Pretty Maids All In A Row

One of the hardest things about planning my own wedding has been choosing the bridesmaid dresses. Ask me to select the venue and I’ve chosen it on the first visit. Judging cakey styles and flavours was seriously no sweat (ok I had some help from the boy here – cakes are his forté). Lighting upon the wedding theme and floral decor was child’s play, no actually it was a joy, but ask me which dresses I’ll be wrapping my bridesmaids in and I come unstuck.

It’s not like there’s nothing out there, there is a wealth of frocks in different materials, styles, colours and lengths. In fact we’re spoilt for choice with the ranges that specialised bridesmaid boutiques as well as high street retailers like Coast offer us. Ladies we’ve got it the best that we’ve ever had it!

So what exactly is the problem then?

I want my bridesmaids to look hot. Like seriously HOT. None of this I’m a bridesmaid and therefore I can’t look as good as the bride malarky. I want my bridesmaids to feel comfortable in what they’re wearing, to WANT to wear it. As a bride, ultimately you’re deciding the sartorial fate of your nearest and dearest on one of the biggest days of your life and with that comes a whole heap of responsibility.

Maybe I’m reading WAY too much into this.

Perhaps some of you gorgeous lot feel the same way…

Whatever you’re thinking I hope that the bridesmaid fashion round-up below is useful. Perhaps it will give some of you some inspiration or even confirm what you already know. If there’s one defining thing about all of the images it’s that all of these pretty ladies are rocking it. They’re OWNING their outfits and don’t they look fabulous!

Something (Navy) Blue

Over the last few months the RMW team have noticed that quite a few of our brides have selected blue as colour of choice for their sidekicks. Strong, elegant and classic, blue hues are the preferred option of those who don’t want to dress their bridesmaids in black but want the sophistication that a darker colour palette brings.

Blues – particularly towards the navy end of the spectrum – are aristocratic and flatter all skin tones and hair colours. It’s not surprising therefore that it is one of the most popular colour trends of 2012.

This concoction of photographs is proof that a darker colourway doesn’t have to be uninteresting – the red lippy and top knots of the bride and her maids in Helen Cawte’s photo show how blue can be brought bang up to date whilst uniting a bridal look at the same time.

Flowers also ‘pop’ against darker hues and I particularly adore brightly coloured shoes paired with a more sedate dress for a bit of subtle drama. On a more practical note, bluish tones look fantastic regardless of the time of year which given the state of our ‘summer’ can only be a good thing.

Suitably Mismatched

This is one trend that just isn’t going away and why on earth should it? It’s fun, eye-catching and incredibly freeing. I LOVE it and I’m not the only one. The essence of this theme is that can be interpreted in so many different ways.

Want the same dress but in all the colours of the rainbow? Go for it!

What about different cuts but the same colour? Sounds good to me.

Hang and blast it…you want a free-for-all? Girl I’m right behind you.

Like blue hues, this trend caters for all skin tones, body shapes, hair colours and fashion tastes because you can wear literally anything you want. Choosing an eclectic theme also lifts the pressure off bridesmaids and brides alike. You can guarantee that everyone will feel comfortable on the day because they’ve retained their individuality without compromising the wider bridal style.

The key to guaranteeing a successful ‘mismatched’ look is to make sure that you resemble a ‘team’. Shoes, bouquets and accessories are all easy and fantastic ways of bringing different looks together again. A gaggle of bridesmaids sporting contrasting frocks but with the same heels makes my heart sing as does a bridal party where each maid has her own personalised bouquet.

Bagsy the peony one!

Ombré Heaven

A sister trend to ‘mismatched’, ombré dress colour palettes have been in vogue since last year and still there seems to be no sign that the popularity of this trend is abating. Literally meaning shaded (in French) we’ve seen this colour phenomenon applied to everything from nail varnish to nuptial stationery even through to wedding furniture and cakes.

If I were to describe ombré, then I’d say that it’s like a Dulux paint chart but in a totally good way. Perfect for those brides that don’t want anything too ‘matchy matchy’ but who are determined to stick to a colour theme – ombré dishes out flexibility to the bridal party by the bucketload.

For me, weddings using this type of colour theme just ooze an effortlessness, a natural quality that I can only hope to imitate. Perhaps it’s because each bridesmaid feels totally at ease in her dress. Trials and tribulations such as ‘that shade of coral just doesn’t quite work with my skin tone’ or ‘I like that dress but it’s not quite the right shade of green’ just melt away because it doesn’t have to be just so.

