Mismatched bridesmaids dresses can be tricky to pull off, but you can create an elegant look that everyone will love with the proper clothing and accessories.
Traditionally, bridesmaids have long been forced to suit up in their mandatory matching uniforms without considering their styles, body shapes or skin tones.
But today, brides are beginning to embrace variation within their bridal party, which has seen the trend of mismatching bridesmaid dresses increase.
Bridal party style has come to a heck of a long way. Once upon a time, bridesmaids were expected to wear the same dress in the same colour, as was dictated by tradition.
Now, with the mismatched bridesmaids dresses no longer just a trend, brides and their best ladies have a lot more options.
Each maid gets a chance to express her unique style–and brides are relieved of the often challenging task of finding a dress everyone can agree on.
That said, having more options can present its own set of challenges–despite how easy Pinterest makes it look.
The idea is to choose dresses that are distinct from each other–but not so different that they look disconnected.
All the ladies in the place with style + grace! And different body types, unique style choices, a range of budgets, and individual personalities.
There’s a reason mismatched bridesmaid dresses are practically taking over as the norm.
We get it! There is hardly a perfect “Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress” that fits all your girls in both shape + style.
It’s helpful for your bridesmaids to choose a dress that fits them in every way and (spoiler!)
It’s helpful for you, too. By taking the pressure off finding something that everyone will love, you put the power in their hands.
Everyone will look + feel their best—and that’s something to celebrate on the dance floor.
If you’re looking to mix it up with your bridal party but need help curating a cohesive group of mismatched bridesmaid dresses, read on. Check out Boutique Events Group Wedding Venue for your ultimate wedding reception.
We’ve put together a list of tips to ensure you and your ladies nail the look.
Ways to Nail the Mismatched Bridesmaid Dress
So, how do you accomplish a stylishly mismatched lineup and NOT a hodgepodge disaster? The line is THIN, ladies.
Of course, opting for the mismatched look does come with a new set of challenges – if it’s not done carefully, you could end up with one very disjointed-looking bridal party.
But here are a few tips to remember when you’re laying out the options for the dresses. Then, you’re well on the way to that Vogue-worthy bridesmaids shot!
Keep the Dress Length of the Bridal Party the Same
Keeping the dresses the exact length is easy to ensure the bridal party looks cohesive, without all girls wearing the same dress.
It doesn’t always have to be the length, but it is essential to ensure that there is one element of consistency, and a measurement is an easy option.
Ensure the Dresses Are the Same Colour or Have Elements of the Same Material
A safe option that brides can do is select a dress that comes in a full maxi length and a cocktail length.
The Sequined Cap Sleeve Dress from White Runway comes in both lengths, great for bridesmaid parties who stand at different heights.
A long maxi bridesmaid gown may look frumpy on a short girl, so selecting a dress that comes in both options is an excellent solution for everyone to feel comfortable and look fantastic.
Use Bouquets and the Same Colour of Shoes to Tie the Bridesmaid Looks Together
A great way to tie in mismatched bridesmaid gowns is by ensuring elements of the bouquet are the same within the bridal party and that they reflect and compliment the tones on the dresses.
Ensuring the bridesmaids wear identical shoe is a great way to tie in the different styles and add a cohesive touch.
Ensure There Is a Common Link Between the Dresses
Some rules say to vary no more than two elements such as fabric, colour and neckline. However, mismatched dresses can still work if there is one link that ties the whole look together.
Different textures can still flow if there is some tone or shape consistency. Styling your bridal party in 10 other dresses can succeed if the bride has stuck to a particular colour theme or colour set.
A great example is when the bride selects a neutral coloured theme, such as pink or champagne.
The whole party can look ethereal and beautiful when it all comes together.
Let the Bride Set the Guidelines and the Bridesmaid Select the Dress
An excellent way for a bride to decide what she wants is by creating a college and a mood board of different textures, fabrics and colours.
The whole process is collaborative as the bride may pick the colours, styles, and textures that she wants and then let the bridesmaid select their dresses based on her set guidelines.
The bride may even select the three specific dress styles she wants and let her bridal party decide what they want to wear based on what they feel comfortable in.
