Dresses for bridesmaids: a study (a study in my insanity, that is)

Posted: May 28, 2009
Dresses for bridesmaids: a study (a study in my insanity, that is)
So my tentative plan had been to go with the dress on the far left (henceforth known as dress #1) for all three of my bridesmaids. Then my maid of honor got pregnant -- she'll be six months along in September -- and dress #1 flew out of the window. (Nothing had been ordered yet, and anyway, I still wasn't a HUNDRED percent sold on it.)

Now, after looking at possibly every gold dress on the Internet --- maternity and non-maternity, bridesmaid and non-bridesmaid -- I have narrowed it down to these four. Providing #3 is not totally hideous when I go to look at it in person this weekend, MOH will be wearing that. But the options I'm playing with are:

a) All three of them in dress #3 (it's not a maternity dress, just a rather roomy empire waisted number), though I'm just a smidge worried that then they'll ALL look pregnant.

b) MOH in #3, the other two in #1 (though the look is less cohesive, since the fabric is different, and I think the color is a little off too)

c) MOH in #3, the other two in #2, which would be the exact same colour, and is also strapless so there's more of a uniformity. On the downside, I'm kind of bummed about how typically "bridesmaidy" this will look.....although that could be remedied with a funky turquoise statement necklace, methinks.

d) MOH in #3, the other two each in a different gold dress from this layout, so all THREE of them are in different dresses. I quite like this idea -- how fun! everyone gets a different dress! -- but I'm worried it COULD look a bit messy. Then again, isn't it better for all three of them to be different than two to be the same and one to be different? (Then AGAIN again, I kind of lucked out that it's the MOH that's pregnant, as at least she can look different just for being the MOH.) For what it's worth, this is Sean's least favorite, because he thinks having each bridesmaid in a different dress might look weird. I had to tell him that it's actually pretty common.

I'm sorry to be the kind of person to talk about this so incessantly. And also the kind of person to use acronyms like MOH. I swear, once this is decided, let us never speak of it again.

Comments on this Photo

I say option C with option A as a backup to that plan.

I like the #2 & #3 plan, myself. They're all nice looking dresses, but I do like that kind of matchable look. And the idea of statement jewelry is a fun way to un-bridesmaid the total look a bit.

As someone who has been a bridesmaid twice, I would lean towards either c or d. C does give a more uniform look, but the freedom to have at least some choice in the dress you have to shell out bucks for and wear for an entire day is a lovely gift to your bridesmaids. That said, I think either option would look nice and I love the idea of the turquoise statement necklace. Also the necklace could be another thing to tie the three dresses together, if you went with option d.

In the end though, I am sure whatever you choose, your three friends will be so happy to get to stand up with you on such an important day!

I just read all of that in one breath. I like letter d.

I like D. All my bridesmaids had different dresses and they looked hot.

Abby -- The only thing is, if we go with D), the statement jewelry would have to be earrings rather than a necklace, since the neckline wouldn't allow it on #1 and #4.

Ive been to a handful of weddings were the MOH wore a different dress because she was the maid of honor (different color and all). Not just cause she was preggers. So I think if shes wearing a different dress it would not be totally out of sorts.

My vote would be for C, I think have the MOH different and the other girls the same is a nice look!

Although I adore dress #4, I will vote for C with awesome necklace. Will you get #3 shortened to knee length?

I say #1 for everyone and lovely pregnant MOH gets #3, it will still be beautiful. Colour is close and if everyone wears similar jewelry and the flowers and whatnot, it will be fabulous!

I say all three in different dresses - having been one of six bridesmaids in very different floor length black dresses, I think, if the color and the lengths are the same, different styles actually makes it look a LOT cooler in pictures!

C with statement pieces. Turquoise would be DIVINE.

Preggo here. ;) Are you/she sure she'll be able to pull off a non-maternity dress at 6 months? I'll be 6 months next week and (whimper) non-maternity stuff just doesn't fit so nicely, even if it's "big" enough.

