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The Bride's guide to choosing Bridesmaid Dresses in Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton and Barrie

After the wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses are the most important dresses you will choose for your wedding day. These dresses are to be worn by the women most dear to you; your sisters and close friends who are very important in your life and your wedding. The dresses you choose for them will also contribute to the wedding theme, as it will make a huge visual impact on your guests. Hence, bridesmaid dress selection is not to be taken lightly.

Most brides will have at least three bridesmaids. Picking out a dress that will suit their different skin tones, body frames and budgetary constraints is difficult. Nevertheless, being an enlightened shopper and involving your bridesmaids in the selection can help you make a better choice. Here are the most important aspects to consider when making your decision.

Factors to consider when choosing maid of honor gowns

Bridesmaid dress collections come in a dizzying array of colors, so you can find almost any color you want. The common practice is to choose colors that tie to the wedding theme. However, you should remember that not all colors suit all skin tones equally. Different colors suit different skin tones, and there are only few universally flattering colors, like navy, black and white, that look good on most complexions. Some other popular elegant tones are burgundy bridesmaids dresses, champagne bridesmaids dresses and gold bridesmaids dresses. In general, saturated colors and deep jewel tones work on most skin tones. The other option is to be flexible with the color palette, as this will allow your bridesmaids a certain amount of freedom in the dress color they choose.

dress color
Bridesmaids dress collections feature dresses in different silhouettes, hemlines, neckline styles and sleeve lengths. When choosing a dress, you should remember that not every cut will work for every body-type. The modified A-line silhouette, where the dress snugly fits the body up to the hips, and then continues into the A-shape, is a universally flattering style. The other choice is the empire-style that looks good on most body types. You can also choose a general theme and color, and allow your bridesmaids to make individual choices that work for them. By keeping the hemlines consistent, the overall look comes together easily.

keeping the hemlines consistent
Like wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses come in different fabric and finishes. Chiffon, Georgette, Silk, Lace, Duchess Satin, Organza and Charmeuse are only some of the various available options. The choice of fabric dictates the finish of the dress. Chiffon and Georgette are light weight, soft, flowing and cool, making these fabrics ideal for daytime and outdoor weddings. Others like Satin and Charmeuse are heavy with a silky sheen, making it a good choice for formal night time weddings. The finish of a dress also determines its drape. Taffeta, Dupioni and voile are crisp and structured, while Chiffon and Jersey are soft with a lot of bounce.

Taffeta, Dupioni and voile are crisp and structured
Bridesmaids are expected to be very active throughout the wedding day. They will be involved in tasks like helping the bride get ready and attending to wedding guests. Keeping these factors in mind, the ideal dress would be functional and pretty at the same time. It shouldn't wrinkle easily, nor should it hamper their movement. It should also be practical for the weather and the venue. Fabrics like chiffon and silk are good in summer and spring, while satin and velvet are better suited for autumn and winter. If you are considering strapless or short styles, make sure that your bridesmaids are comfortable wearing them, before making your decision.

comfortable bridesmaid dress
Your bridesmaids will be most comfortable in dresses that suit their personal style and comfort level. It is a good idea to invite suggestions from your bridesmaids before you shop for their dresses, and make your choice based on their opinions. It is also important to consider whether you would prefer them to wear short bridesmaids gowns or long bridesmaids gowns as both are very different. As well as, the choice between strapless and long sleeve bridesmaids dresses is a big decision. Although the final decision is yours, your friends will be happier if you consider their feedback.

bridesmaids dresses that suit personal style
Bridesmaid dress trends are constantly evolving, with updates that follow the general fashion scene every season. Most designers model their latest bridesmaids dress collections based on recent trends on the catwalk and runway. By choosing dresses that feature the latest trends, you can help your bridesmaids look modern and chic. Otherwise, stick to classic designs that your girls can reuse for other formal events. Although many brides choose to have matching dresses for their bridesmaids, the popular trend is to mix and match dresses, which makes things easier and interesting. You can either choose a designer and fabric, or a color, and let your bridesmaids pick any dress that fits this scheme.

recent trends on the catwalk and runway
The dress is one of the most expensive wedding-related purchases for a bridesmaid. A typical bridesmaid gown can cost anywhere between $150 and $250. Alterations and accessories are additional expenses. Also, this is only one of the many other costs they will have to bear, on account of your wedding. A considerate bride would be sensitive to everyone's financial situation, when choosing their dress. You should ask them to spend only a fair amount, and it is sensible to cover the difference in cost yourself, if you want a dress that is over their budget. Make use of special offers like discounts on bulk booking of dresses for your bridal party, or choose from dresses on sale to considerably save costs.

