(Closed) How to pull off mismatched bridesmaids?

posted 7 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 3
Member
124 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’ve heard about a trick that I’m considering using (since finding ACTUAL matchy bridesmaid dresses that makes everyone happy is hard!).  Go to the hardware store and grab some paint chips in the color scheme you want and give them to your BMs.  Have them pick something in THAT color family, and to send you a picture before they buy it so you can approve it. 

Post # 4
Member
223 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I agree with ookbob. I am doing almost exactly the same thing as you w/ my BMs, but I will send them a few pics via email of length and color families that I like (a dark chocolatey brown). I MAY ask them to send me pics of dresses for me to “approve” but that seems a little zilla-ey.

Post # 5
Member
2580 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I just sent my bridesmaids an email this weekend explaining the whole non-matching bridesmaids dress thing (we’re doing black) They are all already very excited about choosing their own dresses! At first I wasn’t going to give them a ton of guidelines, but I wanted to make sure it looked cohesive enough so I included a bunch and added several inspiration pictures. I was afraid at first that I was too specific, but I’ve gotten really good feedback from all of them and I feel like they “get” it!

I’d be happy to share with you the email I sent them if you PM me!

Post # 7
Member
2580 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@ookbob:  and I love the idea with the paint chips! My friend did it for her wedding to show everyone the green she was looking for. It really did help!

Post # 8
Member
17 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I agree with both of your ideas. I think the best way you can pull of mismatched yet coordinated looks is to provide a color scheme to the your maid of honors, preferably with a visual sample, with specific instructions like kind of fabric (satin, lace cotton), overall design (this relates to your theme like flowery, goddess-inspired, chic), and length (cocktail, knee-length).  You can also let them buy dresses on the same day so they can follow a single specific style, discuss the kind of dress they’ll get, and so on.

Post # 9
Member
64 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’m doing this for my fall wedding, partially because my BMs all have different body type, and partially because they all live in different cities, and getting together to pick a dress will be next to impossible.  Plus, I’ve never been a big fan of matching clothes, but that is just me.

I just gave them two stipulations: Navy and cocktail length.  I’m actually hoping for different materials and shades, because I want it to look as intentionally different as possible.  Seems to be working- one Bridesmaid or Best Man is reusing a dress from another wedding, which has a higher collar, one is looking at strapless taffeta with a bubble skirt, and one is looking at chiffon with a v-neck.  Plus they will all be rocking different colors of shoes (one lime green, one red, and one yellow) so I HOPE I’ll be pulling off the eclectic, mismatched look… we shall see!

Post # 10
Member
829 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Yes, do make sure you are very clear about the shades you want.  I sent my 6 BMs 2 color inspiration boards – everyone got it except for one.  All the other dresses were wintermint, emerald, and she got *what I call* puke green (it’s actually called apple green, but it was gross & didn’t go with the other 5 dresses).  I had to tell her to get a new dress & re-send her the links.  I also made sure she sent me dresses to approve before she bought the 2nd one.  Still didn’t get the whole color tone thing, and sent me 7 out of 10 links that were in the wrong color green.  It’s taken care of now!

Just make sure you make sure you know what YOU want before setting the girls free (I was winging it and learned a few things, but I think it all worked out).  Dress length, fabric, print/no print, neckline, whatever.

Here is what my BMs will be wearing (with blush pink shoes & earrings) – not all of the fabrics are the same, but I don’t care so much about that. 4 of the 6 dresses are from JCrew, so I think that helps to make the look more cohesive:

 

Post # 11
Member
103 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I told my girls the color and store (David’s), but told them they were free to pick their own. At first, I wanted them to wear the same thing, but after ordering a few (David’s let you order online and return), I knew that was going to be next to impossible! For me, it was more important that the girls wear something they feel comfortable in (I have one that hasn’t worn a dress in 5+ years), since that will reflect in the pictures.

You could show the girls the look you’re going for, and your guidelines, but reserve the right to veto where you see fit. It will look great!

Post # 12
Member
887 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

i am considering the mismatched dresses as well. to maintain cohesiveness, i think i am going to tell all my girls the color i want from a specific store/brand, the length, and “nothing shiny” – or maybe a few preferred fabrics/textures. this way they can not only dictate the style they want, but the cost too.i will also include pictures of inspiration boards and maybe even a few dresses i really like.

a co-worker of mine did the mis-match as well. she said she got a swatch from a fabric store and told all her girls to get something that matched that swatch.

