Picking out bridesmaid dresses

“And you’ll definitely be able to wear it again, isn’t it great?!”

This is one of the most common phrases every bridesmaid hears regarding the dresses selected for the bridal party.  Is it true?  Well, it’s not often true, but it’s been known to happen.  In my six (to date) turns as a bridesmaid, I’ve worn one dress again.  It was when I was a bridesmaid in another wedding, but it still counts!

Some words of wisdom and things to keep in mind when choosing your bridesmaid dresses:

  • Choose wisely – you could be in one of their weddings and in the bridesmaid hot seat next
  • Stay away from fabrics that are very shiny and very clingy – dresses like that are really only meant for .01% of the population
Step away from the gold lamé and no one gets hurt

Step away from the gold lamé and no one gets hurt

  • Decide how important it is that your bridesmaids all wear the exact same dress – consider letting your ladies choose their neckline style, shades of the same color, etc.
Same color family, similar lengths, different dresses. Courtesy InStyle.com

Same color family, similar lengths, different dresses. Courtesy InStyle.com

Same color dresses, different necklines. Courtesy InStyle.com

Same color dresses, different necklines. Courtesy InStyle.com

  • Take all or some of your bridesmaid to the store so they can model the options for you – more often than not, brides end up going with a different style after seeing their initial choices on their friends
  • Is a dress the best choice?  Consider two-piece mix ‘n match combinations that many stores are now offering.  David’s Bridal has a great tool where you can match up different separates with accessories to see which look you like best.
  • Try to choose a store that has a wide selection – David’s Bridal is one great option.  They have a huge selection of bridesmaid dresses in a wide range of sizes and colors.  Other popular chain stores include Alfred Angelo and J. Crew (they always have a decent selection of dresses on sale). Another up and coming brand I’ve heard a lot about is Melissa Sweet – her dresses are lovely, but they’re not the most affordable option
  • Unless you’re planning to purchase the gowns for your bridesmaids, make sure to pick a dress that everyone can afford
  • Like when you purchase a wedding dress, leave enough time to place the order and make any alterations if necessary

I’ve worn four black dresses, one baby blue and one deep lilac dress.  The blue one was donated to a charity, two of the black ones are collecting dust in my closet, I wore one of the black ones twice (in my friend’s wedding and then in my sister’s wedding) and the purple one needs to be dry-cleaned before it joins the other black dresses in my closet.

Questions for both the bridesmaids and brides out there – how did you choose dresses?  Did you ever wear them again?  What did you do with them afterwards?

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6 Responses to Picking out bridesmaid dresses

  1. Mel says:

    Great advice – it’s so hard to pick for girls who are different shapes and sizes! I let my bridesmaids search for dresses and I gave them some little features I’d like them to wear – i.e. colour, kind of material and length. Luckily, they’ve found one and all agreed that they are lovely. I love my BMs!!!

  2. auschick says:

    Great tips :)

    I was lucky to have all my 3 sisters as my bridesmaids, and all of them are very similar body shapes. Since all but 1 were in Australia, my sister living in London came over for a few weeks and modeled a number of dresses until we found one that we both liked. Not sure if my sisters have worn their dresses again, but they looked good on the day :)

    I’ve actually worn most of mine multiple times, since I did classical singing for 4 years – whenever I went on stage, out came either a bridesmaid or prom dress :)

  3. Taylor says:

    Hi there! My name is Taylor and I’m helping plan a wedding. Its a beach wedding, so we want something casual but not TOO casual. The color is yellow, and I (one of the 4 bridesmaids) saw the photo from InStyle.com. I’ve been searching the Instyleweddings.com all night but could not find out where to buy those dresses! They are so gorgeous.

    Take care,

  4. I am searching perfect bridesmaid dresses for my wedding, I like to ask if anyone knows this designer? I stumbled upon on Etsy.


    Thank you

  5. Joya sharma says:

    My sister ‘s marrige comes on this month and I like the designs will you please show me more designs so that I can buy same dress

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