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Bridesmaids stand in a doorway laughing and wearing their bridesmaids dresses

Sinders Tips on How to Shop for Bridesmaid Dresses

As if wedding dress shopping isn’t stressful enough, you also have to consider what your bridesmaids will be wearing while standing next to you on your big day.

With so many different tastes, opinions, body types, and styles in the mix, dress shopping can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be! With the right tips, advice, and attitude you can all make this an enjoyable experience for everyone while remaining focused on the main event and why you’re all gathered here at this moment.

This guide will help you and your bridesmaids make the most of this amazing journey as you find the perfect bridesmaids dresses, making memories that you’ll cherish forever!

What Is the Bridesmaid Dress Shopping Etiquette?

Time is of the essence. So give your bridesmaids enough time to shop for and order their dresses. It can take three to four months for designer bridesmaid dresses to arrive. So start shopping for bridesmaid dresses six to eight months before your wedding, or as soon as possible once you’ve found your wedding dress.

This extra time will ensure your dress orders arrive on time. And it will give your bridesmaids ample time for alterations so their dresses fit perfectly. The majority of bridesmaid dresses require alterations, and these usually take four to six weeks to complete.

Considering Budgets and Who Buys the Dresses

Typically, bridesmaids purchase their own dresses, shoes, and accessories for the wedding. However, brides sometimes offer to cover some costs. In either case, you should let your bridesmaids know well ahead of time so they can budget for their attire.

Bridesmaid dresses range in price from $100 to $400 or higher, depending on the type of dress. The average price is $200 for the dress and $25 to $100 for alterations.

If you are uncomfortable about asking your bridesmaids to pay for their dresses, gently discuss options with them and keep the doors of communication open. And if any of your bridesmaids cannot afford to pay for their dresses, consider helping to pay if you can afford it or look at other options.

While you’ve already budgeted for and bought your wedding dress, keep these factors in mind when creating a budget for bridesmaid dresses.

Does the Dress Need to Match the Bride? How To Choose Bridesmaid Dresses That Complement the Bride

Your bridesmaid dresses should match the formality of your dress, which usually includes the length of your dress. These dresses should also flatter your dress, not clash with or distract from your dress. So consider finding a style of bridesmaid dress that works with yours.

For example, if your dress is more romantic and formal, don’t opt for modern styles or casual sundresses for your bridesmaid dresses. And if your dress has a lot of embellishments, keep the bridesmaid dresses simpler.

Considering the Season

You (hopefully) considered the season of your wedding when choosing your dress, so do the same for your bridesmaid dresses. If your wedding is in the summer, opt for lighter fabrics so your bridesmaids are cool and comfortable. And if your wedding is in a cooler month, don’t choose mini dresses or forget about the cover-ups.

The season can also influence the colours for your wedding theme as well as the colours for the bridesmaid dresses. Rich, vibrant colours work well in the fall and winter, while lighter shades complement spring and summer weddings.

Choosing Bridesmaid Dresses for Different Body Types

You can find a style of dress that suits all of your bridesmaids’ body types. Or you can choose a unifying theme and let your bridesmaids wear mismatched styles (which is a popular trend these days).

Read More: Wedding Dress Silhouettes – Finding What’s Right for You

Bridal shops will have plus size bridesmaid dresses, petite bridesmaid dresses, off-the-shoulder bridesmaid dresses, and even maternity bridesmaid dresses. If any of your bridesmaids will be pregnant at your wedding or will have recently given birth, keep this in mind when choosing the dress styles.

Empire line dresses work well for pregnant women, or you can order a longer version of the dress so it fits well over the baby bump.

Getting Away from Matchy-Matchy – How to Coordinate Bridesmaids Dresses

While matching bridesmaids’ dresses are common, they are not always the case these days. Some brides choose to coordinate their bridesmaids’ dresses so they vary in style or colour but still have one unifying element that complements the bride’s dress and the wedding’s style, formality, and theme.

The most important tip for coordinating bridesmaids dresses, whether they match in style or not, is to order them all from the same bridal shop at the same time. This will ensure that the dresses are all ordered together and will be drawn from the same dye lot.

Brides may also ask their bridesmaids to buy shoes that are the same colour as the dress and of similar or identical height. So if you are planning to do the same, make sure to order the shoes at the same time as the dresses so they will also be from the same dye lot.

Choosing A Dress

Keep your wedding dress in mind when choosing bridesmaid dresses. You will want these dresses to complement your dress on your big day as well as the theme and atmosphere of your wedding. Be sure to tell your fiancé about the types of bridesmaid dresses you choose so they can coordinate their wedding party to have a matching element as well.

In terms of the neckline, it’s up to you and your bridesmaids on whether you want the neckline to match your dress or not. You can even opt for varying necklines among all your bridesmaids dresses to showcase their different personalities.

Choose a unifying element—style, fabric, or colour—for all the bridesmaid dresses. And make sure the fabric is comfortable.

Choose a colour that will flatter your bridesmaids’ skin tones and hair while accentuating your dress. Some colours that work for everyone include blush, coral, grey, greige (grey and beige), mint, plum, sand, lilac, and teal. You can also mix it up with dresses of various complementary colours as long as they all have a unifying element.

Since your bridesmaids’ body types will likely differ, consider letting them choose a style they feel comfortable in and that flatters their frames—i.e., follow the mismatched theme. Or opt for a universally flattering style, like an A-line dress.

Download the Sinders Bridal Guide to Plan the Wedding of Your Dreams


Tips to Help Your Bridesmaids Prepare for Wedding Dress Shopping

Communication is key! Speak with each bridesmaid to discuss the types of dresses they’d like to wear. Send them pictures of dresses you like or links to websites with dresses for them to browse.

Once you’re ready to start looking, collect your bridesmaids’ measurements for bust, waist, and hips. A professional seamstress at a bridal boutique can help you take these measurements.

If your bridesmaids are also joining you when you shop for your wedding dress, keep these tips in mind for wedding dress shopping.

While this is your special day, remember to consider the opinion of your bridesmaids when it comes to shopping for their dresses. Communication, flexibility, and compromise are key to ensure your bridesmaids are comfortable and happy while supporting you on your big day.