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Bridesmaid Dresses: 12 Tips for Choosing the Right Look

Don't want to ruin your wedding by creating dress stress for your bridesmaids? Do check out these dos and don'ts.

Photo: The Nichols

Be a Good Friend

The quickest way to perturb your best friends? Invite them to be in your bridal party, then turn them into fashion victims. Don't dress your friends in something hideous so you'll look better in comparison, and try not to choose bridesmaid dresses that make your maids look heavy or sexless.

tip

Remember that simple, elegant designs make every body happy. Don't go over the top with lots of details, embellishments, and accessories.

Find the Right Feel

Take your time and decide how you want the bridesmaid dresses to complement your wedding gown. Find a style that evokes the same feel as your dress but doesn't look too similar -- you don't want your bridesmaids looking like the bride.

One Size Doesn't Fit All

Search for a style that flatters the different sizes and shapes of your bridesmaids. A-line skirts and empire waists tend to look good on all body types.

Mix It Up

Or consider choosing a color or a fabric and then letting each maid pick a style that will suit her. You wouldn't want to cram a tall, voluptuous bridesmaid into the exact same style as a petite, skinny girl (totally unfair to either).

Color Them Beautiful

Look for colors you like and think would look good on all of your friends (consider their complexions and hair colors). Brighter colors are generally more flattering, while pastel hues might look great on girls with fair complexions, but can be too distracting on friends with a darker complexion.

Fill Their Closets

Be kind -- don't ask your friends to purchase a bridesmaid dress they absolutely wouldn't be caught dead in ever again. Think about what your maids could do with the dresses after the wedding (sweater sets and skirts, little black dresses, and dark-colored slip dresses are all totally reusable).

Covering the Cost

Remember to think about everyone's present financial situation.(A general price range for bridesmaid dresses is $100-300.) If you fall in love with a dress that's a bit over their budgets, consider covering the difference yourself.

Poll Your Pals

Ask your bridesmaids to go dress shopping with you, but don't bring them all at once if you have more than four. It will be way to hard to formulate your own opinion. Instead, use our bridesmaid dress search and email info about bridesmaid dresses you like to your friends. Listen to their feedback.

Make a List

Put notes beside each name about what kind of dress you think would look good on her, how much you think is fair to ask her to pay for a dress, and anything else that strikes your fancy.

Reusable Hues

Dark-colored dresses like navy, hunter green, and black look great on almost every maid and can be worn to formal events later.

Comfort Level

If you're considering strapless dresses or bridesmaid gowns that don't accommodate bras, ask your bridal party if they would be comfortable in such a style before you decide.

Get It Done

Don't be a control freak and try to do everything on your own. Appoint your maid of honor or a highly responsible bridesmaid to be in charge of organizing gown purchases.

-- The Knot

See More: Bridal Party Fashion