One of the latest bridal trends is allowing bridesmaids to choose their own dress with little or no restrictions. Historically, brides chose one style of dress in one color that is worn by the entire bridal party. This new “mix & match” concept can mean a couple of things: the bride chooses a specific color, and the bridesmaids wear a variety of styles in that color, or the bride lets the bridesmaids pick both the color and the style of dress. While this flexibility and creativity can be a great thing, the reality is it can cause unnecessary stress for both the bride and bridal party.
Brides who embrace the “mix & match” idea spend additional time approving bridesmaid’s choices, worrying about color matches and debating if styles will blend with their gown. Bridesmaids can get confused without guidelines and worry their choice won’t work for the bride. Bridal photos can lack continuity as a result of multiple styles & colors. However, when this trend is done well it can look amazing! Since this trend emerged we have had many brides looking for the best way to accomplish the look with the least amount of stress.
Here is what we have found:
1. Find photos of your vision- Visuals can help communicate your vision to your bridesmaids. This will give them a better idea of what they should be looking for. One of the biggest challenges we hear from bridesmaids is not knowing what they should be looking at. Many of their brides have said, “I just want you to wear blush!” This is extremely confusing and can leave a lot of room for error.
2. Decide what you color, colors, or print you would like- If you are doing one color pick one designer, one fabric, and order them together. This eliminates any variation in color due to different dye lots and textures. All fabrics pick up color and lighting differently. If you are having your bridesmaids in a color pallet decide what colors will work on each girl and where they will be standing so there is uniformity. A huge part of a great mix & match is uniformity in some way! (Say you have 6 bridesmaids- 2 in gold, 2 in champagne, and 2 in blush. The girls in the same color should not stand next to each other.)
3. Pick lengths- Again consistency throughout the party is key! No one wants to be the one bridesmaid in a short dress while the other three are in long gowns.
4. Have each bridesmaid send photos of them in the dress for your approval- This may be more work for the bride, but for the desired effect to work you have to see what each dress will look like. Also your bridesmaids want you to be happy and need direction. If the color is off or the style is too formal or too casual, they need to understand what they should be looking for.
5. Just have your MOH in a different pattern, color, or style- This distinguishes your maid of honor(s) and it is a great way to incorporate an additional color or print.
6. Give your girls time- Have plenty of time for your bridesmaids to find the right dress. This can be a process and take some time to get right. The last thing you want is to add extra stress to yourself and your bridesmaids. We recommend ordering your gowns 4 months prior to your big day. It takes around 3 months to get the gowns into our store and that gives us 1 month for alterations.
Mix and matching bridesmaids is an awesome way to add a playful touch to your wedding day, but don’t feel bad if you want one dress and one color. We have seen many brides feel pressured to let their girls choose and it can become overwhelming if that is not what you want to do. The old saying, “You can shorten it and wear it again,” is just not true. Of course there may be a few dresses that they would do that with, but more than likely they will always look at the dress as a bridesmaids dress. That is OK! They are a bridesmaid and are happy to make you happy. When their time comes they will want the same support.
Happy shopping and congratulations on your upcoming wedding!