Last Updated on 28/01/2022 by Above Diamond

How to Select the Perfect Bridesmaid Dresses


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The day that your best friend calls you to tell you that ‘I am getting married!’ with the person she loves is probably the day you are most glad and delighted for her as a friend. Your friend is finally going to become a bride and she is ready to begin a new chapter of her life.

And at the moment that the bride asks you to be her ‘bridesmaid’, you feel proud and honored to be a witness of your friend’s love on her important day.

You start to daydream about your friend’s wedding, shortly after that, anxiety starts to set in. How would you have to dress? Will it fit with the wedding theme? You still want to look appropriate as a bridesmaid in a dress that fits you but you are afraid that you will steal your friend’s spotlight. What should you do? How should you select your bridesmaid dress?

Or if you are the bride, you may still be unsure how to agree with your bridesmaids – how will you make everyone’s dress look incredible and fit your desired wedding theme?

I would like to invite both the bride and her bridesmaids to take a look at the steps to selecting a bridesmaid dress that will not only fit the wedding’s theme and is within the wedding’s budget but also make the bride and her maids happy. Where and how you should start this process? This article has your answers.

First of all, because ‘bridesmaid dresses’ are a part of the wedding, the person who sets the theme and direction of them will be no one other than the ‘bride. That is why before a decision is made, both the bride and her gang of friends should discuss what the dresses should be like. It is also important to discuss what the bridesmaids may want or what they may worry about in the following topics:

  • Budget
  • Theme and formality
  • The color tone of the dresses
  • Tailoring
  • Fabric materials
  • Style and length of the dresses
  • Shoes and accessories
  • Makeup and hair

The tips and tricks of each topic are as follows.

1. The Budget for Bridesmaid Dresses

This is what will set the who tailors the bridesmaid dresses. The bride could handle this affair for her friends by just buying them fabric to be tailored by themselves or the bride could also just ask her friends to find their own bridesmaid dresses that fit the theme of the wedding. This decision can be made based on the budget the bride sets.

If the bride’s budget is adequate, the bride wants to tailor the dresses for her friends – she can go ahead and do so. The bride may have to discuss the style of the dresses with her bridesmaids and ask for their opinions. With that being said, the final decision is entirely up to the bride as she is, after all, the one with the budget.

In some cases, the bridesmaids could also chip in on the costs of tailoring their bridesmaid dresses. This is doable in the cases that the bride’s budget is not sufficient or if the number of bridesmaid dresses is overwhelming. This will considerably reduce the bride’s wedding budget as well as her stress.

If you, as a bride, want your friends to handle their own dresses so that you can give them their freedom of choice and reduce the costs, you could try asking the needs and wants of each friend to see how much budget they are willing to spend on a dress. This is done so that you can set a budget ceiling for all dresses so that no one has to spend more than they are comfortable with.

Other than this, another tip is to have the bride and her friends help find a tailor who is within their budget range and then visit the tailor as a group. The quality of the dresses will be similar and the costs will also be acceptable to all.

Read more: The wedding costs manual for couples across all budgets

2. Theme and Formality

This is the second topic that needs attention when selecting bridesmaid dresses. This is referenced from 2 essentials which are:

The Bride’s Wedding Gown

Because the bridesmaids are the ones who will be standing side by side with the bride almost through the entirety of the wedding, their appearances should enhance one another’s – and because this is the bride’s wedding, the bridesmaid dresses should be mainly based on the bride’s wedding gown.

For example, if the bride’s wedding gown is lace – the bridesmaid dresses could use plain patternless fabrics. If the bride’s wedding gown is plain, if the bride wants the overall look of the wedding to have a sweeter touch, the bridesmaid dresses could be lace or patterned.

Or if the bride’s wedding gown is easy-going and not too extravagant, the bridesmaid dresses should also follow the same easy-going-philosophy to enhance the overall look. If the bride’s wedding gown is a straight wedding dress/mermaid wedding dress, her bridesmaids should also wear straight wedding dresses that are not puffy or a line skirts would be more fitting with the theme.

Wedding Theme

This aspect of the wedding is what will dictate the style and direction of the bridesmaid dresses. Both shapes and colors must fit in with the theme. The bride herself will have to clearly communicate to her friends what the theme of the wedding is and the level of formality it will be held at.

If the wedding is a luxurious and formal event, suitable bridesmaid dresses may include long evening gowns but if the wedding is held only in the morning or is a beach wedding – the formality can be reduced down to a short dress or easy-going outfits that are suitable for the seaside atmosphere.

Or if you want your bridesmaids to help you during the wedding, in the tea ceremony where the bridesmaid will have to sit on the floor as an example, you could select dresses that are wide or more agile so that getting up and sitting down is easy.

