If you’ve ever been asked to be a bridesmaid, you probably first felt excitement over being asked to be a big part of your friend’s big day… and then you may have felt dread over what sort of dress that you might be asked to wear. Terrible bridesmaid dresses are a common movie trope: matching dresses that may have been fashionable a few decades ago, a color that suits no one’s skin tone, over priced and so ornate that you’ll never be able to wear it again. It’s all a nightmare. Brides, you have lots of options to save your friends from awful dresses — and a lot of them will save you from obsessing over dresses other than your own!

Pick a Color

Picking a color and having all of your bridesmaids pick a dress they like in that color is a great, hopefully stress-free option. This works particularly well if you ask all of your bridesmaids to pick a dress by the same designer (or store) to help with cohesion and making sure that everyone is actually wearing the same color instead of having six slightly different shades of periwinkle. Letting your bridesmaids all pick the style of their dress can ensure that everyone has a dress they feel comfortable in. Your tall, thin childhood best friend will probably pick a different dress from your short and curvy sister and that’s okay! They’ll all be wearing something that suits them.

Mismatched

Mismatched dresses works well if you have lots of bridesmaids. You can pick a few different styles of dress and let your ladies pick whichever dress they like, hopefully resulting in a few in one style, a few in another to make it all seem balanced. If you go this route make sure the dresses fit differently: maybe one style would be strapless while another has cap sleeves. This can give your bridesmaids a lot more choice. Make sure there’s a roughly even mix of dresses in this case.

Same Dress, Different Color

If you’re concerned about your color choices not flattering everyone, you might consider picking a dress style and having your bridesmaids choose from your colors that way they can pick a color that suits their complexion. This works well if your wedding colors contrast each other. Half of your girls in blue, half in yellow works better than a few varying shades of pink.

Pick An Aesthetic

Your bridesmaids don’t actually have to match at all — they may not actually be in what one would consider a traditional bridesmaids dress. Do you have a wedding theme or vibe you’re going for? Consider having your bridesmaids come up with an outfit that suits that. If you’re going for a rockabilly vibe, your bridesmaids could all pick mid-century inspired dresses. This also works well with super themed nerdy weddings: if you’re in it for costumes, your friends probably will be too.

All Matching

This is the traditional choice and it deserves a mention. Having all of your bridesmaids in identical dresses can be a very nice option, especially if you’re having a traditional, formal wedding. If you go this route, keep your bridesmaids’ preferences in mind. It’s a great choice to make together or at least with your maid of honor — just keep in mind that one style of dress won’t fit all of your bridesmaids the same so you’ll have some wiggle room in your vision.

Bonus: Men In The Bridal Party

Many modern bridal parties aren’t segregated by gender — especially in the case of a same sex wedding. If you would like to set your Bride’s Men apart from your groom or partner’s entourage, you might consider putting them in the same suit as the other men at the wedding but with different colored accents. This also goes for if there is a woman on the “men’s” side- she can have a dress similar to the bridesmaids, but perhaps in another color. There are no hard and fast rules here, so choose whatever you like and feels right for your friends and family.

It’s your special day, but that doesn’t mean your bridesmaids can’t look great, too. What are your favorite bridesmaid styles?

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