4 Ways To Let Your Bridesmaids Choose Their Own Dresses (and Still Get the Look You Want)

So, you decide to let them all choose their own frocks?

Ashley Riddle Williams
Bride and Bridesmaids Toasting with Champagne
JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images

When planning your big day every single detail can feel like the most important one, particularly when it will affect the outcome of your wedding album. Details like flower arrangements, table linens, and even the attire of the wedding party play a major role in determining what exactly your wedding looks like in person and on film. Maybe you’ve determined your color scheme (yay, for one hurdle jumped!), and maybe even found a bridesmaid dress that doesn’t look too bridesmaid-y (that’s great too!). However, you might also realize that even though you’ve narrowed down a color and a look you love, your find isn’t necessarily going to be flattering on all your bridesmaids. Here are a few ways you can let your attendants choose a dress they feel great in and still get the look you want.

Have Dresses Custom Made
This option could be on the pricier side, but would allow you a lot of liberties. Just think, every one of your bridesmaids could be in a different style and color, but in the colors and fabrics you picked. First things first, you’ll need to make sure you find a great tailor or dressmaker, get his/her prices and ensure that he/she has an opening on the schedule to get the job done for you—and in time. We recommend planning to have the dresses completed no less than six weeks prior to your wedding. This will build in time for unexpected delays in production and last-minute tailoring tweaks. Next, work with that tailor to choose fabrics and dress patterns. Not every style and every fabric are a match, so before any money is spent on fabric, make sure your dress styles and fabric choices will play nicely together.

They Pick 5, You Pick 1
Give some basic parameters (i.e., color palette, dress length, etc.), then ask each bridesmaid to pick out five dresses they each like online. This way, bridesmaids can choose hues and cuts that are flattering, along with prices that are in their budget. Once you have all the links, you can compare, contrast and come up with a collection of dresses that will all look great together. Once you’ve decided on the group of gowns, let each gal know which one of her picks she should buy.

Go with Black or White
Pick a basic color, and let them go wild. While there might still be some minor variations in color, going with an all black or an all white palette for your bridesmaids cuts out much of the room for error, unlike choosing a specific shade, like mint green which could have more than few interpretations. If you’re tempted to take the same approach with navy, be aware that there are more colors out there that count as navy blue than you might think.

Rent, Don’t Buy
One problem you might face when letting everyone pick their own dress is inconsistencies in fabric and design quality. Unfortunately, that’s something that will show. Get the best of both worlds and give your bridesmaids a low cost option for high end dresses—rent them! Check out fashion rental websites such as Rent The Runway, and pick several in coordinating styles and colors for them to choose from. We also love Vow to Be Chic, which focuses on rentals for the bridal party. Just like standard bridesmaids dresses, they have lots of styles in the same color and fabric, so you can pick a few parameters and then let your bridesmaids choose within them.