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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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Fashion Advice: Most flattering necklines for your bridesmaids dresses

One of the primary focal points of every dress is the neckline. Choosing the right neckline will draw focus to the beauty of the natural facial features of the wearer and enhance the overall appearance of the dress style chosen. It will draw attention to the most attractive features or camouflage the less desirable traits, when chosen appropriately.

When choosing bridesmaids dresses, it is no longer stylish to choose a single dress for your entire bridal party. This is because your girls won’t be the same size or have the same body shape. Instead, we suggest you consider a range of options, and mix and match dresses to suit the individual traits of each of the girls in your bridal party.

One good mix and match option is to vary the neckline of the dress, while keeping the colors or silhouette constant for the entire group. This gives the group a super-stylish and modern look. It is quite easy to do, as most collections offer the same shade for a number of dresses. So you can find suitable silhouettes and necklines for each of your bridesmaids, while keeping the color uniform.

In this guide, we take a look at the most flattering neckline styles for different body types. Use this advice to choose the best neckline styles for your bridesmaids dresses. We are sure it will help you come one step closer to making your bridesmaids happy with your dress choices.

The best necklines to choose from for your bridesmaids dresses

V-neckline

The structure of this neckline is such that it elongates the torso and makes the wearer look tall and slim. The V-neckline is a universal favorite that can be designed in a range of fashions to suit various body types. The depth and width, when varied, will suit different body shapes. Women who have broad shoulders and are heavy in the upper body look good in V-necklines, as it balances out the wider proportions. Small and high V-necklines are suitable for thin women as it widens the upper body and makes it look bigger. Plunging V-necklines are fashion-forward. However they should be worn only by women with a medium bust and paired with suitable innerwear to avoid any wardrobe disasters.

Bateau neckline

The boat-shaped neckline extends from one shoulder to the other, exposing the collar bones but not showing any cleavage. This feature draws attention to the neck and jaw area. The bateau neckline is best on women with slighter body proportions, as the high neckline style adds more bulk to the upper body. It is modest, even while being stylish. The bateau should be avoided by bridesmaids who have a heavy upper body, as it can add more bulk to this area. Modern bateau necklines are often created with illusion details that are elegant.

Scoop neckline

Another versatile neckline style, the scoop resembles a U-shape. It can be low or high, and the effect of this feature in the dress varies according to this depth. Wide scoops look good on women with narrow shoulders as the round shape creates the illusion of more curves. Small scoop necklines help women with thicker upper bodies create the illusion of a smaller bust. This neckline generally makes the face look rounder.

One-shoulder style

This neckline style is closely associated with the goddess look and looks ethereal and romantic. The neckline drapes towards one shoulder, leaving the other one exposed. This beautiful style looks good on almost any body type. However, since the focus is on the one shoulder that is exposed, women with very thin or thick upper arms should avoid this style. It is perfect for women with toned arms and slender shoulders. This neckline exposes the collar bones, while it modestly covers the bust area.

Illusion neckline

Often fashioned with lace and sometimes with embellishments like rhinestones and sparkle, illusion necklines are a big trend on the wedding scene. This modest neckline may be paired with a sweetheart or strapless bodice, but has a mysterious effect because of the sheer layer. The illusion neckline suits almost all body types, and is a good choice if you want a similar style for different body types. It can be paired with almost any dress silhouette and made to look beautiful.

Sweetheart neckline

A traditional favorite, the sweetheart neckline is a feminine and romantic dress feature that is common in bridesmaids dresses. This neckline is preferred over the strapless style as the gentle dip in the center of the neckline makes it more attractive. It may or may not be paired with sleeves. Since the sweetheart neckline exposes a big area of the chest and decolletage, it is a good idea to first check if your girls are comfortable in this style before finalizing it. The open neckline may also be better if you pair it with suitable jewelry to avoid a bare look. It accentuates cleavage, and draws attention to the upper body. Hence it is a good choice for women who wish to distract from their waist and hips.

Off-the-shoulder

A common complaint about bridesmaids dresses is that they are all too simple. An off-the-shoulder neckline instantly adds a touch of style to a dress. This neckline falls parallel to the shoulder line and draws focus to the neck and shoulder area. This style is very glamorous and modern. It may be paired with sleeves or straps. The off-the-shoulder neckline looks best on women who are slender and have attractive collar bones. It should be avoided by women with thick necks and shoulders.