3. Color Tone of the ‘Bridesmaid Dresses’

The color tone of the dress is an important topic as it will set the bridesmaid dresses apart from the other guests because the whole group of bridesmaids will have the same color tone. The color tone of the bridesmaid dresses will often reference the tone of the wedding and the tone of the wedding will reference the wedding’s theme and location as they will have to compliment each other.

For some weddings, the bride and groom may select one main primary color that stands out. The color will often be used for bridesmaid dresses as well but there are also some weddings that have a variety of colors in a palette. If this is the case for your wedding, the bride may select one color from the palette and use it for the bridesmaid dresses.

Other than this, the skin tone of the bridesmaids is also something the bride should consider and decide if her bridesmaids’ skin tone and the wedding color tone matches.

If your group of friends has a consistent and similar skin tone, selecting the color tone would be easy. In the case that your group of friends has skin tones ranging from both ends of the spectrum, you may have to select the bridesmaid dresses with the same color but in different tones to match the skin tone of its wearer. This can create a distinction for each bridesmaid and will help them look great in their own way whilst following the direction of the wedding’s theme.

4. Tailoring the Bridesmaid Dresses

Selecting the method of tailoring the bridesmaid dresses will be a continuum of the bridesmaid dresses budget. If the bride has not set aside an adequate budget for this section or if the bride wants her friends to have the opportunity to select their own dresses that match their own styles, the bride could buy the fabric and give it to the bridesmaid to tailor it themselves.

It does not matter if the bride tailors the dresses for her friends or if her friends tailor the dresses themselves, in both cases, I still recommend the bride and her bridesmaid to take a trip to the tailor together. This way, everything will share the same theme that matches the requirements of the wedding and also this way, both the bride and her friends will feel confident and like themselves during the wedding date.

And another important aspect of tailoring is to make sure that the tailor tailors the dresses to fit the body shape of the wearer. This will put emphasis and enhance the beauty of the bridesmaid dresses.

But if you and your bridesmaid decide to purchase ready-made bridesmaid dresses, I also recommend you to take the dresses to a tailor so that they are the best they can be. Even though this may seem like a minor detail, the result and difference it gives on the wedding date are substantial.

5. Selecting the Fabric of the Bridesmaid Dresses

Selecting the fabric to be tailored for the bridesmaid dresses is considered more important than we may think because it is what will set the look of the bridesmaid to be sweet and romantic, modern, luxurious or fierce – depending on the theme you want.

More than that, the fabric will also dictate how comfortable the dresses are and this depends on the type of air and location the wedding is set in. What makes a fabric good for the event means that the fabric chosen should be easy to wear all day without making the wearer feel uncomfortable, itchy, or restrictive.

The 3 popular choices for bridesmaid dresses are as follows:

  • Chiffon: The popular choice for bridesmaid dresses in Thailand because of its light, comfortable and soft characteristics. When they are tailored, the dress will appear to be agile and comfortable as it will not cause itchiness nor will it feel hot to wear. This is why it is suitable for outdoor weddings with warm weather or beach weddings.
  • Satin: Its glossy characteristics give it a vibe of luxuriousness. It is suitable to be tailored into a bridesmaid dress for indoor weddings or hotel weddings with a cool temperature. If a satin bridesmaid dress is worn in hot weather, it will cause discomfort and sweat because of the thickness of the fabric which is why it is not suitable for outdoor weddings or beach weddings.
  • Lace/Patterned/Floral: Even though most bridesmaid dresses you see are tailored from plain fabric, it does not mean you cannot design a bridesmaid dress with patterns.

    Using lace, patterned or floral fabric will make the bridesmaid dresses standout and more sweet which, fitting for a romantic wedding. It will also add contrast to a plain modern fabric wedding gown, adding to the wedding’s theme and balancing the overall look.

    Or if you decide to use geometric patterns, leopard rosettes, or other modern patterns, the bridesmaid dresses will have a fiercer look. Fitting for a group (Or gang) of fierce modern women.

Read more: A treasure trove of bridal dresses – choose your style (Part 2)

6. Selecting the Style of the Bridesmaid Dresses

After the bride and her friends has agreed on a rough theme of the wedding, the tailoring of the dresses, and the fabric used, it is now time for the bridesmaid to select the type and style of their bridesmaid dresses to fit the wedding’s theme and requirements and also to make sure that the selected dress will make the bridesmaid beautiful and most like herself. The bride can oversee this process from a distance. What the bridesmaids will have to decide are as follows:

The Length of the ‘Bridesmaid Dresses’

Oftentimes, the length of the dress will depend on the formality and format of the wedding. For example, if the wedding is set during night time, a long evening gown is a suitable choice or if the wedding is set during day time, wearing a shorter bridesmaid dress would be more suitable.

