Bridesmaids’ Dresses: to Match or Not to Match…

I am so torn about bridesmaids’ dresses. I am having a fairly large bridal party because no one told me about the 50:1 (guests: bridesmaid) rule. Under this rule, I should only have one, possibly two bridesmaids. I have SIX! That being said, I have no idea how to dress them for the big day. I kind of miss the days of mandatory matching bridesmaids’ dresses! There are SOOO many options.

1. The traditional matching dresses (I LOVE THESE!)

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2. The same style in different colors

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3. The same color but with a choices of two or three styles

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4. The same color family, no prints, but generally bridesmaid’s choice

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5. Color scheme but complete bridesmaid’s choice

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6. Matching prints

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7. Mismatched prints

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I am not sure what dresses to pick, but I do have a few criteria:

  • Costs less than $100
  • Short and lightweight, since it is a daytime beach wedding
  • Light colored (in the pink, champagne, or blush family)
  • Preferably not strapless

I really love the look of matching dresses, but I love the idea of letting my bridesmaids pick their own dresses. I feel like if they pick their own dresses they are more likely to wear them again. Also, my bridesmaids are all such different shapes and sizes that I wouldn’t know how to pick a dress that would look good on all of them. (I definitely want everyone to look A-MAZING on my big day; I am not one of those brides! Hehe.) On the other hand, because my bridesmaids look so different I kind of like the idea of having dresses that make them look more unified. I feel like that makes them more special.

Additionally, three of my bridesmaids have already said they hate pink and will need a lot of help finding a dress. They made it clear that they are more than happy to wear a pink dress for me—they just don’t know how to pick a good pink dress. My sister basically laughed at me when I asked her if she would prefer to pick her own dress because she hasn’t worn a dress in years and claims to have never worn pink!

It seems like my best bet would be to pick two or three styles in the same color (family?) and let the bridesmaids choose the ones they like best. I feel like this really addresses the majority of my concerns and my bridesmaids’ concerns. The only problem is, where can I find two or three dresses in the same color that cost less than $100? I am under the impression, based on a very preliminary search, that I won’t be able to find dresses under $100 at a bridal/bridesmaids’ dress store…i.e., David’s Bridal, Dessy, or J. Crew. Am I wrong?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Pancakes

Location:
New York/Costa Rica
Wedding Date:
May 2011

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  1. Member
    Future Frett 295 posts, Helper bee @ 3:18 pm

    You might be able to at David’s Bridal… I know that we looked at a few that were under that price point, albeit close to your limit ($98)

  2. Member
    KayMeiBee 156 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:20 pm

    We have three bridesmaids and a maid of honor, so I took a poll on what styles the girls like best, then picked on style for the BMs and a different one for the MOH. That being said, now I am loving the slightly mismatched look, but it just doesn’t make sense for the party I’m planning.

    SO think about your wedding over all. Is your wedding going to be vintagey with a delightful mismatched lean (think home made napkins with lots of different textures) or will it be more of a streamlined, color coordinated event (think every center piece and printed document coordinating)? Either way, I’m sure it’ll be a beautiful event!

  3. Member
    kirabee 1234 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:35 pm

    I love all these inspiration pics, Pancakes! I definitely think it’s a good decision to give your maids freedom to pick what looks best on them!

  4. Member
    piglet_625 2541 posts, Sugar bee @ 4:05 pm

    My sister had us buy our dresses online (we used ybridal.com) and she picked a color and we could pick the dress. We all ended up picking the same one, too! Their prices were very reasonable, but the shipping adds about $30 to the final price.

    I was a little sketched out about ordering a dress online, but we all did and it worked out very well. All of us were a variety of sizes and we all looked gorgeous. And that dress is still one of my favorites to wear again! It was a very positive experience!

  5. Member
    lifegavemelimes 125 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:17 pm

    Have you ever considered an infinity dress for your bridesmaids? It’s one dress and your bridesmaids can twist and wrap it whichever way they want to suit their own style. Dessy has them for around $140, but you can find them on Etsy for lower than that.

    I’m choosing a color and fabric and having my BM’s pick their own dress in the hopes that they won’t hate the dress they wera for our wedding.

    Good luck!

  6. Member
    anaid81 55 posts, Worker bee @ 5:07 pm

    Jcrew is a great place to look! I got my BM dresses there – they were originally $195, they went on sale and then had holiday promotions, bringing the price to $115 each! They have different styles, but in matching colors. I love that the dresses are versatile enough to wear again AFTER the wedding!

  7. Member
    ostrich 2402 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:29 pm

    I second the infinity dress. Victoria’s secret also carries them. My girls decided to splurge on the two birds one but you can definitely find them for much less, especially with all of the holiday sales! They claim it’s the comfiest dress and would definitely wear it again. Love all these inspiration pics, pancakes!

  8. Member
    spaganya 2295 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:31 pm

    easily found – my girls had dresses from dessy all the same fabric and colors but different styles for each girl – you can check my recaps for pics :)

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    red crayon, Guest @ 6:52 pm

    Take a look at Aria : http://www.ariadress.com/

    I gave my bridesmaids a general colour scheme, and told them to take a look at Aria and choose their own dresses. It was so successful! They decided to all get the same dress, but in different colours.
    The dresses were quickly shipped out (I’m Canadian) and are exactly what I was hoping for!

  10. Member
    ginnyc 556 posts, Busy bee @ 6:58 pm

    I second aria! They have sale dresses for under a hundred that are lovely! I got my maids’ dresses from them and they are beautiful.

