Being a bridesmaid no longer means donning head-to-toe matching outfits. Mixing and matching separates, playing with colors and details, or allowing each lady to choose her own most flattering dress shape, lets you offer your attendants something much more than a place in your bridal party: the opportunity to look and feel their best in the spotlight.
Select Different Silhouettes
If your attendants are various weights and sizes, try selecting a manufacturer, color, and fabric, then let each bridesmaid choose the dress style. Many designers offer dozens of silhouettes in a single color, from universally flattering A-lines to sexy halter-top numbers. Keep in mind that your bridesmaids don't have to select drastically different designs -- they can stand apart just as easily in contrasting necklines or hemlines.
You can offer your attendants something much more than a place in your bridal party: The opportunity to look and feel their best in the spotlight.
Choose a Color
Select a universally flattering silhouette, then let each girl pick a shade that flatters her skin tone. Passionate about purple? March your maids down the aisle in lavender, lilac, amethyst, and plum. Or, choose a color range that matches the mood of your wedding. For example, if you're exchanging vows at the ocean, a bridal party in shades of blue will look dreamy. Complete the look using the same array of shades for your attendant flowers and accessories.
Perfect Your Palette
To evoke a particular mood, choose several colors with the same tone that work together (interior decorators use this trick all the time). For example, if you love tropical hues, dress your attendants in turquoise, yellow, lime green, and coral. Having trouble settling on a palette? Consider your apartment decorating and wardrobe preferences: Do you like being surrounded by demure pastels, or does your taste lean more toward bold brights? Whatever tone you choose, the dresses should all be the same fabric.
We love the idea of a festive ball skirt paired with a cashmere twin set. And, most bridesmaids would agree because the skirts (usually in an A-line or bias-cut) flatter virtually all figures, and the tops may be worn after the wedding. Plus, the ladies can wear their cardigans while you're exchanging vows, then shed the top layer during the reception. Keep in mind that you don't have to order the top and bottom from the same manufacturer. Some retailers will let you purchase separates from two different designers and, if you're a sleuthing bride, you may even find an amazing top right off-the-rack.
Who says your attendant outfits must be monochrome? Use accent colors to spruce up their dresses and allow you to give each bridesmaid an individual look. For instance, put one attendant in a turquoise dress with a lime-green sash, another in a solid turquoise shift, a third in a lime sheath with turquoise edging at the hemline. Purchase all the dresses from the same manufacturer and in the same fabric, although you can opt for a second material for the accent color. You can also use accent accessories as well as accent prints to punch up basic dress silhouettes.
Something as simple as flowers can also add personal flair to your bridesmaid outfits. Even if your attendants wear the same dress, you can customize their bouquets to make them feel special. While you'll want to select colors that work with your wedding scheme, you can choose multiple shades of the same flower, or mix and match several flowers and/or colors. A fun option is to vary the shapes of the arrangements. If your attendants are wearing different color dresses, decorate their bouquets with matching ribbons.
It's All in the Details
Little extras can go a long way. Give your matching maids a unique look by choosing accessories that complement their outfits and personalities. Try flirty satin belts or preppy silk scarves. Pretty beaded clutches give bridesmaids' a coordinating option for storing lipsticks and other necessities. If you're having an outdoor wedding or will be taking photos in the park, chiffon or satin wraps are elegant add-ons, while faux fur stoles look breathtaking at an extravagant winter wedding. For a final touch, turn to jewelry: decadent necklaces or whimsical charm bracelets make great attendant gifts and add sparkle to your bridesmaid ensembles.
Bridal Party Fashion