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The definitive guide to bridesmaid dress shopping

bridesmaid dresses

Bridesmaid dress shopping is an indispensable and important aspect of your wedding planning.

bridesmaid dresses

Choosing the right dresses for your wedding party members involves unique challenges such as finding dresses that your bridesmaids approve, that also work with the wedding theme.

So, bridesmaid dress shopping may even end up being more demanding than wedding dress shopping itself! However, with proper preparation and planning, you can tackle bridesmaid dress shopping efficiently.

This comprehensive guide to bridesmaid dress shopping will discuss all that you need for stress-free bridesmaid dress shopping.

So, let’s get started!

Preparation for Bridesmaid dress shopping: Decisions to make

Did you know that the actual shopping process begins much before your bridesmaids set foot in a shop?

Ideally, you should start planning bridesmaid dress shopping at least six months before the wedding.

This will give you enough time to finalize the selection criteria, co-ordinate with your girls and fix shopping appointments and book alterations when the dresses arrive.

So, let us look at the different steps to consider during the preparation stage.

What is the budget?

Being chosen as a bridesmaid comes with many perks. However, at least some of your girls may worry about one aspect—the expenses they must bear.

According to this survey by the Knot, the average bridesmaid dress costs $150. It may be higher or lower based on the bride’s preferences.

Make it easy for your bridesmaids by asking them what they are comfortable spending. Accordingly, fix the budget and restrict choices to dresses in this range.

If the price is a severe constraint, here are some practical ideas to save on bridesmaids dresses.

Who makes the final choice?

Gone are the days when the bride would choose a single dress for all her bridesmaids. Modern brides are fashion-conscious and acknowledge the fact that their bridesmaids would like to be consulted about their preferences.

If you are really flexible, you can even let your bridesmaids pick their dresses themselves. However, there is a challenge!

When you give them free rein, the final look may not be cohesive.

Avoid this issue by specifying two to three guidelines. Choose from color, fabric type, length, neckline style or sleeve style.

The other option is to take the whole group shopping at the same time and ensure that the final decision is yours.

When to go shopping?

Bridesmaid dress shopping should be completed months ahead of the wedding. Play it safe and book the session four to six months in advance.

Talk to your bridesmaids and schedule their appointment in such a way that it is convenient for most of the crew.

For bridesmaids who stay far away, you can even explore the option of buying their dress at a different store that is near their place. This will make the collection and alterations much easier.

Where to buy?

The best place to shop for bridesmaid dresses is at a real store. However, it is important to shop at least a few months before the wedding. Stores require time to place your order with the manufacturer and get it delivered.

When you decide to shop at a real store, you can touch and see samples prior to ordering. Your bridesmaids can also try on the dresses to see how it looks on their bodies. This eliminates confusion regarding the quality of the fabric, dress style and choosing the wrong size.

Nonetheless, there are certain challenges when you decide to take the girls shopping. Let us look at what they are and how to tackle them.

To invite all the bridesmaids or not?

If you will be making the final decision regarding your bridesmaid dresses, you will have to go shopping with them. However, it is a bad idea to take all your bridesmaids with you for the first appointment.

Too many opinions can result in chaos and you may end up more confused than before.

Instead, take someone you trust (like your Maid of Honor or mother) when you first visit the boutique. Share your vision with the shopping consultants.

Also, remember that your bridesmaids will have different body types and complexions. Discuss these factors with the sales team.

With their help, narrow down your choices to a few dresses. Make your choices in such a way that there is something suitable for everyone.

These will be the ones that your bridal crew will finally try on. At the next appointment, include all your bridesmaids and help them make the final decision.

Sizing issues and other challenges

When placing the order, your sales consultant will measure the girls and select the size that is closest to their measurements. Since sizing charts are different from those for regular clothes, their bridesmaid dress size will differ from their regular dress size.

Remember that it will be easier to take in a big dress than add extra inches to one that is too small. Choose accordingly.

In the rare case that a bridesmaid is unable to go shopping and you should order on her behalf, choosing the correct size can be a problem. Ask her to get measured by a professional seamstress to ensure you are given accurate measurements to choose the right size.

Once the dresses arrive, each bridesmaid will need one or two alteration sessions to get the dress to fit correctly. Alterations will typically take one to two weeks.

Factor this into the bridesmaid dress shopping schedule. Be considerate of their schedules when planning their fitting appointments.

Now that we have looked at the different challenges you will face during the preparation stage, let us move on to the more interesting task—the actual dress selection.

Getting down to business: Actual bridesmaid dress selection

Once you have fixed the budget and where and when to shop for your bridesmaid dresses, you are ready to begin the actual selection process.

As we discussed earlier, you have two options: either join the bridal party when they go shopping or let your bridesmaids handle the task themselves.

Irrespective of which option you choose, you must guide your bridesmaids towards suitable dresses by supplying a few specifications. Let us look at the various factors that you should consider in this regard.

Choosing colors and styles: factors to consider

Although it isn’t necessary that all the bridesmaids should wear the same color, it is essential that the dress colors match the color palette of your wedding.

If your central colors are bold and bright, it may not flatter all your bridesmaids. In such a situation, you may like to look at dresses in neutral colors. Not only will this complement your bridal look, but it will also blend with any theme.

The bridesmaid dress choices should also complement the bridal gown in terms of fabric and style. This will ensure that your bridal portraits with the wedding party will look splendid. So, complete your wedding gown shopping to go bridesmaid dress shopping.

