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Ultimate Buying Guide for a Perfect Bridesmaid Dress

You’ve spent countless hours thinking about your perfect wedding dress. You tried on dozens of options, analyzed the cut, shape, color and details before finally deciding on the perfect gown. Now that you’ve figured out the most important dress of the day, you may think that your dress shopping days are over.

Don’t forget about your bridesmaids, though! Bridesmaid dresses are an important element, and the right dresses will complement the theme and color scheme of your wedding. The right cuts and colors can accentuate your beautiful gown, and leave your wedding party feeling confident and comfortable throughout the entire event.

While selecting bridesmaids dress styles may seem easy, there are thousands of color and style options to choose from. We’re here to make bridesmaid dress shopping a piece of cake. Brideside helps brides and besties find their perfect dresses.

Our stylists will match you with the colors, styles and prices that best suit your bridal party needs. With our help, your entire bridal party will be outfitted in styles that match your wedding vision. To help get you started, here are a few bridesmaid dress shopping tips from our stylists.

celebrating wedding in gold and burgundy bridesmaid dresses
Your dresses should make you smile just like this gorgeous bridal party! Photo Credit: Kara Evans

Be Budget Friendly

It’s never comfortable to talk about budgeting with your best friends, but unless you’re paying for the dress, it’s necessary. That’s why it’s the very first tip we give our brides. As the bride, you want to be mindful of what your bridesmaids can comfortably afford. Some brides go so far as to cover part or all of the cost of bridesmaids dresses. While it’s not a requirement, it’s incredibly generous and your besties will really appreciate the gesture.

If that’s not a financial possibility for you, you can still do a lot to make sure your girls are comfortable with the cost of the dresses you’ve selected. Being a bridesmaid isn’t cheap. The costs of bridesmaid dresses, hair, makeup, jewelry, shoes, bachelorette parties and bridal showers add up quickly. Let your girls know how much dresses will cost as early as possible, so that they can budget for your big day and eliminate stress along the way. There are plenty of affordable, high quality, and beautiful bridesmaid dresses for you to choose from. Our Brideside Collection includes tons of styles and colors, and every dress is under $200.

Another option is to mix dresses from different designers and price points. Most bridal parties have members with different budgets. Your younger sister may have a different budget than your best friend.  There will always be some members of your bridal party that are able to afford higher price points than others. Allowing them to choose from a variety of styles and designers means that they can choose a dress that fits their budget.

Pass the Baton

Previously, brides would select their bridesmaids’ dresses regardless of their style preferences or body types. Although most bridesmaids will conform and wear whatever you choose, why not give them a say on the subject? Pass the dress baton and check something off your never-ending wedding checklist.

Reduce the stress of selecting one perfect bridesmaid dress by giving your ladies a chance to choose, or put your maid/matron of honor in charge. Instead of mandating a specific style, give your besties guidelines. Choose a length, color, or fabric type. Then, let your bridal party select their own gown. If you’re worried about what they might choose, take the entire group shopping and give the final word on their choices.

brideside mismatched blue bridesmaid dresses
Every dress is different, but they all look beautiful together! Photo Credit: Asia Pimental Photography

Shop for Maternity Bridesmaid Dresses

Expectant mothers deserve a variety of beautiful bridesmaid dress styles, too, and many designers offer styles in maternity-friendly silhouettes. Shop with a retailer that offers stylist services for a maternity style dress that keeps your pregnant besties comfortable as their bodies change. A talented style consultant can help predict the size a pregnant (or soon-to-be pregnant) bridesmaid will need for the wedding day based on how far along she is in her pregnancy.

Working with a professional bridesmaid dress stylist doesn’t just reward you with top fashion advice and guidance. It also means having a trusted confidante during the shopping and planning process, one who is sensitive to the needs of expectant mothers. For instance, if a bridesmaid’s pregnancy hasn’t been announced yet, your concierge stylist can discreetly order them a maternity style dress, protecting their privacy even among the other bridesmaids.

maternity bridesmaid dresses

Consider Body-Conscious Selections

Your bridal party is made up of those who mean the most to you. Each member has a different personality, sense of style and body shape. Complementing each of your bridesmaids’ figures isn’t easy, but it can be done. While the best option is allowing each of your besties to choose a dress that accentuates their body styles, that’s not always possible. When all else fails, go with an a-line gown. An a-line gown that accentuates the waist and is loose around the hips and thighs will look good on nearly every body type.

And you should always ask about a designer’s plus size or extra fabric policy when selecting dresses. Many will charge an extra fee for their largest sizes, which could leave your girls feeling self-conscious about their looks, and spending more than they expected on a dress. The Brideside Collection offers more sizes than most designers (we carry 0-28) and we’ll never charge extra for larger sizes.

Choose the Right Palette

Most brides choose their bridesmaids’ dresses based on the color palette of their wedding. If you’re not wild about eggplant dresses, don’t be afraid to stick to a neutral color. White is an increasingly popular bridesmaid dress color, especially for summer and destination weddings. While you may think that creams and ivories would upstage the bride, they only complement her look. Plus, neutral gowns tend to blend with any backdrop. Soft neutrals aren’t your only option, though. Grey, black and taupe are also great neutral colors that will blend with the other colors you’ve chosen.

Bridal party turned away from camera except for bride, all holding flowers

Don’t Forget the Gift

Shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses is just one of the undertakings your bridal party has on their plate before your big day. From planning a bachelorette party to throwing a bridal shower, they’re busy making your wedding as special as they can. Thank them for all their hard work by giving them a gift. Spa goodies and travel essentials are great and simple ways to show appreciation, especially if they’re traveling for your big day. You may even want to hand out gifts early so that they can use them for your wedding.

Brideside is the place to find bridesmaid dresses and gifts for your best friends. Whether you prefer a one-dress style for the entire party, or you’d like to mix and match styles and bridesmaid dress colors, our style consultants are here to help. The relaxed environment of our showrooms make the dress shopping experience a treat for both you and your bridal party.

If you’re not near our store, don’t worry! Brideside is online, too. With a variety of sophisticated designer dresses available, you can shop our extensive collection and bring our dresses to your door. Our hassle-free “try at home” program allows your bridesmaids to try on a few different gowns at home before deciding which they’d like to order. Whatever your vision, Brideside will help make it a reality.

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