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When it comes to bridesmaid fashion, there’s more than meets the eye. We’ve all heard stories of bridesmaids’ dresses gone wrong – ill-fitting gowns, unflattering styles, and the collective dread of having to wear a dress chosen by someone else. So, how do you find the best bridesmaids dresses?

In this guide, Kathleen and Erin, the brilliant mother-daughter duo behind Bella Bridesmaids, share their extensive knowledge in bridesmaid fashion that will equip you with invaluable insights into the latest trends, tips, and expert advice for selecting the perfect bridesmaid dresses.

The Ever-Evolving World of Bridesmaid Dresses

The bridesmaid fashion industry has undergone a remarkable transformation over time, reflecting changing fashion trends and cultural shifts. In the early 20th century, bridesmaids often wore dresses that mirrored the bride’s gown, with modest, floor-length silhouettes and intricate lace detailing. As the 20th century progressed, styles became more diverse, with bridesmaids donning everything from pastel tea-length dresses in the 1950s to vibrant, disco-inspired ensembles in the 1970s. The 1980s saw a surge in puffed sleeves and satin, while the 1990s favored simple slip dresses. In recent years, there has been a shift toward more versatile and modern designs, with mix-and-match bridesmaid dresses, a wide range of colors, and varied hem lengths. Today, bridesmaid dresses are a reflection of individuality and personal style, celebrating the diverse backgrounds and tastes of the bridal party while maintaining a cohesive and visually pleasing look for the wedding.

Most recently, bridesmaid dresses have taken on a more ready-to-wear appearance, prompting designers to push boundaries and offer a greater variety in fabrics, prints, textures, and beadwork. Brides now seek curated, unique, and stylish dresses that complement both the wedding’s theme and the individual styles of their bridesmaids.

Things to Consider When Selecting Bridesmaid Dresses

How Much Should you Pay for Bridesmaid Dresses?

We acknowledge the need to balance quality and affordability. We aim to offer dresses that brides and bridesmaids can be proud of while remaining within the $150 to $350 price range, a sweet spot for many. Keep in mind that the bridesmaids usually cover the cost of their dresses, so it’s crucial to choose dresses that are affordable and comfortable for them. Open communication about budget constraints and preferences will help ensure a positive and stress-free dress shopping experience for everyone involved.

Dress Alterations

Bridesmaid dresses often require alterations. This is a reality that many bridesmaids may not anticipate when purchasing a dress, but it’s a crucial step in achieving the perfect fit. Alterations can make a world of difference in how a dress looks and feels, and it’s an essential part of the bridesmaid dress journey. One of the common misconceptions about bridesmaid dresses is the cost of alterations. It’s not unusual for bridesmaids to spend almost as much on alterations as they did on the dress itself. This additional expense can be a surprise for some. The cost of alterations can vary based on the tailor and the extent of alterations required, but Kathleen and Erin at Bella Bridesmaids explain that they strive to offer recommendations that are both cost-effective and skilled.

Planning Your Timeline

Many brides come and ask us how long do bridesmaid dresses take to come in? Understanding the timeline is crucial to avoid any disappointment. We always recommend ordering dresses well in advance, with a recommendation to shop at least seven months before the wedding. This allows ample time for dresses to be ready and leave room for alterations.

In-Store Experience vs. Online

While online shopping has its merits, there’s something irreplaceable about physically trying on dresses, seeing colors, and feeling fabrics in person. It’s encouraged that brides and bridesmaids visit bridal salons whenever possible as professional consultants can help you find the right dresses and provide invaluable insights.

Mixing and Matching with Ease

Mixing and matching bridesmaid dresses is a popular trend. You can choose a common element, like a color or fabric, and allow your bridesmaids to pick dresses that suit their body types and styles, while still harmonizing with the wedding’s overall aesthetic. This approach adds variety and can be more flattering for different body shapes. However, achieving the mix-and-match look requires some finesse. So, what is the best way to coordinate bridesmaid dresses?

Start by defining your overall wedding vision and theme. Consider the venue, color scheme, season, and any specific style or theme you want to incorporate into your wedding. Your bridal gown should be your focal point. Consider its style, color, and level of formality, as this can influence the choice of bridesmaid dresses.

