How to Coordinate Your Wedding-Day Look with Your Bridesmaids

Ways to let their styles complement your bridal gown.

While mismatched bridesmaid attire is certainly in vogue, plenty of brides still want the look to be cohesive for photos. Here's how to coordinate your look!

Photo: James Christianson

While mismatched bridesmaid attire is certainly in vogue, plenty of brides still want the look to be cohesive for photos. This doesn’t just mean that the frocks worn by the ‘maids should complement each other, but that they should also look nice with the bridal gown. Many women worry about appearing too demanding when saying what they’d like their bridesmaids to wear; yet attendants have often reported feeling overwhelmed by options when the bride doesn’t provide any direction. Instead of being a “bridechilla” who ends up being difficult by trying to be too relaxed, look to these guidelines to help pick bridesmaid dresses to make sure the ladies in your life look lovely while you’re exchanging vows. 

how to coordinate your wedding dress with your bridesmaid dresses

Photo by Samuel Lippke Studios; Floral Design by White Lilac Inc.

First, you’ll want to make sure you have your wedding gown, as well as a venue, before finalizing any decisions regarding the bridesmaid dresses. You’ll want the ladies to match the overall vibe of the day – for example, no satin red mermaid gowns if you want a rustic look! Outdoor nuptials in warm weather are naturally a better fit for shorter dresses, especially if you are creating a garden-party atmosphere; however, floor-length styles are popular for an array of wedding settings and types.

While you certainly don’t need to match your bridesmaids exactly, it can be nice to tie in an element of your bridal gown with the bridesmaid dresses. For example, if you will be in head-to-toe lace, some lace detailing could look lovely on your bridesmaids, whereas having them similarly wear all lace might be a bit much. For example, a boho-chic, two-piece bridal look is lovely, but it may not coordinate well with the trendy floor-length fitted gold-sequined dresses you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest. If your gown is structured, however, then that style would make for a stronger aesthetic.

"When choosing gowns for the girls, it’s best to select two elements that reflect the bridal gown," suggests bridal stylist Maradee Wahl of Dear Maradee. "The elements may be the neckline, silhouette, hemline, fabrication, or even color and accessories. For example, if the bride is wearing a strapless, full ball gown in satin and lace, the bridesmaids can wear a V-neck satin ball gown with no lace (elements: fabric and silhouette), or a strapless lace cocktail dress (elements: neckline and fabric)."

An instance when it is best to let your bridesmaids have influence in the look is typically with the neckline. That is usually where an individual’s body shape can make a big difference – not to mention the comfort level of each person. Keep in mind that the shape of the gown and specific shades of a color could also be something that makes one of your ladies hesitant.

Find tips for finding your bridesmaid dress, discover expert advice from bridal stylist Maradee Wahl on a number of style topics, get bridesmaid etiquette tips, and learn how to make mismatched color palette work.