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!)


2. The same style in different colors


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


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


5. Color scheme but complete bridesmaid’s choice


6. Matching prints


7. Mismatched prints


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?


Mrs. Pancakes

New York/Costa Rica
Wedding Date:
May 2011
David's Bridal Spring 2011 Line
Things I Heart: Balloons
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  1. Member
    aruka11 421 posts, Helper 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    I’m doing same dress but different colors!

  5. 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 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.

  6. spaniel Bee
    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! 🙂

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

    […] Bridesmaids’ Dresses: to Match or Not to Match… ( […]

  8. 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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