How to coordinate mismatched bridesmaid dresses

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

Pinterest board:

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.

Bridesmaid dresses It's Simply Lindsay

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.

Color:

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.

Bridesmaid dresses It's Simply Lindsay

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.

Aesthetic:

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.

Bridesmaid dresses It's Simply Lindsay

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.

Bridesmaid dresses It's Simply Lindsay

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.

Bridesmaid dresses It's Simply Lindsay

Department stores:

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.

Bridesmaid dresses It's Simply Lindsay

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.

Bridesmaid dresses It's Simply Lindsay

That’s how I decided I wanted another blush dress, one with lace elements, and another with some sparkle to tie them all together.

Bridesmaid dresses It's Simply Lindsay

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.

Everywhere
  • I love this idea! All of the dresses are beautiful and compliment each other quite well. Great post

  • You and your friends did this SO well! I am way too controlling/in favor of things looking very matchy-match to go with this trend. But my bridesmaids all had similar body shapes, so it worked out okay for us, and I definitely let them have a say in the dress we ultimately picked.

  • Oh my goodness, you all look gorgeous and your bridesmaids pulled this off so well! I gave my bridesmaids a David’s Bridal color and a length and let them pick out their dresses and I’m so thankful I did! My girls looked pulled together with the same color and length but unique since each of their dresses fit their personalities and budget!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      That is such a great option, Susannah! I love that. David’s Bridal has a great selection.

  • I love mismatched bridesmaid dresses! I actually fell in love with one specific bridesmaid dress, so that’s the one I chose for my girls. However the wedding I’m in next month has mismatched dresses and I think it’s going to look fantastic! I think my favorite color palette for mismatched dresses is an understated color like blush or beige.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Happy anniversary Erin!!!! I’m in my friend’s wedding in July and we will all be in the same dress, and the dress is GORGEOUS, so I can see it both ways for sure. Hope to see pictures from the wedding you’ll be in : )

  • I love this idea. We ditched the bridal party altogether! Our friends were in wedding-fatigue so it only made sense. 🙂
    Your bridesmaid’s dresses were gorgeous. Love these tips.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I love that you did that, Jaelan! I see so many people get caddy or have their feelings hurt over being or not being in someone’s wedding, and that’s so silly to me.

  • These are such good tips! It is so much easier to do this than trying to find a flattering dress and budget for everyone!

  • I had mismatched bridesmaid dresses too, it’s so much nicer for the bridesmaid to wear something they’re comfortable in.

  • Cynthia @craftoflaughter

    my daughter had mismatched (all shades of purple) bridesmaids dresses 12 years ago. It was perfect for everyone! I’m glad its become trendy. I’ve worn some pretty ugly bridesmaid dresses in my life!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I LOVE purple and that your daughter did that when I’m guessing nobody really did that at all.

  • I love all the different dresses. They look beautiful together, and fabulous with you. I actually didn’t go the traditional route, and ended up getting some cute dresses from JCrew. They were dark brown (our wedding colors were brown and lime green,) and I wanted them to be able to wear them again.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      ooooh, I love JCrew bridesmaid and regular dresses – they have such a beautiful look to them. Great choice ; )

  • omg such good tips! I want to do the same thing, but my bridesmaids will be wearing saris. The photos look so much more dynamic and it’s nice for everyone to have something that are flattering for them. x

  • Greta Hollar

    My bridesmaids all wore different dresses in navy. So each girl got to show her style and personality in whatever dress she wanted.

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

  • I’m so excited to try this trend. I already know what color I’m doing, very similar to your gold. Mine is more beige/ brownish-tan. Eek! I hope this makes things easier for my girls! Your wedding seriously looks like something out of the Knot. I’m telling you, you should submit those photos!

  • Casey

    Gorgeous pictures!!! You did such a fabulous job pulling all the mismatched dresses together! Love it!

  • This is exactly what I did with my bridesmaids! I think you stalked them on Facebook so you might already know 😉 but I did various shades of pale pink. I think my favorite part was that it helped them to save money and choose a style/fit that worked well for them, especially since most of them had to fly to KC for the wedding and were already spending a lot. And I will say that having a Pinterest board with inspiration was super helpful too! That way they knew exactly what I was looking for!

  • My girls dresses are going to be long and navy but in a few different styles so everyone can get their perfect fit 🙂 Love the mismatched look.

    xoxo, Jenny

  • Karlin

    Your bridesmaids looked so great!! I did the same thing, and with a similar color palette (dark nude). Because we had a family-only bridal party, I only had 2 bridesmaids – coordinating dresses for 2 people was so easy! We just went shopping, they tried on what they liked, and made sure that they looked good together. And now they each have dresses they love and that they’ll wear again!