When I got married in 2013, I had never been to a wedding with mismatched bridesmaid dresses but knew it was something I wanted for my special day and my special girls. All of my bridesmaids were very different, each with her unique style, taste, and personality, and I wanted their dresses to reflect that.
I believe the mismatched bridesmaid look is not merely a passing fad; I believe it’s here to stay, and for good reason. Mismatched gowns not only give your bridesmaids options of dresses that truly suit their style and body type, but they also add a unique and romantic element to your wedding. In fact, I think this will become the new tradition – it just makes sense, doesn’t it, to have your girls wear something that perfectly suits them that they love?
Choosing different bridesmaid gowns may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow my simple guidelines for how to coordinate your mismatched bridesmaid dresses to start putting together your own aesthetic in a cohesive, beautiful way.
How to Coordinate Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses
First, start perusing Pinterest and create a bridesmaid board. You don’t have to have your aesthetic and color scheme yet – that can come later – for now, just pin anything that you feel drawn to.
After you have spent some time on this, go back to your board with an editing eye. What do you connect with most? Neutrals with sparkle accents? Bold colors? Long or short? Start editing your board down by deleting pins that don’t fit your evolving vision.
By this point, you should have a color that you want – you may have one color you’re set on or a color palate with several complimenting shades.
Tip: Are you totally color-challenged? Go to a paint store and pick up a strip of swatches for color inspiration. The paint pros have already done the leg-work for you, so you’ll know all of those hues compliment each other beautifully.
Another crucial aspect of making your dress selections cohesive is to have a strong aesthetic. What does that mean exactly? Ask yourself the type of wedding you envision – not just the bridesmaid dresses, but your overall wedding. Soft and romantic? Contemporary and chic? Rustic and woodsy? Elegant and traditional? You’ll want your bridesmaid dresses to fit into your overall wedding aesthetic, and you can bring various elements from the dresses into each other. What do I mean by that? If you want lace and sparkle, that doesn’t mean all dresses have to have these elements, but you can incorporate them into some of the pieces, keeping the others more neutral.
Go over with girls:
Start by sharing your Pinterest board with your friends so they have a clear idea of your vision for their dresses. Then decide if you will pick the dresses for them, with them, or let them choose their own (with your final approval). Whatever you decide, make sure they know exactly the type of aesthetic you’re looking for, so be clear and detailed with them.
You can send your girls some links to dresses you like, ask them to send you dresses they have found, or go into the store to physically shop. If someone suggests a dress you do not like, just tell her it’s on the right track but not quite what you had in mind; then offer to look with her or take her shopping.
High end, low end:
Another benefit of mix and match dresses is that you can meet the needs of your girls’ budgets. Maybe someone wants to shell out $300 for a gown she loves because she’s choosing it and wants to wear it again, and maybe someone doesn’t quite have that budget. My girls’ dresses ranged from $60-300, all fitting my bridesmaids’ personal budgets.
Since you’re not going with the typical, traditional matching bridesmaid look, you’ll most likely find the dresses you want from non-bridal salons. My girls’ dresses came from Lord and Taylor, Nordstrom, BHLDN, Macy’s, and TJ Maxx. These stores generally have way more dresses online than in the stores, though we had luck both ways, online and in the store.
Start with one, layer from there:
For me, it was easiest to get one dress at a time: I started with my maid of honor’s dress and went from there. I actually kept all of the dresses at my house so I could see them all together.
That’s how I decided I wanted another blush dress, one with lace elements, and another with some sparkle to tie them all together.
Lasting thoughts & inspiration
How do you feel about mismatched dresses? What is your favorite color palate for bridesmaid dresses? I obviously love a soft, neutral color scheme with champagnes, golds, and blushes, so here is a little inspiration for you. You can click on the photos for details on the dresses, and for more wedding inspiration, read Wedding Planning Traditions to Reconsider.