Choosing bridesmaid gowns

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bridesmaid dresses
Bridesmaids are an important part of the wedding party, and most brides opt to have a handful of close friends and family members play a special role in the wedding. Choosing a gown and a color that will flatter all of the bridesmaids typically takes a little work.

An overwhelming majority of couples choose to have a formal wedding. The average number of bridesmaids for these formal weddings is four. Considering around two million weddings take place in North America every year, that’s a lot of bridesmaids for whom gowns and other attire must be planned.

Many bridesmaids worry about the gowns they will wear come the big day. Horrible bridesmaid dresses have been the butt of jokes for years, and many people have their own stories of garish gowns they’ve been asked to don for a wedding. Some have said that brides intentionally choose ugly gowns for their bridesmaids to ensure they’re not outshined come the wedding day. Although this may be the case for some, most brides aspire to select gowns that will be flattering for all. And color scheme is integral in the choice of gown.

Every well-planned wedding carries a color scheme throughout. This includes the color a bride selects for her bridesmaids to wear. But not every color accentuates everyone’s features. Therefore, some experimentation might be necessary to find a color that is flattering to all and fits with the color scheme.

Depending on hair color and skin shade, there are many flattering hues available for gowns. When making this decision, consider bridesmaids’ ethnicity and skin tone.

African-American women: Women with dark skin and hair may really shine in jewel-colored gowns, including silver, gold, purple and salmon. Very pale colors may be daring and conspicuous.

Asian and olive-skinned women: Those with a slight yellow tone to their skin will look good in many colors, including red, navy, peach, and fuchsia. However, avoid colors in light yellow, aqua, gray, taupe, or mint, which may make the bridesmaid look washed out.

Fair skin women: Ladies with pale skin will benefit from richly colored gowns in jewel tones. Pastels may work, but be careful about those depending on hair color. Pink or red-hued gowns may clash with someone with auburn hair. Yellow and green may not work with a fair brunette. Gray and silver may wash out someone who is pale and blonde.

pink dresses

image source: hairstylesbob.com

Once a color is chosen, brides also need to consider the season. Certain colors may look out of place depending on the season. For example, an evergreen or deep blue may seem wintry during a summer wedding. Similarly, russet or brown may work for the autumn but not for a spring wedding. Many brides gravitate toward mid-level blues, greens, pinks and purples for their weddings, simply because those colors transcend the seasons.

After colors are worked out, the style of the gown deserves consideration. Because not every bridesmaid has the same physical attributes, many brides are now open to selecting a color and length and allowing the bridesmaid herself to choose the exact style. This way someone who is busty won’t feel uncomfortable in strapless, and someone who is thin won’t be overwhelmed by a lot of ruffles. The intent is to have bridesmaids feel beautiful and comfortable, and different styles can help achieve this.

Making the effort to choose a gown color and style that is flattering to all in the bridal party will help the ladies feel they are truly a special part of the wedding.

How are you going about choosing bridesmaid’s dresses?  Colour? Design? What is (or was) your strategy? Share with us below or on Facebook.

10 Comments on Choosing bridesmaid gowns

  1. Jenn Glanfield
    March 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm (6 years ago)

    Luckily for us, choosing the bridesmaid dresses was an easy and fun experience! I only have 2 bridesmaids..my sister and my best friend. We went to 2 stores, I let them go around and pick out what they liked in the colour we chose (Black) and they both fell in love with the same dress! They chose a cute Alfred Sung peau de soie dress. I doubt many brides have had such an easy time!! I love my girls!

  2. Deena Budd
    March 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm (6 years ago)

    I let my bridsmaids choose there dress but they were very easy to get along with they wanted whatever i wanted they tryed on lots of dress and within about 2 hours we found there dress i think shopping for there dress was fun the only thing i would have changed would have been to have my sister there with us.

  3. Amanda B
    March 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm (6 years ago)

    I have a hard enough time making decisions for myself sometimes because I’m so indecisive, there’s absolutely no way I could pick out a dress for someone else & make them wear it. So my best way of going about it, is telling them a colour & basic style, then letting them pick out their own dress from where ever they want. This gives a unique feel to the brides maids, and each girl gets to pick out something of their own that they can wear again somewhere else if they like – They’re not stuck paying hundreds of dollars on a dress they’d likely never wear again. This also keeps everyone happy, and I don’t feel like a jerk.

  4. Amanda Morris
    March 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm (6 years ago)

    I haven’t begun to pick out the bridesmaid dresses yet but I do know that I am letting my girls pick out what style of dress they want to wear. I want them to be comfortable for the entire day. If they all end up with different top styles thats alright with me because they are all built so different. All I asked was that the dress was pink and had a brown sash around the middle and the rest is up to them.

  5. Courtney
    March 9, 2012 at 12:35 am (6 years ago)

    My girls are all different body types so I gave them the designer, fabric and general style and let them pick their own dresses. I want them to be comfortable in what they’re wearing since the pictures will be around for a life time.

  6. Sam
    March 12, 2012 at 5:37 pm (6 years ago)

    I pretty much let them pick the dress. I gave them a few options that I liked and went from there. I didnt want to go with something that expensive since they would only wear it once. Also, I had to pick dresses that went with the different shapes and height of people.

  7. Miranda
    March 12, 2012 at 7:52 pm (6 years ago)

    I did the same thing as Sam. I’ve been in a couple weddings where I had to pay an outrageous amount of money for a dress that I knew I would never wear again, so I let the girls pick their own. I gave them a few options and we all went together, and the girls worked it out amongst themselves. We all decided that if they were going to be buying a dress anyway, that the dress we picked would be something they would be able to wear again. So everything worked out pretty well.

  8. Stephanie
    March 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm (6 years ago)

    I gave them a few choice as I didn’t want them to spend a lot of money. They all agreed on a sundress which was $30 and they can use it again as a bathing suit cover-up, Perfect for our cottage wedding!!!!

  9. Chevonne
    March 25, 2012 at 11:03 pm (6 years ago)

    I have 8 bridesmaids with varying body types and sizes so I had 3 of my bridesmaids went to a bridal salon. I let them pick out dresses and they narrowed it down to 2 styles based on the budget they had all mutally agreed on. The only stipulation I had was it be available in red and champagne colours.

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