Bridesmaids Dress Selection: Wedding Planning

Today’s post is one that I am SO excited about! I have been dying to do a post about bridesmaids dress selection for months now… the only problem? I’ve never been a bride myself! I can only share what I’ve learned during my time in the industry, and while I do feel this information is valuable, it may be different than what brides have actually experienced themselves!

It is important to me that this post offers up some solid and practical advice so… I consulted my panel of experts: YOU! A few weeks ago, I put out a post on social, and my heart was filled right up to the top with gratitude for my community. Y’all know your stuff and poured out so much valuable information to help other brides! THANK YOU, friends! It means the world to me to know that you want to help other brides too!

I started to edit down each comment to the meat and potatoes of each, but I quickly found that each comment had such valuable and unique information that I had to include EVERYTHING!

This post is long but filled with so much goodness. Just in case you are bookmarking to come back to read later and wanted a few highlights:

  • I loved how so many brides mentioned that they wanted their bridesmaids to not only look beautiful but to feel beautiful too!
  • Budget was a top priority for almost every bride and bride-to-be!
  • Don’t be afraid to let your girls pick what they want to wear within your own parameters! (It is totally fair to approve dresses before they are ordered!)
  • Sometimes the same dress won’t work for everyone, and that is OKAY! On the other side of that though, it is also okay to have your own vision… you’re the bride! Find a little bit of balance on both ends!

What the CKP community is saying:

Ciera O. (One of my sweet 2019 brides!!)

“I want my bridesmaids feeling comfortable and confident in what they are wearing. I am choosing the color and length of the dress and from there they can choose the style and where they buy it from. One of mine is ordering through Azazie and the other is doing a Bill Levkoff gown.”

Kerri F. (One of my sweet 2019 brides!!)

“I’ve been a bridesmaid about 8 times. I have never once reused a dress from a wedding. When I first started planning, I wanted to mix and match and florals. However, I came to my senses when I realized that I just want a simple wedding. So, I gave my girls full reign on their dress choice with the exception that it fell into the realm of dusty blue. Most, of not all ordered from Azazie for their affordability and quality.”

Shanna H. (One of my sweet 2019 brides!!)

“I know every bride hopes their bridesmaids can wear their dresses again, but I picked a warm neutral color for my fall wedding, in a color that I sincerely hope my bridesmaids can wear again for formal occasions! I also wanted to respect their budgets and went with styles from Dessy. I narrowed down to two colors I liked and let them vote on the final one.”

Katie M. (One of my sweet 2018 brides!!)

“My top priority was to keep the cost as low as possible! My second priority was to make the process really easy because all of my girls are from different states. Azazie.com helped me accomplish both of these things. They also had the perfect color I was picturing. So I chose about 7 different styles and let my girls choose what best fit them! It was all about keeping my bridesmaids happy (and comfortable!) since they did so much for me!”

Savannah S.

“Ok so, I personally didn’t have bridesmaids (whole other story and blog post) but if I had, I would have wanted to do something fun and different! I always have loved the idea of floral bridesmaids dresses and if there is a very large wedding party, mix in a few solids. Plum Pretty Sugar makes GORGEOUS ones. That’s what I would have done!! I haven’t had the chance to photograph and floral bridesmaids dresses yet either. Girls, get on this trend!!”  

Kaitlyn S. (One of my sweet 2019 brides!!)

“Well, the colors were a no-brainer because, anyone who knows me at all, knows my love for all shades of purple. I liked making my MOH feel just a little more individual than everyone else— a wedding I was in did that, and I absolutely loved the contrast of colors.

For the designer, I chose a designer that I had worn in a wedding myself. The dresses were fairly inexpensive (as far as attire for a wedding party goes) and incredibly comfortable. Finally, the styles— I let my girls pick their own. My bridal party consists of a variety of shapes and sizes and, to me, there’s nothing worse than being forced to buy and wear something that you don’t like or don’t feel comfortable in. I gave them very loose instructions— same designer, same designer line, same color. After that, it was up to them to find something that they felt confident in!

The only advice I will give is to have an idea of what you like but definitely allow for a little wiggle room (i.e. letting the girls have input on styles that they’re comfortable in/not comfortable in). At the end of the day, it’s the bride’s decision; however, I tried to be accommodating without straying from my vision!”

Ashley P.

“All my girls were various sizes and shapes and had different budgets, so I wanted them to not only be comfortable in their dresses but to feel beautiful without straining their budget. Logistically the same dress would not have worked for everyone. So we picked a color (and eventual collaboratively a brand) and everyone got to pick whatever they wanted within though constraints as long as it fit the mood of the wedding. Everyone was gorgeous and happy.”

Carla B.

“I’m letting my bridesmaids choose their dresses but provided them the color palette to work with. I will still need to approve the dresses.”

Liz C. (One of my sweet 2018 brides!!)

“We used Bird Grey for our wedding and absolutely LOVED it! my bridesmaids are all different shapes and sizes, including one mama-to-be, and I wanted them all to feel comfortable and confident on our day! We picked a simple, classic color and let all of the girls choose whatever style they liked! all of the girls picked dresses they loved, and I love how good they each looked and felt in the dress they chose.”

My thoughts on bridesmaids dress selection:

Oh goodness… I’m trying to keep this short, but I could write a whole blog post on this myself! A few things that I really love and appreciate in bridesmaids dresses:

  • A comfortable and confident bridesmaid is a happy bridesmaid! It makes the day so much easier when your crew feels good. Do make sure that you are giving everyone an option to wear something that they’ll feel comfortable wearing for an extended period of time.
  • Don’t be shy about mixing tones, patterns, and textures. This is an amazing way to add a little extra pop to your wedding party photos.
  • As a photographer, I love when brides opt for lighter colored dresses: think dusty blues, blush or light pinks, creams, light corals, sage green, etc.
  • Dress rental is a tempting option, but I’ve found that many of the sources for renting bridesmaids dresses have been closing at a pretty alarming rate. At this time, I personally recommend saving yourself the sweat of potentially having to make a last-minute pivot. There are plenty of affordable retailers out there that fit many budgets.
  • Budget is key! The cost of being in a wedding can be a lot for someone to take on! Add in the cost of the dress, alterations, shoes, and potentially jewelry, and the price tag of everything quickly adds up! It doesn’t hurt to have a conversation with your girls about what they can reasonably spend on a bridesmaids dress!

 

A few of my favorite bridesmaids gown retailers:

  • BHLDN
  • Bella Bridesmaids
  • Birdy Grey
  • Plum Pretty Sugar
  • Azazie
  • Rent the Runway
    • This is probably the ONLY bridesmaids gown rental service that I would recommend at the time of posting. Yes, you would be renting as a normal customer would, but, I’ve seen so many bridesmaids rental companies close in the last year. I would hate to recommend something, only for you to be left hanging if they were to close too.

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