I also love the possibilities that ‘ombré’ provides modern day brides. Using identical dresses but in different materials in similar hues – like the gradiated metallics shown above – adds a depth to photos and is pleasing to the eye. Repeating the colour variations of the frocks in the flowers too is incredibly expressive and adds flair without unnecessary cost.

Bohemian Rhapsody

It’s clear that the influences of last year’s celebrity weddings run rampant in current bridal themes and styles. The white tones of P.Middy’s infamous frock and the gypsy glamour feel of Kate Moss’ and Jamie Hince’s nuptials is perceptibly evident in recent bridesmaid trends.

The watchwords here are ‘ethereal charm’ and ‘modern romance’ with floaty, natural chiffons, silks and cottons being the fabrics of choice. With their tousled locks and flower crowns, I want to call these bridesmaids, sprites or woodland fairies because they look so incredibly dreamlike.

But don’t let their whimsical appearances fool you – both Kates knew a good thing when they saw it, for this style and colour spectrum can be adapted to suit younger bridesmaids without compromising the fashion statement of older beauties.

Using neutral shades is not only incredibly flattering but is a surefire way to imbue your day with a distinctly modern edge too. And dressing your maidens in creams, oatmeals, fawns and off-whites actually gives the bridal party a more unified front than any other colour. They don’t call them style queens for nothing, you know.

Sexy and Flirty

Gone are the days of the dowdy bridesmaid who filed behind the bride wearing misshapen sacks. Instead sexy, sassy maidens have arrived on the scene…hello ladies.

These are the kind of dresses that you are totally wearing again on a night out. Mostly glitzy, the majority short, these dresses scream glamour with a capital G. It’s not about upstaging the bride, it’s about being a team of glamour amazons and injecting a large dose of gorgeousness into the day.

Perhaps my favourite image here is the row of city-shorted clad bridesmaids complete with pretty camisoles. It’s young, fresh and modern and utterly different. Plus this outfit brings a whole new level of meaning to the word wearability. You just know that these girls will be shaking up the dance floor later without any worries about revealing too much…

Sexy doesn’t have to mean eye-raising hemlines either – the long metallic dresses at the bottom here are divine. Actually I’m really lusting after these for my own wardrobe, not for any special occasion but you know… just because.

So what do you think girls? Which of the above themes will you be embracing for your big day – if any?

Does bohemian princess rock your boat or has it been done to death? Does ‘mismatched’ send shivers up your spine or do you love the intrigue of an eclectic look?

And what are your thoughts on choosing made to measure bridesmaid dresses rather than off the peg? I’m toying with the idea and I’m keen to hear your experiences.

If anything I’ve now confused myself even more about which direction I’m going to take and I think I need a lie down.

Love Lauren xx

Author: Lauren Gautier-Ollerenshaw
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.

66 thoughts on “Pretty Maids All In A Row

  1. eeek @Lauren… the writing gets teenier and teenier and then you cant read it anymore. You know like in Willy Wonka where they’re reading that big contract?

    I’m guessing this might get re-posted so I’ll save my mammoth essay of a comment (that was almost going forming my next RB post but might rethink)

    LOVED looking at all the pretties though x

  2. Okay… so maybe that was because my work computer has EXPLORER 6 on it! Just opened it in Chrome and it’s totally fine!! Either that or im going mad and need a lie down.

    /goes back to read formerly tiny bits/ x

  3. I lvoe mismatched, i love glamour, i love patterns.

    I want my girls to look fab. I’ve seen in Coast, a sequiined vest top with a maribou skirt – its sounds gross but seriously its HOT.

    My sister will be 32, she can pull it off, my step daughter will be 15, perhaps a little much??!! Plus that fact itd probably give my grandma a coronry!

    I think Im going to go down the matching colour but perhaps different style dresses. My sister disagrees, even though she said she felt weird wearing the same thing as someone else??!

    Cant win. Weddings are so political.

  4. Hm, can’t read most of this post and the writting gets too tiny (old version Explore too!) but I get the jist and love it! I had my maids in grey/silver coast dresses and told them to do as they wished for hair/shoes/accessories etc. which they did perfectly! All in the silver/grey/pink theme we were going for.

    I love mis-matched dresses, the randomer the better, it looks amazing in photos and is so much fun! I also love the idea of the same material in different cuts, although sometimes I think different lengths can look a little odd if there aren’t equal number of girls in each, just think it can look funny in the photos – although, obviously this isn’t the most important thing!

