How to Choose Your Perfect Bridesmaid Dress {Wedding Ideas | Planning | Inspiration}

by Juliette Sivertsen

Big pouffy sleeves, awful necklines and unflattering shapes in fuschia pinks and purples...every bridesmaid’s worst nightmare!

As much as your bridesmaids will want to do whatever they can to support you and not outshine the bride, they still need to be comfortable and feel confident on the day.

Choosing the right dress will go a long way to having happy and supportive bridesmaids!

Here’s how to choose the perfect bridesmaid dress.

bride with bridesmaids holding flowers {New Zealand wedding photographers}


Gone are the days of bright fuschia pinks and lavenders dominating every wedding, nowadays bridesmaid colours are typically more muted.

Pastels and neutrals are a soft, romantic colour option for bridesmaid dresses and are ideal in soft lighting conditions and summer colours.

However that doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of having sunflower yellow as part of your wedding colour theme. There’s no reason you can’t dress your bridesmaids in bold colours if they match in with the rest of your theme. Bright colours are particularly striking in winter months.

And what about white or cream bridesmaid dresses? Some say the only person wearing white at a wedding should be the bride. However dressing your maids in creams, ivories and pearls can also create a beautiful, soft and cohesive look.

bridesmaid walking on the field {New Zealand wedding planning and inspiration} bridesmaid dress


Bridesmaid dress styles have evolved a lot over the years. From mid-calf and pouffy, to two-piece skirt and top combinations, floor length to mini - bridesmaid dresses can come in all shapes and sizes!

So how do you choose a style of bridesmaid dress?

Chances are, your bridesmaids will all be different shapes. If they are a larger size, then they probably won’t be happy in skin tight mini dresses. If they have a slight frame, then swamping them in swathes of heavy material will drown them out and will make them look like a child playing dress-ups in their mother or grandmother’s clothing.

Ask them for their opinion and make suggestions as to what you like. If a bridesmaid has her heart set on a particular dress that you hate, gently let them know that it doesn’t quite suit the overall theme of your wedding.

Be honest but also be open to their ideas. They’ll want to please you - but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to deck them out in some hideous 70s style vomit-inducing outfit with all the bells and whistles just to make you look good.

bridesmaids {Auckland wedding photographer}


Bridesmaid jewellery should be subtle. Little drop earrings are ideal for adding a hint of glamour without being too intense or distracting, but balance earrings with necklaces carefully.

Consider the neckline of your dress - if it low or wide then a chain or necklace with a small pendant can work, as long as the earrings are small too. If you want your bridesmaids wearing chunky earrings, perhaps skip the necklace and opt for a little bracelet instead.

You don’t need them to adorn every spare limb or lobe with bling - choose one or two items and leave the rest out.

When it comes to shoes, the most important aspect is comfort as well as style. Just like you, your bridesmaids will be on their feet for most of the day - and no one wants to end the day with blisters! Don’t be afraid to mix and match. What suits one girl might not suit the next.

Neutrals such as tan and beige colours are versatile with any dress and can be worn on multiple occasions after their bridesmaid duties have ended.

Consider the terrain of your wedding venue - if it’s outside on grass, choose a chunkier heel over stilettos, which will sink into the ground.

bride with bridesmaids {New Zealand wedding photography}


You’ll need to be upfront about this at the beginning - are you going to pay for the bridesmaid dresses or are you expecting your maids to pay for themselves?

There are no hard and fast rules - this can come down to personal choice and finances. Just make it clear from the beginning - no one wants any nasty surprises. If your bridesmaid never intends to wear her dress again (and let’s be honest, most don’t), then it’s usually nice to pay for them. If you want them to pay for the dress themselves, then you’ll need to give them a little more licence as to what kind of style they want to wear and what the budget is. They’re not going to be happy if they have to fork out hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a dress that will be sent straight to the recycling boutique after the wedding. 

bridal party - how to choose your perfect bridesmaid dress {wedding ideas | planning | inspiration}

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The Team at Wedding Artists