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Shop Smart: How to Choose Bridesmaid Dresses That Everyone Loves

Are you ready to start looking at dresses for your bridesmaids? Choosing colors, fabrics and even styles for other people to wear can seem overwhelming, but with a little professional help (hello, Brideside stylists!) and these great tips, you’ll be well on your way to finding bridesmaid dresses that both you and your bridal party love. 

Your stylist can definitely help you figure out the colors and styles you’re leaning toward, as well as navigate pricing, sizing and order status. If you’re ready to get some guidance from a pro, sign up today! In the meantime, here’s what every bride should consider when they shop in stores or online for that perfect bridal party look.

brideside mismatched blue bridesmaid dresses
Photo Credit: Asia Pimentel Photography

What are your bridesmaids’ budgets?

Remember that your bridal party is also investing their own money in your wedding. Bridesmaids traditionally pay for their own bridesmaid dress, as well as travel and accommodations for the wedding and bachelorette party and gifts too. Plus, bridesmaids sometimes pay to have their hair and makeup done on your big day.

One way you can make them feel involved and active in the process is by asking them individually about what budget ranges they would prefer to be in. Having the conversation ahead of time, preferably with each bridesmaid one-on-one, will help you gain an understanding about where they’re coming from and what they’re comfortable spending.

Remember: Balance is key. For your day, you should get to see your wedding vision come to life. If you’re struggling to accommodate different price ranges, talk to your stylist! They’ll be able to help you find dresses that better align to everyone’s spending preferences. With a big range of designers to choose from, you’ll be able to browse high-end styles and affordable alternatives alike. 

What is the style and vibe of your wedding dress?

The best part about wedding dress shopping is that you get to explore new styles and find something truly unique to wear on your big day! Once you have the dress that feels like you (P.S., if you don’t, Brideside can help you do that too!), it’s definitely easier to look at bridesmaid dress options. Take note of the style and decorative elements of your dress when shopping for bridesmaid dresses. This can help you create a unified theme that sets the tone for your wedding.

How would you describe your wedding dress? You can always take some of those themes and apply them to your bridesmaid dresses as well. It doesn’t have to be so literal — just because your dress is strapless doesn’t mean your bridesmaid dresses need to be — but they can be part of the same style family. Here’s some examples:

If your wedding dress is…

  • Boho: Look for flowy dresses with special ruffle details and unique fabrics. Mix and match styles go really well with a boho dress!
  • Glam: Your dress probably has a lot of sparkle, so you might want to focus on matte fabrics like chiffon and crepe in elegant silhouettes. Think slits, fit-and-flares and black-tie sophistication. 
  • Classic: Try simple, yet elegant styles like a halter or v-neckline. You could also play with interesting fabrics like fluid satin or velvet to add some texture! Many classic brides prefer to stick with one color or shades in the same color family to bring unity.
  • Modern: Look for styles that have a little twist to them. Maybe a strappy back or asymmetrical draping. Try playing with opposites; if your dress is fitted, look at full skirts and vice versa. 
  • Eclectic: If you’re going for a funky, out-of-the-box wedding vibe, get creative! Play with mixed fabrics, styles and unexpected colors to give each member of your bridal party a different look.

Get more inspiration on these wedding styles from our brand new wedding guide! Download it here.

Whatever your vibe is, look for something unifying to bring your bridal party together, be it a similar color family, silhouette or fabric type. Putting specific parameters on the dresses your bridesmaids can buy actually helps them shop more efficiently. That way, they don’t have to wonder whether or not you like them!

neutral bridesmaid dresses brideside
Photo Credit: Samantha Lafoon

Can you re-wear your bridesmaid dress?

Although certainly not required, something to take into consideration is dresses that can be worn for other events down the line. Dresses that can be styled different ways can work for a number of events where evening wear is required. If you’re wondering how to rewear a long bridesmaid dress, you’re in luck. We wrote a whole blog post on this topic just for you! 

Our best advice for re-wearable bridesmaid dresses to listen to your bridesmaids! If they truly love the style, they’ll be more likely to wear it again. A-line, sheath and fit-and-flare silhouettes are great for black-tie or formal evening events, especially in neutral colors like black, champagne and blush, or jewel tones like garnet, hunter or teal. You can also go for convertible styles like Jenny Yoo Annabelle or Jenny Yoo Nyla, which let your bridesmaids switch up their look whenever they want!

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to break from the classic bridesmaid look if you don’t want to! You can find bridesmaid dresses online at Brideside that are based on classic formalwear, but work in traditional bridal elements that feel soft and romantic like flowy chiffon fabrics and delicate ruching. 

Finding reusable bridesmaid dresses will help your bridal party feel like they’re investing in something that will last long after the wedding is over, which is a great bonus for the budget-minded people.

gray Adrianna Pappell bridesmaid dresses
Photo Credit: Paper Antler

Are your bridesmaid dresses flattering to every body type?

If you want happy, comfortable bridesmaids, put them in dresses that they feel good in! Every body and style preference is different, and you can honor the people you love by choosing flattering dresses. 

How do you know where to begin? Listen to your bridesmaids. At the end of the day, they’ll support you and your choices, but it’s nice to give them input on the dresses that they are usually expected to pay for. Work together to find a set of bridesmaid dresses that appeals to everyone.

What if no one can agree on a single dress or style? You could always let everyone pick their style and keep unity with a color or color family. People of different skin tones and figures can go with the dress style or color that looks best on them, and the unifying theme or element will help make sense of the differences. Remember that simple touches, like identical bouquets or accessories, can really bring it all together!

Embracing diverse dress styles can also make alterations easier, because every bridesmaid can have their own dress fitted specifically to their preferences; i.e., adding straps or a corset back. All in all, getting insights for your bridal party is the best way to get dresses everyone is happy with! 

brideside blue bridesmaid dresses
Photo Credit: Lara Rose Photo

Shop Online Before Your Appointment

It can be smart to do some online research on bridesmaid dresses before visiting in-store. At Brideside, your bridesmaids can even go online and favorite their top dresses so your stylist knows to pull them before your appointment! It helps cut down on time and confusion. 

Ready to begin your journey to find the perfect bridesmaid looks? Brideside recommends exploring our extensive collections of beautiful designer bridesmaid dresses. Shop for bridesmaid dresses online by designer, color, style, fabric and more so you can easily narrow down your search. You’ll also be paired with a stylist who can help you every step of the way.

Then, come in for an appointment with your bridal party! Have bridesmaids in other parts of the country? Use our Try At Home program so every bridesmaid can explore their options before purchasing!

As for you, you’ll love how fast and easy it is to shop at Brideside. Let’s get bridal party shopping checked off the list together!

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