    I love the fact that these days most brides want their maids to be happy, a friend of mine is soon to be bridesmaid for her brother’s fiance and she is forcing them to wear a dress and shoes and hair – even makeup!! – all to her picking, and I think this is just a bit strange!

    Looking forward to reading the reast of this post when I get home and can get on my Mac. xxxx

  5. Okay so now I’m in the same boat and have NO idea what to do for my BM’s – the fact that one of them is male throws another spanner in the bridal works.

    J’adore the city shorts but would definitely not get away with it. My girls are all shapes and sizes so I can’t think of anything worse for them than throwing them all in matchy matchy standard BM fodder. I couldnt do it to them.

    Part of me is thinking, give them a colour palette (thanks B&Q) and a budget and send them on their merry way! I cant dream of relinquishing all control though – my friend did that, had 8 of us so asked if we’d all be happy to buy our own dresses in ‘nudes and champagnes’ – on the day we all mismatched beautifully in our similar hues apart from one girl who rocked up in what can only be described as a vibrant mustard… thank God for Anna Hardy (and photoshop)

    Okay, I really need to do some work but might have to obsess over BM dresses instead xx

  6. Maids…an area I struggled with too. I had visions of all my girls in muted, nude tones, each in the same colour but in a style of dress they each felt comfortable. I wasn’t fussed about them all being samey samey and liked the idea of different dresses or shoes.
    They’ve mocked me for 12 months that the colour scheme is actually peach and with the wedding this rainy Friday (I’ve come to terms with the weather and I’m going to try to embrace it!), the dresses are…….PEACH! ha ha. They all wanted to be the same and they all look beautiful in their 50’s esk, chiffon peach numbers with nude heels. They all look like their own little Baby out of Dirty Dancing and rain or no rain, I’m determined to get a picture of them twirling their skirts!
    From my experience, if you give them limited guidelines, they will show you the way. Good Luck! x

  7. Ooh yes! Thanks! 🙂

    I love the glitzy idea. A friend (same friend being forced to wear a certain colour underwear as bm! 😉 ) got married last month and had her girls in gorgeous gold/chrome dresses and they looked amazing! So contemporary yet tied in so well with her neuatral and natural colour scheme.

  8. Loved this post, so much pretty going on! I’ve gone for TwoBirds bridesmaid dresses full-length, wrapped one-shouldered, in rosewater, a lovely pinky nude. And men’s suits are beige linen, and flowers are all whites and creams, so I’m pretty much in raptures over the Bohemian Rhapsody shots – that’s the vibe I’m going for!

    @Charlotte Playsuit bridesmaids would be HOT.

  9. phew – at least it wasn’t just me! was thinking I seriously needed some new glasses!! ha ha

    Am also loving the shorts – but yes the BMs would kill me!!

    Personally I am hoping to get them all in some cute little silver/pewter dresses so thinking I have to wait until the Christmas party season to get some pretty highstreet ones.

    Definitely agree that I want all my girls to fell & look fabulous, I haven’t chosen them becuase I don’t like them!!


  10. @Karen Willy Wonka eh? I’ll let you in on a secret Roald Dahl novels creep me out. When I was a child I happily read them all, laughing in all the right places etc etc. Now that I am older they terrify me especially The Magic Finger and The Twits.

    As for said mustard friend, is she colour blind or did she panic buy at the last minute. It is a risk isn’t it letting them loose isn’t it – my mum said the same to me when I returned from my first solo venture to town.

    Anyway love, I’m assured that all should be readable now.

    @Helen a sequinned top and a marabou skirt? I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.

    @Lydia the silver/grey/pink theme sounds delicious and grey/silver is a colour that I’d like my maids to be in so you’re in good company here…

  11. Really interesting post – I didn’t have any bridesmaids, just my little brother as my best man and a flowergirl whose mum took control of her outfit…. but at the point of deciding about the wedding party even the thought of trying to coordinate a variety of friends with totally different shapes, heights, colourings and styles, as well as tie them in with what I was going to wear filled me with total dread so I understand how hard it must be!

    I love the mismatch thing, that way everyone gets to get something that suits their personality and shape and no-one gets the raw end of the deal with a dress totally wrong for them. Love the post above with the girls all with their big top of the head buns and the blue dresses with sleeves. So classy…

    @Jessica – grey skies/rain with peach = perfect colour combo, it will totally look meant to be I reckon! EXCITING!!