Challenges in choosing the bridesmaids dresses

Choosing the right bridesmaids dresses is not an easy task, for many reasons. While tying the overall look to the wedding theme, it is also necessary to keep everyone in the wedding party happy with your choice. Let us discuss these unique challenges faced by a bride, in more detail.
Traditionally, the bridesmaid dress would match the bride's attire. This tradition is no longer followed, as brides in the white wedding dress usually stand out from the rest of the wedding party. Nonetheless, it would be odd if your bridal look was entirely different from that of the bridesmaids. The fabric and feel of the bridesmaids gowns should complement your wedding dress, so the overall look comes together style-wise. You can achieve this by matching specific elements of your wedding dress, like the neckline and embellishments, with the bridesmaids dresses. Remember that it isn't necessary that the dresses match your wedding gown exactly. Instead, aim to choose dresses that complement yours.
Your bridesmaids contribute to the wedding theme in a significant way. Since they will be sharing the stage with you during the wedding ceremony and will be part of most of the wedding photographs, their outfits should match the wedding theme. If your chosen theme follows a specific color palette, like autumn colors or pastels, it is easy to pick your bridesmaids dress colors. You should also match their dress choice to the formality of the event and the venue where it is held, by picking a suitable fabric, silhouette and style. One option is to choose neutral colored dresses for your wedding party, and integrate them with the theme, by throwing in suitable accessories like shoes, jewelry, belts or wraps.
One of the biggest worries for bridesmaids is how hideous they will look in the dress chosen by the bride. While they do not want to upstage the bride, neither do they want to look ugly. You thus have a difficult task choosing dresses that match your wedding vision, while simultaneously ensuring that nobody is unhappy with your choice. When you go with a single choice in color and design, there is the risk that at least some of your bridesmaids may look pale, sick or fat in it. Your bridesmaids would prefer to have a say in what they will wear on your wedding day, and it is helpful if you are flexible in accommodating their preferences to a certain extent. Nevertheless, keep in mind that it is your special day, and you shouldn't compromise too much, just so everyone is happy.
Whether you choose matching dresses for all your girls, or they are all in entirely different dresses, your ultimate aim is to have a cohesive look for the entire bridal party. Only then will your wedding be picture perfect. When you highlight each woman's individuality with a dress that she loves, the risk of having a disjointed bridal party increases. To eliminate this risk when you go with the mix 'n' match option, follow these pointers.
  • Stick to a single length for all the dresses, while varying other factors
  • Vary no more than two or three features
  • Pick different colors in the same design
  • Pick the color and fabric, and ask them to choose a suitable silhouette
  • Achieve a cohesive look by using accessories that are the same

