Should Your Bridesmaids' Gowns Be as Formal as Your Wedding Dress?

It's up to you, but a level of cohesion is always important.

daphne jack wedding spain bridesmaids
Photo: Kyle John Photography

Once you've found your wedding dress, it's time to turn your planning attention to another important big-day fashion element-your bridesmaids' dresses. That begs the question: Should your bridal party's dresses be as formal as your wedding dress? Simply put, it all depends on your preference. If you've always envisioned yourself wearing an understated silk sheath but want your bridesmaids to wear bold, beaded gowns, go for it. Here, we share some basic points to keep in mind as you decide which formality makes the most sense for you and your bridal party.

Choose styles that are as or less formal than your wedding dress.

The last thing most women want is for their bridesmaids' dresses to outshine their own attire on your wedding day. If your wedding dress is more casual or made of an unadorned fabric, you may want to choose slightly less formal styles for your 'maids. However, if you're wearing an incredibly ornate wedding dress, it may look odd to stand next to bridesmaids in very simple dresses. The best rule of thumb is to consider how the mix will look in photos.

When in doubt, choose the same fabric.

In the event that you're nervous your preferred styles won't hit the right note in terms of formality, one of the easiest things you can do is revisit fabric. If you're wearing lace, consider choosing lace gowns for your 'maids, too. That will ensure formality hits the right note across the board.

Remember that the length of the dresses makes a difference.

Short dresses will always look more casual than a long dress. If you're really concerned about the bridesmaids' dresses and how formal they could be compared to your dress, focus your dress search on shorter hemlines. Similarly, a longer hemline can help make a simple fabric feel a bit more fancy.

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