Traditionally, brides have held total control over what their bridesmaids wear when walking down the aisle. And the result has been some truly hideous dresses that end up at the back of the closet before being donated to thrift stores to become fodder for the wardrobe of some ironic hipster. But more and more brides these days are choosing to flout convention, loosen the reins, and let their bridesmaids choose their own dresses. This won’t work for every bride, of course – some ladies have a vision that’s been in development since the age of five. But you’re bound to find that with limited input, you’ll end up with a variety of dresses that are perfect – and perfectly suited to the wearers. There are definitely benefits to be gained when you let your female attendants see to dressing themselves.
- Happy bridesmaids. The absolute biggest benefit to letting your bridesmaids choose their own dresses is that you’re going to end up with a group of ladies that looks great, feels confident, and is happier in general. Yes, the special ladies in your life will certainly wear any dress you choose out of deference to your special day (although they may grumble about it). But wouldn’t you rather make sure they feel comfortable and beautiful when they’re standing beside you and posing for pictures? Letting them choose their own dresses means they can stick to their budget and their style.
- Dresses that fit and flatter. Women come in all shapes and sizes, and not everyone is going to look good in the same style of dress. When you let bridesmaids choose for themselves, you could end up with sleeveless or strapless, V-neck or sweetheart, and varying hemlines (depending on the guidelines you offer). You might have all different textiles. But most women know how to find garments that flatter their particular body type. So one thing is certain: all of your bridesmaids will look and feel phenomenal.
- Less stress for everyone. When you head to a bridal salon and make your bridesmaids parade around in dresses so you can select the one you like, there’s a heavy burden on you to choose wisely, weighing your own desires against the wants and needs of your sisters, best friends, and other women in your bridal party. And they have to pretend to like whatever you choose. Ouch. Instead, offer guidelines for color, style, hem length, fabric, and so on, then let your bridesmaids loose. Unless you’re a control freak, this route will be far less stressful.
- A more organic look. Stuffing your bridesmaids into matching dresses is not only a little outdated, but they’re not actually going to look the same because they aren’t the same. Allowing them to select their own dresses will highlight the ways in which they’re unique while still exhibiting some semblance of cohesion through a color family, for example.
- A more complete vision. You’re wedding, whether you realize it or not, is a collaborative effort, and that includes the bridesmaids dresses. Whether your favorite ladies head to bridal salons, shop online at stores like Allure Bridals, or go off the beaten path to check out the wares on a site like Etsy, they’re bound to come up with dresses that you would never have thought to select. And so long as you put your guidelines and preferences in place at the outset, you’ll end up with gorgeous wedding photos of the bridal party, made even better because your bridesmaids feel comfortable and beautiful in the dresses they’ve selected.