Oh, and P.S. I totally love the bridesmaids in different dresses look. It makes the group look like you all accidentally coordinated perfectly for a fabulous party.

They are all lovely. If you go with option D, there will still be no mistaking that they're bridesmaids, and if you give them all the same color flowers, it will tie everything together. You have such great taste, you'll make a good choice no matter what.

(Deb/Smitten makes a good point above, and at the risk of being indelicate, I would keep in mind not only the MOH's growing belly but also her growing bosom as you consider putting her in a strapless dress.)

I was in a wedding recently where we all had very different J. Crew dresses and the pictures came out phenomenally (if I do say so myself!) because we all wore different dresses, same color and tied it together with accessories.

I vote D!

Good luck! I can't wait for your wedding pictures...I'm sure it's going to be perfect!

What if you had MOH in #3 and the others in #2, but you had #3 hemmed so the lengths matched?

Agree with apricotta! If the hemlines don't match I think you risk some visual mess.

i vote d and i like the different lengths. it's like what someone said above: perfectly coordinated for an awesome party. i tend to shy away from the matchy matchyness of bridesmaids dresses, anyway. it feels a little too clone-y for me, so option d was an easy pick.

Option c with option d as backup ... if the flowers all match that will tie it together nicely.


I vote option C too, I think the 2 dresses will look lovely together, and I actually like the different lengths too, it means the MOH will stand out a little bit.

I'm a MOH in a wedding next week, and I'm wearing a turquoise dress that matches the other 3 bridesmaids, but we're all wearing different shoes/jewellery to mix it up a little!

I don't think you can really go wrong here. You've got great options all around. I do like the idea of a turquoise necklace over earrings just because it gives a more vibrant, noticeable punch of color, but if you can't do necklaces because one or more of your bridesmaids is in a dress that doesn't really allow for that, you could still do that punch of color somewhere else and it'll look fantastic. Can't wait to see what you decide!

D. Tell Sean it is not weird, it is funnier. Personally, I think it is a bit boring when everyone wears the same dress.

I love option c. just because I think the three dresses are a little too different from each other.

My first instinct, before I even read the options, would be choice C. However, I love choice D, too! I have been in wedding parties as well as attended weddings that did this and I think it worked. Each dress fit the bridesmaid and gave them personality.

Whatever you choice will look lovely, I'm sure!

It doesn't matter. I don't mean that in a "your wedding is not important, please stop talking about it" kind of way, but in a "they will look beautiful, your event will be beautiful, and everyone will cry anyway" kind of way. You really can't make a bad choice here.

(SO not helpful. Sorry.)

I vote for C. I'd vote for D if the hemlines were similar, but the floor-length of the MOH gown doesn't lend itself to D IMO. That said, they are all gorgeous dresses and you really can't go wrong here.

I say D. I gave my bridesmaids a choice of any of J Crew's dresses at the time as long as they got them in the right color. Surprisingly enough, everyone but my maid of honor choose the same dress. You can see the result here. To change up the look and add some individuality, I gave them each different antique necklaces I picked up an estate sale. Your dresses are so very close in hue I think you'll achieve the look you want while allowing their individual personalities to shine through. Whatever you choose will be great.

Option C! Love the idea of turquoise statement necklaces!

Option C, hands down.

And while on the surface the suggestions to hem the MOH's dress so the hemlines match seems to make sense, I'm not sure the dress would end up looking very nice that way. Better to have non-matching hemlines then a weird-looking dress.

I'm a big fan of option D. I picked out 6 dresses I liked and let the girls choose their own, and their own color (out of three specified colors, that is...), and it looked fantastic. See what I mean:


I'm a fan of all the hemlines matching, though. But that's just me.

My vote's for Option C. One of one design and two of another (which has similar-ish pleating at the front) establishes the girls nicely as MOH and bridesmaids.

