Following on from last month’s blog on how to style your bridesmaids, I thought I’d cover the topic of the biggest bridesmaid revolution I’ve seen since Cathedral Gowns opened! This is the story of ‘Mismatched Maids’!
Traditionally bridesmaids have been dressed in identical dresses, with their shoes, jewellery, hair and make-up exactly the same, and up until now bridesmaids have been happy with that deal, but recently there has been a big shake up in how brides are dressing their attendants! Brides are opting for and embracing variety and individualising each look to suit each bridesmaid. Instead of making each girl a clone of the last, each bridesmaid is being given the chance to actually look like herself!
As with many wedding trends, this one seems to have started in America, and I’m guessing has a lot to do with the fact that in the US the bridesmaids pay for their own dresses. Having watched episodes of ‘Say Yes to the Dress Bridesmaids’ it is fair to say that American bridesmaids are far more vocal about what they are or are not willing to wear, and fair enough really if they are the ones spending the money. But it isn’t just about the aesthetic; comfort has become a really important factor, especially for the girls with figure concerns or who need to be able to wear a non-strapless bra. It is fantastic that bridesmaids are now being given the chance to tailor the dress and the look according to their own style, taste and body type.
So if you are thinking of giving your girls some freedom in the dress choice, it’s a good idea to decide in advance how much say you will let them have, and how much you are willing to compromise. Before you go shopping it’s a good idea to know what your own wedding day look is, and whether your wedding dress choice will dictate any elements of the bridesmaid dresses, without this your bridesmaids will have too much choice.
There are lots of different ways that you can tweak, tailor and individualise your bridesmaids’ dresses. The easiest way is to pick a standard dress and adjust each neckline to suit each girl. Straps can be added, a straight across can become a sweetheart, you get the idea. This way you can be kind to each girl, and be considerate of their body type or any figure concerns, but you are still working with the one dress style and one cohesive aesthetic.
There are so many options if you chose to keep the overall ‘from a distance’ look the same.
- Dress the girls in the same colour, fabric, length and general shape, but make them very different from the waist up. Lots of designers offer dresses that are different only from the waist up.
- Tweak the necklines, some can have cap sleeves, or halter strap added, or necklines can be curved or dipped.
- Tweak the skirt shapes to flatter girls the best. It’s pretty straightforward to make an a-line gown more fitted, and is especially flattering on more petite bridesmaids.
- Adjust the hem lengths, keep some girls full length and make it knee or ballet length for others.
- Keep the dresses the same but give each girl freedom with hair and make-up.
- Changing their accessories. One of our recent brides had each of her girls wear the same shoes but in different colours, and it worked so well with their short dresses.
- Adding things to change the look, one girl might have a coloured sash or a brooch to make her stand out.
- Make each girl’s bouquet totally different.
So you can subtly adjust each girls look to suit them, take into account what matters to them, but you still retain a cohesive aesthetic that makes sense. So whilst it’s fair to say that your bridesmaids shouldn’t wear a uniform, you do still want them to look like a team and that they belong with you.
But lots of girls are going even further with individualising for each bridesmaid! This is your chance to really showcase your personality, be creative and even eclectic! You can make each of your girls look totally different and unique, different dresses, different colours, different fabrics or even all of the above! Think Carrie Bradshaw’s bridesmaids in the first Sex and the City movie!
You can dress your girls:
- Different colour same style.
- Different style same colour.
- Completely different colours and styles but coherent theme. You could have different dresses with a unifying feature such as a belt or a brooch, but pick something to be cohesive, such as the skirt length or shape.
- Different shades of a colour, creating an ombre effect.
- A range of colours with a cohesive look or theme, such as ice cream shades, colours of the sunset etc.
- Have one girl in a pattern, or even a combination of patterns for all the girls.
- Have just one girl different, maybe the junior or maid of honour.
There are so many ways and things you can do to make each girl look different from the next, but I definitely think that if you are going to dress them very differently that it works best with larger bridal parties. It definitely has more impact with three or more adult bridesmaids. It’s tough to narrow it down to just one dress that you love, so this way if you love three very different dresses, you can have them! And the best bit is that you since you aren’t looking for multiples of a style, you might strike it lucky and find your perfect dresses hanging on a bridal shops sale rail!
Going for completely different dresses for each girl is definitely a trend that is building momentum, and it is not as alternative as it once was. But the traditionalists will most likely be horrified by even the suggestion of different styles for each bridesmaid, so if you are thinking of going this route you’ll need to be prepared for some of your guests to be shocked and possibly even negative.
Ultimately I love how fresh this look can be! It’s like all of a sudden the rule books have been thrown away, and I absolutely love it!