Confession: it took me longer to find dresses for my bridesmaids than to choose my own wedding gown. Yep! Whilst at the time it felt a little stressful and impossible, what I was left with was four gorgeous dresses and a whole lot of advice to share with you. How do you find bridesmaid dresses to flatter everyone? How do you choose bridesmaid dresses to fit your colour scheme? I’ll be answering those questions and many more in this post! As always, the photos in this post are by our incredible wedding photographer Sarah Horton, and were taken on our big day at the incredible Combermere Abbey in Cheshire.
The dresses we chose were the Imi Lace Maxi Dresses from Coast. Here are my top tips on finding the perfect bridesmaid dresses…
Pick A Starting Point: Colour, Design Or Detail
If you go into this process of finding your dream bridesmaid dresses all guns blazing, you’re going to burn out pretty quickly. You need to start somewhere, and my best advice is to hone in on one important element of the dresses first. For me, this was colour – I knew I wanted to go for a dusky pastel pink. This made is SO much easier to narrow down the search in the initial stage! From there, I then picked up on other details that helped me to focus in further on the dream dresses. It makes search terms much easier when you’re looking online, and helps you train your eye to spot potential winners in shops too. Stage two was to think about length – I knew I wanted the dresses to be full length as our wedding was in March, so didn’t want the girls to be cold!
Stage three, which I built on from there, was to pick a detail that featured in my own gown to incorporate into my bridesmaid’s dresses. My beautiful Pronovias Draval dress featured lots of lace around the top which cascaded down through the huge princess skirt, so knew the would be a perfect detail to have within my girls’ dresses too.
How To Make Sure The Dress Works For Every Bridesmaid
Now of course, there’s nothing to say that all of your bridesmaids have to have the same dress! In my case, all of my bridesmaids were of a similar height and build so the dress worked well for all of them, but there were a few things I kept in mind when looking around for dresses. I chose a full length option so that my girls could wear whatever shoes they felt comfortable in underneath, and a tailor made some tweaks on each dress depending on the girl’s shoe choice. I know that I don’t always feel relaxed in a dress that’s not nipped in at the waist, so I made sure that was a feature on my bridesmaid dresses too. It’s something that looks good on everyone!
Most of all, I kept a very open and honest dialogue with my bridesmaids. I went shopping with them when we could find the time, or took sample dresses round to their houses, and we had a Facebook group message where people could throw out ideas too – I asked them to be brutally honest about every suggestion, and everyone was super happy with the final pick. The reason it took so long to find the dresses is because of the time of year I got married – I was looking for dresses in January, and very few collections were in the shops at that time!
How To Make Your Maid of Honour Stand Out
I’ve seen lots of brides choose a slightly different dress for their Maid of Honour, but I didn’t decide to go down that path. We all loved the bridesmaid dress choice so much that it seemed a shame to change it drastically with an added detail, so my wonderful sister (who was the best Maid of Honour I could have asked for!) instead had some extra flower details in her hair to denote her role. However, if your bridesmaid dresses allow for it I had a few fun ideas about how to switch things up for your Maid of Honour’s dress!
You could have a different coloured sash for her, if your dresses have a tie at the waist. You could see if the same dress is available in a different length or slightly different design, perhaps with shorter sleeves or with added detail around the top. If your dresses are shorter and you can see your bridesmaids’ shoes, the Maid of Honour could wear a different colour than the rest of your girls. The options are endless, and are down to your own personal taste. Of course, there’s nothing to say you need to make a big statement about it, but it’s always good to have the option. I’m a sucker for symmetry, so wanted my sister’s MoH detailing to be subtle, but it worked well for us.
Should I Trust Discount Online Retailers?
We’ve all seen those fail images where an unsuspecting consumer buys a beautiful dress from a website overseas, and when it arrives is looks absolutely nothing like the photo on the site. I did come across some beautiful looking bridesmaid dresses on a few websites located in China, but I decided to steer clear. There are many reasons for that – from long shipping waits to mixed reviews for the retailer – but ultimately it felt like too big of a decision to take the risk on. You need to see and feel the dress you’re choosing, and so do your bridesmaids. Many of these sites take your measurements and promise you’re getting a custom-made gown, but I’d be very sceptical of that claim.
I would much sooner recommend buying dresses from a reputable store, like Coast (where I found my dresses), and having a local dressmaker make any necessary tweaks or alterations. It might feel like you’re getting a bargain from one of these online retailers but you could end up massively out of pocket in the long run. There’s enough to think about when you’re wedding planning, don’t add to your stress unnecessarily!
So there we have it! I hope my tips have been useful – if you have any questions whatsoever, just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
This post is dedicated to my incredible sister and Maid of Honour Steph, and my gorgeous bridesmaids and closest friends Hannah, Kathryn and Laura. I love you all so much! Thank you for being by my side on my big day.