I vote either C or D. I'm doing bridesmaids (five) all in different dresses. At first I was really nervous about it, but once the decision was made I became convinced it was one of the best wedding decision I'd made. I've seen it in lots of pictures since then and I think it looks really nice. It lets the bridesmaids all wear something they feel comfortable and look good in, but with all the dresses being the same color, it looks really cohesive. If both the other girls love Dress #1, put them both in that and the MOH in dress #3. If the other two want to wear different dresses, everyone wears different dresses! Either way, it will look FANTASTIC. i love the gold and I love all these dresses.

Thank you all so much for all of this help! It's been invaluable, really.

I think my favorite is Option C (although my sister is pushing for Option A -- go figure), but I'll keep you posted. Because I'm sure you're all ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEATS.

Anyway, thank you!

So this is not an option that you've listed above, but would your MOH be willing to go with dress #2? I only ask because my bridesmaids dresses were a similar style albeit a bit longer. My best friend was NINE months pregnant and rocked it! Seriously, we were married on a Saturday and she had her baby the following Wednesday. THAT is a dedicated friend. All three could wear the same dress and no one would look pregnant that shouldn't. Whatever you decide, they're all gorgeous!

Option C. Which is hard for me to say, because I do love dress #1 so very much, but I like the cohesiveness of #2 and #3 and I like that you have so many more jewelry options with those two.

Holly, I cannot wait until your wedding is all said and done so I can see pictures of how it came together! I know it is going to be beautiful.

i think the mix of dresses but i think the mix of long and short might be a little odd?

I like everyone in a different dress but the same color. I think that is fun and different and makes everyone feel special in their own way.

So, whether or not that helps, I have no idea. Whatever you pick, I am sure it will be lovely!

It has been said a few times already, but I like Option C . . . hells yes to the turqouise necklaces and I would consider having the maid of honor hem her dress to match the length of dress #2.

I like option d. i did that at my wedding and it looked nice, I think. =)

I like option "C" but like it better if you were to get the MOH's dress hemmed to be shorter like #2

hi holly, I read your blog. I'm getting married in a month, my bridal party has different dresses. Two bridesmaid in the same dress, same color (light blue long greek goddess type dresses), the rest have different dresses- a matron of honor in a long orchid halter dress (she is cuban and that went nice with her skin tone plus it's her fav color) and my maid of honor in long strapless celery colored dress and my sister who wanted to be an usher in a long black halter ballgown to match the guys. different dresses ARE fun and your picks are lovely =)

Thanks again for all your help, everyone! We've pretty much decided on option C: my maid of honor in the long strapless dress and the other two girls in the short strapless one. My sister tried them both on and they're both lovely (and the long one is totally maternity-appropriate -- lots and lots of stretchy, flowy material.) So I think we've solved this! Thanks so much again for your input. The Internet is wonderful!

Good choice, Holly!

(Although I love the first and fourth dresses, #2 and #3 are perfect together.)

My only question is this - looking here, it is obvious that only women have an opinion on this matter. Where does Sean get off thinking his opinion matters on the topic of dresses???? Just kidding!

To chime in late - we had two maids of honor and a "junior" type bridesmaid and a junior groom's maid. We ended up with two different long royal purple dresses for the older gals and more of a cocktail length dress for both of the girls, one in purple and one in silver to match the guys' waistcoats.

different dresses. pick a few you like and let them choose which one they like best. when you look at photos you will realize how great everyone looks because they are comfortable in what they are wearing! i was a bridesmaid for a friend who did this - we are wore black (one woman even wore an awesome suit) - and it was really great. i really appreciated it!

also, you might allow the pregnant friend to find a maternity dress in your color. believe me, your body changes in ways that at a certain point just don't allow you to wear regular clothes, even in a bigger size. if she is 6 mos pregnant, her front hem may end up way shorter as the dress rides up to accommodate her belly.

I'm so excited to see all this pulled together. This is going to be a mighty classy affair.