Halter

The halter style looks modern and smart. It closes around the neck and usually features an uncovered back. The halter neckline features a strap that runs around the neck. This may either go around the neck using straps or buttoned in place. Since the high halter neckline covers most of the upper regions of the neck and bust, it doesn’t require any other decolletage decoration. The halter should be avoided if your bridesmaids have large busts, as it will further add more bulk to this region. It is best used when the shoulders are slender and arms are well-toned.

Straight strapless

This neckline covers the entire chest area and is a popular feature in bridesmaids dresses. While it creates a classic look for a long gown, it looks stylish and sexy on short gowns. The neckline usually cuts straight across the chest, and is a good choice for women who are busty. The straight strapless may also be paired with spaghetti straps for added support or for an extra touch of glamour. It is absolutely necessary that straight strapless styles and sweetheart necklines be fitted perfectly for it to look neat and feel comfortable.

Square neckline

As the name suggests, this neckline resembles a square and cuts across the chest in a straight line. It may be wide or small. When the square is wide, it reveals more decolletage. It can also be high and draw attention to the collar bones and neck area. Wide squares are suitable for women with medium to large busts, while small square necklines are better suited for women with smaller busts. It is not recommended for those who are heavy in the upper torso, as the structure creates the illusion of added width.

The versatile neckline

Many brides do not want to risk the cohesion factor by allowing their brides to pick dresses from different collections. This has inspired designers to come up with the option of bridesmaids dresses with necklines that can be draped in different ways. Here, the same dress can be worn in strapless, single-shoulder, V-neckline or halter style. This is a good option if you have zeroed in on a color that will look great on most of your bridesmaids and still want to follow the mix and match trend.

If you go with our suggestions and decide to opt for the mix and match bridesmaids dress look, here are some rules you have to follow to make sure you do the trend correctly.

1.Choose the color carefully

It is very important that you pick colors that suit most of your bridesmaids complexions when you choose a single color and only vary the neckline. Be wary of colors that clash with their skin tone or hair color, as it can make your bridesmaid look pale or ill. Best choices include dark colors like navy and black, or neutrals like gray. Go with the neutral color in your wedding palette when choosing the colors for your bridesmaids dresses and it will most likely not go wrong. You can add the brighter colors in accessories like the bouquet, shoes and jewelry to complete tie their looks to the color theme.

2.Make sure the necklines are comfortable for each of them

One of the biggest benefits of varying the neckline is that you can ensure all your girls are comfortable in the ones they choose, and achieve a cohesive look. This mix and match style allows you to satisfy the fashion tastes of both bold and modest bridesmaids easily. While the more demure of them may prefer sleeveless styles and high necklines, the more fashionable women can go with strapless styles and off-the-shoulder looks.

3.Choose the same fabric for uniformity

The neckline is one variable that you have chosen. If you were to vary the fabric and color as well, it would be very difficult to achieve cohesion between the different bridesmaids looks. Even when the color is the same, the effect can vary drastically according to the fabric of choice. For instance, a crepe gown would look entirely different from a satin dress, even though they are both in the same color. So, keep to the same fabric if you want to get the style right. If you must vary the colors, make sure that they are all from the same color family to get the closest possible matches.

4.Unless the colors are same, pay attention to the length

Like we mentioned before, you shouldn’t have too many diverse factors that can jeopardize the overall look. The differences become exaggerated when the variables are focal elements. When you have the same color, you can vary the neckline as well as other factors without affecting the overall look. However, if you intend to use several colors as well as vary the neckline, keep the length constant. If the bridesmaids dresses vary from short to floor length, it will obviously look too disjointed. Differing lengths create an unfinished effect and do not look great in photographs either. Either choose full length gowns for all the girls or ask them to keep it between knee-length and calf-length for uniformity.

5.Keep the overall theme in mind

All the mixing and matching that you do with the bridesmaids dresses should go well with the overall theme you have at your wedding. Consider the formality and style of your wedding when choosing bridesmaids dresses, as just matching the color and design may not tie it to the theme. Be realistic about the extent to which you can permit variations, so it still fits your wedding vision. The dresses your bridesmaids choose should also be formal enough for the style of wedding you have planned.

At Best for Bride, mixing and matching bridesmaids dresses is a breeze. We have plenty of designer bridesmaids collections for you to pick from and meet all your expectations. With several dress designs in different colors from the same designer collection, finding combinations with varying necklines but similar dress features otherwise is no longer difficult. Check out our bridesmaids dress collections by visiting this page. You can also find attractive discounts on bulk bookings, alteration services and quick delivery options. Book your appointment by visiting our website today and start the selection for the best bridesmaids dresses for your wedding.

