5 Things to Consider When Picking Bridesmaid Dresses

BridesmaidsPhoto: Bella Memphis / Elisabeth Hoard

Choosing bridesmaid dresses is one of the best parts of wedding planning. But there’s a bit more to it than picking a color palette and deciding if you want your bridal party to wear the same dress or mixed-and-matched looks.

Here are five things to consider when picking bridesmaid dresses for your big day.


Bride and bridesmaidsPhoto: Bella DC / Anna Smith

Would you wear yoga pants to a job interview or a ball gown to the office? Of course not!

Like all fashion choices, your bridesmaid dresses need to match the formality of your wedding day. 

Getting married barefoot on the beach in a boho-chic wedding gown? Satin gowns may not match the vibe, but breezy chiffon dresses could be perfect for your bridesmaids.

Planning to dance the night away under the stars in a rustic barn setting? Pretty lace bridesmaid dresses are the perfect choice!

Throwing a black-tie reception in a grand ballroom? Outfit your bridesmaids in sequin dresses or fully beaded gowns for a glamorous, elegant look.

The bride’s wedding dress, along with the wedding venue, should dictate the formality of your event. If you haven’t ordered your wedding gown or locked down your venue yet, it’s too soon to order bridesmaid dresses (though it’s never too early to start gathering inspo!)

From jewelry to hairstyles to makeup, every element of your bridesmaids’ looks should match the level of formality you envision for your big day.

Shop our collections:


Bride and bridesmaidsPhoto: Bella Indy / Kayla Bacon Lang

Choosing dresses can be a bit overwhelming because there are so many colors and fabrics to pick from. From lace to chiffon to silk to jersey, there are endless options, and they all give off a different vibe.

If you’re having a casual wedding, stick to casual and low-key fabrics, such as chiffon and jersey. If you’re planning a lavish, elegant event, fabrics such as satin, sequins, and crepe have a more formal look and feel. 

The season and time of year should also guide your fabric and color choices. Dark colors in heavier fabrics, such as faille, velvet, and crepe back satin are best for fall and winter weddings, while pastel chiffon dresses are ideal for spring and summer celebrations. 

Want your bridesmaids to buy a dress that they can actually wear again? Casual fabrics are the way to go. They also tend to cost less! 


Bride and bridesmaidsPhoto: Bella Minneapolis / Tonya Hjort

Whatever your wedding budget, it’s important to be realistic about how much your bridesmaids are willing to spend . 

Before you set your heart on a particular bridesmaid dress or a specific designer, have a private conversation with each bridesmaid so that you know how much each one is able to spend on a dress. Keep in mind, bridesmaid dresses almost always require alterations, and those cost money as well.

Knowing how much your girls can afford can help you decide on which fabrics to choose. Though dress prices do vary by designer, simple chiffon dresses are almost always less expensive than ornate gowns with sequins or hand-beading.

With so many dress styles, designers, and fabrics to choose from, it’s easy to find gorgeous bridesmaid dresses to suit any budget.

Check out our collection of bridesmaid dresses under $200!


Bride and bridesmaidsPhoto: Bella Chicago / Heather Cook Elliott

Once you know your dress budget and have narrowed down your fabric choices, it’s time to start thinking about silhouettes. 

Here’s the good news: 

There are LOTS of different shapes, sleeve lengths, and necklines to choose from, no matter how petite, curvy, or tall your girls are. 

And if you can’t commit to one single look, don’t! You always have the option to mix and match.

A lot of brides choose a different dress for her maid of honor so that she stands out among the other girls. But when the entire bridal party wears mismatched bridesmaid dresses, it can look even more chic.

The mixed-and-matched bridal party look isn’t for everyone, but there’s more than one way to pull off this wedding trend. Whether everyone in your group has similar body types or completely different body shapes, mixing different silhouettes in the same color and fabric always works.

For an elegant, black-tie-appropriate look, consider a strapless sheath dress with a high side slit.

For a beach wedding, opt for something lightweight and flowy, such as a one-shoulder A-line midi dress or an open-back halter with crisscrossing straps.

For a boho-chic celebration, think about dressing your girls in airy tulle empire silhouettes or full-length dresses with ruffles or deep V-necklines.

If you have your heart set on dressing every girl in the same look, the A-line silhouette is the way to go. It’s flattering on everyone!

When to Place Your Orders

When to Place Your OrdersPhoto: Bella Indy / Stacy Able

It doesn’t matter whether you’re ordering different styles, different colors, or different shades of the same color scheme — you need to place your bridesmaid dress orders at least six months in advance of the big day. 

It usually takes about two to three months for bridesmaid dresses to arrive. By ordering six months in advance, you’ll still have plenty of time to do fittings and alterations. 

If you have a pregnant bridesmaid who’s still growing her baby bump, she’ll want to wait until as close to the wedding as possible to have her final fitting, but encourage her not to delay on placing her dress order.

It’s important to place all dress orders at the same time, especially if your girls are going to wear the same color. 


Because ordering your dresses at the same time ensures that they’ll be colored with the same dye lot.


The perfect bridesmaid dresses are out there, and they’ll be easy to find if you keep these simple tips in mind. 

So start gathering some inspo, ask your girls about their budget, and start making some decisions regarding fabric, color, formality, and silhouette. With so many dresses to choose from, you can be sure that your girls will look absolutely gorgeous and help you pull off your wedding day vision to perfection. 

Just be sure to keep your bridesmaid dress timeline in check. If your wedding is less than six months away, you need to place those dress orders as soon as possible!

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