You probably have the dress; now it’s time to find their dresses—the ones your bridesmaids will wear. Almost every bride has uttered the famous phrase, “They can wear them again!” but, truth be told, most maids don’t. So while that’s a lovely idea to keep in mind, it shouldn’t be your number one priority. Instead, focus on these things, according to Jacqueline Weppner, founder of the bridal styling house Merci New York.
1. Take a look at your own dress. Think about your gown and overall wedding style. Is it classic, modern, or maybe vintage? Your bridesmaids’ dresses should fit the vibe. If you’re wearing a flowy, bohemian lace dress, your maids might look out of place in formal taffeta dresses.
2. Think seriously about the color. Don’t expect everyone to cast a bronze glow. “Blush and taupe are hot bridesmaid dress colors right now, but they don’t suit every skin tone. They can wash some people out,” says Weppner. If you’ve got a range of fair, olive, and dark skin tones, make sure the dress color flatters all. (Keep hair color in mind, too, if you’re choosing something unique that could clash with a redhead, for example.) You can work in a two-color palette, says Weppner, to please everyone (think pink and a darker coral).
3. Consider the season and time of day. The date of the wedding is probably a big factor in your décor—fall tones and apple centerpieces for October, peonies and spring colors for May—but the time of day matters, too. Black dresses could be perfect for November but a little forced for an outdoor, mid-day ceremony.
4. Be flexible (to a point). Most bridesmaids would like to have some input on what the're wearing, but too many opinions can make the whole process miserable. Look for brands that offer similar dresses with different necklines, for example. You can pick the color and fabric; each girl can decide on the style most flattering for her body type.
5. Remember, it’s your day. “Don’t succumb to pressure to make everyone happy,” says Weppner. “It’s impossible.” You should keep an open mind and be understanding, but your bridesmaids are there to support you and should (ideally) work with your vision.