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Mistakes to avoid when you choose your bridesmaids dresses

If there is a task that levels up to the challenges of choosing your wedding dress, it has to be selecting your bridesmaids dresses. And if you have many bridesmaids, it is even more difficult to choose dresses that suit all of them, go well together and satisfy the women who are to wear them.

The current trend of mixing and matching bridesmaids dresses is a good one on many accounts. Not only can you choose different dresses to suit each bridesmaid, it looks splendid when done properly. This article on the Huff Post proves our point. Take a look at it for some flawlessly executed mix ‘n’ match bridal parties.

The mix ‘n’ match trend also gives you the opportunity to experiment with options till you find one that you like most. Having said this, we cannot overlook the fact that it can be just as daunting, when you have to ensure that all the dresses come together in a cohesive manner.

Whether you go with this trend, or choose the exact same dress for all your bridesmaids, you should avoid certain common mistakes that brides make when they choose bridesmaids outfits. Let us take a look at the list of these likely issues and how you can avoid them.

1.Not clearly communicating the budget

Your bridesmaids know that they have to pay for a new dress when they sign up for the role. However, this doesn’t mean that you can pick an expensive dress and expect them to happily bear the bill. Be considerate of individual circumstances when making a decision. Check with each of them in advance on what they can afford to spend. Do this before you start your research, so you can plan the shopping accordingly. If one of them is in a tight spot, you can think of footing the extra amount on her behalf, but only if you want to. However, if most of them think your budget is on the higher side, it may be better for you to rethink your decision and pick other dresses that fit their budget.

2.Not consulting your bridesmaids about their preferences

It is impossible to make everyone happy when choosing your bridesmaids dresses. However this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. Rather than focus on the features that each of them would like to have in their dresses, pay attention to the factors that they would rather not have. Certain colors can make certain women to look pale or sickly. Or there may be unflattering dress silhouettes that some of your bridesmaids dread wearing. It could also be that at least some of your girls wouldn’t be comfortable in dresses that are too short or those that expose too much skin. Check with your bridesmaids to find out what they would not like to wear, instead of what they would like to wear. This will help you eliminate dresses with any of these factors and narrow down your choices.

3.Giving your girls free rein

With the mix and match trend continuing to be a hit, many brides allow their bridesmaids to pick out their dresses themselves. However, do this wisely. Unless you provide at least few guidelines to abide by, it is possible that you will end up with bridesmaids looking entirely different and with no cohesion whatsoever. The issue arises when the parameters you set are vague. If you were to ask your ladies to pick green dresses, you could end up with a set of dresses varying from mint green to turquoise, and entirely different in finishes. The result would be disastrous. So, be very specific with the guiding factors. Try to fix at least two or three focal aspects of the dress such as the color, neckline and hemline that will make the group look cohesive. If you fix a color palette, allot specific shades to each of the girls and make sure they stick to the same color.

4.Not considering each woman separately

Every woman in your bridal party will be different in her own way. There will be differences in build, complexion and style. So a dress that looks good on one of your bridesmaids may be a terrible choice for another. Although you cannot perfectly match dresses to each lady, it is best if you consider their individuality when choosing dresses. Find dresses that they can connect to and they will appreciate your consideration. Be flexible with options and creative with your choices to pick dresses that will satisfy all your girls. If you decide to go with very similar dresses for all the ladies, zero in on a neutral that suits most complexions and a silhouette that will flatter almost any body type. Colors to consider include navy, brown and black, while the modified A-line silhouette looks good on most women.

5.Not doing your research first

Just like with your wedding dress, you have hundreds of options in bridesmaids dresses. While this is a good thing as it gives you enough variety to choose from, it can also make the whole process very tedious. So arm yourself with a general idea of what you want, before you go shopping. Look online and in bridal magazines to identify pictures that you like. Explore your options and make note of your specific requirements. Create a list of dress features and ideas that would be right for your wedding. Use this as your starting point when you actually go shopping.

6.Not giving due thought to length

Very short and too long bridesmaids dresses are simply not practical. On your wedding day, expect your bridesmaids to be very busy as they handle a range of tasks. Small dresses can make it uncomfortable for them to move around, and also make them very conscious when they have to pose for pictures. Long dresses are accident-prone, and if your venue involves a staircase, it is an invitation for trouble. Another problem with really short dresses is that they look quite cheap, and rarely flatter anyone unless they have an amazing body structure. Go with dresses that hit between knee-length and ankle-length and there shouldn’t be any issues. Also go for well-structured dresses and longer hemlines when the wedding is held outdoors in windy weather, to avoid embarrassments.

