11 Tips on How To Choose Bridesmaid Dresses

by Danielle Salazar March 04, 2016

Choosing the perfect bridesmaid dresses for your girls can be a tough decision – but it can also be a ton of fun! While everyone will have their own opinion, it’s your big day so you have the ultimate say. There’s a fine line of pleasing all of your ‘maids and staying true to your vision, so finding that balance is key! To help avoid any stress and keep you in bridal bliss, I’ve come up with the 11 tips that will help you decide on the perfect styles that you and your ‘maids will (truly) love.

How to Choose Bridesmaid Dresses

How to Choose The Right Bridesmaid Dresses

  • Consider the style of your bridal gown. You truly are the star of the show, but you definitely want to make sure your look coordinates with your girls. If you’re wearing a busy dress with lots of lace, details, and/or beading, keep the bridal party dresses on the more simple side. We’ve definitely seen lace bridesmaid dresses with a lace bridal gown, but you’ll want to make sure the fabrics coordinate. Asking for some swatches to compare before deciding will be a huge help! As for necklines, this depends on how similar you want yours to be to your gal pals. If you have a high neckline and want to keep it simple, a strapless bridesmaid neckline is always a classic. Recommendation: Print off some pictures of your dress along with bridesmaid dresses you’re interested in and see what you think!

    Lace Top Bridesmaid Dress LondynKennedy Blue Londyn in blush | Ali Kvidt Photography

    • Be mindful of dress color and skin tones. I bet you can name three colors off the top of your head that don’t go particularly well with your skin. Keep in mind that trending colors such as blush and champagne do not look good on everyone so considering how each of your ‘maids is going to look and feel in the dress is actually really important. Spray tans are always an easy fix for this! Hair color is also something to take into consideration as well. I talked with a bride this past weekend who really wanted to do red dresses, but one of her ‘maids is a red-head so instead she chose purple so the color wouldn’t wash her out. How considerate, right?

      Eggplant Bridesmaid Dresses | Kennedy BlueKennedy Blue Violet, Anna & Sophia in eggplant | Tracy Hill Photography

      • Be considerate of dress styles and body types. Remember: One dress does not fit all. Keep in mind, an a-line bridesmaid dress style is universally flattering, so if you have ladies of all different shapes, this may be the best type of skirt to choose. Another great (and trendy!) option for bridesmaids of all different shapes is a mismatched look. By letting your girls select their own dress style, you can ensure that they feel confident and comfortable. Recommendation: Give them a few guidelines to follow or certain styles to pick from when going with the mix-and-match look. This way, the dresses will still coordinate with one another as well as with you instead of being all over the board. For more ideas on how to properly execute the look, check out our guide on how different necklines flatter different body types.

        Best Bridesmaid Dresses for Your Body: A Guide to Necklines

        • Keep the weather in mind. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a particular look that you saw on Pinterest, until the actual wedding day comes and you realize that all of your ‘maids are either freezing or overheating. I’m definitely not saying that you have to have them wear long styles in the winter and short in the summer, but if you’re choosing to do short bridesmaid dresses for a winter wedding, make sure to provide them with some type of covering such as a shawl or faux fur coat. For summer, long dresses can be tolerable, but you’ll want to find light-weight styles such as a light chiffon fabric and maybe provide them with fans, and bottled water throughout the day, of course – especially if you’ll be outside a lot!

        • Price does matter. We all know that the bride and groom have a set budget, but often we forget how much bridesmaids actually invest in the whole process. While your gals should understand that it can become a bit expensive when agreeing to stand up in your wedding, you’ll want to be mindful of how much each dress will cost them and don’t forget that alterations are often part of the deal as well. There are tons of pretty and affordable options out there so just do your research! Pssst, Kennedy Blue bridesmaid dresses are all under $200 and we make it easy to coordinate things with any out of town ladies with our At Home Try-On!

        • Get inspiration from Pinterest. Everyone has their own wedding board on Pinterest, right? I’m not even engaged yet, and I know I do…And let’s be honest, even if I didn’t work in the wedding industry, I probably still would. Anyways, Pinterest is the perfect tool when planning your wedding. Search for bridesmaid dresses and get some ideas of colors and styles you’re interested in. From trending mix-and-match dresses to having your girls wear different shade dresses that still coordinate – there are SO many different ideas out there. Follow us on Pinterest for some inspiration!

        How to Nail the Mix and Match TrendKennedy Blue Quinn in coral (2nd from left), Lucy in coral (2nd from right), and Spencer in blush (far right) | Tandem Tree

        • Start shopping early. Why, you ask? Believe it or not, ordering bridesmaid dresses from a designer is actually a pretty lengthy process — one that can take anywhere from 3-6 months! Most dresses are made once your order is placed, so this includes production and ship times, typically. Make sure you start shopping around early enough and don’t forget you’ll want to allow time (a few weeks, typically) for any necessary alterations as well. Some designers offer rush options in order to speed up production, but keep in mind that this is usually an additional fee so you may want to try and avoid that!

        • Choose a fabric that’s actually comfortable. Comfort is key, and fabric does matter. A lot of brides and her ‘maids aren’t necessarily familiar with different fabrics so being able to try things on to feel how they fit, flow, and breathe is super important. Participate in our At Home Try-On program and see which styles and fabrics you like ahead of time. The last thing you want is to put your girls in a style that they can’t even bust a move on the dance floor in. Chiffon gowns are always our top choice for comfort, since it is a lighter weight fabric you can easily move around in!

        Shop Chiffon Bridesmaid Dresses

        • Ask them what they want to wear and be open to ideas. Your ‘maids are going to have opinions on the bridal party attire and so are you. By no means does that mean that you need to go through with their suggestions, but by simply acknowledging and thanking them for the idea will make them feel heard. Who knows, one of their suggestions may be something you haven’t thought about and absolutely love!

        • Don’t be a push-over. This is in reference to tip #9. While it’s great to listen to other ideas, don’t let other opinions completely cloud your original vision. After all, it isyour wedding day. Don’t be afraid to say no by politely responding with something like, “that’s a super cute idea, but I’ve really had my heart set on ______!”

        • Give your girls some responsibility. As the bride, your ‘maids are there to help you whenever you might need a little bit taken off of your wedding planning plate. Don’t be afraid to ask one of your girls to do the research on pricing, colors, shipping information, etc. Another girl can be in charge of making sure everyone orders on time. It’ll be one less thing for you to worry about and will give them some responsibility that they can be proud of!

        Kennedy Blue Stella in eggplant | Adam Kennedy Photography

        Making the Final Decision

        The process of choosing your bridesmaid dresses is supposed to be an enjoyable experience for you and your ‘maids! Try not to let all of the decision making stress you out and remember to just have fun with it! At Kennedy Blue, we’re always here to help, and LOVE being a part of your big day. If you have any questions or need help with sizing or recommendations, feel free to shoot us an email at info@kennedyblue.com .

        The ultimate recommendation: Find a good balance between dresses that fits your overall vision and styles that your ‘maids will love. Don’t forget that although it’s your wedding, you asked these girls to stand by your side for a reason. Allow their opinions to be heard and appreciated, but at the end of it all, you get the final say. Your girls are going to be a huge part of the wedding day (standing up at the ceremony, posing for pictures, sitting at the head table, dancing the night away, etc.) so make sure they look great and feel even better!

        Need help deciding on the perfect styles? We’re here to help! Leave us a note in the comments below or contact a Kennedy Blue Specialist and let us a know some fun details about your day. We’ll gladly guide you on the road to a gorgeous bridal party.

        Contact Kennedy Blue

        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.