Bridesmaid dresses are becoming more and more glamorous, with brides looking to make their bridesmaids gorgeous and modern. More than ever, bridesmaid dresses are mirroring trends from the high street, with huge influences from red carpet celebrities and royalty alike. Let’s be honest, how many girls want to look like Pippa Middleton and Angelina Jolie? Frankly, everyone. But these red carpet dresses are paving the fashion path for our bridesmaids very own red carpet moment.

When choosing bridesmaid dresses, whether strapless, one shouldered, full-length or tea-length, it has to be simple, sassy and easy to wear. Girls are also looking for styles that can be worn again, and that’s when a tea-length dress would be ideal.

Choosing Bridesmaid Dress Styles and Colours

Every bride wants her bridesmaids’ dress style to emulate their own gown in some way, and for them to be in keeping with the theme of the wedding. I have a rule of thumb for this — if the bride is in a lace dress or has a dress with texture then choose bridesmaid dresses in a plain fabric like satin or taffeta, and vice versa. Bridesmaids are there to complement the bride, not look exactly like her.

Dessy After Six Bridesmaid Dresses Style 6639

The other tricky part is choosing a colour. Some brides can overthink the colour scheme when choosing bridesmaid dresses. I was once asked which dress colour would go with a certain carpet in a venue! The key is to pick your wedding style and colours, then make sure that your bridesmaids complement this with a colour that works on them as well as the venue.

Here are some ideas for bridesmaid dresses to complement your wedding style and season…

Winter Wedding

A winter wedding gives you the perfect opportunity to snuggle your bridesmaids in fur capes and, if desired, dress them in darker shades. A lighter wedding dress will contrast beautifully with this look. Winter weddings also allow for long sleeved dresses. If some of your bridesmaids are conscious of their arms this is a great way to ensure they feel comfortable and look amazing.

Long sleeve winter bridesmaid dress

Summer Wedding

On the flip side, bridesmaid dresses for summer weddings should be floaty rather than heavy, as well as lighter in colour. Pastel colours are always a stunning addition to a wedding, and shorter dresses will ensure your bridesmaids don’t get too hot on the day.

Pastel summer bridesmaid dresses

Woodland Wedding

If you’ve watched the Twilight wedding scene for some woodland wedding inspiration, you’ll probably have a good idea of the kind of bridesmaid dresses you’d like. Bella’s bridesmaids wear short, purple gowns in different shades, depending on the character.

When it comes to your woodland wedding, any colour that reflects the beauty of nature will complement your backdrop. I recommend going for golds, nudes, dusky purples, greens and browns.

Blue and cream bridesmaid dresses

Beach Wedding

Much like a summer wedding, a bridesmaid dress for a beach wedding should be floaty and easy to wear. However, beach weddings allow you to be bright and bold with colour. Consider something that you might not usually go for, such as a sunny yellow, fiery orange or a vibrant aquamarine. Your bridesmaids will then stand out against the bright backdrop of a sandy beach.

Blue bridesmaid dresses

Themed Wedding

With a themed wedding your choice of bridesmaid dresses will be narrower than others. However, whatever theme you decide to go for, whether it’s superheroes, fairy tales or maybe even Game of Thrones, you can design bridesmaid dresses that complement every aspect of your chosen theme and you know they will be original.

Bridesmaid wearing floral dress in front of castle

Country Wedding

If you’re going for a quaint, country wedding that could have popped straight out of Pride and Prejudice, you’ll want to choose bridesmaid dresses that are more traditional/classic than others.

If your wedding is in the middle of the summer months you could add parasols to your bridesmaids’ outfits. This will complete the ‘classic country look’ and provide them with some shade. Or, go for a more modern country wedding and dress your bridesmaids in short, floating gowns and Wellington boots.

There are various options when it comes to accessorising too, so have some fun and let your imagination run wild.

Traditional style blue bridesmaid dresses

High Fashion Wedding

Whilst some high fashion weddings mean wearing dresses carefully tailored by Chanel and jewellery cut by Piaget, others go down a more original and unique route, choosing to dress their bridesmaids in pant suits, jumpsuits or high fashion gowns.