  12. Ooooo – only just seen your comment @Helen – a sequinned top and a marabou skirt!!! that sounds amazing *runs off to google!

  13. Oh dear….now I have no idea what to put my girls in….am going to send them the link to this!

    My original (before I was even getting married idea) was the same as Mrs O’Shea’s – nude dresses, colourful flowers – I promptly got vetoed by my girls. So then I went with “whatever dress you want” but with same flowers…..Fast forward until April when I saw my best friend and she said “What about navy?” – same colour (ish), different styles, different flowers?

    So now I have no idea. As I mentioned yesterday (and Charlotte promptly asked for pics!) the Big Day is going to be a outdoors, barn, rustic, American South, lots of hessian and twine and candles and mason jars affair….with no real colour scheme. Honestly I’ve told my Maman and my mother in law to wear whatever they feel HOT in! And I mean it….so the same applies to my girls.

    Any ideas? xxxx

  14. Totally with you on the navy love Lauren, that’s what I’m aiming for… If I can ever find dresses to suit all five maids at a reasonable price *deep breaths*…. I have a vision of dark navy dresses with bright mismatched kickass heels.

    So far my searches for dresses have been fruitless – or depressing as my budget is approx £50 dress. I’m getting to the stage where I’m about to relinquish control to the BM massiv and let them choose their own with a few guidelines…. But, RMW-ers, what’s the etiquette with this? Is it ok to state my rather paltry budget and let them get on with it? Do you think that’s enough? I don’t want to pressurise anyone into spending more themselves to buy a dress they like.

    Big nearly-regretting-five-bridesmaids love/mild panic xo

  15. I SO struggled with my lovely girls too!!

    I suggested different dresses, shoes, accessories but they initially wanted to all wear the same dress. But…

    …in the end (Charlotte knows the drama behind it 😉 ) I ended up with two different dresses in two shades of purple for my four maids. Two in one style, two in the other.

    They all had different hairstyles and jewellery but we tied it (literally) all in together with the same sash in grey.

    For those lovelies struggling – have you looked at ASOS? I’m a bridesmaid next year and that’s where our dresses were from. They were only £40 in the sale and look way more expensive!!


  16. @Frances I don’t think there is a rule as such. I said I could aford to spend £80 per dress (I had 4 maids) and if it went over this they would have to put in the extra. They didn’t like a couple of suggestions I made (fair enough!) and then I suggested a dress from Coast which came in over budget, but I had managed to wangle 20% off (by asking very nicely!!!!) and so as the maids all loved them they agreed to put in an extra 20 odd quid each, and get to keep them – although I know they haven’t been worn since so I’m currently trying to pilfer one of them as I LOVE them! ha ha.
    So, I think you can easily say that you have £50 per dress and they can either spend that much or go over, but the going over is on them. I think this is a fair way of doing it. Also, House of Fraser currently have a rather epic sale. I’m not sure what kind of dresses you had in mind but here are a couple of examples of what I could find within your budget (or close!) on their website:,default,pd.html,default,pd.html,default,pd.html,default,pd.html,default,pd.html,default,pd.html

    I especially love the second Oasis one, and the Sodamix one is a bargain!! Might have to buy one for myself….hmmm… Anyway, there are HUNDREDS of dresses out there for £50 or less, especially with the sales on at the mo!
    Good luck!! 🙂 xxxx

  17. @Lauren – I think mustard girl just went a bit mad. It is dreadful on the group shot, but then as I say, photoshop fixed it. I’d share the pics but she might somehow see this!!

    I LOVE Roald Dahl, I think theyre supposed to creep us grown ups out though. Lee and I call eachother The Twits – not very romantic but sort of true!!

    @Frances – i’m thinking of giving them a fairly standard ‘high street dress’ figure and letting them choose to stay within it or go wildly over!

    @Katie – there are some crackers on ASOS, good shout!

    @Rebecca – silver would be lovely, January sales even better!! I’m either duck egg blue or daisy yellow – not sure how flattering the yellow would be though


  18. I’m having my lovely maids in different dresses too and what seemed like a good idea is now giving me a blimmin headache! I know it’ll all be worth it on the day but really struggling at the mo! I’ve spent far more time worrying about what they’re wearing than what I’m wearing 🙂

    Anyway, I’m hoping for a mixture of the Ombre heaven and bohemian rhapsody in style and they’ll all be sexy anyway, cause they just ARE!


