Updated on: Mar 03, 2024
You probably hit up prom dress shops in the past when you were looking at prom dresses in high school. Now you are shopping for your wedding! Now that you've hopefully tried on several wedding dresses and found the right one for you, it's time to find your bridesmaids' dresses.
Many factors go into finding the perfect dresses for your bridesmaids! What do you want your bridesmaids to wear? Ball gowns? Evening gowns? Follow the tips provided below to discover how to choose bridesmaids' dresses when shopping around in bridal shops and boutiques for your bridesmaids. You could also shop for dresses online. Additionally, find tips for staying on budget, which we are sure your bridesmaids will appreciate.
How to Choose Bridesmaid Dresses - General Tips
1. Group Chat
Before your shopping trip, set up a messaging group between you and your bridesmaids. Gather everyone's information and create a chat! This will allow for sending pictures and ideas to one another about possible bridesmaid dresses and dates to be aware of. You can instantly get thoughts on a dress style from others.
2. A Good Fit
If you are fortunate enough to have bridesmaids all around the same size, that's great. If not, don't stress over it. When picking a dress, be conscious of making all your ladies comfortable in their dresses with all the different body types and skin tones. You may want some ladies who want a sleeveless dress, or others who want a long sleeve dress. Definitely make sure the dress choices match all the girls' needs and want!
Choosing the colors of your dresses is fun! Definitely consider the season your wedding will take place in for the perfect color tones. If it's winter, you may want to stick to darker colors, and if it's spring/summer, lighter colors. If you are set on lighter colors in the cold months, offer to pay for your bridesmaids to all get spray tans. If you enjoy more neutral colors, look into finding neutral bridal dresses, perfect for any season of the year.
Trendy colors right now for earth tone lovers are beige and sage tones. Blush is another color that is on-trend right now for bridesmaid dresses. Maybe you want a mismatched look. If so, find a color you love and that goes with the season well, and give options to your bridesmaids. Avoid using reds, yellows, and oranges unless everyone's skin tone will complement these tones.
If you are completely at loss with the color scheme, contact a local bridal shop or online stylist for help.
You will want to consider the time of year your wedding will take place while you're deciding on the dresses. Different fabrics work with different seasons. If you are going to have an outdoor wedding, chiffon fabric is a great option since it is a light material. A tulle material is also a great option for the summer. If you are having your wedding in the fall, satin is perfect for cold evenings with an elegant shine. We definitely recommend going over the options with your bridesmaids after ordering fabric swatches to get a better sense of what everyone may like the most.
Things to consider when deciding on the length of the dresses are the formality of your wedding, the season it will take place in, the type of fabric, and the height of your bridesmaids. Many times it is up to the preference of the bride, but it is always good to consider other factors such as formality.
Question to Ask at Dress Shops
6. When will my dress be ready?
Begin shopping around for your bridal dresses earlier rather than later. 8 months before your wedding day is highly recommended. It makes it less stressful for everyone and you may hit good sales as well. From the flower girl to the bride, all the dresses need to be in on time for your event, but it can take three months or more for a shop to get your dress. Talk this out with your consultant and, if you can, sign a contract that they will have your dress in by a specific date. This is one thing that definitely cannot be late.
7. Can I get a fabric swatch of my dress?
If you need to shop elsewhere for shoes and accessories, you'll probably want to match everything exactly to the dress you have in mind. Carrying around this little square of fabric will let you match everything precisely and let you know exactly what your dress will look like in all kinds of lighting. Maybe it looked good in the shop's fluorescent lights, but how does it look in harsh afternoon sunlight? If it doesn't look good and you're planning an outdoor event, it won't be the dress for you.
8. Do you offer bridesmaid dresses, mother of the bride’s dresses, and suits?
If bridal salons have all of the attire you will need for your event; you'll be able to shop at just one store. This can save you time, and some stores may give discounts for group purchases.
9. Can you include all of the details?
Does the dress shop you are considering also provide shoes, hats, gloves, and other accessories? Sometimes a store can even order these accessories for you, and they'll all be from the same designer so that everything ties together perfectly.
10. Do you do alterations?
This is perhaps the most critical question you can ask, especially if you are purchasing bridal dresses. Anything can happen between the day you are buying a dress and the day you actually need it. They'll definitely charge you a fee, but it may be cheaper than going to a private seamstress or sewist.
Tips to Save Money
When looking at wedding dresses, brides generally fall into the trap of thinking they need to incorporate all of their wedding colors into the dress's fabric. This is simply not the case. Buy simple dresses and then use accessories to spruce up the outfit and bring in some of the other colors of your wedding. Jewelry can be used to tie colors that would fit into the color scheme in a fun way. This is an original way for each bridesmaid to personalize their wedding day look.
If you can't find jewelry in your wedding colors, include that color in the bouquet or have your bridesmaids carry a clutch purse down the aisle instead of a bouquet. For more tips on wedding jewelry, check it out here.
Also, choose shoes that are comfortable if you would like to save money that way as well. If your dress pick is a long dress, you may want your bridesmaids to wear casual, comfy shoes, but if it is a shorter dress heel.
12. Don’t Shop at the Bridal Shop
Steer clear of dresses labeled as bridal dresses or bridesmaid's dresses. These labels will increase the price, hoping to lure customers in and think those dresses are the only options. Buying a dress from a bridal shop is almost always more expensive. Actively shopping at department stores instead is an easy way to save money without too much thought. Department stores offer more affordable deals and carry a much more extensive selection and style of dresses for you and your bridal party. You'll be sure to find the dresses you like. Many department stores will also offer free tailoring, so your bridesmaids will be able to have their dress fit perfectly.
13. Sales/Discount Coupons/Rewards Clubs
A great idea is to take advantage of sales when stores have them. Sometimes stores will put specific color dresses on sale because they're no longer in season, but perhaps that particular color goes with your wedding theme! Many stores offer discount coupons and free membership rewards clubs that provide you with even more discounts just for signing up.
14. Online Shopping
While it may seem risky to shop for dresses without being able to try them on, the internet is full of crazy discounts that are worth checking out. If you decide to go this route, make sure you're ordering the dresses promptly so that you can return or exchange them.
These tips will definitely come in handy when picking out bridesmaids' dresses. Selecting your bridesmaid's dresses shouldn't be stressful or difficult; it should be fun and exciting! We hope this blog created for you gives you more guidance and that your special day is filled with joy!
Written by Brittney Casad, Lauren Hendricks, Brittany Schmidt, Amelia Armstrong, Amanda Breivogel and Caitlin Connell; Contributors: Jack Leduc and June Park