When choosing your bridesmaid dress color, remember that flexibility is key to a good-looking wedding party. By being open-minded you can find dresses that flatter all your girls, which also tie with the overall wedding theme. For more insight on how this works, watch this video

With proper planning, you can use different dresses to create a dynamic, but attractive wedding party. Here are some practical mix and match ideas to make this happen.

Same color, different dress styles

Give each of your bridesmaids a distinct look by choosing dresses with different style elements. You can vary the silhouette, neckline details, sleeve length, and even hemline to make this happen.

Then tie together their different styles with color. You can ensure that the color remains the same throughout the group by picking different dresses from the same collection.

The result will be fabulous!

Same dress style, different colors

Most designer bridesmaid dresses are available in a range of colors. So, choose different colors for each of your girls.

With this option, the group will look very lively. The bonus is that you can pick colors that suit each of your bridesmaid’s skin tones.  Since you are varying only the color and the rest of the dress design remains the same, you needn’t worry about cohesiveness.

Variations of the same color

Here’s another variation of the first idea we discussed. In this option, you settle on a single color, say purple. Then have your girls choose dresses in different shades of blue. So, you can have dresses in purple, lavender, plum, and periwinkle. The base color will unify the group while each of the girls enjoys her own unique look.

Prints of a type

Printed dresses are all the rage now. So, if you want to enhance the overall style quotient of your group, consider printed dresses. To unify the group, specify the type of print (You can choose from florals, geometric designs, animal prints, etc.) This is also an excellent way to highlight the theme of the wedding through their choice of outfits.

Using the same texture

By choosing the same fabric, you can again create an elegant mix and match effect. Fabrics like lace, chiffon, net or velvet have their own individuality. Choose different colors or styles while keeping the texture similar and you will have a winning combination.

Another unique challenge when choosing dresses for a bunch of ladies is to ensure that it flatters each one of them. After all, you want all your wedding party members to look their best on your special day.

How to find dresses that flatter different body types

Look at your bridal party and you will see that no two women are alike in terms of body structure.

Nature has blessed each woman with her specific body shape.

Body types are basically divided into four: apple, pear, hourglass and rectangle. Each of these body types has its own favorable aspects and some not-so-desirable ones. And this varies from one type to the other.

Hence, a dress style that flatters a specific body type may not look good on another one.  Since the women in your group will each have different body types, it is unlikely that any random dress style will flatter all of them.

So, you have two options:

  • Mix and match silhouettes, so each woman gets a dress that suits her specific body type.
  • Opt for universally flattering styles that will look good on most of the women.

Let us look at each of these in closer detail.

Mix and match silhouettes

The ideal dress style for any body type will highlight the best assets while distracting from the less desirable ones. The dress would also create a balanced structure that resembles an hourglass.

For an apple body type, the upper torso is more prominent. To balance the lower half, it is necessary to choose dresses that create the illusion of a waistline and more volume to the slender proportions of the lower body.

On the other hand, a pear body type has thicker hips. To balance the shape, it becomes necessary to enhance the upper body with a textured yoke.

So, if you have a pear-shaped and apple-shaped bridesmaid, the same dress silhouette would not suit both.

In such cases, consider mixing up silhouettes to flatter these individual body shapes. Keep two or three factors in the dresses similar for overall cohesiveness.

Universally flattering styles

Sometimes, you may simply not have the time or energy to find dresses that flatter each of your bridesmaids. Otherwise, it could be that you prefer to finish off the task faster by choosing a single dress style for all the bridesmaids.

In such cases, it is best to play it safe with universally flattering dress styles. These dresses will look good on almost all body types and your girls will be less likely to complain.

Let us look at some of these options:

Flutter sleeves

When your bridesmaids are from different age groups, have different body types and are of different heights, choose dresses with flutter sleeves and it will suit everyone.

Not only does this result in a modest look, but it is also elegant and flatters almost any woman.

Midi-length skirt

Midi dresses end between the knee and the calf. The benefit of this length is that it is slimming and elongates your legs.

Keeping it below knee-length makes it ideal for women who aren’t fond of showing much skin. This length will also draw attention to their shoes, making it another attractive factor. You can have the exact hemline altered to hit the best part of the leg for each girl.

Fit and flare silhouettes

This dress style is fitted around the torso and flares out from the waistline. It is a universally flattering dress style that creates the illusion of a slim waistline when there isn’t any. It also highlights the waist area in a good way.  

Hence, it is a style that works for both pear and apple-shaped women. Fit and flare dress styles create a curvy figure for a rectangle body type while emphasizing the slender waistline of an hourglass figure. Hence it is a win-win for all body types.

Bridesmaid dress shopping based on season and formality

When choosing bridesmaids dresses, be mindful of the weather conditions at the time of your wedding. Make decisions regarding the dress fabric, hemline and sleeve length based on how cold or warm it will be.

The bridesmaid dress choices should also complement the formality of the event. Opt for casual styles when the wedding has a semi-formal or casual theme. In formal settings, elegant and sophisticated choices look best.

Here are some tips:

  • For warm months, light-weight and breathable fabrics like cotton, linen and chiffon are ideal. You can opt for silk, velvet or wool when the weather is cold.
  • Long gowns are a good choice for autumn and winter. Midi and Mini dress look good in summer.
  • Match the bridesmaid dress style to the formality of the event. Long gowns in bold colors look good at formal weddings while short dresses in cheerful colors and lightweight fabric are suitable for informal settings.
  • Sleeveless and strapless dress styles can make your bridesmaids uncomfortable in cold weather. Either opt for longer sleeves or select accessories like shrugs and stoles to keep them cozy in such conditions.

Other important factors to consider when choosing bridesmaids dresses

While we have already covered the most important aspects of bridesmaid dress selection, there are some more factors to consider. Let us look at what they are.

