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Bridesmaid Styling Guide | Wedding Planning

When it comes to styling your bridesmaids there are so many ways to approach the task. The best-case scenario for dressing your squad is to ensure that they'll be investing in something that they'll wear beyond the wedding day and look absolutely fabulous standing by your side. There are so many fun, festive, and functional ways to style your bridesmaids (and possibly bridesmen) who will be standing by your side as you say "I do." As you start to plan their looks, we recommend considering four main elements: style, length, colors, and matching versus mismatched.

La Jolla California Wedding
Danielle Harris Photography

Style and Substance

As you start to define the general style of your squad's attire, consider their comfort, the venue, the season of the event, and even the guests' dress code. While none of these items necessarily rule out a specific look entirely, it can be a great starting point. Be mindful of the season of the event and whether or not the group will need accessories like a shawl to keep warm, or a light fabric to stay cool. Comfort and accessibility are key, so be sure to consider the budget of your nearest and dearest as well as their physical comfort. This means thinking of everything from different body types and phases in life (pregnant bridesmaids deserve to be comfy too!), how low cut or conservative a look is, and whether or not any of your squad would prefer a complementary look with pants or a jumpsuit. Find the sweet spot between your hopes for the look and feel of your bridal party and the way they feel. After all, a person who feels their best will be at their best, and it shows in the photos!

The Long and Short of It

Depending on the wedding venue, season, and time of day it can be fun to experiment with different dress lengths. While full-length dresses are always a safe bet, high-low dresses and tea-length are often more versatile if you're looking for something your bridesmaids can wear again. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend considering the following:

Full-Length Gown: Pairs well with black-tie or formal dress codes, but for a laid-back, summery affair, look for dresses with light, airy fabrics.

Midi/Tea-Length: Perfect for both indoor and outdoor events. Dress it up by choosing silk, satin, or velvet for formal soirees. Light, flowy fabrics are great for warmer months or to make the look more casual.

High-Low: The style that can just as easily go formal or casual. Ideal for a more formal, garden or beachfront event where a full gown may be difficult to navigate the terrain.

Just Above or at the Knee: Ideal for a more casual or cocktail style event. For a more formal affair provide your group with matching jewelry as a gift to dress it up.

White Bridesmaid Dresses
Stoffer Photography

Start Spreading the Hues

When it comes to picking the color story for the bridesmaid dresses look to the wedding day details. You've selected the colors for your invitations, floral elements, venue, all of which can be a great source of inspiration. Take cues from all of the important details of the day to guide your color choices, but remember that there are no hard and fast rules. Over the last decade, thanks in part to Pippa Middleton's standout presence at Will and Kate's wedding, white bridesmaid gowns have become a fixture in weddings across the globe, so if you can't decide on a color that you absolutely love, this is an excellent option. It immediately elevates the look in the same way elegant, simple black dresses do and can be made super casual or ultra formal.

Find Your Mismatch

Gone are the days where the bridal party was expected to don cookie cutter looks. Modern couples take this fun twist on wedding party attire into their own hands with intentionally mismatched styling. The style experts over at Green Wedding Shoes suggest keeping to one of the following categories, “monochrome, complementary, patterns, and tonal” when selecting the theme of your mismatched looks. Once you've selected one of those, try to keep the other details as similar as possible.

To keep it cohesive, provide the group with clear communication of your ideal look. Whether that means providing a quick little Pinterest board with the color and pattern options you want them to pick from or providing suggested links for pieces that would work, conveying your vision is key. One of the easiest ways to dabble in mixing and matching is to provide the crew with your color of choice and allow them to pick out the style of dress that best suits their body and comfort. Another foolproof way to dip your toe in the pond of mismatched dresses is by asking your Maid of Honor to choose a unique look and keep the others in more similar looks. This is also a great time to revisit whether or not some of your attendants would prefer an alternative look. There are so many ultra-chic and formal ways to style pants and jumpsuits, from finding corresponding colors to adding a tie or pocket square within your color story, so don't let the traditions of years gone by deter you from honoring your squad's needs.

Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses
Violet Short Photography

Choosing the style of for your bridesmaid looks, with so many details to consider from aesthetics to personalities can feel daunting . However, weddings are becoming less about the fitting into a specific mold and more about honoring what couples truly want for their day. Whether that means you choose to put your squad in mismatched looks or an untraditional color palette, the world is your oyster. Using these pointers and the magic of social media as inspiration creating a chic, magazine-worthy bridal party has never been easier!

If you are a BDE Couple, login and check out our recommended vendors list for where to snag those wedding party digs!

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