 

Post # 13
Member
3 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: October 2011

We are having a Scottish themed wedding. We have two bridesmaids, one bridesman and three groomsmen  (who will all be wearing kilts).

The girls and I went to try on dresses together – my brief was: same colour/different style or different colour/same style and that I want them to feel beautiful and able to wear their dress again. After they both tried on the same colour, varied colours and lots of different designs, we opted for a navy blue and a jade green in the same style. It looks cohesive because of the variety of colours in the tartans that the guys will be wearing… But I must say, it took a few days (and a lot of reassurance from my Mom and the girls) for me to feel comfortable that we had made the right decision! The rest of the wedding (eg. flowers) will be all white to set of the tartans and the colours.

I think the mismatched look is a wonderful way to individualise your wedding party. I can recommend the paint chip idea but would also spend a day to shop with the girls as a group so that they get a feel for the colours and styles that ‘work’ from your and each others’ perspectives.

Post # 14
Member
83 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I love it, but it stressed my BMs out a bit. Maid/Matron of Honor and I chose short Bill Levkoff chiffon dresses in pewter, and I let them choose their style. That wasn’t too bad, but I want them to choose their own shoes, as long as they’re gray, yellow or hot pink. They’re having a hard time with it. But I do love the mismatched Bridesmaid or Best Man look 🙂

The shoe inspiration:

 

Post # 15
Member
2 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: October 2012

We just got our wedding photos back… I am so happy with how my ‘mismatched’ bridesmaids dresses turned out, and wanted to share how my bridesmaids and I approached it.

I had 8 girls, with pretty varying body types, and there was no way I could stuff them all into the same dress or even the same color.  An additonal complication was that three of my 8 girls lived in Canada, where they don’t have many of the same stores we do, even if I were to pick the same dress or a certain store’s color(s). Not to mention, my sister got pregnant a few months after I was engaged, so was pregnant at the wedding — another had a baby the month before.  I wanted them to be comfortable, and, especially the one who had the baby the month before, I knew her dress was going to be the last thing on her mind until after the baby arrived, which was totally fair!!

So, I figured — these are my best friends in the world, I trust their judgment — they’re going to look beautiful individually and as a group no matter what, so they might as well just pick their own dresses.  I have always loved the color green, and it was an early summer wedding.  So, I just told them each to pick a green dress they loved and felt beautiful in — the only thing I asked was that it be cocktail, knee, or tea-length.  We also kind of jointly decided that each of them would send out a pic of their dress to the rest of us once they found one, so we could shoot to have an array of different greens.  I had looked around for information about how other brides had done this, and many suggested asking them to have the same type of fabric — but in the end, I didn’t want to micromanage this too much, so again, just trusted them to do their thing.

One difficult thing was that it turned out this was just NOT a big year for green dresses — at least when they started looking last winter and in the spring. A few of my girls, especially those a bit fuller on top, had particular trouble finding them.  But they stuck with it and over the months everyone found something — in the end, dresses came from all over — Nordstrom, boutiques in Canada, Avenue and David’s Bridal (off the top of my head)… 

I did get a little nervous toward the end because it seemed like so many of the dresses ended up being in the teal, kelly green-range… But frankly, I knew that everyone picked dresses they felt comfortable in and loved, and that was all that mattered to me– and in the end, in the professional photos especially, you can really see the differences in the greens.

For shoes, I kind of floated the idea of either wearing a neutral or a metallic — I thought that black would be too dark with many greens and brown might look too harsh as well.  Everyone was on board with that plan, and as you can see, the shoes turned out fantastic too.

For the flower girls — they were my nieces and then twin girls who are daughters of family friends.  The two older girls (my nieces, 5 and 7) wore light green sun dresses, again, picked out by their mom, and then the mom of the twins (who are 3) and I found ivory dresses for them that complimented the older flower girls’ dresses.

I am so glad I did it this way. I look at my pictures now and see my friends around me so unique and beautiful, and I feel so happy.  I wanted them to shine that day, too.  

Anyway, I hope that this post might help someone else who may be wavering about whether or not to do this… in which case, I say, go for it!  BUT, do try not to micromanage it too much — particularly if you are really, truly doing it as a way to reduce your own stress and make sure your bridesmaids are comfortable and shine on their own… because if you are very attached to a particular vision, you genuinely might just be better off picking particular dresses for them, and that’s fine, too!!

In any case, it might not work well with all colors, but could be great with blues or purples or silvers or off-whites, as you can see from photos others have posted above!! 

Happy planning! 🙂

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