Are your bridesmaids uncomfortable wearing certain styles?

Certain neckline, sleeve-length or hemline choices may be unsuitable for some of your bridesmaids. And you want your bridesmaids to be comfortable and not too conscious about their dress on the day.

So, it is a good idea to check with them about the dress elements they would rather not have in their dresses.

Are some of your girls uncomfortable in shorter dress styles? Do they find certain necklines (like strapless or a deep-cut V) to be too revealing?

Get their insight on these aspects and make a wise decision that will not inconvenience them.

When there are plus-size or petite bridesmaids

When choosing bridesmaid dresses, you may not always have the same variety of options if you have plus-size or petite bridesmaids.

The good news is that there are specific dress collections for petite and plus-size women and you can choose from them. Nevertheless, you may like to be more flexible with your selection criteria if you would like to keep the look cohesive in such cases.

If you narrow down your choices to very specific details, it may be more difficult to find suitable dresses for bridesmaids who are on either end of the size spectrum.

If a bridesmaid is pregnant

When your bridesmaid is pregnant, you cannot really predict the exact size to order for her bridesmaid dress. If you are ordering the dress five to six months in advance, her measurements can change drastically by the time the dress arrives. So, this is a very tricky situation.

Here are some options you can consider:

  • Choose a dress with an empire waistline which is by and large the most flattering style for a pregnant bridesmaid.
  • Look for maternity bridesmaid dresses that are designed to keep pregnant women comfortable while looking good.
  • Order up to two sizes larger than her current measurements. This should ideally compensate for the increase in bust and hip measurements over time. In case the dress ends up being too large, it can always be taken in.
  • Rather than choosing the same style for all your bridesmaids, you may like to restrict your selection criteria to the same color, but different styles when one or more bridesmaids are pregnant.

For more tips on how to shop for a pregnant bridesmaid, visit this article.

Choosing accessories to complete the look

The dress is always the highlight of the bridesmaid look. However, suitable accessories will further enhance their style quotient. So, here are some guidelines to help.

  • If you have chosen the same dress for all your bridesmaids, let them pick out their own jewelry and accents. This will help their individuality shine and also prevent the “cookie-cutter” look.
  • For dresses that are brightly colored or embellished with details and texture, keep accessories to a minimum and let the dress do the talking.
  • For mismatched bridesmaids, bring the look together with the exact same accessories. This can be shoes, belts or even statement jewelry.
  • Accessories quickly add up. Since they are paying for their dresses, it wouldn’t be nice to ask them to buy expensive accessories as well. Just give them guidelines like color and material and ask them to buy the nearest match within their budget. Or you can consider gifting them their accessories to wear on the day.

The final stage of bridesmaid dress shopping: Alterations and Collection

The final part of bridesmaid dress shopping is collecting the order and getting it altered to fit correctly.

We mentioned earlier that almost all bridesmaid dresses need one or two alterations. Let your bridesmaids know about this.

Bridesmaid dress alterations are ideally done a month before the wedding. This will help to get the best fit even if there any weight fluctuations after the dress was ordered.

Have your bridesmaids fix their appointments with a professional seamstress well in advance. This will ensure that the dresses will be ready on time. Also, remember that professional seamstresses can be very busy during peak wedding season and prom season.

It is a good idea to schedule the fitting appointments at the same time as placing the dress orders. For more valuable inputs on how to prepare for bridesmaid dress alterations, visit this post on the Martha Stewart website.

Step-by-step process to follow to ensure bridesmaid dress shopping is completed on time

We have now looked at all the details about preparing for bridesmaid dress shopping and the dress selection criteria. So, let us move on to the step-by-step process to ensure things are completed as per plan.

  1. Start on time: Begin planning for your bridesmaid dress shopping at least six months before the wedding. This will leave you enough time to narrow down your selection criteria, book the appointment, take your girls’ shopping and plan alterations after the dress arrives.
  2. Put your MOH in charge of scheduling shopping appointments and checking on progress: If your bridesmaids will be handling the shopping and dress selection themselves, you should keep tabs on their progress. Since you will be busy attending to other wedding-planning tasks, you can also entrust this important job to your Maid of Honor.
  3. Keep a tab on whether things are progressing as per plan: Plan a schedule or complete-by date for each of the tasks related to bridesmaid dress shopping. Then, communicate the set deadlines to your team of bridesmaids and check whether things are progressing as per plan.
  4. Plan fittings and alterations: Receiving the bridesmaid dress is only part of the process. Next, you should also stay on top of fittings and alterations to ensure the dress is perfect in time for the wedding. Add this schedule to your calendar and remind your bridesmaids to attend their appointments as per the plan.

To wrap it up…

Bridesmaid dress shopping is as challenging as bridal dress shopping. Nonetheless, you can tackle it efficiently with a planned and organized approach. The three main stages are:

  • Preparing for bridesmaid dress shopping
  • The actual dress selection process
  • Fittings and alterations

We have looked at each of these factors in detail over the course of this guide, and you are now all set for the process. Follow these steps and your bridal party will look fantastic.

Find a fabulous and updated collection of designer bridesmaid dresses at Best for Bride. Click here to visit our collection today and pick your favorites.

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Beautiful bridesmaids dress styles you simply cannot go wrong with

Your bridesmaids are special women—ones who deserve to be beside you when you say “I Do.” So, why not dress them up in something they actually love?

Of course this should be dresses that compliment your bridal look and are suitable for your theme. After all, your bridesmaids are also a big part of your wedding scenery. How you dress them will affect the way your wedding photos turn out. Does that sound like too many conditions to satisfy?

