How to Choose Dresses That Will Keep Your Bridesmaids Happy

Row of bridesmaids with flowers


Bridesmaid dresses: just the thought of them may send shudders down your spine. At their best, bridesmaid dresses provide onlookers with a wonderful visual image of the bride and her best friends as they stand in solidarity at the altar. In contrast however, no bride wants her supporting ladies to look like they’re part of a circus, and a bad choice in bridesmaid dresses can leave bridesmaids looking like they’ve been dressed in colorful burlap sacks.

Why do we so often see these girls and women being forced to endure the lackluster bridesmaid dress? Why do we turn a blind eye (or sometimes cringing one) to the over-the-top ruffled up mess that some bridesmaids skirt the aisle in? With a little help and the desire to step outside of the bridesmaid box, brides and their accompanying ladies can pull off a wedding that leaves guests remembering the bridesmaid dresses – and the bride – for their style and beauty.

Where To Start – The Wedding Theme

The most important element in planning any wedding, aside from the bride and groom, is the general theme behind it. Some grooms may not understand the planning and preparation that goes into most weddings, but anyone who’s planned one can attest that most weddings have a theme, and most themes are taken very seriously by the bride. The colors for the invitations, the icing on the cake… every little detail about the wedding will be molded and shaped by the bride’s central theme.

It’s important for brides and their bridesmaids to communicate with each other about the theme of the wedding. If the bride expresses her visions openly, she might be surprised by the good ideas she gets from feedback from her bridesmaids. This could help her theme to evolve from something simple to something elaborate, or it might cause her to rethink some of the details that she previously had committed to. This process of communication can help you choose beautiful bridesmaid dresses that everyone in the wedding party will love.

Finding Common Ground

The actual act of shopping for bridesmaid dresses can be grueling. Often, brides and bridesmaids can have distinctly opposing ideas about what looks good and why. On one hand, a number of years of shopping and trying on endless styles of dresses and other garments give many bridesmaids a firm understanding of what does and doesn’t work for their figures. And as much as we all agree that the bride should be the shining star of her wedding, most women want to look as good as they can in what they wear, and they certainly don’t want to wear something that they firmly believe doesn’t flatter them.

On the other hand, the bride is the leader of her wedding planning party, and her wishes should be respected as much as possible. This isn’t an invitation for a bride to be demanding and inconsiderate by any means. After all, being a part of a wedding isn’t just a joyous experience, it’s a responsibility as well, and asking someone to be a part of your wedding and giving them a responsibility requires a certain level of commitment on the agreeing party’s part. Brides, just like any other delegators, should be respectful of their bridesmaids and actively work towards meeting them on common ground.

Stepping Outside The Box

This is the most exciting part, in my opinion, of the whole process in determining the best bridesmaid dresses to compliment the bride, the bridesmaids and the overall look of the wedding. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen brides put their bridesmaids in bland, unflattering and downright boring ensembles. I’ve also seen dresses that seemed like they were inspired by fantasy comics or some other gimmick. What I love to see is a tasteful, thought-out dress that says more than, “I hate this dress and solemnly swear that I will bury it as soon as humanly possible.”

My tip for stepping outside of the boring bridesmaid dress queue, (which I will stand by until death do us part) is a bridesmaid dress rental. Some of you may have heard through the grapevine of a best friend’s sister’s wedding, in which the bridal party was adorned with gorgeous hues, elegant silhouettes, and downright jaw-dropping cuts. It’s no secret that it can be costly to get a bride to step outside the box in choosing her bridesmaid’s dresses. It can, however, be incredibly inexpensive.

The cost to rent bridesmaid dresses is often extremely low compared to buying. You also don’t have to limit yourself to items described as “bridesmaid dresses” when looking for rental bridesmaid dresses. Take a step outside the box and consider other options, like formal gowns and cocktail numbers. Experiment with different fabrics when choosing a bridesmaid dress rental as well. You’ll be saving yourself a lot of money, so playing with expensive textures and cuts isn’t taboo! Opening your mind and increasing your budget by renting your bridesmaid dresses will open your options up tremendously.

The following video describes a new trend for choosing bridesmaid dresses: allowing your bridesmaids to choose their own dresses

  1. In the same style but allowing them to choose their favorite colors.
  2. In the same colors, but allowing them to choose their own style
  3. In the same length, but allowing them to choose their own style and color.

When Renting

I’m a big fan of online bridesmaid dress rental. I’ve preached over and over about how limiting your search to in-store options only guarantees that you’ll spend a lot of time shopping while only seeing a small fraction of what’s actually available to your budget. If you’re looking for cheap bridesmaid dresses, shop online for rental boutiques that offer a wide range of formal gowns in many lengths, shapes, colors and styles. You’re sure to find more dresses that’ll enhance the theme of the wedding than you’d find by shopping store-to-store around town.

Many brides want different bridesmaid dresses than those they’ve seen at other weddings, without the expensive price tags often found on dresses that seem to truly stand out. Luckily, it isn’t hard to get all the bang for your buck that you’d expect when shopping for discount bridesmaid dresses without losing on the style and glamour that you’d get out of the dress of your dreams… if you only spend a little extra time shopping through online rental boutiques. You never know, keeping an open mind and closing your wallet a little bit might just change your wedding in more ways than one!

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