Wedding Photographer Approved: The Best Places to Shop for Bridesmaids Dresses | Wedding Planning

Tips for the best places to shop for bridesmaids dresses by Baltimore Photographer Cait Kramer

Newly engaged?! Congratulations! I know there are many things on your plate as you kick off the wedding planning process, so I’m here to make just one thing a little easier: shopping for bridesmaids dresses! As a wedding photographer (And someone who has been a bridesmaid in the past!), one question that always comes up during the planning process is, “Where should I shop for bridesmaids dresses?”

I’ve seen it all when it comes to wedding party attire. From gorgeous gowns that make every person wearing them feel confident to broken zippers, and dresses that may not be everyone’s favorites, I’ve learned that picking the perfect bridesmaids dresses can be a bit of an art. From selecting the perfect color(s) or pattern(s) to coordinate with your wedding design to choosing flattering styles and something well within everyone’s budget, selecting the perfect bridesmaid dress can bring a lot of pressure! After all, you want the people standing by your side on your wedding day to feel confident and excited in what they are wearing!

Throughout my time in the wedding industry, I’ve picked up on a number of tips, tricks, and hacks to help streamline your bridesmaid dress shopping, and today, I’m sharing just about everything I know! Let’s get started.

Factors to Consider When Shopping for Bridesmaids Dresses

Before we dive into the top places to shop for bridesmaids dresses, let’s first chat about the factors you should consider when selecting the perfect dresses for your bridal party.

  1. Color Scheme and Wedding Design: Your bridesmaids’ dresses should complement your wedding’s color scheme. Consider selecting a color that will look good on all of your bridesmaids, or opt for a mix-and-match style that allows each bridesmaid to choose a dress in a shade that flatters them. Bridesmaids’ dresses should speak to the overall design and level of formality of your wedding day, but more on that in a moment!
  2. Budget: Bridesmaids dresses can range in price from under $100 to over $500. Consider your bridesmaids’ budgets when selecting a dress, and be upfront with them about the cost— no one likes a hidden fee! Additionally, consider asking your crew what they would be comfortable spending prior to kicking off your shopping experience.
  3. Style: There are countless styles of bridesmaids dresses to choose from… long, short, strapless, high neck, one-shoulder, a-line… I could go on and on! Consider the formality of your wedding and the comfort level of your bridesmaids when selecting a dress style. Make sure that your dress complements both the vibe of your wedding and the comfort level of your bridesmaids.

Best Online Bridesmaid Dress Shops

I’m all about convenience, and knowing that many couples tying the knot have friends all around the country, shopping for a bridesmaids dress online makes life A LOT easier for your crew. Though there are boutiques that offer bridesmaids dresses in person, to keep things universal, I’m going to keep this post to just online spots. These are a few of my favorite tried-and-true bridesmaids dress shops that I think you’ll LOVE browsing.

1. Azazie

Azazie is an online bridesmaids dress shop that allows you to try on dresses at home before making a purchase. We used Azazie for my sister’s wedding, and they were amazing to work with! As a taller woman who usually doesn’t love how a standard dress fits me (Hellooooo cold ankles), I LOVED that they offered custom sized dresses with added length at an affordable price point. They offer a wide range of styles and colors at affordable prices, and their website makes it easy to find the perfect dress for your bridal party. Plus, you can order dresses to try on at home, ensuring your crew has confidence in the sizes and styles they will be wearing. They have SO many styles and colors to choose from— we had a BLAST shopping for dresses while my sister was planning her wedding.

2. Birdy Grey

Looking for something a bit more trendy? Birdy Grey is a chic online bridesmaids boutique that offers stylish dresses at affordable prices. I have had a number of brides that have used Birdy Grey, and their wedding parties looked stunning. They offer a range of styles and colors, and their website makes it easy to find dresses that will complement your wedding’s color scheme… plus, their social media presence is so much fun!

3. Revelry

Revelry has a large stock of chic, fashion forward bridesmaids dresses in sizes 0-36. With plenty of colors, styles, and fabric options, brides are sure to find gorgeous dresses that they AND their crew love. I’ve had a number of wedding parties utilize Revelry who have loved their experiences. Additionally, Revelry also offers an at-home try on option like Azazie.

4. Kennedy Blue

For classic styles at an affordable price, check out Kennedy Blue! With hundreds of dress styles in dozens of colors, you are sure to find styles that complement your wedding’s design. Additionally, Kennedy Blue also offers dresses for mothers and at-home try on options. I have seen their Dusty Blue color in person, and it is absolutely STUNNING! 10/10 would photograph their dresses again!