A high fashion wedding can mean pretty much anything, so long as it follows an influential fashionista. Dress your bridesmaids in an outfit that you love, and never underestimate the power of stunning accessories.

Fashion model

Festival Wedding

Are you and your husband-to-be passionate about music and regularly visit festivals? Bridesmaid attire for a festival wedding should reflect the carefree attitude of this occasion. Think short, floating dresses and rings of flowers entwined into their hair. It’s also the perfect opportunity for two-piece bridesmaid dresses to showcase a more original style.

Festival style short bridesmaid dresses

Choosing Bridesmaid Dresses for Mixed Figures and Heights

This is a challenge that many of today’s brides face. You might have a 5ft 9 inch girl who is a size 16, and a 5ft 2 inch size 8 bridesmaid. There is no question that these girls will not suit the same dress, so don’t force it. Put them in different styles to enhance their figures.

Twobirds Bridesmaid is amazing for this. One dress, three lengths and 15 ways to wear it, in a variety of fabulous fashion-forward colours. Twobirds Bridesmaid dresses can be styled one way for the ceremony, meaning your girls look demure and angelic, then they can be ‘sexied up’ for the evening. Wrap them into a one shouldered look, twist the straps to change the shoulder appearance, add sparkly brooches — the choices are endless. I am deeply in love with these amazing dresses.

Twobirds Bridesmaid Dresses

I am also a massive fan of Dessy bridesmaid dresses. Their colour palette is endless and they are available across the UK. They also enable you to pick different dress styles to suit your girls individual figures and then pull them all together in the same colour. Their website is without question the best on the market, and if you search by this season’s key colours you’ll have loads of styles to choose from! AMAZING.

Choosing Dresses for Pregnant Bridesmaids

As the trend for getting married later in life is on the increase, so is the likelihood that one of your bridesmaids may well be pregnant on your wedding day. Although this may seem like an issue at first, there is no reason why pregnant bridesmaids can’t still perform their role. If you do find yourself in this situation then I would suggest the following…

Firstly have a chat with your bridesmaid to double check that they still feel comfortable with this responsibility. Secondly, work out exactly when the baby is due. Thirdly, make choosing bridesmaid dresses a priority and start looking for shops that cater specifically for pregnant bridesmaids.

Maternity Dresses for Pregnant Bridesmaids

Maternity Bridesmaid Dresses

Once you have found the shop you would like to work with, make sure they are aware you have a pregnant bridesmaid and double check how the process will work. Some shops offer specific maternity bridesmaid dresses and some will offer to have a larger size dress altered to fit. Because of the difference in cut I would suggest buying a specific maternity bridesmaid dress.

It is quite common for bridesmaids to wear different style dresses in the same colour, so don’t worry if your pregnant bridesmaid ends up wearing a different style dress. Some shops offer a range of maternity dresses that tie in with the standard collection, but it really won’t matter if the dresses are slightly different. You could also consider having different style dresses in different shades of a colour to tie in with your flowers, which will look fabulous and take the focus off your pregnant bridesmaid.

Other Considerations

Finally, consider the fact that your pregnant bridesmaid may need to wear a bra and whether your other bridesmaids are happy to have straps. You may also need to consider the heel height of your bridesmaid shoes or whether your bridesmaids will have a second pair of lower heels to change into later. This might not be a bad idea anyway!

So, when choosing bridesmaid dresses, don’t force your girls into the same style. Choose styles to suit their figures; they need to feel comfortable. Don’t forget to pull their look together with accessories and flowers.

Remember, you should always buy your own dress or a bridesmaid dress from a reputable retailer who is a registered stockist. There are so many copycat websites; don’t be fooled. And don’t buy them online — visit your local stockist.

Guest post by Ellie Sanderson (general tips), Jo Cowan and Claire Chapman of Belle Bridal (seasonal/theme tips), and Rachel Attwell of Luella’s Bridal (pregnant bridesmaids)

Images from…

Country Wedding: Albert Palmer Photography

Festival Wedding: Kari Bellamy Photography

Dessy After Six Bridesmaid Dresses: Jen Marino Photography

Peach Bridesmaid Dresses: Twobirds Bridesmaid

Pregnant Bridesmaids: Luella’s Bridal

All other images provided by Exposure Ninja