Use Paint Swatches
A fun and sure-fire way to achieve the colours you’re looking for is to show AND tell. So take a trip to your local hardware store and pick out the colours you’re envisioning!
Then, make it fun and deliver the swatches to your ladies in a cute package when you ask them to join your bride tribe!
Give Specific Details
Do you care about the length of the dress? Sometimes keeping a similar distance keeps everything cohesive, while the dresses can vary on other factors.
What about fabric—should they avoid tulle or velvet? Are patterns okay? Give your bridesmaids some ideas of what you do + don’t prefer.
Share the Overall Vibe
What is your wedding style? Is it a boho-chic wedding? Black-tie formal? Make sure they know the overall vibe to help inform the final dress decision.
Use One Color in Varying Tones
Tone refers to the tint (lightness) and shade (darkness) of a colour. Once you’ve decided on a colour for your bridesmaids to wear, let them choose dresses in a range of tones of that colour.
These dresses will all be sisters—not twins—and the results will be beautiful.
Use Different Colors in the Same Tone for Mismatched Bridesmaids
This option uses a combination of hues and tones.
The hue—which means primary colours—and the saturation of the tone—which means the intensity—will keep all of the dresses looking uniform.
In short, you’re looking for similar colours that are also similar in intensity. Think pastels, jewel tones, or a combination of beige and pinks.
Dresses in this second option can be thought of as cousins from the same family.
Use the Same Color in Different Styles
If you’re genuinely concerned about colours not blending well together but still want your bridesmaids to wear dresses that they are comfortable with, opt for dresses of the same colour but in different styles.
The easiest way to do this is to choose one designer so that all colours are uniform. These dresses are like fraternal twins!
Use One Print or Texture in a Similar Color With Various Styles
This look is a bit more adventurous but will pay off with a stylish statement. Have your ‘maids dressed in a print within the same family.
For example, keep them all in warm-coloured florals, cool-coloured polka dots, or sparkly sequins with varying pattern styles.
Be mindful of the colour and tones here to pull this off. The results are always a fabulous bridal party that looks comfortable and confident in the outfits they’re wearing.
Consider the Focal Point
This is a fun option to set your Maid of Honor apart as the focal point.
In this option, the majority of the bridal party is in a similarly subtle colour or tone, while the Maid of Honor gets a different, bolder hue or pattern.
You can, of course, have multiple. It’s your wedding, after all.
The idea here is not to have too many competing colours and to allow one to represent the boldest hue or most unique pattern in your colour palette to set your Maid of Honor apart.
Decide How Mismatched You Want to Go.
You can vary the colour of your bridesmaid dresses, the style, or both. Do you want to make it easy?
Try a convertible bridesmaid dress in a single colour, then let each lady wear it in her unique way.
Keep at Least One Element Consistent.
As long as all of the mismatched bridesmaid dresses share at least one common feature–like the neckline, silhouette, hemline, colour, or fabric–they’ll have a link to each other and won’t look disjointed.
Consider Keeping Hemlines Floor Length.
Midi-length or knee-length will hit at different heights according to how tall each bridesmaid is.
If you opt for all floor-length dresses, you’re guaranteed all hemlines will all hit at the same place (the floor), and the gowns will look consistent when standing side by side.
Opt for a Limited Color Palette or Tonal Shades of the Same Color.
Narrowing down the colour scheme helps tremendously when styling bridesmaids in mismatched dresses.
If they’re all wearing soft neutrals or varying shades of blue, there’s less of a risk of looking disconnected.
If in doubt, keep the colour palette more limited for a more cohesive effect (especially true with smaller bridal parties).
Start With a Print and Work Outwards.
If you want to incorporate a pattern into your assortment, pick that dress first, and use its colour palette as a guide.
Example: Start with a beautiful floral bridesmaid dress, maybe for your maid of honour, then choose solid bridesmaid dresses in each colour from that print.
Pull Your Mismatched Dresses Together With Accessories and Beauty.
Jewellery, shoes, hair accessories, and even hairstyles or makeup can help tie your mismatched bridesmaids’ looks together.