Tips to make maid of honour dress shopping less stressful

Finding the perfect apparel for your bridesmaids is no easy feat. Follow these tips to save yourself from stress when choosing your bridesmaids dresses.
To easily find dresses that work together, be open-minded when looking at options. Be prepared to consider dresses that aren't identical, if you can't find a single choice that works for all your bridesmaids. Mix and match styles, so it is easier to find dresses that match the theme, while keeping your girls happy. Additionally, if your bridesmaids lose or gain weight during your engagement period, reconsidering your original options will save your sanity and make things a lot easier for everyone.
Your bridesmaids know that they will be footing the bill for a new dress, when they agree to take on the role. However, they needn't be too excited about it if the dress you choose is one that doesn't flatter them. If you give them the license to choose their dress based on a set of guidelines, your bridesmaids will be much happier. Include them in the decision, value their suggestions, and take them shopping with you; the result will be more enjoyable and productive. However, remember that it is your day. So, don't forget the big picture, as you try to satisfy everyone.
When you choose silhouettes and colors that flatter most body shapes and skin tones, the dresses will suit most of your bridal party. If your bridesmaids have differing skin tones, stay away from colors that may wash out or clash with any of their complexions or hair colors. When choosing silhouettes, either choose dresses in universally flattering styles or vary the choice according to the body type of your bridesmaids.
Each of your bridesmaids will have different dress sizes, body structures and also different personalities. Let their individuality shine, by allowing each of them to choose their dress that best suits their body shapes. When you have both petite and plus-size women, or women from different age groups in your bridal party, they will appreciate the option to pick their own style. You will also not have to worry about disappointing anyone with your unique choices.
Begin shopping for your bridesmaids dresses at least six months before your wedding date. This will allow sufficient time for the dresses to arrive and for alterations, so they perfectly fit. The alterations may be as simple as raising the hemline, or taking it in to fit correctly. Nevertheless, this will take time, and it is better your bridesmaids schedule their fitting appointments well ahead of the big day, so they get it done on time.
Bridesmaid dress selection is not easy, and as we have seen, there are several factors to figure in. Don't stress yourself out by handling everything on your own. Enlist the help of your maid of honor or another capable bridesmaid, so you can share responsibility for tasks like the selection process, placing orders and getting the dresses in on time. You can also delegate the responsibility of getting the bridesmaids to their fitting appointments, and choosing the accessories to your maid of honor.

Frequently Asked Questions - Bridesmaids Dresses

1. When should you shop for bridesmaid dresses?
Bridesmaids should shop for their gowns at least six or seven months before the wedding. This will allow enough time for delivery and alterations after receiving the dress. If you shop closer to the wedding date, you may incur rush charges for quick delivery. Or you may have to settle for an off-the-rack dress.
2. Where can I find good-quality bridesmaid dresses?
When buying designer bridesmaid dresses, make sure that you shop at authorized shops only to ensure that you get authentic pieces. Good quality designer bridesmaid gowns are available at bridal stores like Best for Bride. We feature a variety of designer bridesmaid collections and carry a wide range of dress styles.
3. How much do designer bridesmaid gowns cost?
Bridesmaids gowns come in all price ranges. You can expect to pay $150 or more for designer bridesmaids from top brands. Apart from the actual price of the dress, you will also have to add alteration charges and the cost of accessories to your budget.
4. Who pays for bridesmaid dresses?
The bride usually picks out the dress or at least gives the defining criteria for bridesmaid dress selection. However, the bridesmaids pay for their dresses. In exceptional cases, when the bride decides on an expensive dress or when the bridesmaid can’t afford to foot the bill, the bride may pay for the dress.
5. Who goes shopping for bridesmaid gowns?
The bride usually chooses the dresses for the bridesmaids. In this case, the bride goes shopping and narrows down the selection to few gowns. The bridesmaids make the final choices from these dresses at a later appointment. However, in certain cases, brides specify certain requirements and let bridesmaids find dresses that meet these criteria.
6. Do all bridesmaid gowns have to match?
Bridesmaids do not have to match. If there are a few cohesive elements that bring the overall look together, bridesmaid gowns can be different. These elements can be the color, fabric, silhouette or style. Keeping one or more of these elements consistent across the group will ensure that the overall look isn’t disjointed. Mixing and matching bridesmaid dresses will also make the entire wedding party more interesting.
7. Do bridesmaid dresses need alterations?
Most bridesmaid gowns will need alterations. Bridesmaid dresses are ordered in the closest size on the designer's sizing chart. This means that it may not match your exact measurements. After receiving the dress, you will have to get it altered by a seamstress. You will typically need one or two fittings for this purpose.
8. How long will it take to receive bridesmaid dresses?
Bridesmaid dress orders can take nearly three months. You will need another month for one or two alteration sessions to get the dress to fit you perfectly. If you complete your shopping six months before the wedding, you should have enough time to receive the dress as well as complete alterations.
You can also read more here:
10 Bridesmaid Dress Styles That Look Great On ANY Body Type on
25 Bridesmaids Who Killed the Fashion Game With Unique Bridesmaid Dresses on

At Best for Bride, we have bridesmaids collections to fit every budget and featuring dresses suitable for every body type, complexion and personality. Browse through the different designer collections we carry, and you are bound to enjoy the experience of finding the right dresses for every one of your favorite girls.

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