5 Ways to Mix or Match Bridesmaids’ Dresses to Keep Your Girls Pretty and Happy

And none of them is wrong.
Bridesmaids' dresses


In the lace-and-pearl maelstrom of planning Your Big Day, it’s easy to get tunnel visioned into a “me me me” zone. After all, you’ve only got the teeny tasks of throwing your magnum opus party, finding a dress that makes you look, for once, god help us, like Angelina Jolie, and juggling all the drama that your family and friends just Can’t. Manage. To. Leave. At. The. Door. Other people? Wait, wha?


Take your ’maids, for example, your sistahs from another mistah (or, sometimes, the same mistah), who are helping you through all the highs and (so very, very) lows of wedding planning with trouper attitudes. You don’t want to reward that by making your gals don an ugly-as-frock, unflattering sack that will make them feel like a bag of potatoes all night. Plus, modern bridesmaid customs can dictate some pretty hefty costs, and because—surprise!—we aren’t all rolling with a Kanye-and-Kim-caliber budget, you’ll want to be considerate of your bridesmaids’ financial constraints.


Step 1

Ask your gals what makes sense for them, budgetwise, and keep in mind their situations. For example: If you’re keeping the bachelorette party at a convenient, easy-to-access spot for everyone (or being understanding if some girls can’t swing an out-of-town trip), maybe they can splurge a little more on a dress and shoes.


Step 2

To select or not to select. Find out whether the ladies have strong opinions on what they want to be wearing, or if they couldn’t care less. If it’s the latter, snag a generally flattering dress (A-lines are a good bet!) at a price that works for everyone, send them the link to buy, and call it a day. Boom. Done. Just make sure to stay away from sludgy shades, backless anything and weird silhouettes (trapeze shifts don’t work on everyone!) that you’ve never seen them wear.


If your girls are a bit more particular (*raises hand*), be a doll and suggest they pick their own dress for the occasion—with a few guidelines. We’re huge fans of the mix ’n’ match bridesmaid dresses trend, because it brings all your girls’ personalities out and adds a festive, eclectic feel to photos. Plus, you get a comfy and happy bridal party. Win!


Here are a few ways to mix it up while keeping everyone on the same track.


1. Go With the Fine Print

We love the trend of putting your pals in prints! Even better? There are tons of ways to spread the local fever with this option. Brands such as Fighting Eel, Salt Liko, Manuheali‘i and Language of the Birds turn out some darn-lovely tropical, romantic and contemporary prints, with an array of different styles for each. Are some of your girls into tunic dresses, while others prefer a waist-cinching wrap style? With a unifying pattern, they’ll still look like a fun and stylish gaggle of goddesses.


2. Keep A Color Code

The most common way to give your bridesmaids (almost) free rein? Pick one color, and let ’em go nuts with it. You can be more general, with directions such as “burgundy,” or go so far as to send your gals color swatches so their picks are exact, with guidelines on length and materials (since satin or jersey burgundy will look different in photos). Here’s a tip: Send your girls to such sites as Fame and Partners, which has a ton of dresses in lots of shades, and pick one of the color offerings. As long as your party selects a style that comes in your pick, they’ll be good to go with the exact hue.


3. Throw Some Shade

OK, we’re not saying you should go for every color of the rainbow, but a palette of different, well-selected pigments could make for a stunning effect, whether it’s a range of deep cranberries and blushes, or even a collection of varying pastels: robin’s-egg blue, mint or lavender, for instance. And if you have a clear color scheme in mind for your décor and florals, matching ’maids will really add a special aesthetic touch.


4. Cut It Out

Focus on silhouettes instead of shades for this option. Maybe beachy spaghetti-strap maxis such as these Tiare Hawai‘i numbers, flirty and tiered off-the shoulder high-lows such as this Gillia Hawai‘i beauty, or even kimonos such as these playful cuties from  XIX Palms, will be your boho bridesmaids’ unifying characteristic.


5. Do a Blanc Check

We know, we know: The biggest wedding faux pas is wearing white when you’re not the bride. We say: Forget that! What sounds prettier than a flock of ethereal, white-clad ladies in varying styles—French lace, embellished, eyelet, chiffon? If you’re worried about not standing out, get your girls to keep it simple with a straight column cut, so your full-skirted frock will stand out. Or give yourself a flower crown for some instant color. Don’t worry, no one will miss that you’re the belle of the ball.