Wedding Party

Bridesmaids Dresses - Let Them Pick Their Own?

Hi :) 

I was curious other community members thoughts/experiences with selecting a color for bridesmaids dresses versus selecting one designer/style and ask all the girls to order that specific dress. I am leaning towards selecting a color and let my bridal party pick a dress that they feel good in, and hopefully this will be more budget friendly/flexible as well. I know I want things to look semi-uniform i.e. all long dresses (which I think they will all prefer anyways), but I feel this is the best way to allow my girls to feel their best as well. I was wondering if others have gone this route, how did you or do you plan to do it? Is there a time frame in which the girls should select a dress by and show for "approval?" Did you send them a color swatch or pic of an example of the color?
 
Thanks!
MesmrEwe

Re: Bridesmaids Dresses - Let Them Pick Their Own?

  • I've been in a couple weddings like this. Bride usually sends a few inspiration pictures or a swatch and some criteria (like "knee length and no satin" or something). 

    If you want things to look a little more uniform, why don't you pick a certain designer, a certain color and a certain fabric? Then let people pick the strapless, or the one shoulder, or the tank, or the empire waist or whatever they want.
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    ILoveBeachMusiceileenrobcowgirl8238PrettyGirlLost
  • I told my WP "Midnight Blue from David's Bridal, cocktail length". I didn't care what fabric they picked (one picked satin, the other cotton). Looking back, I shouldn't have said cocktail length, because really, who cares if the dress is short or long? But I you can stipulate long dress if you want to.

    I did not require approval of the dress before they bought it. I think it's a contradiction to tell them "pick any dress you like in X colour.... but you have to run it by me first!". Mind you, both my MOH and BM showed me their dress and asked a million times, "Is this okay???"- YES! :P. However, you could give a designer to choose from, then that way you have seen all the dress styles prior and presumably you approve since you picked that designer.

    I looked at a few different store options, including regular clothing stores in the mall and online stores (i.e. ModCloth). David's Bridal had the best selection for the colour I was looking for (the winter I got married, navy wasn't "in"- what the heck!), and for the cheapest prices.

    So yes- I very much support telling them "Pick a long dress in X colour by Y designer".
  • I told my MOH & two BMs "knee length & grey." I wanted them to find something they loved at a price point they were comfortable with. By coincidence all three ended up picking three different dresses all in a similar shade - all from JCrew! And randomly all three ladies have worn their dresses again at various events!


    PrettyGirlLostshort+sassy
  • I have 3 bridesmaids. I gave them 2 "requirements". They all had to be the same length so I let them decide between short or long (they all chose short) and I wanted them to be in the blush/pale pink family. We went to several dress shops multiple times and yesterday they all ended up deciding on the same dress. Which looked amazing on all of them. They liked the option of being able to choose for themselves, since on in particular was worried about how some of the dresses hit her mid-section.

  • I asked my BMs to wear long navy blue from X designer. They all picked different styles that they were comfortable in. It looked cohesive since they were the same color, and everyone was happy with their choices. My SIL has even worn hers again. 

    On the other hand I've been in a bunch of weddings we're we were told exactly what dresses to wear and I've been super uncomfortable when they bride didn't take my feelings or comfort into account . I wore them anyways but would have been so much happier in something I chose. 
    short+sassy
  • When I was debating on a type of dress, I kept in mind something they would like {and want to wear again} and something they wouldn't die of heat in because August where I am can be damn high humidity!

    Also, all my girls are different size {body type and height}

    I went with simple - black, knee length{ish}. I got super lucky and they all liked same dress and it looked great on them :)
    <a href="https://babysizer.com/geeky"><img src="https://babysizer.com/geeky-2018-06-08.jpg" alt="Babysizer Geeky Pregnancy Tracker"></a>
  • cowgirl8238cowgirl8238
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    member
    edited January 2017

    When I got married, I told the BMs to choose any dress they wanted in a specific color from David's Bridal, in Chiffon.  (I was oddly obsessed about not having anyone in Satin for an August wedding lol). I had 4 BMs and they all picked something a little bit different but it looked great.  I think it looks better than matchy-matchy personally, because it gave them all some personality and a way of being more unique and comfortable.

