Your Guide to Choosing Photo-Ready Bridesmaid Dresses

From the Experts

After a decade of photographing weddings, I’ve seen a lot of bridesmaid dresses.  I’ve seen nearly every fabric, silhouette and color combination imaginable. Okay, I probably haven’t seen everything but nonetheless, there’s been a lot. I want to help you pick out bridesmaids dresses for your wedding day that make you shine and ensure your wedding party feels like a million bucks. Here are six timeless tips for finding picture perfect bridesmaid dresses.

Go Retail

We can thank Jcrew for one of my favorite bridesmaids’ looks to date (posted recently over on our Instagram. Check out these perfect little knee length teal numbers!). A cocktail dress with an impeccable fit and structure, unique color and pockets accented other wedding day details like a dream. Best of all? It’s the elusive dress everyone’s looking for: a bridesmaid’s dress that doesn’t look like a bridesmaid dress. It’s a dress every woman will actually wear again, promise. Oh, and sourcing a dress from your favorite retail store makes it easier for bridesmaids across the country (or world) to try on dresses. By turning to retail, you have more creative options to keep everyone looking fashion forward. 

 

Neutral Always Wins

Strong, vibrant colors are staging a comeback and I love it. Before you choose dresses based upon the strongest color in your wedding day palette, consider neutral shades that let other wedding day details pop. Neutrals are guaranteed to flatter a variety of skin tones and let bold-colored bouquets shine. You can have more fun with color in other parts of the day if your squad sets a neutral canvas to play on. This is especially true if you have a large wedding party. If it’s only one maid-of-honor, then forget all of this and let her rock whatever incredible gown she wants. See the last photo in this post for a perfect example!

Prioritize Structure & Texture

Structure, structure, structure. In this post, I cover the basics for finding your perfect wedding dressone that’s flattering and comfortable, complementing all the details you’ve meticulously planned. The same is true for the ladies by your side throughout your wedding day. From pre-wedding photo ops to the final song of the evening, you want your bridesmaids looking their best in dresses that perfectly accent your style and suits varying body types. This is where structure and texture come in. Generally speaking, structured dresses (hello, defined waist!) flatter a wider range of body types so your entire squad will feel confident (and look great in photos). As far as texture goes, consider texture that coordinates with your show-stopping wedding dress rather than try to match. Ornate or lacy wedding gown? Pair it with sleek, non-textured bridesmaids dresses to avoid clashing. Rockin’ a smooth, modern dress? Consider a sparkly, textured option.

 

Skip the Strapless

We’ve all been there. We’ve spent countless nights trying to pull off that new strapless dress, only to remember the moments lost to pulling it up and adjusting it throughout the night. Truth is, it’s really hard to feel 100% confident in a strapless dress (and it shows in the photos). So, when your goal is a flattering look for all your squad it’s better to avoid this risky cut. 

Floor Length Bridesmaid Dresses, ftw

Cue the look that’s flattering on everyone. I’m (barely) 5’4” and still look good in a floor length dress. As long as it’s properly hemmed, of course 😉 Floor length bridesmaids dresses are forgiving for every body type and wedding vibe. That’s right, even casual, intimate affairs benefit from the elegance of a floor length dress. If you’re worried about it being too fancy for your wedding, keep things relaxed with a unique, casual floral pattern.

 

Rock the Mix ‘n Match Trend

Ok, you’ve pinned a bunch of mix ‘n match bridesmaids looks to your Wedding Inspiration (I’ll admit, we’re pinning ‘em too). Done well, it’s a gorgeous look but it’s harder than it seems. Confining it to color alone isn’t enough–instead, you should find other commonalities to guarantee a cohesive look. Namely, tones, lengths and fabrics. For example, if you tell everyone to choose a purple dress you might wind up with everything from aubergine to lavender and those are very different vibes. Start with a small range of one common color then focus on shades with similar tones and saturation levels. Finally, pick the same fabric for everyone. Tulle and satin are very different fabrics that don’t really photograph well next to each other. The key to the rocking the mix ‘n match look is for the differences to be rather subtle.

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