Matching vs Mismatching bridesmaids dresses is a huge debate I hear among my brides, hence how this blog post came to be. I am going to be walking you through some advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as giving my personal opinion as a wedding photographer, and don't worry I definitely advocate for both because I am totally undecided which one I love more! I will also be offering some tips to pull off both to help make your shopping a little easier.
1. It is traditional and classic!
Matching bridesmaids dresses have been a thing for forever. Seriously it is the classic traditional option, meaning you are sticking to tradition by choosing this option and your girls will have a clean, classic, and super elegant look.
2. No bridesmaids can cheap out!
I shot a wedding a few years back with mismatching bridesmaid dresses and one of the girls decided to order her dress online because she found one for $20. It was insanely noticeable in the photos because her dress looked so cheap. With matching bridesmaids dresses you will totally eliminate the problem because no one can pull this. Plus no one can complain that they had to spend more money on their dress than someone else.
3. More attention on the bride!
By stylizing all your bridesmaids in the same dress it allows the main focus to be on you and point to you throughout your day and in photos. No bridesmaid will be able to draw any attention away from you because she is busy matching everyone else. After all it is your day so it should be all about you.
4. OCD HEAVEN!
If you are OCD like me, then you know that matching is so soothing and aesthetically pleasing. You may also struggle with mismatching for this reason. Don't be afraid to choose matching simple because it is more pleasing aesthetically to you.
5. You get to chose the dress!
If you do matching you have full reign over what your girls are going to be wearing meaning you can make sure that their dresses perfectly match your wedding, as well as go with the overall style. So 0 stress of having to tell a bridesmaid no because the dress she loves just doesn't work!
1. It is trendy and unique!
It is less common than matching meaning you are automatically going to give your wedding a unique flair. Plus you are going to totally look trendy as the only wedding your quests have attended with mismatching bridesmaids dresses.
2. It is flattering for all your girls!
Every single bridesmaid you chose will have a different body type. You can have a girl who is a size 2 and one who is a size 22 and let me tell you they will not look good in the same dresses. The same goes with many other areas of your girls bodies! Your bridesmaid with DD's does not want to wear a little tiny strapped dress, she needs support! While your bridesmaid with A's might be all for a strapless dress and skinny straps. I feel this is the biggest advantage because everyone of your bridesmaids has a different body type and it can be hard to find a dress that is going to flatter all of them.
3. It gives your bridesmaids some pricing flexibility!
You may have a bridesmaid where money is not an issue, meaning of course she loves the dress with the three extra layers, and the super sparkly $100 belt. But you may also have a bridesmaid who is on a budget and can't afford a $300 dress. If you give your girls the opinion to chose their own, they can chose a dress within their budget, eliminating that awkward talk they might have to have with you telling you they can't afford to be in your wedding anymore.
4. It can help you avoid awkward conversations!
Just like if you fell in love with a $300 bridesmaids dress for your girls, and one of them had to tell you they can't afford it, there are several other awkward talks that could be eliminating by letting the girls chose their own dresses. These include the money talk, as well as the I hate this dress talk, or the this dress looks awful on me. You can also avoid having a bridesmaid who is in a totally bad mood because she doesn't think her dress is flattering on her.
5. It gives you extra options on customizing your wedding day!
There are a million ways to mismatch and I love them all. I have seen bridesmaids wear the same style dress in different colors, different styles of dress in the same color, and even different styles and different colors. The options are really endless in what you can do with mismatching dresses meaning you can fully customize your wedding day exactly how you want it!
1. One dress does not fit all!
So one of your bridesmaids looks bad in the dress you chose, or one hates the tiny straps because she needs more support, or one hates that it highlights her hips. You are pretty much bound to make at least one person unhappy with your choice because there is not going to be a single dress that perfectly flatters your bridesmaids especially if you have a wide range in sizes.
2. It can cause disagreements!
I was in a wedding, where the maid of honor was a tiny size 0 and was the one who chose the bridesmaids dresses, no one else had a say. While that dress was fine on me, the two bridesmaids who were larger in size where furious because the dress did not flatter them at all, and was not comfortable for someone with a larger chest. This turned into World War 3 because they hated the maid of honor after this, making some pretty uncomfortable tension within the bridal party, and stressing the bride out.
3. There is no unique quality!
When your bridesmaids are in mismatching dresses, especially styles, everyone gets a little peak at their personality. I can tell a lot about a bridesmaids by the style dress she chose before she even says a word to me on the wedding day. Some may consider this a pro since that means their friend who always wears revealing clothes can't distract from you, but it also eliminates any unique personality showing.
4. There is a million options and the choice falls on you meaning more time spent!
There is a million different bridesmaids dresses and if you are choosing that means you have to look at them all to make sure your girls end up in the perfect dresses that are flattering as well as the right color. This can mean hours looking at dresses and stressing over it trying to find one that flatters everyone the best possible.
