Trying to Keep Dress Drama to a Minimum

This isn’t exactly the post I wanted to write. I wanted to write about how I let my bridesmaids (my two sisters, remember?) pick whatever they wanted, how they’re going to wear their dresses over and over, and how it was so easy and casual and perfectly coordinating without being too matchy.

Well. It didn’t work just like that. But first let’s look at my inspiration pictures.


Image via Style Me Pretty / Photo by Braedon Photography


Image via Green Wedding Shoes / Photo by The Schultzes Photography


Image via She Walks in Beauty / Photo by Stephanie Williams Photography

I think many of us have seen these pictures! The bridesmaids look effortlessly stylish and chic—like they pulled any old dress off the rack. And all of a sudden there they all are, these gorgeous, polished bridesmaids in perfectly coordinating dresses.

Looking back at these pictures, it’s entirely possible they looked for weeks or even months for their dresses—there could have been some arguments between the girls who had different ideas on what was “stylish” or “coordinating.” Some of the girls maybe had to pay a little more than they were comfortable with. And unless the bride was really totally OK with whatever the girls chose (which makes her a much better woman than me!), there might have been some bridezilla drama going on. But looking at just the pictures, it seems like it was so easy!

Back in October when I got engaged, I was totally convinced the mismatched bridesmaids’ dresses would work just by letting my sisters pick whatever they wanted to wear in a shade of the wedding colors. (They also needed to be knee length and not strapless.)

Three months passed, and we had gotten nowhere. They had looked through hundreds of dresses online, gone dress shopping, and argued back and forth on options. I think there are four reasons for why this technique really didn’t work with my sisters:

  1. My sisters have very, very different styles. One of my sisters proclaims herself a modern-day hippie and loves crazy bracelets, long skirts, headbands—you get the picture. My other sister is more reserved and prefers simple jeans and a V-neck shirt.
  2. They’re both tall (over 5′ 8″) runners, which means they’re built like athletes, not tiny gymnasts. This makes finding casual dresses that fit a muscular frame comfortably and still fall to the knee really, really difficult.
  3. My wedding colors were “officially” coral and seafoam—but neither of my sisters was really on board with wearing coral. Which was totally fine with me, but seafoam is a really hard color to match. They ended up looking for anything in the “light green” range, but matching “mint” to “meadow” could get into the “almost the same color but not quite, so they clash” category.
  4. My sisters are both younger and still in college. This also means they didn’t want to spend a ton on their dresses, and I didn’t want them to either!

This post is already long enough, so we’ll save the decisions we made until the next post! Any thoughts on how to make mismatched dresses work? What if you have a small bridal party? What about younger bridesmaids?


Mrs. Lemur

Greenville, South Carolina
Wedding Date:
May 2013
Charts and Graphs by Mr. Sword
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  1. mslemur Bee
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 5:56 am

    @Hammondda: I kind of did this. My one sister found a dress that worked and I told the other sister that she could choose from a handful that matched 😉

    @Brooklyn55: See that’s the way to do it if you’re struggling with the mismatched dresses thing. Pick a designer and a color (or array of colors) and then let them pick. That’s what worked for me!

    @californienne: This post is actually about how I wanted to be a cool bride and failed because it wasn’t right for us. But thanks for your input!

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Californienne, Guest @ 6:16 am

    The post is about you thinking you were being cool when in fact you were being controlling and had unreasonable expectations. It didnt “work” for your sisters because it was a fantasy. This isn’t about them or “us,” it’s about you.

  3. mslemur Bee
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 6:47 am

    @Californienne: Thanks for your thoughts 🙂

  4. Member
    Ms_Maple 115 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:26 am

    I picked a color at David’s Bridal and let my bridesmaids pick any dress in that color. That way I knew the colors would match but each bridesmaid could choose what she was comfortable wearing and paying.

  5. Member
    berrymagick 47 posts, Newbee @ 1:15 pm

    Heres a idea that could maybe work Miss Lemur….check out the link i posted (sorry i dont know how to post the picture) see how the BMs are all in neutals and some have sholders covered etc, well I think if your sisters could choose two neutral coloured dresses (from the same line, so they colour match) then you could add a coral sash/ribbon to one and a seafoam sash/ribbon to the other?
    My sister has agreed to wear coral, but this is what I might do if we cant find ‘the one’ 🙂

  6. Member
    ChicagoDreamer 509 posts, Busy bee @ 6:13 pm

    I’m interested to see what you picked! It’s hard when you have to coordinate with people, especially when they have opinions too.

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