dresses - Jess Marks Photography

Image by Jess Marks Photography

Our tips
  • If you have bridesmaids of various shapes and sizes perhaps consider different designs for each of the girls so that the designs flatter every figure . If you would like some sort of consistency they can be all in the same colour but different necklines or skirt shapes.
  • V-neck dresses with a distinct waistline and fitted bodice are the most flattering of all designs and work well with almost every figure (theres a reason why the classic 50s/60s styles never date!!!).
  • Consider fabrics that aren’t traditional bridesmaid fabrics such as cotton. There are some fabulous dressmakers on Etsy who create darling little 50s inspired floral cotton dresses or if you have a local dressmaker do a search for quilting fabrics online and you’ll find an abundance of cute cotton prints in florals or even retro geometric designs.
  • When in doubt go for black. It fits in with most bridal palettes, it is a colour that looks great on all skin tones and hair colours and who couldn’t do with an extra little black dress in their walk in wardrobe.

Lace bridesmaid dresses - Love and Stuff Photography

Image by Love & Stuff Photography

  • Avoid floor length gowns as this is a sure fire way to have bridesmaids with unwanted dresses after your big day. Unless the dress can be shortened and look fabulous it may not be the best decision.
  • Think about having separates. Perhaps a cute lace top with a full tea length skirt or anything that could be mix and matched with other items to become part of their wardrobe essentials afterwards.
  • If any of your bridesmaids are very busty or quite curvy, custom made dresses are the best option. Rarely do off the rack dresses sit well on a busty girl and sometimes boutiques might not even stock plus sizes.  This option is generally a bit more costly but it’s worth it!
  • Take the girls through all of the major department stores for a try on. Labels such as Review  and Alannah Hill have some super cute frocks suitable for bridesmaids that could also be worn as party frocks.
  • For brides planning a fun 50s inspired wedding there are an abundance of online dress sellers with cute options. Use search terms like pinup dress and rockabilly dress.

Tea length bridesmaid dresses - Lauren Campbell Photography

Image by Lauren Campbell Photography

We do have a couple of notes of warning
  • If you select a popular design from a major department store as your bridesmaid dress do keep in mind that one of your guests may very well select that to wear as a guest providing an extremely awkward moment for the guest as she matches your best girls. Perhaps if you are choosing a popular dress for your bridesmaids it could be worth revealing details of this dress to guests to avoid that moment of panic!
  • Be careful when shopping online – the lure of the bargain $39 bridesmaid dress on Ebay is something that many trusting brides and bridesmaids can’t resist. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is so true when it comes to these too good to be true listings.  These dresses are a huge gamble. Sometimes they pay off, but if you click on that “buy it now” button be prepared for the fact that it could be the most momentous waste of your money and order it well in advance so you still have plenty of time to arrange an alternative when it arrives looking nothing like the listing photo!!!

Cotton floral bridesmaid dresses - Thomas Stewart Photography

Image by Thomas Stewart Photography