  19. Absolutely awesome post, although, after seeing all of the pics of bridesmaids in their masses, it has reminded me of my continuous drama of ‘I want more bridesmaids’!!!

    On the day I will have three bridesmaids, one adult bridesmaid (in navy I might add) and two little ones (in floral summer dresses). However, I have a group of 7 close friends, and for one reason or another (mainly money) decided to only ask my closest friend out of them all to be chief bridesmaid. Although, I would never in a million years have anyone else as my MOH, I do have pangs of uncertainty, thinking, should I have asked them all?

    As a way of getting around this, I am hoping to send them all a button hole / hair flower to wear on the day that matches my bouquet in the hope that they will realise that they are really important to me and to tie them in with the rest of the wedding party.

  20. Hello Lauren & RMWers!

    I feel totally the same, I want my girls to be comfortable in their dress, I want them to feel like a hot lady like they would if they had chosen a dress to attend my wedding as a guest.
    I really fancy mismatch, I did quite fancy same style diff colours but I have a small budget and am struggling to find the same dress in 4 colours…. Ice cream palette! Same shoes might be nice having looked at these pics and or some sort of matching accessory and matching flowers.
    However going to send this post to the maids for inspiration… Still 12 months to purchase.

  21. @Jessica – Embrace the rain sweetheart – with some perfect peach it will look super regardless of the weather 😉

    I love PEACH!

    @Helen – I can’t believe I missed this, sequins and marabou?! I DIE.

    @Kirsten – *runs off to investigate the feet situation*

    Charlotte xxx

  22. @One Jolly Girl The ice-cream palette sounds literally good enough to eat and I’m so envious that you still have another 12 months of planning to go. I’m positive that you’ll find something perfect for your girls. Plus it’s a brilliant excuse to keep going shopping…

    @Tabitha Ombre Heaven and Bohemian Rhapsody sounds like a taste explosion – in a good way. I so want to see the pictures!

  23. I think it’s TERRIBLE when people put their favourite ladies in crap dresses! A friend of mine was recently a bridesmaid for her brother(‘s new wife) and was given the most unflattering dress ever! and she has a fab figure – some of the other ladies (there were 6!) were even more unfortunate. Frankly I see it as this – these are your best friends, some of them are probably un-married (and therefore may need to make a good entrance for some of the lovely men your are sitting them with) and it is YOUR wedding day – there is no way anyone is going to upstage you whatever they are wearing (did Pippa upstage Kate? no she just also looked fabulous). grr

    Sadly I only have the one maid – my beautiful sister, or I would so be getting excited over the ombre idea. Still, finding something that she looked amazing in was hard enough! my mother and i love my sister’s figure much more than she sadly does.

    @Helen – I want to own the sequins and feathers dress please where did you find it?!

    sorry for the slight rant!

  24. I love love love the ombre looks, but I just can’t picture it working for me as I’m only having two bridesmaids…

    What do you think ladies? x

  25. @Charlotte – saw it in store in the new flagship on Oxford Street, its not on the website. I’m going to HOF tomorrow so I might nip in and see if its still there and take a piccie!!

    The top was a blush pink sequin affair and the skirt was the plaest of pale pink. LUSH!!

  26. I too found dresses for my lovely ladies sooo tricky too – I originally wanted them all in totally different, mis-matched dreses – but they felt they wouldn’t look like bridesmaids!!( fair enough)
    I then bought a few different dresses for them to try, aswell as a maxi skirt – shock horror! At first they didn’t ‘get’ the idea of wearing a maxi skirt with a cool top tucked in (my girls are a bit more traditional than me and think b/m should wear dresses from monsoon or coast) BUT were not having a trad wedding, getting married abroad in the very hot greece and after a little try-on sess, they have totally come around around to the modern maxi skirt/top/did I mention silver glittery belt combo……..and I can hopefully persuade them to wear different tops tucked into their skirts to make them look a little miss-matched!! Plus the outfits will come in at my £50 budget each….everyone’s happy! x

  27. Great post! I has serious trouble with choosing my only bridesmaid’s dress. My sister was 6 months pregnant and the choice out there is seriously limited both in style and colour. All that’s available are floaty, ill fitting dresses – which made my very neat little sister look like she was wearing a tent. After months and months of looking, we found a maternity lace dress by Tiffany Rose which was a neat, straight, below the knee pencil dress which was so flattering on my sister – with a lot of give so that she could expand at will 🙂

    But, had I have had more than one bridesmaid, it would have been a nightmare matching colours and styles. I was also totally restricted on the colours. Thank goodness the Tiffany Rose came in a delightful antique rose colour, which fit in with my scheme.