Do not worry, for it isn’t too difficult to find dresses you like and your bridesmaids will actually look forward to wearing. Today, I will tell you about certain dress features that are popular crowd-pleasers. Consider one or more of these factors in your bridesmaids dress choices, and your bridal party will most likely be a happy lot.

You cannot go wrong with dark neutrals like black

Why do you think every woman has a little black dress in her wardrobe? It is a universal favorite that works well on various occasions. Colors that come close to black in the spectrum also look good on most body types. They also suit women of different ages.

Although most brides no longer have issues including black in the wedding, some still try to avoid it. So, if you are looking for alternatives to black for your wedding that are just as appealing, choose navy, charcoal gray or dark brown.

The dress in this picture is a smart number from the Mori Lee collection. The modified A-line skirt and V-neckline make it naturally slimming. The shimmer of beading on lace and the cinched waistline and sash adds to the dressy effect. It is a dress your girls can all sport, irrespective of their age or shape.

Midi dresses

If you want the bridal party look to complement your style, but look distinct, here is an idea! Dress them up in midi dresses in the same fabric as your wedding gown. This will create a cohesive look, but allow you to stand out from the others.

Don’t be surprised if your bridesmaids aren’t too sure about this choice. For there is a popular misconception that you have to be tall to look good in a midi skirt. Fortunately, this won’t be a problem as long as you manage to get the hemline just right. All you have to do is make sure that the dress ends below the knees and just above the calf muscles, and you are good to go.

Take a look at this ravishing beauty in red from the Alfred Angelo collection. The length is just right to create an illusion of slender, long legs. This is something that your bridesmaids will definitely love for its beautiful details, punchy color and overall style.

Dresses with overlays in the bodice

Many common dress styles like the A-line and fit and flare draw attention to the middle. This can make your girls conscious and unhappy about wearing a fitted style. Dresses with overlays in the bodice are good choices if there are women in your bridal party who aren’t particularly happy with the width of their waistline. Cropped bodices or overlays will appear as separate from the skirt, and help to counter the issue. There is no concern about the waistline not lining up with the waist of the dress. Overlays camouflage this area and look easy. The best part is that they look good on a variety of body types.

Take a look at this dress from the Alfred Angelo collection to see what we mean. The slightly extended bodice overlay shifts attention from the waistline towards the hips and legs. The sequinned design is opulent and perfect for a wedding where your girls should look glitzy and glamorous.

Tapered dresses

Any body type can easily carry off a dress that clings beyond the waist and tapers downwards. The idea is to choose a slim but not tight fitting dress and work with the elements in the top to create a balanced look. Short bridesmaids can dress in tapered dresses with high waists that elongate the torso. Dark solid colored dresses that taper just a bit are right for pear-shaped women. Straight body shapes can wear tapered dresses with more volume in the lower half. So, keep the tapered style feature as the cohesive element in your bridal party look. Then experiment with different colors and bodice designs for an interesting effect.

 

Here is a bridesmaid dress from the Alfred Angelo collection that features a tapered lower half. The upper textured bodice balances out the lower half, and the thick waistband adds a definition to the overall shape.

The illusion neckline

The illusion neckline is a dress feature that is favored by almost everyone, and rightly so. There is something unusually attractive about an almost transparent neckline as an overlay for the bodice. When embellished with a scattering of tasteful details, it looks even more alluring. For it has an exquisite charm and is very feminine. Let this be the common feature in your bridal party dresses, and we are sure your bridesmaids won’t have a reason to complain. With illusion necklines available in a variety of design styles, it won’t be difficult to pick one that suits the body structure and style of each woman in the group.

 

How amazing is this Mori Lee bridesmaid gown with a sheer neckline studded with lace embellishments. Although it fully covers the neck and bust area, the sheer effect has a dreamy, whimsical impact. The lace appliques in the bodice continue along cap sleeves that complete the overall look with elegance. A dress like this will bowl over your bridesmaids, and it will only be a matter of time before they use it again after your wedding.

The sheath

One of the most romantic and sexy dress-styles of all times, the sheath is a classic that looks good on most body types. It accentuates natural curves and even creates the illusion of a curvy figure, where there are few curves. It is immensely forgiving that way. Additionally, the sheath camouflages wide waistlines and thick hips when chosen appropriately. So, if your bridesmaids have different body types, go with the sheath silhouette for their bridesmaids dresses. So, you needn’t worry about finding separate dresses that flatter each of them.

This relaxed sheath silhouette features all-over shimmering details that are bound to impress. The sweetheart neckline and feminine structure of the dress instantly add a romantic touch. The soft fit looks comfortable and it balances out the extensive use of embellishments throughout this statement style dress.

Asymmetrical draping in the dress

This is one style that you should consider for your bridesmaids if you want a fashionable look. The fashion world is abuzz with asymmetrical details like ruchings, single straps and more. Asymmetrical draping that concentrates in one area of the dress is appealing.  Loosely draped ruchings are casual, while tightly gathered drapes enhance the look for a formal gown. It is possible to choose dresses with different types of asymmetrical drapes to suit different body types. Dropped waists will suit taller women in your group.  Smaller and full-figured girls can enjoy a slimming effect with draping that forms a textured bodice and highlights the length of the skirt.

Loosely gathered pleats come together at one side of the waist in this dress from the Mori Lee Bridesmaids collection. The effect of the asymmetrical draping to one side is enhanced by the ruffled layers that extend to full length. The textured look is undeniably feminine and this dress is one that will definitely be used more than just once by your bridesmaids.

