Wedding Ideas

Pretty Maids All in a Row

Posted on January 22, 2016 by Susan Brierly Bush

New Jersey Bride Bridesmaid Dresses
Shannen Norman Photography from Sally and Keith’s wedding at Natirar

Planning your dream wedding with visions of bridesmaid gowns dancing in your head? The good news is that you can go a little crazy these days because the hippest trend for maids’ dresses is mismatched colors, styles and fabrics. And the results can be beyond amazing

“About half of our brides are mixing and matching the looks of multiple designers,” says Meredith Roy, operations coordinator of Bella Bridesmaids in Madison and New York City. “The key is to enlist the help of an expert to be sure your maids look cohesive but not too matchy.”

Roy’s favorite trends include ombre (coordinating several shades of the same basic color such as pale blue, slate blue and navy) or complementary (a pulled-together palette like blush, rose, champagne, silver and gold).


New Jersey Bride Bridesmaid Dresses
Briana Griffiths’ bridesmaids in gowns from Bella Bridesmaids

One of Roy’s go-to designers makes it especially easy to embrace the trend. “Donna Morgan’s new Serenity line is perfect because gorgeous palettes have already been chosen for you. And, since all the mismatched gowns are from the same manufacturer, it’s simple to manage the production schedule.” Amsale and Dessy also offer harmonious looks, pre-selected for your wedding party.

A second key trend is mixing fabrics. Gone are the days of dressing each maid in identical chiffon dresses. Instead, try a mash-up of lace, tulle and chiffon with a happy sprinkling of solids, prints, sequins and beads.

Another of our favorite resources is Bhldn, with just-introduced lacy separates that outfit maids in individual but coordinated looks. The toppers are especially versatile because they can be worn during the wedding ceremony and removed for the reception.

Here are our top 10 tips for the perfect mismatched maids’ dresses:
1. Don’t be afraid to outfit your besties in a bold array of colors, fabrics and patterns.

2. Try an unexpected theme like boho prints, shades of gray, mixed metallics or vintage florals.

3. Take charge early on. Don’t give your maids carte blanche. That could result in an unattractive melange. Make it clear to your maids that you have the final say.

4. Do the upfront work by creating a Pinterest board of acceptable options, then let maids pick from your pre-approved favorites.

5. Give each of your girls a firm deadline for choosing no more than three styles.

6. Ask each bridesmaid to present you with her selections at least two months before your wedding so you have plenty of time to tweak final choices.

7. Remember, you won’t know how the dresses look as a group until you view them together, whether it’s online or in person. The sooner you can gather final choices for review, the better.

8. Coordinate mismatched shoes and jewelry as well, in keeping with your mixed-up theme.

9. Be sure that each dress is truly photogenic and noticeably different than the others. (If gowns are almost the same color, they won’t pop in photographs.)

10. Pulling off this trend requires a good eye and a lot of patience. It’s okay to give yourself a break and ask a pro for help.


New Jersey Bride Bridesmaid Dresses
A shimmery palette from Donna Morgan.
New Jersey Bride Bridesmaid Dresses
Purple gowns from Donna Morgan

Related Wedding Ideas