You’ve spent hours choosing your dress, you’ve probably tried on many different gowns, but you’ve finally found it! The one, the dress for your dream wedding day. Now that you have your dress, it is time to pick out dresses for your bridesmaids. These days, many brides are opting to allow their bridesmaids to choose their own dresses – which can be great, as each bridesmaid can get a different dress that they feel comfortable in. However, this may not always be the way to go, especially if you have a very specific colour scheme or style in mind. I have some helpful hints on how to choose the right dress for your bridesmaids to make your job a little bit easier.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Yes, we know it’s your day. And it really should revolve around you, but when it comes to your bridesmaids wearing a dress in front of potentially hundreds of people, I am sure you want them to look and feel good! We all have different insecurities about our bodies, and it’s very important to listen to what your bridesmaids say about what they feel comfortable wearing. Not to mention, an ill-fitting gown can become quite apparent in the photos.
Choosing the Right Dress For Your Ladies
When I was planning my wedding, I had a pretty strong idea of what I wanted my ladies to wear. I know they had some thoughts as well, and with a combined effort, I was able to pick out dresses that suited them, but also suited my wedding and vision. What it really came down to was seeing what looked good on different shapes, which features to accentuate, and learning what each of the girls felt comfortable wearing. Here’s a quick little guide to reference when you’re picking out dresses.
If you take your bridesmaids measurements, you can begin to determine what will look best. Start by measuring around each person’s hips, waist, and shoulders, and you’ll quickly see what will work best.
If your bridesmaid has:
- Hips that are several inches larger (or more) than her shoulders and waist: look for a dress that flares out from the waist. This shape is often called a fit and flare, or an A-Line dress, and is a universally flattering shape. If you choose a boat or a sweetheart neckline, a strapless dress, or one with small cap or puff sleeves, this will even out her shape and create a more proportional form .Something like this lovely lace dress would work well!
- Shoulders that are several inches larger than her hips and waist: keep your eye out for dresses that are A-line shaped, or something with body on the bottom half of the dress – ruffles, flare, or fullness of any kind. Boat necklines and wide shoulder straps will make her shoulders look smaller, and add a belt if you can for waist definition. This printed wrap dress, or this A-Line dress would be great for a lady with larger shoulders.
- Shoulders, waist and hip measurements that are all within a few inches of each other: look for a dress that has a clearly defined waistline, like… you guessed it – an A-Line dress! Or, add a belt to a fitted dress to draw in the waist. Almost any neckline will do for this lady – sweetheart, boat, v-neck or scoop will do well. Another great idea for this lady would be a dress with a wrap top to create curves. This stunning column dress would be amazing with a black ribbon around the waist!
- A waistline that measures larger than her hips and shoulders: look for dresses that create curves, with volume at the shoulder or on the bottom. A wrap dress with a flared skirt would be great, and anything a-line would be great. Again, adding waist definition with a belt or a clear waistline would be great, and an empire waistline would work well for this body shape as well. Necklines that work would be square, sweetheart, or v-neck. This gorgeous printed wrap dress would be fabulous on a lady with this shape.
- Shoulders and hip that are similar measurements, but a small waist: she won’t really need a ton of waist defining elements, but it never hurts! A sheath dress, empire waist, a-line, or wrap dress would be great for her shape. Look for something that is similar proportions throughout the dress, such as wider necklines with a flare or ruffled skirt. This jade dress would be stunning on a woman with this figure!
Lastly, I must say it is important to look around for your bridesmaid dresses. Bridal shops can only offer so much, and don’t be afraid to get dresses from a website online, or even your favourite local boutique. Be bold and think outside of the box and allow your ladies to wear different prints, colours and shapes to create more colour and variety in your wedding party. Get the guys pocket squares to match the bridesmaid’s dresses, or even let your ladies wear a classy top and skirt. The potential to create an even more unique wedding doesn’t end at the décor – let it flow into your wedding party as well!
It’s also important to keep in mind how these dresses will all look together in your wedding photos. Often different prints, tones, or colours will liven up your photos, and create more unique portraits. Feel free to consult with your wedding photographer on what they think might look great in your photos – and happy hunting for their dresses!