Bridesmaids By Jessica Weltersen Gone are the days where all of the bridesmaids dresses must be the same style and color. Unless you’re a complete Bridezilla, you may want to be more flexible in picking out the dresses that your girls are going to be wearing. In fact, today a lot of brides are giving their maids a few guidelines to stick to, then letting them go out and pick their own dresses. Bridesmaids today can pretty much wear anything from party gowns to simple special occasion dresses that they can wear more than once. So What Are the Basics Today for Choosing Your Bridesmaids Dresses? If you’re having a completely traditional and formal wedding, you might still want your bridesmaids all looking the same, with the same style and color. And that’s fine! A lot of brides still do that. The downsides to going this route? Some of your bridesmaids may gracefully decline being in your wedding if they’re uncomfortable with how they’ll look in the dress Not all colors are flattering to every person Your bridesmaids may not be able to wear that one dress ever again. And in today’s economy, that might not be such a good thing. So there are other options to having completely coordinated bridesmaids dresses without the expense and headaches of trying to make one style or color fit all. 1. Get the Right Color If you can find one color that compliments each one of your bridesmaids, you’re in good shape. You can start there and then look for complimentary styles. You may want to set some guidelines for the styles like all of the bridesmaids dresses must be the same length and fabric but each girl can pick out her own style. 2. Choose a Dress Style for Your Bridesmaids If you can find one style that fits everyone, you can go from there and choose different coordinating colors that compliment the bridesmaid without clashing with any of the others. To be coordinated though, and not off-balance, if you have an odd number of girls in the bridal party, you might want three of them in one matching color and the others in a second matching color. In other words, you might want to try to maintain a balance. 3. How About Different Styles and Different Colors? Even this can work well if they’re each in the same length of dress and the same fabric. If each girl picks a different color, just make sure they blend well together without clashing. For example, maybe you’ve already picked out the colors for your bridal bouquet, so the bridesmaids dresses can be in colors that blend well with your bouquet or the bouquets that the girls may be carrying. For styles, some of your girls may not be comfortable with strapless or spaghetti strap dresses. So they may opt for a style that has wider straps, or an off-the-shoulder look, or one that they can put a bolero jacket or a drape around their shoulders. For bridesmaids who aren’t comfortable with a low-cut dress that may show off a good bit of cleavage, they may want to opt for a higher cut scoop neck style instead. Actually, the variations are endless! You may want to schedule a day out with the girls to visit some bridal salons or the bridal departments of some local department stores and get some ideas. Remember, you’ll all be getting photographs taken before, during and after the ceremony. You want to look coordinated and complimentary without overshadowing the bride. Who Pays for the Bridesmaids Dresses? Typically each bridesmaid pays for her own. So you want to be conscious of their individual budgets too when deciding what you want them to wear. If you really want to be generous, and you can more than afford it, you can always offer to pay for the dresses yourself so that no one feels they have to back out of being in your wedding because of money. Sticking to a Budget There’s no reason why you can’t set a budget for your bridesmaids dresses that is in line with your own. Actually, if you’re not paying more than a couple hundred bucks for your own gown, don’t expect your bridesmaids to fork out several hundred bucks for their dresses! You can keep the budget low by shopping online for your bridesmaids dresses – after you’ve already been shopping locally and found what you’re looking for. There may be some small alterations needed when you’re buying a dress from an online retailer, but if you play it smart and shop early, there shouldn’t be a problem. What bridesmaids dresses did you have for your bridal party? Comment below!