Ah — matching bridesmaid dresses. It’s a tradition that stretches from Ancient Rome, to Victorian England, to your high school bestie’s hometown wedding. Many brides still opt for matching bridesmaid dresses. Trust us, we see it every day. But, more and more, we see brides going for a mismatched bridesmaid dress look. Glamour Magazine recently published a series of articles under the banner We Don’t: The Bridesmaid Burnout. In it, they explored public opinion about what it means — and how much it costs — to be a bridesmaid today. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not surprised to learn that, according to Glamour, bridesmaids are not generally super enthusiastic about spending time and money on a dress they’ll never wear again.
Maybe your best friend feels like she looks awkward in sage green. Maybe your sister wouldn’t be caught dead in pink. It’s important to ask yourself (and your bridesmaids) if having a single bridal-party fabric is actually important. Mismatched bridesmaid dress palettes can be just as elegant as single-shade palettes.
And, we’ll let you in on a really lovely secret: It’s one of the simplest choices you can make on your wedding-planning journey. First, this decision avoids any pesky differences in fabric-dying. More importantly, when you tell your bridesmaids that you trust them to pick something that makes them happy
Here’s a quick experiment: How many times have your bridesmaids shown up to an event wearing something that was absolutely adorable, something that made them feel confident, something totally them? Now, how many times did you pick out their outfit? Exactly.
Keep reading for a few important tips for pulling off a mismatched bridesmaid dress palette.
COMMUNICATE YOUR VISION
Ok, let’s dig into this first, because it’s the hardest part of all. Communicating your wedding vision can be a challenge. I communicate for a living — hi, hello. So you’d think (I thought) the answer would materialize effortlessly. The first time someone asked me to describe my wedding vision I paused, sighed, then said, “Imagine if Wes Anderson hired a team of woodland creatures to build a summer camp.” The woman at the bridal boutique stared at me, nodding incredulously, as if I had suggested an unicorn-earwax-themed affair. Girl. I don’t know. It made sense in my head.
Thankfully, with a little creativity, you can pluck that vision right outta your brain and share it with your best pals. Why not try your hand at putting together a moodboard? If you’re struggling to get started with your own, we offer a boatload of free moodboards on our site, including mix-and-match palettes.
Many brides will opt for the classic Pinterest board. Or, if you’re art-and-crafts averse, and the idea of making a moodboard makes your inner elementary school kid shudder, you can always host a movie night with your friends and watch a few flicks you find visually inspiring. Take screenshots of the scenes that speak to you, and build a moodboard that way.
TIME FOR SOME INSPO
Now that you’ve communicated your wedding vision, we can chat about the many ways you can embrace mismatched dresses. Here are some ideas.
A Tasteful Rainbow
Let’s start off with the boldest of all color palettes: the one that has all the colors. This method is going to give you the most spontaneous and easygoing vibe. If you want your bridal party to look as varied as a bouquet of wildflowers, this is the move. The trick is to make sure you have enough variety in the colors of dresses. No matter how many bridesmaids are in your crew, you’ll want to have them talk to each other to ensure that they’re not all wearing shades of pink and red.
That was easy, wasn’t it?
Another way to create a wonderfully varied palette is to lean into a gradient effect. Have each of your bridesmaids pick a shade from an array of colors, like blues, reds, or greens. Then, at your wedding ceremony, they can either stand in color order — for a modern vibe — or all mixed up, if you’re more of a confetti-style bride.
Neutrals Gone Wild
Neutral girlies, we bet you thought you wouldn’t find something you liked in this article! Well, we’ve got good news for you. You can create a mismatched bridesmaid dress palette with neutrals too. You just have to flex your creative muscles just a bit.