I have been a big time slacker in getting this post together. My friend Juliette from The Other Juliette (if you don't already know this girl you better go to her blog NOW- she's hysterical and I absolutely adore her) asked if I would write a post about coordinating different colored bridesmaid dresses. Since this was something I recently did (and apparently did well I assume since she is asking me for advice), I wanted to share how I did it.
Now, let me just preface this by saying that I have been in a TON of weddings in the past few years. Three out of my four bridesmaids were married within the last two and a half years, and I was a bridesmaid in all of their weddings. I knew all too well what it was like to go through the experience of being a bridesmaid, and wearing a bridesmaid dress.
For this reason, I knew from the beginning that what was most important to me was that my bridesmaids felt comfortable and happy with what they were wearing (and that it was affordable). I truly believe that the most beautiful bridesmaid dresses are those that your girls feel most confident in, and I wanted that for my ladies. I also knew that I did not necessarily need matching bridesmaid dresses, both in terms of the color and style.
Before I even started talking about what I wanted my bridesmaids to wear, I started exploring wedding colors (as most brides do). Pinterest was my best friend for this, obviously. Once I decided on my colors (neutral white/gray with pastel accents), THEN I worried about bridesmaid dresses. Since my color scheme was a series of colors, I knew that I wanted each girl in a different color. Part of this decision was also due to the fact that my none of my bridesmaids lived in the same state as me (or even each other), so color coordinating any kind of the same color would be a nightmare.
Once this was decided, I had to choose between long or short dresses. I went with short since I knew it would be hot. I also told them I preferred a chiffon material (mostly due to the heat and because it's a common material). Once I had these details nailed down in my head, this is how I went about the rest of the process:
1. I started a group e-mail. In this e-mail, I shared what my idea for their dresses was and warned them that a mess of information would be coming their way soon.
2. I sent my inspiration photos via e-mail to the girls with plenty of information on the colors I wanted including examples and common names the colors were referred to as. This is a literal excerpt from one of my e-mails: "...peachy/nude, light yellow, light green, and light purple/lilac. When I have been trying to find better fabric names for these colors, I'm coming up with: blush/champagne, iris(similar to lilac), pistachio/thistle, and daffodil/maize." This seemed to work really well for the ladies. I also included photos such as these and talked a little bit about what I liked about them:
3. I let the ladies discuss among themselves which color they would prefer. I prefaced that this was first-come, first-served because I knew it could definitely end badly (although my bridesmaids are all pretty reasonable people). One of the girls ended up really not wanting to wear the particular color that she was left with, so she made it known to the group. Thankfully, my maid of honor relinquished her preferred color and went with the one that was remaining. Problem solved.
4. Once everyone had their colors, I sent them searching for their dresses. Most of the girls looked online first, then in stores. Throughout the search, I was constantly kept updated on potential dresses to see if it was the color and style I was looking for.
5. Bridesmaids sent me photos or video-chatted me while trying on their top dresses. I really loved this part of the process since we couldn't all be together physically while choosing their dresses. It gave me a chance to still "be there." Two of my bridesmaids rented their dresses from Little Borrowed Dress and they were darling!! I would highly recommend this as a option for your bridesmaids, however you do not get to try to them on ahead of time so there's always a chance the color won't be exactly what you are looking for. Luckily, they send two sizes of the dress so one is likely bound to fit you for the day of the wedding!
In terms of coordinating flowers, I sent the same inspiration photos and detailed color name variations to my florist and just relinquished any control over it. In coordinating the men's socks, I simply did my best to guess on the colors! ha!
I will be the first to tell you that pulling off mismatched bridesmaid dresses was HARD. I am a visual person, so I was having a very hard time envisioning what all the colors would look like pulled together on the day of. So, instead of stressing, I just let it go. This worked pretty well for me. I also learned that when you pick the right group of people to stand up there with you on your special day, they will do everything to make sure they are getting what you want. You do not need to be bridezilla to achieve something.
I hope this was somewhat helpful for you! If you did mismatched bridesmaid dresses, whether in terms of color, style, or both, what did you do differently to pull it off?