    Seriously, dress makers need to step it up and make bridesmaid dresses for pregnant ladies which are fun, young and flattering – less of the tents please!

  28. It is a conundrum isn’t it? Trying to find something that will suit both of my adult bridesmaids who have very different colouring AND something of the same colour for my 9 year old neice. I really want them to have something they’d wear again – so nothing too bridesmaidy. More of a cocktail dress feel (ie short, ideally not strapless) and in purple. I’ve found precisely nothing so far….

    But I’m amazed by what some of the mags consider acceptable. In one article about being laid back I read “consider letting your bridesmaids have their hair as they like”. WTF? It didn’t occur to me to do anything ELSE!

    I’m also letting them wear the shoes and jewellery they like – I don’t want them to look identical because they’re not.

  29. @Peridot – you’d be surprised.. A friend of mine wasn’t allowed to get her hair cut before being a bridesmaid as the bride wanted all the girls to have the same length hair… nice.

    @Helen – leaving work soon to go to coast and check out this sequin/marabou extravaganza… I predict they may sell out after this post and we’ll have to have a sequin marabou meet up!!

  30. @ Ellie, I’m a bit like that with the more maids whimsy – I’m purposely only having one ostensibly to save money and also because if I started asking one friend that would lead to another and where would it stop?! I wouldn’t have had any, but I know my chosen one’s going to be brilliant at it. She’s got form. She’s organised about a million hens and calmed nervous brides many times already.

    When we first had the dress chat months ago, we both loved J Crew’s Lucienne in Dusty Shale as a benchmark. And neither of us have been able to get over it…

    I’m having two bridesmen too, as these are my closest friends and I need some s̶l̶a̶v̶e̶s̶ reliable helpers on the day. They’re both wearing their own best grey suits like Mr. P and ties to match my bridesmaid’s dress.

  31. Lauren, what a great post! I have had many a raised eyebrow when I have told of my mismatched colour scheme. There is no theme but bright & cheery! BMs are in a navy coast dress which was initially outwith budget. I found a similar dress almost as nice in the sale. Coast lost them, so I complained & ended up getting the nicer ones at sale price saving me £244 – kerchinggg!

    My girls are all different shapes & sizes. I want them to look like the fab four individuals that they are. I’ve asked them to wear their own shoes in any bright colour (mine are pink – had my eye on them for a while then managed to get last pair in my size in Glasgow in the sale on Sat – yay!). My BM’s hair styles are so different from each other any way that it would be impossible to match them either.

    Our flowers are all brightly coloured & not necessarily matching which I think will look ace against their dresses & shoes.

    I’ve been bridesmaid a few times and have had to wear dresses I’ve felt uncomfortable in & had to be identikit which I hated. The best BM experiences I’ve had are where I’ve loved the dress, felt comfortable & even worn it several times since, so I hope I have acheived that with my girls! x

  32. My three bm’s are all VERY different – my best friend who has darker skin, an hour glass shape and lives in Norway; my other very long legged best friend who is a glamour puss with skin so white its blue; and my sister who is only 17 (but way taller than the other two).
    To be honest I think the wedding day is the first time we’re all going to be in the same place at the same time. So the decision we came to was that they’d all wear a darkish purple, because it suits them all. I’m letting each of them choose their own dress (well, I might go with my sister – I’m not letting a 17 year old loose in the Trafford centre with £100!) and we’ll just match accessories or something.
    So question – if you have three different dresses, with potentially different necklines/lengths, what are the best sort of accessories to tie them together? I can’t really see what to use at the moment, although they’ll obviously all have flowers so that should distinguish them!
    oh and @helen – that feather/sequin dress is immense.

  33. @Philippa – thanks for the J Crew tip, heading there now!

    (I forgot to say that RMW timing is impeccable – currently bridesmaids is one of the next things on the to do list!)

  34. @Charlotte…you think? I suppose they could rock some amazing shoes and jewels as well!

    Right off to email the girls…


  35. My 2 bridesmaids were happy for me to pick their dresses, so I did! They both have the same, but they’re the same age, size and shape! They didn’t see/try the dress, I just bought them! Luckily they both love them! Their hairstyles, jewellery etc is totally up to them.
    I love the mismatched look but I think you need a few more than 2 bridesmaids!! I didn’t want people thinking one was chief BM and the other not! I’m not having a chief BM or I maybe would’ve gone for it!