7.Choosing the wrong fabric

The fabric for your bridesmaids dresses should not only have the right texture, it should also be practical. The fabric choice should depend on the look you wish to achieve. While fabrics like silk and chiffon have a formal look, others like crepe are casual. If your wedding is held outdoors, the fabric shouldn’t show sweat. Choose light fabrics and cotton blends for warm weather, while opting for heavier fabric for the cooler months. It is also a good idea to choose similar fabric for the bridesmaids dress as for your wedding dress, as this will create a delightfully cohesive effect.

8.Shopping at the wrong time

As with everything wedding-related, don’t wait till the last minute to do your wedding shopping. It can take time to find the perfect dress and few more weeks to have them delivered and altered to the right sizes. So, factor this in when you start your bridesmaid dress shopping. You may come across attractive discounts in certain seasons. Make the most of these when available and your bridesmaids will appreciate your thoughtfulness. However, don’t shop too early either. Many things can change over time especially if you have a long engagement. You may find your girls grow in size, lose pounds or even announce they are pregnant. All these factors will affect your dress choices. So, don’t go shopping earlier than 6 months before the wedding.

9.Making just one appointment

It is a big mistake to go for your bridesmaids dress appointment with all the girls at once. This can cause chaos and confusion. The chances of making the wrong decision are very high when this happens. The better approach is to first go shopping with just one or two bridesmaids. Look at your options and narrow down the dress choices to a select few. Bring your bridal party in for another appointment and have them choose their dresses from the ones you had previously short-listed. This will make the entire task a lot easier and get rid of any possible confusion in the process.

10.Forgetting the accessories

Don’t be so caught up with dress research and shopping, that you forget all about your bridesmaids accessories. The jewelry and footwear they wear on your wedding day will have an impact on the overall look. So, give due thought to these aspects before you make a final decision. Instead of just planning the dress, think of the overall picture and plan from there. Also think of how practical a choice will be for the venue and weather, when selecting footwear. Aim for a balance between the dress choice and the accessories, so the overall look is neither too cluttered nor too simple.

11.Not prioritizing comfort

Even the most stylish dress will not look good if the woman wearing it finds it uncomfortable. So, make comfort a priority when choosing your bridesmaids dresses. Avoid patterns that are too tight, too revealing or short. When the dress fits correctly and doesn’t make them overly conscious, your bridesmaids will be able to focus their attention on you and their wedding-related duties. There are also better chances for them to reuse a dress that they are comfortable in. So, focus on this factor and you will help them get more value for the money they spend.

12.Not thinking of how it will photograph

Certain dress colors, details and designs don’t look as good in photos as they do in person. Bright shades of pink and orange look entirely different on camera, and can take on an entirely different appearance from what you planned. Embellishments may look cheap or may not be noticeable at all, in certain combinations and colors. Consider these factors when you choose your bridesmaids dresses. Think of how the colors will go with the bridesmaids bouquets and rest of the accessories like shoes and jewelry. Take sample photos to make sure it doesn’t clash with the complexion or hair colors of the girls. This will save you from being disappointed when the colors in your wedding album don’t match the ideas in your mind.

13.Compromising on your vision

It is important to give due thought to your bridesmaids opinions when choosing their dress However, this shouldn’t be at the expense of compromising on your wedding vision. Always keep your ideas and priorities in mind when planning their look. Be flexible, open to suggestions and listen to your bridesmaids suggestions. Nevertheless, the dresses you choose should match your wedding theme and colors, and be appropriate for the type of wedding you have in mind. It should be a reflection of your personal style and taste. As your bridesmaids will feature with you in many photographs and will be a big part of the overall wedding scenery, you shouldn’t take this decision too lightly. Don’t give in to any amount of coaxing, or sway too much from your personal vision. After all, it is your special day.

At Best for Bride, we have an impressive collection of bridesmaids dresses in all sizes, styles and designs. Whether your wedding is held indoors or outdoors, is in summer or winter and whether your bridesmaids are all the same height or look totally different from each other, we have the solution for all your needs. Take a look at our online bridesmaids gallery to view our collection. You can also find attractive discounts and the current deals in bridesmaids dresses in our special offers and clearance sections. For more details about the rest of our services and the stock we carry, visit our Best for Bride website.