1. If done wrong it can be distracting in photos!
I have yet to shoot a wedding where this came into play, but I have definitely seen it! I saw a wedding on Pinterest the other day of a bridal party where there was 10 bridesmaids all in different floral print dresses that were various styles. It was so distracting I didn't even notice anything else, including the bride! If you do not do it right it will totally distract from you! I have seen weddings where bridesmaids ordered the dress in the wrong shade or color, which totally drew attention to her in all of the photos as well.
2. It is a trend!
Because it is a trend, it is something that is here now but could be gone next week in popularity. Meaning you could potentially look back and totally regret your choice or love it. You never know.
3. There are endless options.
While this was also kind of a pro, it can be a con as well. If you are OCD about things, it is going to mean you are going to have to go with each of your girls to go shopping so you make sure they pick the perfect dress. It can also mean your bridesmaids are super overwhelmed because they have a color and 900 options to chose from.
4. Your girls have free rein!
I know this was kind of a pro, but I have also seen this be a major issue. I have had brides who trusted their bridesmaids to chose dresses, and then had bridesmaids who were distracting from the bride because they chose a dress that brought all the attention on them. All it takes is one bridesmaid choosing a super revealing dress to take the attention off of you.
Tips to Pulling off Matching Bridesmaids Dresses
1. Try to chose a dress that is universally flattering!
Your bigger bridesmaids will thank you for choosing a dress that is not sucked to them, and your big busted bridesmaids will thank you for choosing a dress that actually has support. You have to take everyone's bodies into mind, and chose a dress that is as flattering as possible on all of them.
2. Take everyone dress shopping!
If you are planning on choosing a dress, but only if it flatters everyone, you need to make sure to get all your bridesmaids to the store to try on the dress before you pick it. It will also help because then everyone will feel like they are being heard with their opinion!
3. Ask for opinions!
Ask your bridesmaids what they like, take them to see the dresses, be open to what they have to say, you do not want one of your bridesmaids pouting your whole wedding day because you chose a dress she hates, or have a bridesmaid constantly having to readjust because you chose a strapless dress and she needs more support.
4. Don't be a pushover!
As much as you should be open to their ideas, you do have the final say in the dress, so make sure you chose a dress that you love as much as them and goes with your day! You probably won't be able to make everyone 100% happy, and if they love you they will get over it.
Tips to Pulling Off Mismatching Bridesmaids Dresses
1. Give your girls some direction!
Telling them you want them to wear a black dress can cause issues, trust me. I once saw a bridesmaid show up in a skin tight, super mini, super low cut and revealing black dress. But after all she was in a black dress, or at least that was her argument. You need to guide your girls to avoid bridesmaids who are just going for attention, and any crazy clashing that could happen. Make sure you tell them what length, and color they need to be, as well as mentioning anything else you have in mind. For example you may want them to all have sparkles belts, or chose dresses with straps, you need to mention this to your girls! Also for the best chance of their dresses matching color wise, your girls need to all order from the same place.
2. Do not be afraid to say no!
So one of your bridesmaids love a dress but her chest are hanging out, tell that girl no. If you think it will distract from your wedding, or doesn't fit the style of your day just say no. You are the bride after all.
3. Find inspiration!
Seeking out inspiration will help you narrow down the choices for your bridesmaids as well as give them direction when they go shopping since there is a million options! Plus you are more likely to get the look you want if you do!
4. Go shopping all together! To make sure you love all your bridesmaid's dresses together, take them all shopping at once! This will guarantee that you can make sure all the dresses go well together, as well as everyone is making choices that you would approve of!
Like I said in the beginning I can totally advocate for both because I am so undecided on which one I like better! I will be stressing when I am a bride some day for sure over this. So since I am bias towards both I am going to give you my opinion on why each one is great and my biggest issue with each.
I love the look of matching dresses, OCD in me just loves it. I love how uniform it looks, because after all your guys are all matching, so why not do the same with your girls. I also love the fact it totally brings all the attention to the bride. However having been a bridesmaid there was a lot of debate and stress on the bride to chose the perfect dress to flatter everyone which was near impossible. The smallest bridesmaid was a size 0 and the biggest was a 20. It was definitely a hard choice for the bride, and in the end there were bridesmaids who were unhappy because they didn't get a dress that perfectly flattered them.
I love mismatching dresses because I love the unique look it brings to your wedding day. You get to see each of your bridesmaid's personalities through their dresses. I personally love the different styles but same color. Plus there are so many options to customize your wedding day even more. However like I said above through the disadvantages of mistmatching dresses I have seen bridesmaids who definitely pulled all the attention to them, and bridesmaids who definitely were more worried about showing off their best assets.
So as you see I am pretty indecisive at the moment! But I am super excited to see what my brides chose for this year!