Whether it’s your wedding day or you’re helping your best friend tie the knot, beautiful bridesmaid dresses make the celebration even more radiant. They bring the wedding colours together, set the tone for your photographs, and make the bridal party look and feel glamorous on the big day.
Choosing the right gown is a process that involves asking many questions - do the bridesmaids buy their own dresses? Who has the final say on style? What colour should you choose? When to compromise and how to handle a divided bride tribe?
Paying for Bridesmaid Dresses
Who pays for the bridesmaids’ dresses? This is one of the most common questions people ask when they join a wedding party, and the answer is not always straightforward. In Australia, like many western countries, the tradition is that bridesmaids pay for their own dresses and shoes. However, some brides do offer to pay for a portion of their bridesmaids’ gowns. Brides can also help their ‘maids out by paying for their hair and makeup or gifting them accessories for the wedding.
So, when do brides pay for their bridesmaid dresses in full? The answer often depends on the price of the dress. Brides who want a specific style that can’t easily be re-worn or have their heart set on pricey designer looks may have to foot the bill. Whether you’re a bridesmaid or bride, always be transparent about your budget constraints to find a compromise that works for everyone.
Do Bridesmaids Choose Their Own Dresses?
Choosing bridesmaid dresses often causes clashes within the bride squad – only some look good in everything, and sometimes compromise is necessary. Bridesmaids must walk, pose, eat, and dance in their dresses, and brides want to stick to a theme that suits their wedding vision. When it comes to choosing bridesmaids dresses, there are two options to consider:
- The bride chooses the bridesmaids’ dresses.
This option is perfect for traditional brides who want their ‘maids in identical gowns and often helps couples tick dresses off the to-do list faster. However, having the final say on your bridesmaids’ dresses doesn’t mean you get to be a bridezilla. Ask your maids about the styles they really don’t like before shopping to simplify the selection process.
- The bridesmaids choose their own dresses.
Letting bridesmaids choose what they wear often makes for a more confident and comfortable bridal party. Many brides set a colour palette and some style guidelines, such as dress length, and let their bridesmaids do the rest.
Finding a Flattering Dress Style for Every Bridesmaid
If you want your bridesmaids in identical dresses, you will need to find a style that works for everyone. Structured dresses made with sturdy fabric are often your best bet, offering support for the ‘maids that like it and giving everyone a similar silhouette. Most people find classic A-line skirts and maxi dresses flattering, and you can always add a high-low hemline for more drama.
Infinity dresses are perfect for fussy bridesmaids who want to customise the neckline of their dresses without buying different gowns. These versatile wrap dresses can give conservative people more coverage or turn into backless gowns for bold bridesmaids.
Choosing Colours for Your Bridesmaid Dresses
Your bridesmaid dresses should show off your wedding colours and complement the decor, flowers, wedding gown, and groomsmen’s outfits. The season and wedding venue can also inspire your colour choices. If you have no idea where to start, create a Pinterest board with some looks you like and go back to identify any recurring themes.
Before you fall in love with a bold colour or barely-there pastel, consider your bridesmaids’ skin tones and choose something that will suit them all. If you can’t decide on just one look, create a palette of shades or complementary colours to mix and match your bridesmaids’ dresses.
Bridesmaid Dress Fabric Choices
Every fabric falls, fits, and photographs differently and can make or break your bridal party’s overall look. Choose satin or silk if you like some shine, and opt for chiffon, lace, or tulle for a matte finish that absorbs the light. While satin and silk look elegant and light, they can be clingy and unforgiving in warm summer weather - always choose a fabric that will suit the setting and season. Heavier fabrics like velvet are ideal for winter weddings and can keep your bridesmaids warmer during long outdoor photoshoots.
Sizing and Measurement Considerations
Getting your measurements taken professionally can help you find a better fit when ordering bridesmaid dresses online. Check out our measurement guide to measure yourself if you can’t see a seamstress. When in doubt, always size up - it’s much easier and more affordable to get an oversized dress altered than the other way around.
Try to get all your dresses from one manufacturer or designer to prevent size (and colour) discrepancies, and don’t forget about plus-size bridesmaids! Choose a supplier that offers a wide range of sizes to accommodate everyone in your bridal party.
Always remember to have fun and enjoy the process no matter what gowns you choose! Model Chic offers gorgeous bridesmaid dresses across Australia to suit every size, style, and budget. We supply dresses, accessories, bridesmaid robes, jewellery, and matching groomsmen’s ties and bow ties - contact us for more information.