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    TD, Guest @ 7:24 pm

    I say not to match! I hate to offend anyone but I feel like the matchy match bridesmaid look is so dated! My girls wore black dresses that they chose. Also, they carried red roses and wore red shoes so that was the unifying thing. They were basically black cocktail dresses and what girl doesn’t need a black cocktail dress? So I know they will wear them again. They got them at different stores and they were all around 100$ maybe a little more.

    I don’t know, I was the kind of bride who just wanted to them to feel comfortable and look pretty! I mean come on, I was the bride so I would stand out no matter what! All brides do!! So I think it’s kind of mean to want your bridesmaids to look like crap!

    Also I would say not to do long dresses. No one really wears long dresses to things anymore so if you want them to wear them again go with cocktail length.

    Also, try stores like Macy’s and Nordstoms! My sister got her dress at Macy’s

  12. Member
    Mrs.SplatterPaint 963 posts, Busy bee @ 8:01 pm

    if you got your dress from davids (i dont know where it’s from) your bridesmaids get $20 off their dresses from there.

  13. Member
    amynicole22 8 posts, Newbee @ 8:07 pm

    I agree with someone who posted above that the wrap dresses are a great option b/c it’s the same dress but can be wrapped in different ways. My maids are wearing them, and we got them from a sweetheart on etsy. Her shop name is Coralie Beatrix. The dresses are wonderful, and they’re under $100.

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    kaitlyn, Guest @ 8:33 pm

    Each of my six bridesmaids will accessorize their outfit how they like. They will have two solid colors but each dress has a similar style. Three will wear one and three will wear the other. The dresses came from Target and because I got such a good deal I was able to buy them for each person.

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    kaytieluv, Guest @ 9:05 pm

    I tried to have my bridesmaids have mis-matching dresses, so I sent them pictures of some examples that would work. One of the dresses happened to be a JCrew dress on sale for $60, so three of them bought it at the same time, which left me in a pinch (half with matching dresses, half with nothing). Fortunately, the rest of the girls bought the same dress once we figured out what happened. The moral of the story, if you decide to go with mis-matching dresses, make it clear to your bridesmaids to make sure they choose different dresses!

  16. Member
    katjobin 77 posts, Worker bee @ 9:26 pm

    Henkaa currently has some colors of their infinity dress on sale (40% off), if you want to go that route.

    I have been looking for dress options for less then $100 myself & found that Davids Bridal does have some nice dress’s on sale right now.

  17. Member
    Hard Hat Purple Boots 67 posts, Worker bee @ 10:49 pm

    Oooh. I’ve never seen the matching prints idea before. That looks really good.

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    sarah, Guest @ 5:30 am

    i adore mismatched bridesmaids :) i think my fave is same color/different styles. as for the 50:1 rule, i most likely will just happen to meet that ratio but i’ve never heard that rule and definately don’t believe in it. i was just at a lovely wedding that had fewer than 50 guests at 5 bridesmaids. screw convention! do what you want!

  19. Member
    CatyLady 8457 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 6:35 am

    Thanks KayMeiBee you have just made up my mind to have matching as everything else will be streamlined.

  20. Member
    CatyLady 8457 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 6:36 am

    …Though I do love different dresses same colour too

  21. Member
    aruka11 619 posts, Busy bee @ 9:25 am

    We did Dessy and the girls ordered through online sites, etc.. (they’re all over the world). One got hers on EBay for $49, the majority were around $100, and one girl paid full price. We’ll see if the colors are exact when they’re all together, I suppose – but for the price, it couldn’t be beat!

  22. Member
    Knubbsy-Wubbsy 2397 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:40 am

    I’m going for total mismatch for a couple reason:
    1. My 3 girls are all different shapes and heights
    2. They are all over the world this year (two go to school in PA, on in TX and all three are spending sometime in Europe this school year)
    3. Some like to sew (she is probably sewing her own dress)
    4. They are all college students with different budgets

    So far only one has picked out a dress but that’s okay as I still have a couple months before the freakout deadline passes.

  23. Guest Icon Guest
    Meghan, Guest @ 10:30 am

    I know that with careful stalking, J. Crew dresses go on sale pretty regularly. I got size info and style preference from my ladies so that when the pink chiffon dresses hit $75, I just ordered them all at once (no tax… free shipping… I was very happy). Obviously that isn’t always an option (and it requires flexibility – I originally was thinking blue, but the pink ones were all available and on sale), but one worth looking at. I don’t think they’ll wear the dresses again, but at least they were happy enough to wear them once and didn’t have to spend a fortune.

  24. Member
    norab2684 260 posts, Helper bee @ 10:36 am

    I’m doing same dress but different colors!

  25. Guest Icon Guest
    emilyjovw, Guest @ 11:52 am

    My BM dresses were just under $100 for full length… shorter ones are $80ish I think.. anyway, search coralie beatrix under “sellers” at etsy.com. They are exactly like 2birdsbridesmaids, only without the $300+ pricetag. They can be wrapped all different ways.. so you could do same color wrapped different, similar colors wrapped same or different, or whatever you want. they’re gorgeous and the seller is wonderful to work with.

  26. Member
    spaniel 6778 posts, Busy Beekeeper @ 1:08 pm

    These are all great examples of the different options.. such pretty inspiration pictures! Good luck finding the dresses; I am sure they will be great.

    BTW, totally randomly… I recognize one of the bridesmaids in the second picture (went to school with her from elementary through high school). What a funny, small world! :)

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    Girls Day Out- Shopping for Bridemaid Dresses « Sandpiper Wedding, Guest @ 7:05 am

    [...] Bridesmaids’ Dresses: to Match or Not to Match… (weddingbee.com) [...]

  28. Guest Icon Guest
    Tiffany J. Strauss, Guest @ 11:05 pm

    non-matching bridesmaid dresses are on trend these days! love love love!!!

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