Short vs. Long Bridesmaid Dresses: How To Choose The Right Length

by Danielle Salazar January 09, 2016

There are lots of different decisions that go into planning a wedding and choosing the perfect bridesmaid dresses is one of them! Not only do you have to decide on color, style, and fabric, but length is something you’ll also need to consider. For many girls, it’s actually a really tough decision! Perhaps you’re having a July wedding, but really love long bridesmaid dresses. Maybe you prefer short, cocktail styles, but your ‘maids aren't comfortable showing off their legs. If you’re on the fence and don’t know what to choose, there are definitely some factors to put into consideration before making your final decision. So the question is: Which length will best suit your big day!?

Kennedy Blue Nova (left) and Layla (right).

The History of Short vs. Long Bridesmaid Dresses

Throughout time, short and long styles have each been given their own reputations and the length of dress really depended on the formality of the wedding. Full-length gowns were traditionally the only proper option and the idea of wearing a knee-length style was a bit absurd. After a while, weddings became more casual and each length was given it’s own stigma. Longer styles were ideal for formal, black tie affairs, while shorter lengths were for informal, intimate gatherings.

Overtime, those traditional notions have (for the most part) been thrown out the window. Brides are going more with their personal preference rather than what tradition says and heck, that’s how it should have been from the very beginning!

Floor-length styles still have a sense of being elegant and chic, while shorter styles are fun and sweet! However, both lengths can be dressed up or down to fit any event so the real task is determining which is the right length for your big day!

5 Things To Consider When Choosing Short vs. Long:

The formality of the event. Luckily, a lot of gowns now a days are simple enough that they can be dressed up or down depending on the formality of the event. However, that can still be a huge factor for a lot of brides! If the wedding is taking place in a church, some families prefer that the ‘maids be more covered - meaning full-length gowns and sometimes even high necklines and/or sleeves. If the wedding is more low-key, perhaps in the backyard of your family’s home or in an informal dining hall, knee-length styles will fit right in!

Your love for shoes. We all have those shoe-obsessed friends who love showing off the latest flair on their feet. If that friend just so happens to be you, knee-length dresses will be the best route! That way, whether you pick the stylish shoe(s) they’ll be sporting or allow them to choose their own style, it will make a super fun fashion statement!

The season and climate. This is definitely a critical piece to consider when choosing your bridesmaid dresses. There’s nothing worse than being freezing cold while taking outdoor pictures or sweating bullets in a thick, heavy dress. Be aware of the possible temperatures and weather conditions during the month you’re planning to tie the knot. If you do decide to go against the norm, make sure you provide your bridesmaids with the necessary means to be completely comfortable. If that means handheld electric fans or hand warmers and cardigans, do it. I can guarantee it will be greatly appreciated!

Your preferred fabric. It’s time to face the facts. Some fabrics just look better in certain lengths. For instance, stiff, structured fabrics such as satin and taffeta look far better in short styles versus a full-length gown. Same goes for lace. Not only do these fabrics look better in the shorter styles, but just think how uncomfortable you would be spending a whole day covered from neck-to-toe in such a heavy fabric?

Chiffon on the other hand looks gorgeous in both lengths, however brides tend to lean toward the full-length designs for a more romantic, whimsical look.

To get the best of both worlds, check out our collection of lace-top and satin-top dresses that both have chic, chiffon skirts. The styles are fun, unique, and ones that your ‘maids will actually love wearing!

The heights of your ‘maids. Not all ‘maids are made the same. That being said, you might have girls of all sizes and heights in your bridal party. To ensure that everyone looks their best, style your girls in short bridesmaid dresses and make sure they’re gowns are all hemmed at the same length above the knee. Of course you’re more than welcome to do long styles, but keep in mind that if you have a girl that’s really tall, not all designers offer extra length on their dresses. And for your extra petite ‘maids, a full-length gown might drown them, making them look extra short. No bueno.

Long and Short Bridesmaid Dresses You’ll Love

Looking for a bit of inspiration? Look no further! We’ve gathered some of our bride's favorites along with some newer styles that we're obsessing over! Which style is your favorite?

Short Styles Our Brides Love
  
New Short Styles That We Love
  
Long Styles Our Brides Love
  
New Long Styles That We Love
  

Let’s Chat!

Which dress length did/will you choose for your ‘maids to wear!? Was it just personal preference or did you consider other factors into your decision? Leave a comment below and let us know!



Danielle Salazar
Danielle Salazar

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Measurement Guide

Taking Your Measurements

For the most accurate measurements, do not measure over your clothing. Your measurements should be taken while wearing undergarments similar to the ones you will wear with your dress. The measuring tape shouldn't be pulled too tight or have too much slack, and should always be parallel with the floor. 

**Wedding apparel is typically sized differently than retail clothing, so keep in mind that it's not uncommon to find yourself requiring alterations.




Bust size: Wrap the tape around your back and under your arms at the fullest part of your bust (not underneath the bust).

Waist size:  While standing up straight, bend at the waist to one side. Take the measurement where the natural crease happens in your side. This should be a few inches above your belly button.

Hip size: Standing with your feet together, wrap the tape around the fullest part of your hips and butt to get this measurement.

Choosing your correct size

Compare  these three measurements to the Kennedy Blue size chart above. It is very important that you order the largest size that corresponds to your measurements. For example, if your bust measures 40.5" (size 12), your waist measures 31" (size 10) and your hips measure 41.5" (size 8), we advise that you order a size 12, and get your dress altered down to custom fit your body. Ordering anything smaller than a size 12 would not fit in the bust area. Please note: Our bridal gown size chart is different than the bridesmaids sizing and is listed below.