Bridesmaid Dresses, part 1

Ah, bridesmaid dresses.  They’re that one wedding detail that can really make some of the most important ladies in your life question their friendship with you. 😉

Ok, so maybe it’s not that dramatic. . . but who hasn’t experienced the bridesmaid dress nightmare, or at least heard the horror stories other women tell of poofy dresses?

I was looking at bridesmaid dress inspiration online a while back, and I kept feeling frustrated at the dress options in our wedding colors – primarily tropical orange, kiwi green/chartreuse, or hibiscus pink. Eek.  It’s really hard to find a dress in any of those colors that you know will flatter all of your friends’ bodies and complexions.

And then one day I thought “who ever came up with this ridiculous idea that your bridal party needs to stand next to you all clad in the bright color of your choice??”  I think I started to question the concept after seeing one too many photos like the one below:

Source: via Southern Weddings on Pinterest

I’m not saying they look bad.  But what stood out to me in photos is the way the row of women looks so bright – and in some photos abrasive – against the calm white dress of the bride.  In many cases I just thought the rows of bridesmaids in matching colorful dresses just looked silly.  

I don’t think I’m even explaining my thoughts well, but hopefully you get the gist.  I would like a semblance of coordination, and I would like the women to be dressed in garments that I like – but not necessarily LOVE – as they stand up there with me & Ryan and pose for photos of our big day that will last a lifetime. But I don’t see any reason to put them all in bright orange, lime, or fuschia dresses.

Then one day I saw this photo on Pinterest:
Source: via Jane @ The Borrowed Abode on Pinterest

I love the beautiful, airy, summery, and serene vibe that it conveys. Really, I just love it.

“But you’re not supposed to dress your bridesmaids in white!”  It’s supposedly totally inappropriate, but let’s remember that a wedding is a celebration of you and your partner, not a celebration of age-old traditions. So you do it your way.

I was hooked on the idea and started looking for more pale bridesmaid dress images.   Style Me Pretty was just overflowing with inspiration.
Source: via Jane @ The Borrowed Abode on Pinterest

And the more I saw photos of bridesmaids in mismatched neutral/beige/nude/white/ivory dresses, the more obsessed I became.
Source: via Jane @ The Borrowed Abode on Pinterest

This last photo (above), where the women are in the green grass, is my favorite now.  If I could select all those girls’ dresses for my bridesmaids I would.   Unfortunately there aren’t an overwhelming number of beige/nude dresses for sale yet. Especially in maternity dresses.

And that brings me to my next topic, which I’m saving for another post:  Sourcing the bridesmaid dresses, and other related details.

PS: New reader?  Here’s the story of our engagement.

Also, I’m sharing this post at Something Charming.

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  • Reply Skooks at 11:03 am

     I like!  Having stood up in no less than 8 weddings (not including my own), I would definitely have appreciated different color choices/styles in several of those dresses.  When it came time for my own wedding, I just told my bridesmaids to choose a black dress that they liked from wherever they wanted . . .  the thinking being that if they ended up wearing something they didn’t like/was too expensive it wouldn’t be my fault!  And they wouldn’t be put into a style of dress that was unflattering just so everyone could “match”.  I loved the end result and I *think* they were happy with the plan too.  😉

  • Reply Anne at 11:20 am

    Adorable, I have to admit the first pic is my fav 🙂

  • Reply Funnelcloud Rachel at 12:10 pm

    Beautiful! I know that in modern times they say you’re not supposed to dress your bridesmaids in white – that only the bride should be wearing white, etc. However, if you go back to the history of the bridesmaid tradition, the rule is just the opposite. Traditionally, the wedding party dressed in identical clothing to the bride and groom to “outsmart evil spirits”. Evidently, if the bridesmaids wore white dresses, the evil spirits would be confused as to who was the bride and could not bestow any ill-will upon her! 

    Also, I think J.Crew has some bridesmaid dresses in ivory.

  • Reply thedistractedblogger at 12:30 pm

    I love the “shoulder shrug” on the first one! For some reason when I see these pictures I think how fun it would be to come out for the reception, after the wedding pictures, with crazy colorful makeup and accessories, but then again I am one of those strange people that can’t stand white for too long.  

  • Reply Kalanicut at 12:41 pm

    Jane I definitely think you are on to something good here! I love the neutrals and they will look so amazing against your bright color palette everywhere else. Letting your decor and your beautiful location do the big colorful talking and allowing your ladies be natural and comfortable is so stylish, chic and smart.

    I’m on the green/chartreuse & neutrals color palette for my wedding. It’s too bad we don’t live closer to each other, I am certain we could probably share some purchases since we are both doing a beach theme.

  • Reply jenn@ahomeinthemaking at 1:36 pm

    That is a truly gorgeous look. It looks so laid back, but sweet at the same time.

  • Reply Melissa at 8:14 pm

    I like the idea (and the last two photos) a lot 🙂

  • Reply Jen on the Edge at 9:44 am

    I *love* this idea!

    Back in the day when all my girlfriends were getting married, I was in a number of seriously matchy-matchy weddings. In one, the bride dictated EVERYTHING, including our hair and makeup.

    For my wedding, I balked and went a completely different route. I had only two girls in my wedding party and their dresses were not the same. They were custom made, so the silhouettes were similar, but the fabrics were totally different. Two different florals in complementary colors.  They didn’t even look like they were in a wedding party. And both girls wore those dresses for years.

  • Reply Tara at 6:18 pm

    Definitely do what YOU want. No need to have matchy-matchy dresses!

  • Reply casacaudill at 2:17 pm

    I had to wear the absolute worst bridesmaid dress ever. It was so thin it was completely see-through. In every picture there are our underwear & bra. Lovely. I warned the bride but she wouldn’t listen. For my sister’s wedding she told us just to wear formal black dresses. Two of us followed the rules and a third girl showed up in something decidedly not formal. (Think summer BBQ instead of black tie.)

  • Reply Wedding: Coordinated. | The Borrowed Abode at 11:19 am

    […] festivities, and I get to pick up my gown.  My bridesmaids and I have collected 13 assorted dresses in the lacey / taupe-y / chiffon-y style that I was looking for, so we’re sure to have a good dress for each bridesmaid.  Photos […]

  • Reply Bridesmaids: Dressed. | The Borrowed Abode: Apartment and small space decorating tips for renters and homeowners. at 9:25 am

    […] I decided to go with neutral / off-white assorted dresses, I thought maybe we could source them from consignment and thrift stores.  That way there was no […]

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