The bride can dictate whether or not the length of all bridesmaid dresses is the same or if they can vary depending on the wearer. The tips for choosing the length of the dress are as follow:

  • Knee-Length: Bridesmaid dresses with knee-length skirts have a suitable length. As a gesture of respect to the bride and the wedding, the skirt of the dresses should not be shorter than this.

    This skirt length can be worn both during daytime and nighttime without appearing too revealing but if you are a smaller girl, choosing a skirt length that is just above your knees would make your legs appear slender and long.

  • Shin-Length: Shin-length skirt (Midi Skirt) will give off a sweeter look but you must be careful with this as the wrong length may make your shins appear larger than they are because the end of the skirt may fall right on the widest section of your shins.

    If you want to choose this length of bridesmaid dresses, high heels should be worn with them. The color of the shoes should be skin-colored to make the wearer’s legs appear longer.

  • Full-Length: This length is for evening gowns that cover the entirety of its wearer’s legs. But if you are a smaller girl, do not forget to wear high heels and keep in mind that your skirt should not drag on the floor to avoid making you appear too stout. The top section of the dress should also reveal some skin, to balance out the overall look.

Neck and Chest Section

Selecting the right neck and chest section to match your style will make each bridesmaid’s dresses easily distinguishable from each other. It will also put emphasis on the curves and camouflage the unwanted parts.

In selecting the neck and chest section, if the bride wants all the bridesmaid dresses to follow the same format, the dress chosen should be one that all bridesmaids are happy with and look great in. Otherwise, letting the bridesmaids choose their individual dresses would be better.

Other than this, not everyone will feel confident when wearing sleeveless bridesmaid dresses. Some bridesmaids may worry about the size of their arms, if this is the case, choosing a bridesmaid dress with sleeves will help cover that up.

Selecting the Dress To Fit the Bridesmaids Body Type

The bridesmaids and the bride may have to have a conversation on what their worries are and what type of dress they want to wear. For example, if a bridesmaid is worried about her arm section, she could ask for a dress with sleeves. If a bridesmaid is worried about her legs, she could ask to wear an a-line dress. If the dresses do not break away from the theme of the wedding, then it is fine.

The Dress Should Have a Classic Style

What this means is that bridesmaid dresses that are simple, not too striking, or trendy – will still look good after 10 years when you reminisce on them.

7. The Right Shoes and Accessories

Selecting the right shoes and accessories to fit the bridesmaid dresses can, for the most part, be done by the bridesmaids themselves to fit their styles. However, the bride should still oversee the whole process. The method of selecting the right shoes and accessories are as follows:

  • Shoes: To select the right shoes to match your bridesmaid dress, refer back to the length of the dress skirt. It should make your legs appear slimmer but it should also be comfortable to wear and will look great throughout the wedding. If you need to walk on grass, you should avoid needlepoint heels as they will make walking on grass much harder.
  • Accessories: You can refer back to the theme of the wedding to see how formal or luxurious the event will be, then, you can set aside the accessories that fit your bridesmaid’s dress well. The accessories should not be ‘too much’ nor should they be ‘too little’.

    Other than that, the bride could also set a color tone for the accessories – silver, gold, or rose gold, this gives off that the team of bridesmaids truly operate as one unit.

  • Less is More: This is an important tip when it comes to selecting the right shoes and accessories. You should select the ones which are truly outstanding, and more importantly – truly you. Of course, whatever is chosen should not take any attention away from the bride as a gesture of respect to the wedding and your beloved friend.

8. Makeup and Hair

Makeup and hair are considered something which is just as essential as the wedding gown. It will enhance the unique beauty of each individual bridesmaid but with that said, the makeup and hair of the bride and bridesmaids should follow the same theme.

Therefore, if it is possible, the gang of bridesmaids could hire a team hairstylist and a makeup artist so that the style of their makeup and hair are matching.

But if the budget does not allow it and the bridesmaid has to do their own makeup and hair, the bride could also send a reference of different makeup styles that follow the wedding’s theme so that her friend can choose from it. Focus on simplicity, easy-to-do, and budget-saving.

Read more: 8 Tips To Choose ‘Bridal Hairstyles’ To Match Your Wedding Dress

That is why selecting bridesmaid dresses is considered an important process of the wedding. Both the bride and her friends will have to help each other decide on what will look best on the wedding date. This can also be thought of as another test of friendship that both you and your friend will have to pass through with compassion and understanding.

You and your friend will only need to communicate with each other, listen, and adjust. Slowly make your way through the process and topics of selecting the bridesmaid dresses, one by one. In the end, you will have a beautiful bridesmaid dress to wear – ready to be by your best friend’s side on her important day.

Above Diamond wishes both the bride and her bridesmaids the best of luck in this difficult endeavor of selecting the right ‘bridesmaid dresses’. We gratefully offer consultation on the process of ordering custom diamond rings and wedding rings that can be uniquely designed to match your heart’s desire. You can contact us and schedule a free consultation right here.

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