    When I was a BM last year, the Bride took the same approach in a different color.  Hers was Navy, so I have the option of re-using the dress again as it doesn't scream BM.  I honestly wish I would have gone more of a generic color looking back. 

    My advice: If you want cohesion...ask for a particular color, and give a fabric type or family (i.e. not shiny).  And then trust the BMs to pick something they like.  If you desire a little more control you can dictate long or short, but mine were mixed and it looked great!

    ETA:  P.S. please ignore the circles, I didn't want to share my BMs faces without their permission!

    SP29southernbelle0915short+sassyeileenrob
  • When I got married, I told the BMs to choose any dress they wanted in a specific color from David's Bridal, in Chiffon.  (I was oddly obsessed about not having anyone in Satin for an August wedding lol). I had 4 BMs and they all picked something a little bit different but it looked great.  I think it looks better than matchy-matchy personally, because it gave them all some personality and a way of being more unique and comfortable.

    When I was a BM last year, the Bride took the same approach in a different color.  Hers was Navy, so I have the option of re-using the dress again as it doesn't scream BM.  I honestly wish I would have gone more of a generic color looking back. 

    My advice: If you want cohesion...ask for a particular color, and give a fabric type or family (i.e. not shiny).  And then trust the BMs to pick something they like.  If you desire a little more control you can dictate long or short, but mine were mixed and it looked great!

    ETA:  P.S. please ignore the circles, I didn't want to share my BMs faces without their permission!

    They look so good! Personally, I think same color different dress looks so much better than everyone in a single dress, what with different body types and all that.
    SP29cowgirl8238
  • @cowgirl8238 Your BMs look so lovely!

    This is JMHO, but I think it looks really nice when girls are wearing the same exact color (which usually means they're something simple like black or the same designer / store) but tend to think it looks a bit disjointed when they're all wearing the same exact color (i.e. all BMs were told to get something in green and they all show up in a slightly different shade of green). Again, just my opinion here, I think it's far better to have "a bit disjointed" look with comfortable BMs who all got a dress within their budget, but if you can avoid it, it looks better to me when they're in the exact shade.
  • Wow those jewel tones are stunning!
    I told my BMs to pick a long dress in the blush/nude family and they all looked great- I'd post a picture but I know one of them may kill me if I did. They all looked great and they all were grateful because it allowed them to pick out a dress they could afford and feel great in. One of them chose to have their mother make their dress (mom is basically a seamstress and makes dresses for BM all the time) to help save on money. 
    image
  • I told mine navy, knee-ish length (spring, and we'll be walking outside for a bit) and they may want to wear flat shoes (but I'd be impressed if they could navigate heels on grass!). I didn't ask for approval, but my sister sent me a picture before she bought it, and my cousin sent me one of hers. They both asked for pictures of the shoes I end up buying, since I told them I'm looking for dressier sandals and they were thinking of the same option. Honestly, I'd rather they buy things they like and may wear again (my cousin has already worn hers a couple times!), and picking their own dress lets their personality show a little. 

    TL;DR version: It's becoming more popular, with good reason. These are important people in your life and you love each of them for who they are. Let them be comfortable at your wedding and it will be less stress for you! Plus, as PPs have shown, the pictures will be amazing!
    SP29PrettyGirlLost
  • I used to work in bridal sales and dealt with this question a ton. IMO, it really comes down to WHY you want to do it. Do you really just want your bridesmaids to look their best and feel comfy, or are you perhaps trying to be Low-Maintenance Cool Bride? 

    If you're genuinely wanting your BMs to feel/look good, I have two pieces of advice from the trenches: 

    1) Don't do this if you are someone who will want approval over each dress.

    2) Set VERY clear parameters. The bride who said, "Please choose any floor length dress from X designer in Y fabric and Z shade," was always 100% more successful at eliminating drama than than the one who went with, "Just get a dress in X color".