Fit and flare dresses

Many women are reluctant to try on fit and flare dresses as the name is often misleading. Since the lower half flares out beyond a point, we often tend to believe that this will enhance an already bulky lower half. Fortunately, it isn’t so. Take a look at this article on whattowear to confirm.

Finding the right dress that flares out to camouflage or highlight a body feature is the only tricky part. When chosen correctly, fit and flare dresses can create the illusion of curves for a rectangle body type, highlight the beauty of an hourglass figure and camouflage thick or thin thighs and hips by having the flare begin at the right point.

Here is an example. This dress which is also from the Mori Lee collection cinches at the waist, and flares out beyond. The slightly elevated waistline and extensively pleated skirt can easily camouflage a thick waist and shift focus to slender legs. This dress has a very youthful look and is perfect if you want your bridesmaids to look smart and chic.

The Modified A-line

The A-line dress looks great on women with a well-balanced figure. However, it may not look particularly good on bridesmaids who are either top or bottom heavy. However a small modification to the style gives us something that is suitable for almost all women. It is the modified A-line.

This style features a fitted style beyond the waist, and resembles a dropped waistline. It then continues into an A-line pattern from the dropped waistline. The benefit of this feature is that it doesn’t draw attention to the actual waistline, but shifts it to the top and bottom halves. It also has an elegant appeal which is different from the very casual A-line.

 

Take a look at this beautiful blue dress from the Mori Lee bridesmaids collection. The silhouette snugly fits all the way from the neckline to the waist and slightly beyond. It flares out from the hips, creating the illusion of a fuller figure. The finish in satin makes it dressy and attractive. The modest scoop neckline enhances the effect and makes this a dress that everyone in your bridal party can carry.

Now that we have seen the various dress styles that suit bridesmaids of all body types, tell us which of these features do you like best?

Finally, a word of advice. It isn’t always possible to please everyone, even if you really try to. Consider it a success, if the majority of your bridesmaids are satisfied with your choice. Here is an article on the Brides blog that tells you what to do if a bridesmaid really detests your choice. If a simple tweak or customized detail will help her tide over her discontent, it is best to accommodate it. However, if the root of the problem is something else, simply overlook it and go ahead with your plans.

All the dresses we saw today are available in our bridesmaids dress collections at Best for Bride. These designs are available in different sizes and also a range of colors. Click on the links for each dress for more details on it. Also, don’t forget to explore the various other options we have in our collection. With designer collections like Mori Lee, Alfred Angelo, Dessy bridesmaids and more, you will find a dizzying variety to choose from. Click here to visit our gallery of bridesmaids dresses and enjoy your virtual shopping experience today. Or visit us in-store and we will be happy to assist you find the dress that perfectly matches your expectations and makes your bridesmaids happy.

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Bridesmaids dress inspiration—Looks from the past to the present

How many of you brides have been searching for inspiration in your mother’s wedding album when choosing your bridesmaids dresses? Not many, I believe!

There is no surprise here, for bridesmaids dresses weren’t always inspiring in the past! We have all heard notorious tales of dresses that resembled cotton candy and fabrics that would be better off as drapes!

Nonetheless, we live in a time when many things from the past seem to reappear on the wedding scene. From heirloom wedding dresses to vintage themes, décor and classic venues, couples have embraced many elements  from weddings of the past. While this trend continues, it is only right that we visit bridesmaids dresses inspired by fashions from the past.

Today, we will look at bridesmaids dresses that are suitable for different vintage eras. I found this article on the Bustle extremely helpful with this.  It gives us a clear idea of the trends that were most happening during the past, with some really interesting pictures to support it. Let us try to find inspiration in these dress styles and locate dresses from our current bridesmaids collections to reinvent the look. One thing we can assure you is that they will not look out of place in the modern wedding scene. So, let’s begin!

The 1850’s

Women’s clothing in this era was rather elaborate, with corsets and wide skirts supported by hoops and crinoline. The ball gown was a popular dress style in evening wear and formal dresses. Your bridesmaids may not appreciate being weighed down in a heavy ball gown dress at your wedding, nor is it appropriate. Nonetheless, there are other dress features from the Victorian era that you can easily incorporate into your bridesmaids looks. Here they are.

Low-necked and off-the-shoulder styles were big hits during this era. Many designer collections today feature these in their bridesmaids dresses. Here are some!

The dress has the opulence and fitted bodice style that is reminiscent of the 1850’s. However, the fitted silhouette continues into the skirt, allowing for easy movement. The off-the-shoulder neckline and details in the bodice are suitable for a Victorian vibe.

The Angelina Faccenda 20453 dress features an off-the-shoulder neckline and has embellishments on the dropped sleeves. The criss-cross bodice results in an empire waistline. The ruchings in the front continue into the back of the dress as well.

Early 19th century

During the Edwardian era, defined waistlines were created using tight fitting corsets. The ideal female figure resembled a pigeon-structure. This was characterized by an upper body that thrust forward, while the hips and bust were emphasized by a thin waistline. An air of opulence defined most dress styles. Frilly embellishments like ruffles, lace and floral details were very popular. By the year 1910, the empire line was preferred over the corset. Pastels were preferred for daytime dresses, while dark, deep rich colors were chosen for formal evening wear. Here are some dresses that recreate this effect in bridesmaids dresses.

Here is a dress from the Mori Lee Bridesmaid collection with a well-defined waistline and structured silhouette. The dress has plenty of lace embellishments strewn throughout the length. These add an air of finesse. The satin waistband defines the waistline and the full-length makes it suitable for a formal wedding ceremony. 