Maybe each of your ladies has the same half-up hairstyle, red lip, nail polish colour and drop earrings; these uniform extras will put the “match” in mismatched.
Keep Bouquets the Same.
Think of the bridesmaid bouquets as another consistent accessory: Be sure to choose a colour or scheme that complements every dress. Looking for a Wedding Flower Shop? Look no further, Boutique Events Group has you covered.
Consider solid bouquets to anchor multicolour dresses (like floral prints)–and bright aromas to amp up solid dresses.
Think Outside of Just Dresses.
When we talk about bridesmaid looks, dresses usually come to mind–but they’re certainly not required wedding wear.
Try going beyond the standard gown and incorporate a bridesmaid jumpsuit into the mix. It’s a fun, modern way to add interest and variety–and it’s unexpectedly elegant.
The Pros & Cons of Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses
One of the pressing concerns for brides picking out bridesmaid dresses is whether or not to go with a matching or a mismatched aesthetic.
Mismatched bridesmaid dresses can be a natural winning choice, but there are a few negatives to be aware of.
Here we will explore the pros and cons of the mismatched bridesmaid dress to help you make your choice.
Pros of Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses
Everyone Is Flattered and Comfortable
One of the fantastic things about choosing various dresses for your bridesmaids is that each body shape can be flattered.
If your bridesmaids are diverse in shape and size, it’s tough to find one dress style to flatter them all.
You don’t want any of your bridesmaids feeling uncomfortable, and a great way around is to let them wear the style they like the best.
You could go with one colour palette but have a range of different styles such as a halterneck, a strapless, a high neck and a long-sleeved.
Picture a lineup of black bridesmaid dresses, all with different features and fashion-forward styling perfect.
They Create Interest
By choosing a range of different bridesmaid dresses, you can give your wedding a creative edge.
Your guests can admire the style and flair of your fabulous bridesmaids. It also makes for more exciting wedding photos to look back on!
They Show You Value Your Bridesmaids’ Individuality
By allowing your friends to show their style, you show you genuinely value them and want them to be comfortable.
While matching bridesmaid dresses can look completely stunning, there’s just something so fresh about seeing a bride and her maids each celebrating each other’s special unique sense of style.
Cons of Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses
It Can Be Tricky To Manage
The logistics can be a little tricky, mainly if you are supplying the bridesmaid dresses yourself.
If you have 3 or 4 bridesmaids, some of them living abroad, you’ve got to have somehow different dresses made and fitted, all with other requirements.
To avoid this, you could give your bridesmaids their budget, a colour palette and a rough guideline (i.e. not too short, etc.) and let them find their bridesmaid dress.
This way, they get exactly what they want, and you don’t have to deal with the stress of sourcing and fitting completely different dresses.
It Can Appear Messy
There is a slight risk of your wedding party looking a little messy if you have lots of contrasting styles happening.
To avoid this, you can make sure the colours are all the same or in the same palette.
For example, you could have a range of different blues or greens but with the same undertone.
Matching shoes can help to tie everything together cohesively also. Finally, when it comes to makeup, make sure all of your bridesmaids have the same look.
It will look confused and messy if one has matte skin and bright red lips while the others are dewy-skinned and glossy-lipped.
It Could Take Focus From The Bride
If your bridesmaids are all in entirely clashing colours and incohesive styles, it could create a real distraction.
You don’t want your guests studying your bridesmaids and their array of questionable fashion choices instead of watching you have your special moment.
The way around this is to edit the looks to ensure they are different yet cohesive and subtle.
Mismatched bridesmaid dresses can enhance the overall aesthetic of your wedding.
If you carefully choose your colour palette and make sure there are some cohesive elements such as shoes and makeup, mismatched bridesmaid dresses can be winning.
We hope these tips helped you cut through the overwhelming feeling that creeps in when styling your wedding. Looking for the Top Wedding Planner in Melbourne? Look no further and check out our ultimate list of Wedding Planners here.
Once you’ve sorted the dresses out, pat yourself on the back and celebrate another item checked off your wedding planning to-do list! While you wait for your bridesmaids to confirm they’ve ordered their dresses, you can call their bridesmaids robes for the wedding day!