5. Show Me Your Mumu

Show Me Your Mumu is an online shop that offers a range of bohemian-inspired bridesmaids dresses. (Plus lots of other cute clothes!) They offer a range of styles and colors, including gorgeous floral patterns— a trend I’m LOVING for this year and beyond (But more on that in a second!). While I have never worked with a wedding party that has utilized Show Me Your Mumu, their chic styles and diverse color/patterns have caught my eye! So many of their dresses are perfect for outdoor and beach weddings.

Tips for Shopping for Bridesmaids Dresses

No matter where you opt to purchase your bridesmaids dresses, here are a few key items to keep in mind:

  1. Start Early: Bridesmaids dress shopping should begin at least six months before your wedding, if not before. Give your crew plenty of time for production, shipping, and alterations.
  2. Keep Your Mood Board Close: Keep your wedding mood board close on hand and reference it as you peruse styles and colors. Don’t be afraid to order multiple fabric swatches and samples from retailers. You can find a number in wedding resale groups too if you are looking to save during the shopping phase. If your crew will be ordering dresses in multiple sizes or colors, it may help to pop images of each dress that was selected into Canva prior to finalizing orders, just so you can see the full picture before it is locked in.
  3. Consider Comfort: Choose dresses and styles that are comfortable and wearable for your bridesmaids. Bustier gals may not love the same dresses as your friends with a flatter chest where as an expecting mama may not love (or even fit into!) the same style as your friends who are not expecting. I love seeing couples opt for mismatched dresses as this opens up lots of flexibility for bridesmaids to choose a dress they are most comfortable in.
  4. Be Flexible: Be open to different styles and colors to ensure that all of your bridesmaids look and feel their best. Keep in mind: mixed matching is in, so don’t be afraid to have some fun with your styling!

How to Choose the Right Bridesmaids Dresses for Your Wedding

Choosing the right bridesmaids dresses can be a daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! If you are anything like me and have total analysis paralysis, here are a few tips to keep in mind help you choose the perfect dresses for your crew with confidence:

  1. Consider Your Wedding’s Style: Choose dresses that complement your wedding’s style and formality. If you are having a beach-y wedding day, it probably wouldn’t make sense to have your gals in form-fitted full length dresses, right? Just like it may not make sense to have your gals in short above-the-knee dresses at a black tie affair. Opt for a bridesmaids dress that speaks to the design and tone of your wedding day.
  2. Consider Your Bridesmaids’ Body Types: Choose dresses that flatter your bridesmaids’ body types and skin tones. By no means am I asking you to judge your friend’s bodies, but understand that some styles may not work for different body types and that some women may not feel comfortable in certain designs. Additionally, it is always best to opt for a vendor that offers maternity sizing just in case any of your friends will be expecting at your wedding.
  3. Consider Your Color Scheme: This may seem like a no-brainer, but choose dresses that complement your wedding’s color scheme. Many retailers offer sample swatches to help you pick the perfect tone to match your wedding day’s color palette.
  4. Consider Your Budget: Choose dresses that fit within your bridesmaids’ budgets. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to your crew to ask what they would expect to spend on a dress including purchasing the dress and alterations. Having a base understanding of your group’s expectations will go a long way for guiding your decision in a respectful way.

Unique Bridesmaids Trends for 2023

I couldn’t wrap this post up without sharing some of my favorite trends that I’ve seen for weddings this year! If you are still looking for some inspo, consider one of these unique but gorgeous options!

  1. Patterned Dresses: Patterned bridesmaids dresses are a fun option for any wedding. I have been loving the recent influx of floral bridesmaids dresses and hope to see this trend continue! If you are worried about having too much pattern, know you can always mix and match patterned dresses with solid dresses for a refreshed look on the classic matching dress look.
  2. Two-Piece Dresses: Looking to add a little detail or fun to your bridesmaids look? A two-piece dress may be just what you need! These dresses often come with gorgeous detail that make your crew’s look just a little extra special!
  3. Jumpsuits: I’ve seen a few weddings where bridesmaids have worn jumpsuits, and all I have to say is YASSSSS! This chic option is also pretty comfy and is oh-so-flattering for many different body types!
  4. Velvet Dresses: Velvet bridesmaids dresses are sure to add a luxurious pop to your bridesmaids’ look! I LOVE this as an on-trend option for winter weddings.

If you’ve made it this far, PHEW, friend! You deserve to give yourself a pat on the back. Shopping for bridesmaids dresses can be stressful, but with the right resources, it can be a fun and enjoyable experience. Overall, consider the factors that are important to you and your wedding party, and choose attire that will make your bridesmaids feel beautiful, confident, and comfortable on your wedding day. You got this!

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