This dress from the Jasmine dress collection has full-length sleeves and a defined waistline. Although there is no corset detail, the silhouette is structured and fits tightly against the natural curves. The full-length sleeves are actually a removable shrug. This feature also gives the dress a two-in-one look. The embellished bodice has details that compare with the luxurious finishes of Edwardian dresses.

The 1930’s

Most dress silhouettes had one striking detail in this era—tiered skirts. This is a dress feature that many wedding dress designers have openly embraced and included in wedding gowns. Although there are few bridesmaids dresses with this feature, it is attractive when present. Huge collars were another big fashion feature in this decade. Here are our picks that bring back these styles.

A modern-style tiered A-line dress, this Mori Lee 123 brings tiers to life, albeit in contemporary style. Gentle tiers are fashioned in chiffon to create an almost rippling effect and a smart silhouette, unlike the over-the-top dress styles that were popular in the 1930’s.

Inspired by the elaborate collars that were the highlight of the 1930’s, this After Six bridesmaid dress is a very stylish variation of this style. A ruffled overlay drops off the halter-neckline over the fitted silhouette, making this florentine lace gown a vintage beauty.

Sassy, stylish short dresses in 1950

Short, but voluminous skirts were stylish in the 1950’s. These added a youthful vibe to the overall look. Although short, the dresses usually featured layers of taffeta and net that formed buoyant skirts. Bows were an essentially important detail at this time. This feature, in fact, found its way to not just dresses, but even hats. Let’s take a look at some of the dresses from our collection which bring back the memories of this era.

Here is a tulle dress with a bouncy skirt that was a favorite in the 1950’s. Perhaps a tad shorter than was the norm, this dress has a thick voluminous skirt that is still acceptable to the modern woman.

 

This dress from the After Six Bridesmaid collection features a bodice that has a different color than in the skirt. This was an essentially common feature in the dress styles of the years we discussed about. The defined waistline and smart silhouette with the halter neck are smart and will suit the women today, as they did back then.

1960’s poufy dresses and sheath silhouettes

In the beginning of the decade, many brides chose to dress their bridesmaids in shiny dresses with voluminous skirts. Silky sateen finishes were popular, so the look reflected opulence and luxury. As the decade progressed, the silhouettes slimmed and the sheath was the chosen style for most women. The white glove was an accessory that rendered itself to any dress-style.

This dress from the Mori Lee Bridesmaid collection has a layered net skirt and is in a rich color that was popular in the 1960’s. Even so, the dress has the poufy look that characterized formal dress styles at the time. Imagine this dress when worn with a pair of pristine white gloves. That should give you a clear idea of what we mean.

As women stepped out of corsets and stiffly structured dress silhouettes, the sheath became the favorite. Here is a sheath silhouette from the Angelina Faccenda collection, with all the glitz and glamour that reflects the style of the 1960’s. The cap sleeve and accessories like hats and white gloves worked well with this design.

Vibrant and colorful 1970s

Patterns and prints in big and bold proportions entered the fashion scene in the 1970s. Appliques and patchworks as well as vibrant, colorful designs were trendy at this time. Dresses flowed to full length and loosely draped around the natural silhouette.

This dress from the Alfred Sung collection could easily pass off as an original from the 1970s. With bright floral prints on a loose silhouette, the colors on the dress stand out. While it would look good at a garden wedding today, you would have seen it any type of wedding in those days.

The After Six Bridesmaids 6556 is a dress with a variety of colors that recreate the 1970s vibe. Despite a fitted waistband, the dress is loose flowing and comfortable with its soft fabric and drape.

The rich and flamboyant style of the 1980s

With the 1980’s the entire fashion scene underwent significant change. Everything was done in bigger and bolder proportions. As hairstyles grew bigger and shine and shimmer was seen in the makeup and accessories, outfits were generally colorful, lively and unusually interesting.

Everything about this dress from the Jasmine Bridal collection, including the color, fit, ruffles, drape and even the sleeves are signature features. This is a style that is typical of the 1980’s. The interesting part is that the dress is interesting in the back as well, with a V-neck formed of bell sleeves.

Here’s another dress from the Dessy Bridesmaid collection that would pass off as a suitable choice for the 1980’s. The dress has loose sleeves that were a characteristic feature of those days. The silhouette, although fitted, is one that flows loosely without too much structure. The criss-cross detail in the bodice and the shimmering waistband are toned-down versions of popular dress details that added to the 1980’s appeal.

Fashion in the 2000’s

With the new century, fashion began diverging in different directions. Unpredictability reigned high, as everyone sought unique styles. No longer did brides choose cookie cutter weddings nor bridal parties that were similar to those seen at other weddings. There was a general mash-up of styles and this added to the appeal of bridesmaids outfits. Metallics, neutrals and casual styles became part of mainstream fashion.

 

Stylish, elegant and figure-flattering, this is a dress that the women in 2000’s would quickly approve of. The sweetheart neckline is delightfully feminine, and has a romantic appeal. The neckline drapes to one side and pinches at the side, with a layered look. The shimmering color is attractive, but distinct from the typical shiny dresses seen in the years leading up to the 21st century.

This dress is from the Alfred Sung Collection and is a sateen twill dress. Tastefully designed with a gentle sheer scoop neckline over a sweetheart bodice, the dress has an A-line shape. The length gives it a smart look. Despite its simplicity, this is a beautiful dress that will appeal to almost anyone. Another good thing about this dress is that it doesn’t need too many accessories.

And finally this decade

Fashion has grown by leaps and bounds in the second decade of this century. Every year brings in it’s wake new and interesting changes on the fashion scene. With the evolution of wedding fashion, changes have arrived in the world of bridesmaids dresses too. Brides now recognize the individuality of the women in their bridal party and consider matching bridesmaids outfits boring and unnecessary.

