by Robbin Montero
Be considerate of the personal budgets of your attendants and maid of honor, as they will bear the costs for their dresses, accessories and alterations.

            Frilly or sleek? Bows or shawls? When it comes to choosing the perfect gown for your bridesmaids, the selection process can be frustrating as one color or style is seldom equally flattering on everyone. Not to worry. With a little ingenuity and creative fashion sense, each of your bridesmaids can look simply gorgeous!


            First of all, the season in which your wedding takes place no longer dictates what colors can be worn. Burgundy was once banned from summer and soft pastel colors were discouraged for winter weddings, but that is in the past. Long gowns work for formal, indoor weddings and tea-length dresses are the best choice for garden and outdoor ceremonies. Within that framework, a range of choices exists to accommodate the figures and flatter the complexions of most bridal party attendants. 


Simple solutions

            A popular trend is electing one color to be worn by your bridesmaids, but allowing each to select a dress style that flatters and befits her shape. For example, if the choice of attire is a short, black dress, your attendants can choose their own styles, selecting ones that will look the best on them. A high-waist fashion could look terrific on Amy, but Joanie looks great in a sheath.


            Or, grant your maid of honor the distinction she deserves by choosing the same color for the entire bridal party, but selecting a unique color just for her. Elect the same style for your bridesmaids, but contrast with a different style for your maid of honor. Depending on their ages, junior bridesmaids may wear the same style as the bridesmaids. For preteens, consider an age-appropriate style of gown.


            Opt for the company of your maid of honor when shopping for the bridesmaids’ gowns.  Limiting the number of companions that accompany you on the excursion eliminates unnecessary confusion. As bride, the final decision as to which gowns will be worn rests with you.



            When ordering the dresses, all bridesmaids will need to have their measurements taken. If your bridesmaids are not local, some bridal shops offer fittings as a complimentary service, similar to a tuxedo store. However, don’t count on this being a standard procedure—ask up front how it works and expect to pay a reasonable fee. The bridesmaid can then forward her measurements, along with a fifty percent deposit so the bride can place gown orders. Final fittings for the bridesmaids’ dresses should be accomplished anywhere from two to six weeks before the wedding, much the same as for the wedding gown. 


            Don’t forget your mother, mother-of-the-groom and the flower girl. Ensure that the styles and colors of their dresses coordinate with the gowns you have chosen for your bridesmaids— and make certain they are not choosing the same dress. Your valuable input in their selection process will assist these ladies in choosing the perfect dress. Coordination also enhances group wedding photos.


Timeless tips

            Be considerate of the personal budgets of your attendants and maid of honor, as they will bear the costs for their dresses, accessories and alterations. Often brides will contribute toward the cost of the gowns if they are expensive, or make a gift of an accessory. If exact color matches on shoes or dresses is important to you, order them together to ensure the same dye lot is used. Fabric shoes can be dyed at the same time for a perfect match. After all, there are many shades of pale blue!


            With a little planning and imagination, your bridal party will look stunning. In gowns well-suited to their tastes and figures, the grace and confidence of your bridesmaids will set the stage as they precede you down the aisle.

 “Stress Free, Leave the Details to Me,” is the tried and true philosophy of Robbin Montero, California Wine Country wedding planning expert and owner of A Dream Wedding.  Robbin is the premier wedding planner in the Northern California Wine Country, transforming any vision into the perfectly designed wedding creation. Robbin and her weddings have been featured in The Knot, Brides, Elite Magazine, Your Wedding Day and Vine Napa/Sonoma magazines, and Travel & Leisure magazine calls Robbin, “The expert wedding planner in the California Wine Country.” 

©2009 Robbin Montero


This article cannot be reprinted without Robbin Montero’s expressed written permission.

Robbin Montero is a wedding coordinator and special events planner in Northern California.

©2006 Robbin Montero
This article cannot be reprinted without Robbin Montero's expressed written permission.