Who chooses the bridesmaids' dresses?

posted 1 week ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 2
3994 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

In my experience, it varies from wedding to wedding. Both times I have been a bridesmaid, the dresses were chosen for us and we just wore what the bride picked out. I chose the dresses for my first wedding, for my 2nd I had the bridesmaids choose them and just send me a photo to get my approval. I think what your bridesmaid is doing is pretty… forward. Do you know why she is so adamantly opposed to wearing a long dress? I think you should figure out what her hang up is before moving forward. But also, part of me is like “she just needs to chill out and wear what you choose…” 

Post # 3
61 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2021

Usually when the bridesmaids “choose” they’re given parameters and work within them. So for example “long and soft pink” and they find whatever works for them. Or sometimes the bride might have a specific dress they want (in that case it’s nice if the bride also pays, but not necessary). 

Refusing to wear a long dress a bridesmaid is pretty strange. That’s not really a small thing to compromise on, it greatly changes how photos and the bridal party look. Plus if she’s the only one in a short dress the eye will immediately be drawn to her – in a bad, distracting way. 

I would put my foot down if I were you. If she really can’t compromise on it she may have to step down as a bridesmaid. I personally wouldn’t compromise on the length of dresses (I also want all long dresses for that formal romantic look). If you can swing it, consider paying for the dresses. I’m paying for the dresses so I don’t feel any guilt about having specific requirements. 

Post # 4
6233 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

If you are the bride and you want the bridesmaids in long dresses, I would let this person know that if she is not willing to compromise, I could understand and she would be welcome to wear whatever short dress she wanted, as a guest.

I don’t think it’s necessary for the bride to necesarily be the one to select the dresses without input, but this bridesmaid’s absolute assertion this early in the process about what she isn’t willing to do does not bode well for other decisions down the road.

Post # 5
91 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

I chose the color and went with the girls to the dress shop and they got to pick out whatever dress they wanted in that color. I was not purchasing the dresses so I wanted them to have full say in the dress they wore for the day. They also got to pick out their own shoes and jewelry. 

Post # 6
278 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

I have been in two weddings. The first one the dress was picked for me. It wasn’t my favorite dress but I was happy to wear what my friend wanted with zero complaints. The second wedding I was allowed to choose my dress, but the bride told me the color and to have it be a short dress.

When I got married, I asked my bridesmaids what color they wanted to wear (they’re all friends and chose a color) and then let them pick out whatever they wanted, long or short. They all chose different dresses and looked nice. 

I guess these days, there isn’t a set “rule.” But as a bridesmaid I would never make demands, and I’d always let the bride make the decision on wearing what she picked out or letting me pick my own dress, and I’d be happy to do what she decided within a fair price range of course. I think it would be unfair to demand an expensive dress, for example. 

Post # 7
3533 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

I think it’s much nicer when the bridesmaids are either part of the decision making or just given some parameters and told to choose to dress they are comfortable in within those parameters (such as colour scheme and general vibe, length, etc), but for a bridesmaid to straight up start the process with “I won’t wear a long dress” is pretty absurd. Especially considering the vast majority of bridesmaid dresses are long. 

Post # 8
359 posts
Helper bee

jdee123 :  I have only been closely around the Bride’s of 2 weddings. One I was a bridesmaid, the other I was not in the Wedding Party but my SO was the Best Man.

Wedding 1 where I was a bridesmaid, Bride said “pick either this colour or this one (two shades of Blue) and I’d like them all to be chiffon”.

Wedding 2 bride wanted those wrap dresses so everyone got the same thing, same colour, same fabric, but the dress shape was totally customizable? I will say she always had her heart set on “blush” as the bridesmaid dress colour, but she had them all try it on and she and the bridesmaids agreed it wasn’t a flattering colour for anyone, so she switched instead to a hunter green kind of colour.

I think that it is up to you since it is your day. I think it is amazing when a bride is willing to be flexible and not just say “here’s the dress I want you to wear, cough up the cash” but I DO think that the dresses being long is a common want for a bride. What season will your wedding be in? Could you two compromise with a high-low skirt? (It will show her knees but the sides and back will taper down to floor length?)

Post # 9
12224 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

In the US bridesmaids pay for their dress under the assumption they are kept and hypothetically may be worn again. As such, though the bride has discretion, it’s considered appropriate to consult for both budget and style. There is a growing trend toward letting bridesmaids select any dress within a certain length or popular, easy to wear color and even any dress they choose at all. Most properly length is according to whether the wedding formal, though not all long dresses are formal and vice versa. 

All that said, I really can’t imagine pushing back against the brides wishes to this degree. The friend is not being very gracious. She can always hem it later. 

Post # 10
133 posts
Blushing bee

jdee123 :  Are you sure this person is really a friend? That is beyond rude of her. If she wants a short dress she can come as a guest…

Post # 11
71 posts
Worker bee

I think the reason a bridesmaid has for wanting to avoid a certain dress or style matters a lot. There’s a difference to me between just not liking, say, halter necklines and feeling self-conscious about the way a low neckline might look on one’s body.

I would ask the bridesmaid why she is opposed to long dresses. If it’s just a personal distaste, I think you should let her know you really want long dresses but could possibly compromise on element x or y of the dress.

Post # 12
2179 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

It used to be that the bride chose the dress and the bridesmaids couldn’t say anything about it. When I was younger, I was in several weddings where I had no choice. I hated the dresses, but I wore them because it was the bride’s wedding. It seems like a lot of women now give parameters and let the bridesmaids have some choice within that. You have the right to say that the dress should be long.


Post # 13
17 posts

I chose the color and length and let my bridesmaids choose the style.  I would not have been on board if one of my bridesmaids wanted a short dress, mainly because of how odd the pictures would look.

Would it be possible for the bridesmaid who wants a short dress to also wear an overskirt, which she can remove after the ceremony? That seems like a possible solution to me.

Post # 14
105 posts
Blushing bee

jdee123 :  the nerve what the hell is wrong with her

Post # 15
1401 posts
Bumble bee

Whoever is paying for the dress decides (within reason) imo, I think it’s pretty rude to make someone pay for a dress you’re demanding they wear for your wedding when they don’t even like it. Yes she’s probably being unreasonable by refusing to wear any long dress as people typically wear what the bride wants (within reason), but then I think it’s also unreasonable to make her buy and wear a dress she hates so she can be a part of your wedding. I think a compromise needs to be made here, maybe she and another bridesmaid or two depending on how many you have could wear shorter e.g. mid length dresses so she doesn’t stand out so much?

What are her reasons for wanting to wear a short dress? Is she short and concerned about the length and the cost of alterations? Or does she just not like how floor length dresses look on her? 

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