    If you're trying to be Low-Maintenance Cool Bride (TM), my advice is to stop it and do what you really, really think is best and what you want.

  • When I got married, I told the BMs to choose any dress they wanted in a specific color from David's Bridal, in Chiffon.  (I was oddly obsessed about not having anyone in Satin for an August wedding lol). I had 4 BMs and they all picked something a little bit different but it looked great.  I think it looks better than matchy-matchy personally, because it gave them all some personality and a way of being more unique and comfortable.

    When I was a BM last year, the Bride took the same approach in a different color.  Hers was Navy, so I have the option of re-using the dress again as it doesn't scream BM.  I honestly wish I would have gone more of a generic color looking back. 

    My advice: If you want cohesion...ask for a particular color, and give a fabric type or family (i.e. not shiny).  And then trust the BMs to pick something they like.  If you desire a little more control you can dictate long or short, but mine were mixed and it looked great!

    ETA:  P.S. please ignore the circles, I didn't want to share my BMs faces without their permission!

    My bridesmaids dresses were also this color! I only had 3 bridesmaids, and told them I wanted this color, but they could get any dress they wanted. We all went shopping together (not because we had to, but they're all friends too and wanted to!), and they all ended up choosing the same dress. I actually probably would have preferred the mismatch look, but they were all comfortable and felt pretty in their dresses, so that's what mattered :)
    cowgirl8238ahoywedding
  • My BMs all live back home, and I'm across the country by myself. We turned one of my summer visits into a BM dress appointment, but not by any means mandatory, I was just staying with one BM and my sisters who are BMs picked me up. I chose to shop at davids Bridal because I knew they had a wide range of selection. I gave them four colours to choose from, and that I would like the dresses to be long and ideally chiffon but that if they were in love with a certain dress I wouldn't stop them from getting it. They were all actually surprised that I didn't care all that much so it was kind of funny. They all also ended up deciding on the same dress in the same colour, which is crazy considering the options Davids has. It'll be nice to have them all uniform and I love the dresses that they all chose together, but I really had no actual say in what they chose other than to tell them how beautiful they were! (And the colour ended up being one that I hadn't picked!)
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    geebee908SP29
  • My bridesmaids dresses were also this color! I only had 3 bridesmaids, and told them I wanted this color, but they could get any dress they wanted. We all went shopping together (not because we had to, but they're all friends too and wanted to!), and they all ended up choosing the same dress. I actually probably would have preferred the mismatch look, but they were all comfortable and felt pretty in their dresses, so that's what mattered :)

    I was OBSESSED with that color! I did go shopping with 2 out of 4 of my BMs since they were the ones local to me.  The other two I couldn't go with and I didn't even see the one my tall friend 2nd to the left had picked into the morning of since she had to fly in from Hawaii!

    With the GM my DH had told them all anything in a mid to dark grey.  Most of the guys already had something, so I think only one person had to go out and buy a suit.  He also had 6 guys to coordinate with, so we just bought them all matching ties to "pull it together" and I think the look was great! 

    This photo is proof that you: a) don't need even sides, and b) don't need to micromanage every detail to have a happy and cohesive look!


    ILoveBeachMusiclnixon8sparklepants41SP29
  • I LOVE this idea. My maids didn't want to do it, but I think it's great. If you want them all the same color, David's Bridal and places like that are easy, but you can get swatches for like $1 each. Just tell them the name of the color and off you go. Other places like Weddington Way would be easy for that concept too. But some of the mismatched colors I've seen are gorgeous! Just make sure that you're truly okay with not having veto power if you tell everyone to just pick something that meets a, b, and c.
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    mrose88 said:
    I used to work in bridal sales and dealt with this question a ton. IMO, it really comes down to WHY you want to do it. Do you really just want your bridesmaids to look their best and feel comfy, or are you perhaps trying to be Low-Maintenance Cool Bride? 