Hence there are few rules that define bridesmaids fashion these days. It is as unique as the wedding, woman and theme itself. Mix and match bridesmaids dresses is no longer just a trend, but is considered an essential part of a wedding. Over the last few years we have seen everything from color-block prints to rich jewel colors and pastels rule the scene at different points of time.


The revival of traditional elements like lace, vintage elements like ruffles and accessories have all arrived and stayed on.

 

Bridesmaids dresses with bold elements like 3-d florals, geometric patterns and oversize embellishments add a modern effect to unconventional wedding themes.

Both loose drapes that resemble masculine styles, as well as soft, feminine romantic styles have appeared on the wedding scene. So, it is hard to predict what a bride expects when she goes shopping for her bridal party outfits.

At Best for Bride, you can find dresses of every style, fitting every era and matching the uniqueness of your bridesmaids. To take a closer look at any of the dresses featured here and to check out more options, make sure to visit our bridesmaid dress collections here. Find all the inspiration and information you need to make your wedding vision a reality though our bridesmaids collections.

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How to match your bridesmaids dresses to your wedding style and venue

If you thought to choose the perfect wedding gown was a big challenge, wait till you start looking for your bridesmaids dresses!

Apart from your personal preferences, there are many other factors to consider. The dresses you choose should not only look good on the women who wear it, but they should also be suitable for the wedding theme.

In my previous post, we looked at how to choose wedding dresses for different wedding venues. Although not easy, it is possible to identify whether a dress is suitable for a wedding venue. Making the right pick is important. Unless the dress you choose matches the venue, you will not look like you belong. Meanwhile, it is equally important that this choice reflects your personality and personal style.

Once you make this decision, the next challenge is to choose bridesmaids dresses. These dresses should complement your wedding dress. After all, your bridesmaids contribute to the visual scenery at your wedding. Their outfits, hair, and makeup will make a difference to the impact of your wedding. Hence this task requires few hours of research and planning.

In today’s post, the fashion team at Best for Bride will tell you how to do it right. We will look at different wedding venues and wedding styles and explore appropriate bridesmaid dress styles for each of them. The accompanying pictures will give you a good idea of what we mean. I suggest that you use them as inspiration to plan your own wedding party look. So, let’s get started!

Formal wedding in a Church or house of worship

Church weddings are old-fashioned and definitely traditional. Most brides choose timeless, classic dress styles for these weddings. Veils, tiaras, and long trains are signature elements at a traditional church wedding.

Take cues from your own attire to choose a suitable style for your bridesmaids dresses. Aim for simplicity, but make sure their outfits reflect sophistication. Stay away from short hemlines or other revealing dress styles. These will look out of place in the setting. Structured silhouettes and classic dress styles are ideal.

Style suggestions: Full-length gowns in structured silhouettes look grand in traditional settings. Or go for a hemline that ends at the knee or below. Traditional cuts like the A-line, fit and flare or styles with a fitted bodice look stunning. Single solid colors are recommended. Fabrics like satin and chiffon are suitable. Considering the nature of the wedding, it is a good idea to pick classy accessories. Aim for a feminine, polished look with tasteful accessories, classic make-up, and traditional hairstyles.

This is the Mori Lee 121 Beaded Lace dress with cap-sleeves and illusion neckline is sophisticated with a fit and flare silhouette and satin waistband.

The 6740 A-line crepe gown from After Six bridesmaids collection is simple and uncluttered, but elegant. The classic neckline and sleeves render it suitable for a traditional wedding.

Ballroom wedding

A ballroom wedding is a formal affair, one that has a luxurious ambiance. Most brides make their choice between a modern, stylish silhouette and a traditional dress style like the ball gown for such weddings. Either way, the idea is to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Bridesmaids dresses in timeless, classic colors that flow to full-length will effectively complement your look.

Style Suggestions: Full-length gowns are an ideal bridesmaid dress style if your wedding is a formal affair. For a modern theme, choose dress details like off-the-shoulder or halter necklines. These features create a signature look and will stand out.

Chiffon is a fabric to consider, as it is comfortable to wear as well as dance in. You can also look for dresses with signature motifs in the bodice, or with features like ruffles or embellishments for a dressy look. Pay attention to the neckline and draping, as it can make a huge difference to the final result. Soft flowing solid colored gown packs a punch and will stand out in any setting.

The 6726 full-length A-line bridesmaid dress from After Six collection is glamorous and stylish, and thus perfect for a ballroom wedding. The soft tulle fabric makes the drape impeccable, and the scintillating silver bodice is dressy.

Elegant and attractive, the Mori Lee 141 chiffon full-length gown features an off-the-shoulder neckline detail. Additionally, thin spaghetti straps support the bodice.

Rustic wedding venues like barns

Characterized by the intimacy and casual nature of the venue and décor, these weddings continue to be a huge hit. The warm and cozy venue has a relaxed and laid-back effect. This is easily carried through when you choose lace bridal gowns and vintage-inspired dress styles. It is suggested to choose a relaxed dress silhouette to match the ambiance and formality of the event.

It isn’t too difficult to find bridesmaids dresses that are suitable for this type of venue. Take inspiration from vintage styles and also consider how practical a dress will be for the venue you have chosen.

Style suggestions: If you have chosen a lace wedding dress, why not put your girls in lace too? The textures will have a cohesive effect. You can vary the length and neckline from your gown, so the dresses aren’t too similar.

