If you read any bridal magazines or websites (which obviously you do, because you’re here!), you have probably seen mismatched bridesmaid dresses. You may have IMMEDIATELY ruled out this option, you may be considering it, or you may be a future bridesmaid hoping that the bride chooses the mismatched look so that you’ll have at least some say in your dress. But, the question remains: Are mismatched bridesmaid tacky or trendy?
Short answer: it depends.
Do You Want Trendy?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with incorporating trends into weddings, just remember that by their very nature something that is “trendy” is popular for a specific moment in time. Ideally, you will be happily looking back on your wedding (and your wedding pictures) for the next 50 plus years. Are you going to look back on those mismatched bridesmaid dresses fondly? Maybe! Once again, it depends on what kind of bride you are and what kind of style you want your wedding to have… and how much you are willing to make your bridesmaids suffer.
How Matchy (or Mismatchy) Do You Want to Be?
Mismatched bridesmaid dresses can be something as simple as slightly different cuts for each person but the color is the same, or it could be more out-of-the-box with completely different colors, patterns, and lengths. Depending on your choices, it could make the mismatch barely noticeable or completely distracting.
You will also want to think of your bridesmaids in the context of the wedding itself. If everything is “your colors,” then it may seem strange to have bridesmaids wearing any other colors (though they can mismatch in other ways but stick to your chosen color palette). However, if you are having a simple wedding or one that already incorporates many different colors, it may seem natural to have different colored bridesmaid dresses too.
An in-between option is for the dresses to be colors in the same family. For example, jewel tones or greys.
Who Are You?
Are you a type-A kind of person that needs every detail to be perfect? (No shame! I am too!) Or are you someone that doesn’t sweat the small stuff? If you are the former, you could theoretically pick out everyone’s mismatched bridesmaid dress for them (which is your prerogative as a bride!), but mismatching tends to lend itself to more laid back affairs.
The easiest option for most brides is to pick one or two aspects of the dresses and let your bridesmaids figure out the rest. Though be careful because giving no direction can be as bad as giving too much direction, and people will inundate you with (well-meaning) questions.
Also, think about how important it is that your bridesmaids are identifiable at the reception. Do you mind if they just look like a regular guest when they are on the dance floor? Think about your #squadgoals and how important it is for them to stand out as members of your wedding party.
Who Are Your Bridesmaids?
When thinking about mismatched dresses, it is also important to think about your bridesmaids. Do they have similar or different body types? If there are many different body types, then you may want to at least give some options when it comes to the style because different people will feel comfortable in different things.
Do you all live in the same town together where it will be easy to shop together and give your opinions on what may be too mismatched? Or do you live across the country and will be shopping separately (of course the internet can make this easier, but to find what looks best you will probably them to try on at least some dresses.)
Another thing that I think is really important is thinking about the finances of the bridesmaids. (I know it’s no fun, but that means more money left over for your wedding present!) Those of us with more limited bank accounts will appreciate dresses that we can wear again or something that doesn’t have the “wedding tax” that many designated bridesmaid dresses have.
How to Execute the Look
Like most elements of a wedding (and life), it is all in the execution. Here are three crucial tips:
- Have at least one big or two smaller elements of cohesion. For example, if you have decided that everyone will wear pastels, make sure that there is another element that ties them together, such as all the dresses being floor length. If everyone is wearing the same exact shade, then you can let individuals go wild when they choose the length. It is important that there is some cohesion so they don’t look like late guests who have decided to walk down the aisle right before your big entrance.
- This works best for bigger bridal parties. If you only have two bridesmaids, then this can be hard to pull off because it just looks like they picked whatever they wanted to wear. If you have more than that, your guests can see the pattern emerge as they walk down the aisle and it will make sense.
- Make sure you have the right level of mismatch between dresses. What I mean by this is that you don’t want to have four of your bridesmaids be almost matching and have another one that is wildly unmatching (unless you want to do that on purpose, of course). So, let’s say everyone will be wearing different shades of blue, you want to make sure that there aren’t four people in light blue and one in navy. Also, remember that people see colors differently, so if you tell me to buy a sky blue dress, I may end up with something lighter or darker than you intended. Be specific.
Remember that at the end of the day it is your wedding and you can do whatever you want, including making your 5-foot, plus size bridesmaid wear the same dress as your 6-foot, size 2 bridesmaid. They agreed to be in the wedding, which means they love you and want to please you on your special day, so you don’t have to feel guilty about wanting things your way.