(Closed) How did letting your bridesmaids pick their own dress work out?

posted 5 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 46
446 posts
Helper bee

I’ve been able to choose my own dress as a maid a few times. All but one time it went really well. The time it went off the rails, the problem was that the bride actually wanted a lot more control over the process than she initially let on. She didn’t give any direction other than naming a color and didn’t want to be consulted about the dresses, but then was unhappy with some of the choices and the maids dug their heels in. If you say “any blue dress” knowing your cousin has a penchant for neon sequined minidresses, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment and glitter. 

This thread is a great survey of the multiple ways to let people choose their own dresses. There’s the “anything goes, pick whatever you want” model all the way to the “maids get to pick the dress so long as they all agree on 1 style” and everything in between. My friends who went the “I pick the color/fabric, you choose the style” and set a firm order deadline had zero problems and were very happy with the results.

Post # 47
4 posts
  • Wedding: May 2016

I am actually doing this right now.They are all different sizes anyway, ranging from 4’10-5’10, and vastly different body types, so what looks good on one won’t look good on another. 

I just told them to buy a dark blue dress that is short, think summer garden party and that they will wear again. Its much more important to me they find a dress they like and will wear again vs everyone being matchy matchy.

I actually think the mismatched bridesmaids are cute. 

Post # 48
2966 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I picked a designer and colour, and my maids all chose a different dress. They all ended up with dresses with straps, and they all ended up choosing a similar skirt silhouette.


Post # 49
471 posts
Helper bee

It went great.  I told them “plum” and they looked awesome!  I dont think anyone even batted an eye as to the fact they werent the same dresses at all.  I did say it should be as close to plum as possible, so they only had one color to choose from.  I’d imagine it’d be slightly more scary if you were to just say “shades of purple!” 

Post # 50
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I’ve been through this as a bride and a bridesmaid. I was a bridesmaid in my dad and stepmom’s wedding, and my stepmom was very chill about the whole thing. Her only request was a dress that we could afford in a wine or burgundy shade. None of us are even remotely close in fabric or style, but it came out adorable.

As a bride, I told my bridesmaids the David’s Bridal color and fabric I wanted — still gives them like 15-20 dresses to choose from.

To my knowledge, none of my bridesmaids have bought their dresses yet. We’re 6 months out, so they have some time, and my sister and Maid/Matron of Honor are both going shopping with me this weekend.

I feel like I have one bridesmaid that I’m going to have to nudge a little, which is fine (she’s crazy busy with writing her thesis and applying to PhD programs, as well as working 2 jobs).

Post # 51
1039 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
chrissybee:  It went great! I kind of had to because my BM were scattered in different states. They awere all sweet enough to make the trip to NY to go dress shopping with me, so making them get their Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses after hours of me trying on gowns didn’t seem right. 

I picked the color (plum) and fabric (chiffon) and found a site online that let me mail individual fabric swatches mailed to each of them so they could all have an identical swatch of color and material as a yardstick when they took it to a store with them. I just told them to keep it cocktail-length and either sleeveless or strapless and let them pick whatever they wanted. All of them looked amazing!

Post # 52
32 posts
  • Wedding: May 2017

I was a bridesmaid in a wedding where we were allowed to choose our dresses so long as they were black lace. It was that easy. I had the hardest time finding a dress and still found one 6 months before the wedding. My advice would be to decide on a colour, fabric, or style that you are going for to help give a little guidance. I will be letting my bridesmaids pick their own dresses out of gold, rose gold, blush, taupe, or nude. This gives them enough options, fits a pallet, and they will pick something that they think makes them look good, which will show up in the pictures. Everyone looks better while feeling confident.

Post # 53
897 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

Everything worked out fine.  They were all different shades of blue and they were comfortable.  They can wear them again and they didn’t break the budget. 

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