Although long gowns are fine, dresses with shorter hemlines that end at knee-length are better suited. You can also choose dresses in sturdy fabrics with lace accents in the bodice or skirt. These will be simple, but good-looking. Allow each bridesmaid to choose a suitable neckline from strapless to fully-covered. Not only will this have a mix and match effect, but it will also look elegant. Mix different colors from the same color family for a more interesting effect.

The Jasmine B173010 is a romantic dress with the criss-cross empire-waist bodice. The lace details in the dress and the embellished shoulder straps add textural finesse.

The 31034 from the Mori Lee collection features all-over lace and a stunning strapless bodice. With a short hemline and uncluttered look, the dress is suitable for a barn wedding or other rustic style affair.

Beach wedding

A beach wedding is casual and relaxed. Brides usually opt for unconventional choices when their wedding venue is a beach. You may be looking at soft, flowing gowns in light, breathable fabric for your own wedding dress. After all, this is both pretty and practical in the natural ambiance. It is also sensible to avoid a train and keep the hemline short for your own dress.

Use your own dress choice as the guide to finding bridesmaids dresses that go well with this theme. The last thing you want on your hands is a bridesmaid who trips and falls. So, long hemlines are definitely off the list. Keep it short and smart, and it will be functional.

Fun and flirty styles are ideal for beach bridesmaids. The weather will most likely be hot and humid. So, choose fabrics that do not show sweat and are comfortable in the heat. Experiment with soft, fluttering fabrics that look right in the natural environment. Go with bright, tropical colors or neutral shades to make them stand out. Muted colors can look washed out and too subtle in the natural background. So, avoid them.

If it is a destination wedding, don’t forget to pick dresses that travel well. Low-maintenance dresses that do not wrinkle easily are the best. It should be possible to easily press the dresses to look perfect, as your bridesmaids will have to transport their dresses on a flight. Find more tips on how to plan a destination wedding in this previous article.

Style suggestions: Both loosely draped and fitted silhouettes are equally suitable. A-line dress styles are the other popular choice. Mix and match necklines to make the overall effect more fun. Strapless, halter, one-shoulder, and sleeveless styles are usually perfect for the occasion. Dresses with soft ruffles and loose pleats add interesting texture.

Heavy embellishments will look out of place. Keep the accessories including jewelry and bouquets small. Bright floral bouquets in small sizes are usually beautiful in these settings. Choose flat heels or pumps that make it easy to walk over the uneven terrain.

Casual and light, the B173001 bridesmaid dress from the Jasmine collection is perfect for a beach wedding. The halter-style neckline is an extension of the draped chiffon bodice, and it adds to the overall casual nature.

Stylish and sexy, the Mori Lee 31043 is a smart, but practical dress for a beach wedding. The single shoulder-strap detail and criss-cross bodice add more charm to the dress.

Garden wedding

A garden wedding is the epitome of romance. With lush greenery in the natural background, little décor is needed to make it more attractive. The natural outdoors makes the entire mood light, fun, and relaxed. However, being an outdoor venue, there are more constraints than choosing dresses for indoor venues. Unless the wedding is in early spring, it can be warm and humid. Breathable fabrics are ideal in this scenario. Go with romantic, feminine patterns for the dress to be suitable for the natural vibe at this venue.

Style suggestions: Lace increases the feminine appeal of a dress, and is suitable for a garden wedding. Dresses with shorter hemlines are also very beautiful. Soft, flowy fabric with few embellishments look beautiful and attractive.

Keep the colors simple and soft, with pastels and other muted colors for a charming and elegant effect. Choose dresses that show off just enough skin to be feminine, but not provocative. Mix and match different necklines from strapless to cap-sleeves, so your bridesmaids can all pick styles that suit them best.

Perfect for spring, the Alfred Sung D724CP is a beautiful sateen twill dress with bright floral prints in the skirt. Set against a stark white bodice, the dress is representative of spring itself.

In an A-line silhouette with a strapless neckline, the 113 tulle Mori Lee bridesmaid dress is just right for an outdoor garden wedding.

City Hall Wedding

We haven’t seen brides with too many bridesmaids when they plan their wedding is at City Hall. Nevertheless, for the few that will be in the bridal party, you have to find a suitable, smart, and chic attire that makes them look special. The occasion is formal. So, a full-length gown or a cocktail dress that is well-tailored and structured would look good.

Style Suggestions: Always choose dresses with the definite structure for your bridesmaids. If you will be wearing a full-length wedding gown, go with long gowns with uncluttered embellishments for your bridesmaids. Equally suitable are dresses that end below knee-length and have a definite shape. Go with formal styles to keep it appropriate. Dresses with sleeves look good. Similarly, experiment with necklines that are stylish-but modest. Keep the accessories, hair, and makeup simple and uncluttered. Stay away from too much bling, as this can work against the look you want.

Smart and uncluttered, the color block feature of the 2956 from the Dessy Bridesmaid collection is a dress that is good for a City Hall wedding.

The Mori Lee 31042 features a sleeveless V-neckline with the criss-cross bodice, pleated skirt and zipper back.

While this guide will help you obtain a general idea of what should work at your wedding, remember that these are not the only options to explore. When choosing your bridesmaids dresses, do your research and shopping with an open mind. This will improve your chances of finding exactly what you want your favorite girls to wear on your special day.

At Best for Bride, we have an impressive range of bridesmaids dresses from world-class designer collections. Most dresses come in a whole range of colors, making it easy for you to find the dress you want. Start your research early, narrow down your choices, and consult your bridesmaids before you make your final decision. The earlier you get on with this task, the more time you will have to make a wise choice. Click on this link to go to our page of bridesmaids dress collections.