Before bringing your bridesmaids to choose their dresses, consider scheduling a preview appointment. This helps streamline the process, allowing you to narrow down options before involving the entire bridal party. Bringing too many people to the initial appointment can lead to conflicting opinions and overwhelm. While it’s important to have a vision for your bridesmaid dresses, remain open to your bridesmaids’ suggestions and feedback. They may also have ideas that enhance the overall look.

Consider Your Bridesmaids’ Comfort

It’s important to consider your bridesmaids’ comfort and preferences, after all, they are the ones wearing the dresses. As a bride, you may have a specific color or style in mind, but achieving a balance is crucial. Remember that the most important thing is that your bridesmaids feel comfortable and beautiful in the dresses you choose. Consider their input and aim for a coordinated bridesmaid look that enhances the overall aesthetic of your wedding.

We suggest taking a step back and first envisioning your wedding photos. Consider how the dresses will look together, how they complement your bridal gown, and how they fit the venue. Take into account the various body types, sizes, and personal styles of your bridesmaids. Your friends are there to support you, so ensure they are comfortable with their choices.

Choosing Colors Wisely

When thinking about what color is best for bridesmaid dresses, it’s best to select a color palette that complements your wedding theme and venue. You can opt for a single color, various shades of a color, or even a combination of complementary colors. Ensure that the chosen colors work well together.

While neutral colors like champagne, blush, and soft pastels have been popular choices, there is a shift toward more diverse color palettes. If you have your heart set on a particular color but are unsure if it suits everyone, consider incorporating that color into other elements of the wedding, such as bouquets, decorations, and table settings. We’ve seen a rising trend in champagne dresses for bridesmaids and bridesmaid dresses in sage green.

Dresses for every season

The season in which your wedding takes place will influence your bridesmaid dress choices. Selecting bridesmaid dresses tailored to each season is a thoughtful way to ensure that your bridal party looks and feels comfortable while complementing the ambiance of your wedding.

Spring: For spring weddings, consider pastel and light colors like blush pink, mint green, or soft lavender. Opt for breathable fabrics such as chiffon or tulle. A-line or tea-length bridesmaids dresses work well in spring. Incorporate floral accessories like hairpins or bouquets for a fresh, seasonal touch.

Summer: Choose lightweight and airy fabrics like cotton or organza to keep your bridesmaids cool in the summer heat. Bold, vibrant colors or tropical prints can be a fun choice. The best bridesmaid dresses for summer include shorter dress lengths or flowy maxi dresses that best suit the season. Strappy or halter necklines are also perfect for showcasing a summer tan.

Fall: Embrace the rich, warm tones of autumn with colors like burgundy, deep red, or mustard yellow. Heavier fabrics like velvet or satin are excellent choices. Dresses with sleeves or longer hemlines can keep your bridesmaids cozy. Don’t forget to add seasonal accessories like shawls or wraps for cooler evenings.

Winter: Opt for elegant and luxurious fabrics like satin, silk, or velvet for winter bridesmaid dresses. Classic colors like deep navy, emerald green, or wine red evoke a wintery feel. Consider long sleeves and full-length gowns to keep your bridesmaids warm. Faux fur stoles or capes can add a touch of sophistication to their look, along with sparkly accessories to match the winter wonderland theme.

Dresses for the Rehearsal Dinner

Selecting bridesmaid dresses for the rehearsal dinner is an opportunity to showcase your bridesmaids’ style and individuality in a more relaxed setting. The key is to strike a balance between elegance and comfort. Consider dresses that are cohesive in color or style but don’t necessarily need to match exactly. Opt for fabrics that are suitable for a dinner setting, like chiffon, crepe, or even a stylish jumpsuit. It’s also a great idea to choose outfits that can be worn again for other occasions, ensuring your bridesmaids get more mileage out of their attire. Engage your bridesmaids in the decision-making process and take into account their preferences and body types, as you want them to feel confident and beautiful during this pre-wedding celebration.

Finding the perfect bridesmaid dress is a task that requires thoughtful consideration and attention to detail. From setting a budget to taking into account the season, theme, and body types of your bridesmaids, the process involves multiple steps. The key to success is open communication with your bridesmaids, visiting bridal shops, and staying open to feedback. Ultimately, a perfect bridesmaid dress should not only enhance the beauty of your bridal party but also make your bridesmaids feel comfortable and confident. So, take your time, enjoy the process, and remember that finding the perfect bridesmaid dress is an essential part of creating a beautiful and harmonious wedding day.

If you have any questions or need further guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out.
You can connect with us at hello@thestylishbride.com