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Bridesmaids: Choosing Dresses They'll Love

Of course the wedding is your day to shine, but you want your bridesmaids to look beautiful too! These tips will make theirs a positive fashion experience.

Photo: Kelly Brown Photography

Listen up, brides. Don't attempt to dress your maids in some puffy-sleeved, kelly green, satin-and-lace confection that makes them look pallid, plump, and sexless. (Trust us, it's been done.) Try to remember that these are your bestest friends in the whole world, and since they are most likely paying for them, it would be great it they could wear their outfits again.

Here are some dos, don'ts, and basic truths to consider when choosing your bridesmaid dresses:

Don't jump on a trend without thinking of how your friends will look and feel.


Do Try to find a style and color that is flattering to the different sizes and skin tones of your bridesmaids.

Do Try to keep the price at something that everyone can afford. $200 is a good figure to keep in mind, but if you can do it for less, everyone will be happier.

Do Consider letting your bridesmaids wear clothing of their own choice. What you lose in uniformity will be made up for in comfort and happiness, which will be apparent in the way they carry themselves and smile. A variation on this theme is to let them wear dresses of their own choosing as long as they are a certain color.

Do Consider dress length: Formal and semiformal weddings call for long, ballerina-length, or tea-length dresses. At an informal or daytime wedding, bridesmaid dresses can be the same length as the bride's dress, short or long.

A Few More Words of Advice:


Do consider body types -- if one maid is voluptuous, another's rail-thin and yet another is tiny and boyish, you can't wedge them all into something skin-tight or cleavage-revealing. Very few figures are flattered by a big old contrasting-color bow on the butt or hundreds of tiny, ballooning pleats. Simple, elegant designs are the most flattering to all figures.

Don't put everyone in seafoam green, sweetie. Perhaps you have your wedding colors in mind, but are these really colors you would ask your friends to wrap themselves in? Be careful about colors that rarely occur in nature, or only on football uniforms. Remember, some colors are truly neutral -- navy blue and even black are good choices for formal weddings.

Do remember your friends aren't filthy rich. They don't buy dresses that look terrible on them and toss them out after one occasion, just for laughs. Think about dresses they could REALLY wear again.

Above all, you want your friends to like you before, during, and after the ceremony. Our best advice: Don't jump on a trend without thinking of how your friends will feel and look.

-- The Knot

See More: Your Bridal Party , Bridal Party Fashion