Bridesmaid Dress Guide: Perfect Dresses for Your Bridal Party

Women in their mix and match bridesmaid dresses

Once you have chosen your own wedding dress, it’s time to start thinking about what your bridesmaids will wear. Since you want to keep your friends, you probably want to stay away from the seafoam green or Scarlett O’Hara-style hoop skirts. Beyond knowing exactly what you don’t want, choosing the right bridesmaid dresses can be tricky.

Lovely Bride and Her Bridesmaid Wearing an A-Line Bridesmaid Dress in Lime Green
Dress ID: 126443

Finding something that flatters a variety of body types, fits the theme and style of your wedding, as well as, making your bridesmaids feel great in their dresses may feel like it is an impossible task.

Stunning Chiffon Bridesmaid Dresses in Ink Blue
Dress ID: 144743

Do not despair. Check out our guide in choosing bridesmaid dresses to find a dress that will make everyone happy. Best of all, every dress from JJ’s House is made to order so your girls can count on the dresses that fit perfectly while making them feel beautiful.

Start with the Budget

As you know, wedding expenses can add up quickly, and it’s no different for a bridesmaid. Before you begin looking at dresses, consider the costs including the dress (and alterations if needed), shoes, jewelry, hair, and makeup.

Be mindful of your bridesmaids’ lifestyles and budget, and consider cost-effective options that won’t break the bank. One option to meet every budget is to choose the color of the dress and allow your bridesmaids to choose a dress that fits their taste and budget.

The Shape of You

One common complaint among former bridesmaids is that they were forced to wear a dress that doesn’t flatter. A dress that looks great on your size 2 best friend might not look as good on your size 16 sister; so, look for a dress that enhances different body types.

Inspiring Photoshoot - Bride with Her Supportive Bridesmaids by Her Side

When you are trying to find a universally flattering dress, stick to dresses made from sturdier fabrics that have a good deal of structure and shape to them. Gauzy, floaty dresses can overwhelm petite frames while making plus size women appear larger. Some good options would include the following.

3/4 sleeves – This sleeve length looks great on every age, height, and body shape. It also eliminates some of the discomforts that can come with strapless or sleeveless styles.

A-line silhouettes – The A-line silhouette is the most universally flattering shape for bridesmaid dresses, followed by empire waist styles. If any of your bridesmaids are expecting, an empire dress is a comfortable and suitable choice. A classic sheath, which is simple and streamlined, is also flattering to most.

Sky Blue Bridesmaid Dresses Matched with Lovely Pink Bouquets
Dress ID: 105575

Subtle design details – Ruching or darts at the waist, well-placed slits on the skirt, and other details can draw attention to her best features and enhance the fit of the dress.

Matte fabric – Shiny or iridescent reflects light and makes even the best-fitting gown look somehow “off.”

No to ball gowns or lots of fabric for plus size bridesmaids – Adding layers of fabric can only make one appear heavier. Look for dresses that are designed to conceal “problem” areas and highlight her favorite features.

A-line Bridesmaid Dresses for All Body Shapes

Again, if your bridesmaids have a wide range of sizes and shapes, you might consider choosing a dress color and allowing each bridesmaid to select the dress style that is most enhancing to her shape.

The Rainbow Connection

Bridesmaid dresses typically coordinate with the color schemes of the wedding. When choosing a color for the gowns, remember the following.

Rainbow Connection: Fantastic Mix and Match Bridesmaid Dresses

Venue color schemes – If your reception is being held in a beautiful garden in full bloom, bright fuchsia or turquoise dress will fit right in. If you will be partying in a rustic barn decorated in shapes of deep red and yellow, those shades will look out of place. Consider the theme and feeling you want for your wedding, and coordinate the dress color.

Season – Fall and winter weddings call for deeper richer hues than spring and summer nuptials. Think about navy, chocolate, or eggplant shades for the fall and winter; and, brighter pinks, greens, blues for the summer.

Blues Matched with Sunflowers in an Outdoor Wedding
Dress ID: 176761

Variety is okay – Many brides are opting for their bridesmaids to wear the same dress in a variety of hues from the same color family. An example is the use of several shades of blue. Another trend is the “rainbow” bridal party with each bridesmaid wearing the same dress in different shades of the rainbow.

Don’t overlook pattern – Patterned and printed dresses are another bridesmaid dress trend. If you opt for a patterned dress, keep everything else simple – monochromatic flowers, simple hair, etc. – so it doesn’t look too busy.

Location, Location, Location

The venue of your wedding celebration is also a factor in selecting a bridesmaid gown. A dress that’s perfect for a formal cathedral wedding followed by a ballroom reception is going to look out of place at a more bohemian beachside wedding. Consider some of these options for common wedding venues.

Fabulous Winter Wedding. Breathtaking Snowy Background
Dress ID: 116646

Ballroom – Formal, floor-length gown with details in lace, sequins, or beads. Pair with formal shoes and hair.

Barn/Country – Empire waist maxi dresses, knee-length dresses, less formal and structured look. Consider pairing them with boots, denim jackets, or cardigans to up to the country or informal feeling.

Beach Maxi dresses, empire waist dresses, short dresses. Beach weddings tend to be less formal than others, so you want to avoid dresses that have lots of beadings or details, and stick to simpler designs.

Outdoor Garden – Here, you have some flexibility depending on how formal your wedding will be. High-low hems and tea-length dresses are a good option, as well as, A-line and empire-waist gowns in various lengths.

What a Chilly Weather! Beautiful Ladies in their Stunning Dresses Enhanced by Lovely Accessories
Dress ID: 116652

Don’t forget to consider the weather and temperature of your location as well, especially if you will be taking photos or doing any wedding activities outdoors. If you opt for a sleeveless or strapless dress during cooler months, for instance, be sure to add a wrap or jacket so no one freezes.

What are you wearing?

As the bride, you are the star of the show, so your bridesmaids’ dresses should coordinate with yours. As you look through the photos of bridesmaid dress options, place them side-by-side with photos of your dress to see how they look together.

Perfect Photoshoot - Coordinating Bridesmaid Dresses and Bridal Gown
Dress ID: 51835

Generally speaking, the more elaborate your dress, the simpler your bridesmaid dresses should be. If your dress has lots of beading, lace, or other details, look for a simpler bridesmaid gown.

Some brides like to coordinate the necklines or general style of the bridesmaid dresses with their gowns. For example, if you are wearing a strapless A-line dress, a tank-style or a boat neck A-line bridesmaid dress will coordinate nicely. If you are wearing a wedding gown with an illusion lace neckline, choose a bridesmaid dress with a similar style.

Be Unique

Finally, don’t be afraid to show some of your personality and be unique with your bridal party gowns. We can take a cue from Kate Middleton, and have the entire wedding party be in white. Opt for mix-and-match separates too. Don’t lock yourself into a traditional style just because you think you have to. It’s your day and you can exactly create the look and feel that you want.

Faux Fur Wrap for the Bride and Chiffon Wraps for the Bridesmaids on a Chilly Weather
Dress ID: 116652

Whatever you do, don’t promise your bridesmaids that they can wear their dresses again or make them wear hoop skirts. They might hate you for that. To find the perfect dress that won’t end your friendships, browse our bridesmaid dress styles here.

To make it easier to determine the best bridesmaid styles for you while looking at JJ’s House dresses, download our bridesmaid dress buying guide.


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