  36. I’ve gone down the maid to measure route and don’t regret it! I have been to see the lovely India at maids to measure, my gorgeous girls tried on a number of dresses, selected their favourites and got measured! Each dress will fit perfectly and they will all look fab!! As I’m having a Christmas wedding, I’ve gone for a wine red colour (not worth fighting the season after all)… Abigail xx

  37. I don’t understand what makes something a BM dress other than the name and pricetag. We looked on the high street. Fully intended to go for same colour different dress but then all the maids liked the same one.

  38. @Phillipa – (!)

    @Anni – Yes, it’s a timeless colour (navy) and blue isn’t particularly in or out of fashion ever. Plus you can dress up with lovely accessories until your heats content.

    @Abigail – We love Sinclair and India at MTM!

    Charlotte xxx

  39. I really have to read these posts earlier in the day…

    @ Lauren : glamour amazons! Awesome phrase. Also – made to measure is worth doing if you want something specific or have odd sized women (being tiny I know how hard finding clothes is.)

    @ Helen: your day, your way. I know it’s not that simple but…

    @ Eliie, epic idea. I have only two bridesmaids out of my friends so that a) I have people to invite, and b) we don’t have the ‘you asked her but not me?’ drama! A flower/accessory for inclusion is a great way to make all your girls feel loved 🙂

    @ Caroline H, how did Coast LOSE the dresses?!

    @ Abigail, gunna check out maids to measure…

    Finally, I have no idea on colours for my girls. Our day is blue (ish) though I wouldn’t care if they were in sky- and curvy, with dark hair and fair skin, the other is tall, blonde and outdoorsy – I have no idea what we’re coing to do, but we’ll work something out!
    Love the bohemian, wood fairy look and the ombre styles.

  40. Okay 3 days to go for me!! And I am sort of rocking the ombre trend with five bridesmaids in different shades of coral and peach and tying them all together with the same flowers and gold high shoes!! Two are pregnant so am lucky they have all agreed to wear high heels for me!! Lets hope we can pull it off!!
    So exciting!!
    Rachie xo

  41. Ooh meant to see mine are all high street, the pregnancy ones are asos maternity, I have two from warehouse and one from coast! Took a little bit of planning but we got there in the end!!

  42. @Amy, Coast only had one sale dress in a size i needed. I got another one by phoning up a shop in Oxford & got it within 3 days & Coast ordered in the other two from Ireland but they went missing & never arrived. I had to wait 10 weeks for them to tell me this & one of those dresses had to be sent out to my sis in New Zealand in case she needed to alter it before coming over. I wrote to customer services who were great & I ended up with the original dresses at the price of the similar sale dress!

    @Inbal, you could always buy them a piece of jewellery or matching shoes but does it matter if they don’t have a matching item? As you say, they will have flowers & be hanging about up front next to you, so folk will know who they are!!!

    Loving everyone’s ideas. I’d have loved to do the ombre thing, I think it looks great! x

  43. Great post, and comments!

    Bridesmaids dresses are one of the only things I found it difficult to be inspired by! Like you say, you want your favourite girlies to look gorgeous, and you want everyone to be happy!

    In order to get exactly what we wanted we have designed our bridesmaids dresses from scratch, including the print, and we are working with a fantastic tailor to get them made.

    The girlies have been for their first fitting and the dresses looked fantastic, I’m so pleased. They fit perfectly, and I can’t wait to see the girls in them on the day!

    Hoping to have some sneak peak pictures on my website/facebook page soon.

    Lucy x

  44. YEARNING for those blush/nudey tones – I originally wanted those but my ginger bridesmaid told me where to go! I also fancied blue (that first pic with the almost-navy frocks is gorge) but the lorry driver supports Liverpool so blue is akin to wearing swastikas or something…

    So we’ve ended up with red (for him) accented with dark grey (for me, the queen of moody neutrals – moodtrals?). I also fancied getting them all different frocks but in the end I stumbled upon a crimson jersey maxi on Debenhams’s website, they all loved it and it suits all of them – plus it had 30% off so what’s a bride to do?! I’ve bought the frocks, have asked them to buy their own shoes or wear a pair they already own (one of my girls is customising her wedding shoes which I love!) and then I’m going to buy them all accessories (belt/sash, jewellery and headpiece) of their choosing so they look and feel like themselves and don’t look all matchy-matchy on the day. I still can’t believe I sorted it so easily when I was expecting a months-long palaver (one is doing WeightWatchers, another is trying to lose her baby weight, one is so particular she couldn’t find anything to wear in the entirety of Liverpool or the Trafford Centre once, and the other I have know for 24 years and have seen in a frock about 5 times) and I feel slightly cheated in a way – I’m clearly in need of help. Help or cake, one of the two…x

  45. My boyfriends sister has always stated that she wants all her BMs in long gold sequin dresses a la Girls Aloud ‘ The Promise’ music video. So Amazing!

