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Ideas & Advice on Bridesmaid Outfits, Dresses & Gowns

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Even though the bride wants to be the star of the show, it is still important that the dresses worn by the bridesmaids compliment both the day and the girls wearing them!


By this stage you will most probably have selected the colours of your Wedding Day and this will give you a strong indication of the colour of your bridesmaid dresses. For example, a sophisticated coffee and cream affair will lend itself to cappuccino coloured bridesmaid dresses or a romantic winter wedding could suit a deep fushia or rich burgundy. Each of your bridesmaids will have an opinion on what colour they would choose to wear so if you have something in mind, tell them - don’t ask them, and above all else stick to your guns. On the other hand, if you are still choosing your colour scheme it may be worth considering what will suit your bridesmaids. After all a washed-out bridesmaid will be very visible on your photo’s.


Once you have picked colour, you need to pick style. Trends in bridesmaid dresses have moved with the times – no longer is it necessary to have everyone from the age of 8 to 80 in the same frilly dress!


Adult Bridesmaids

It is now quite common practice to have each adult maid in the same colour gown but each in a different style. There are a number of options discussed in the articles in this section each highlighting the different styles available for all aspects of the dress.


You need to consider whether you would prefer to go for something which contrasts your gown (e.g. straps or sleeves to complement your strapless gown) or to complement your dress by having all of the gowns strapless but the bridesmaids in a different style skirt. Remember too, you can give your maid of honour a wrap or a sweep train to make her stand out from the rest of your maids.


Try to be sympathetic to your bridesmaids’ physical foibles. It is very easy to get swept away with the appearance of the whole day but in your endeavours to hide your own curvaceous hips or wobbly arms acknowledge that these may be concerns of the rest of the women in the Wedding Party. You need everyone to be looking their best and feeling confident and self-assured. With this in mind however, feel free to tell your perfect 10 of a friend to ‘get over it’ when she complains that the dress you’ve chosen for her would look better if it showed her figure off a little more!


Junior Bridesmaids/Flower Girls 

Whilst you want all of your bridesmaids to co-ordinate it is important to remember that you can do this without dressing a 5-year old up as a prom queen. Clearly some of your young maids will jump at the chance to dress up like the older girls and often ornate adult dresses are available to better compliment a less developed figure. However even these softer styled dresses are not meant for a youngster, so be aware of this when making the decision. 


One of the most popular styles for this age group is a simple bodice (normally not very fitted) with a high waist line (though not quite empire line), with a t-shirt neckline and either thick straps or short sleeves teamed with a beautiful full, ballerina length skirt made from layered tulle. There is normally a sash round the waist which ties in a bow at back. You can decide whether you want the colour of their dresses to match the bridesmaids or to match your own and then use the other colour for the sash. If all of these terms are a little confusing to you, don’t worry, they are covered in the other articles in this section.


A host of other styles are also available and if you are going for something different from your adult bridesmaids remember you can get them from different places. Dresses for little ones might be very cost effective if they are made by a local seamstress and if you are going for a straight forward design you probably won’t need a pattern as they’ll have made enough for an army worth of troublesome toddlers.


To help you on your way, the remaining articles in this section look at the things which every ‘Contrary Mary’ should consider when selecting outfits for all of her pretty maids (and if you look in the left hand menu, you will see that we have lined them all up in a row!).



Related: There are hundreds of wedding articles on the site, each filled with superb ideas, advice and inspiration. Check out the links in the left hand column to read more. Alternatively, to search for a local wedding venue, product or service provider, try our Wedding Directory. With over 13,000 companies already listed, you're sure to find what you're looking for.


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