    If you're genuinely wanting your BMs to feel/look good, I have two pieces of advice from the trenches: 

    1) Don't do this if you are someone who will want approval over each dress.

    2) Set VERY clear parameters. The bride who said, "Please choose any floor length dress from X designer in Y fabric and Z shade," was always 100% more successful at eliminating drama than than the one who went with, "Just get a dress in X color".

    If you're trying to be Low-Maintenance Cool Bride (TM), my advice is to stop it and do what you really, really think is best and what you want.

    Huh?  How so?

    I was that bride that said get any knee length dress in one of these 5 colors. . .I didnt give a crap about matching designers or fabrics or shades.  That kind of defeats the purpose and limits women to bridal salons and thus "BM" looking dresses that typically cant be worn again.

    I had 10 BMs and zero drama just saying any X length dress in one of Y colors.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    ahoyweddingSP29
  • I also don't get what kind of drama comes from being told to pick out a dress of this length and that color. Do people suddenly forget how to dress themselves when they are asked to be in a bridal party? If they weren't a BM, I don't think they'd show up naked because they weren't given any guidelines about what to wear.

    I'm an advocate for getting rid of the expectation that the bride and groom have any say in what the wedding party wears. People should be allowed to dress themselves, especially if they're honored guests of the bride and groom.
    InLoveInQueensSP29lc07
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited January 2017
    geebee908 said:
    I also don't get what kind of drama comes from being told to pick out a dress of this length and that color. Do people suddenly forget how to dress themselves when they are asked to be in a bridal party? If they weren't a BM, I don't think they'd show up naked because they weren't given any guidelines about what to wear.

    I'm an advocate for getting rid of the expectation that the bride and groom have any say in what the wedding party wears. People should be allowed to dress themselves, especially if they're honored guests of the bride and groom.
    Thank the wedding industry for this.  Most people didn't have huge wedding parties before WWII.  A bride usually had one, maybe two attendants.
    Now we have professional color photography, so, of course, everyone has to look perfect for the pictures!  And the pictures are what is most important - every bride knows that!

    My sister wore an old prom dress of mine as my MOH.  My FSIL bought a dress in a contrasting color.  Much easier than today's color coordinated frenzy. 

    Matching ties?  Most men just wore a dark tie, and they wore a dark suit, not a rented tuxedo.  Since most men had a dark suit in their closet, it was easy.  Today, many younger men do not own a suit!  Unthinkable, 50 years ago. 

    ...but the pictures!  We must have perfect, color matching pictures!
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    SP29
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Casadena said:
    As a million-time bridesmaid, i just want to throw my 2 cents in.  I hate hate hate the "pick a dress in this color and length from xxxxx designer".  ESPECIALLY if i have to order online (weddington way, azazie, etc) because they either charge you for samples to try or you have to purchase and return every style before you re-buy and pick - i perhsonally think it's rude and a pain in the ass to not be able to try something on before I spend upwards of $200 on it.  

    I'd so much rather you just tell me exactly what dress to wear or give me a color and length and let me pick whatever I want.  
    Yeah, I made sure when I did this that there was at least one, preferably two bridal salons close to each of my BM's houses that carried those dresses before I picked a designer. They all tried them on in person and then ordered from wherever.

    Anniversary

    charlotte989875
  • thank you!! photos were so helpful. I am going this weekend to look for bridesmaid dress inspiration - at least on the color! 
  • When I got married I told the girls I want this color dress, David's Bridal and full length, the rest is up to you. I choose David's Bridal because for our area they had the best range of prices to fit all budgets. My girls were so happy to be able to just focus on finding a dress that they fell beautiful in. My theory was if your bridal party is happy and comfortable with how they look, they will be smiling all day long, which is great for photos. Yes it was self serving in a way to make sure I got great photos...lol. I also let them pick out whatever kind of shoe that they felt comfortable in as long as the color went with the dress. They had full length dresses on, so if they didn't all have the same color on, it wasn't going to show. Again, happy feet, happy BM.
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