    I love navy as it works for all skin tones and the ombre look is fantastic! Although, you put in a good argument with these lovely pictures for each section…

  46. I love all the navy shots! I want blue for BM dresses, and hopefully that fact it’s been popular means there will be more choice on the high street! I have 3 adult BMs who are all the same size, roughly the same height and age and similar colouring so I think matching dresses will be ok. I’ve been to weddings where the BMs clearly weren’t comfortable- why would you do that to a friend???

    I think finding a BM dress will be harder than my own…

    J x

  47. Thank you so much for writing this! I have such a dilemma in my wedding! I have three girls one a size 8, one a size 10 and another the size 16 and I want them all to look fabulous! I now have loads of ideas! I am having an August wedding so I was thinking long chiffon aqua blue dresses for the girls but now I am confident to try other styles! Thanks Lauren!

  48. REALLY quick one as on my honeymoon (can’t give you up dammit!) – but had to comment… bridesmaids (4) completely stole the show. I got them (via massive democractic decision making process) cream lace skater dresses from Asos with coral peeptoes from Aldo. They looked utterly gorgeous and I had nearly as many comments on their dresses as mine. Best thing being they knew they looked gorgeous too. Wish I could add a pic!

    And tiny word of warning about JCrew. Their dresses are gorgeous on screen and I ordered a number of styles in different colours and sizes – and I seriously can’t fault their customer service (24 hours a day!! and if you speak to them on the phone all gorgeous deep south sounding y’all! and they even paid the return shipping, I almost felt bad sending them back!). But they just weren’t (I thought) that well made, weird sizing, and just not worth the money – they were pretty much £200 each and for that they would have needed to be monumentally perfect.


  49. I agree with you – my #1 priority is the girls love their dresses, pick out what works with their bodies and will wear them again. THEN hopefully it all matches up with my vision (vintage, rustic, romantic, elegant, ish).

    Thanks for summing up my ideas and also throwing out some great dresses (now if I could only get my girls to stop yelling at me for being so relaxed and enjoy the fact that I’m not too picky)!

  50. I’m not getting married until 2014 and I’m already agonising over the bridesmaids’ dresses! The colour scheme we’ve chosen is red (as in proper scarlet red) and ivory but I’m worried neither of my bridesmaids will suit red, and like you I want to put them in something they’ll feel comfortable in. The other option is black dresses with red accents, as my fiance and the groomsmen will be wearing black suits with red ties, but my worry is this will push the colour scheme too far towards black (which I don’t really want to do – nothing against black for weddings but it’s just not me!) or make it look a bit too ‘goth’ (again fine if that’s your thing though), or if the black would look cheap next to the red. Argh, I don’t know!

  51. I have had a nightmare with BM dresses – many factors such as me living in Newcastle, 2 of the BMs in London & the third in America! Also, one BM is fair, one is redhead, one is brunette. One BM keeps promising to lose weight. J Crew looks ok on the surface but at £200 per dress you can get them made by any decent dress maker for less than half that price. There are some great shops on Etsy & Folksy – most based in China – but do a cracking service & a range of colours. No longer are these the disasters they used to be – friend of a friend got hers there & they looked great apparently. There are some very cheap dress patterns out there -£12- and a fab online fabric shop i tried called abakhan. there are a few online but its best to look in the flesh. and a basic dress is quite easy to make. So try having a go yourself or get mum/Aunty/friend’s mum to help. Most of our mother’s generation were taught to or learnt seeing so they could save your bacon. As my mum is about to do. Thank goodness for mums!!

  52. Wonder if anyone has any ideas… my bridesmaid is my gorgeous 15 yr old sister who is a slim size 8 but curvy with it. All the typical bridesmaid dresses are too grown up – cleavages etc which isnt appropriate and children’s dresses too young… help! Anything nice is like £200 which I dont have!

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