The classic tradition of having bridesmaids wear the same dress is being tossed aside by modern brides in favor of dresses that are mismatched in color, style, and patterns. The result is a unique ensemble of gorgeous dresses that highlight each individual woman’s shape, style, and personality. Pulling off a mismatched ensemble that still presents a unified theme is not easy, and some brides would still prefer to stick with tradition and keep their bridesmaids in the same dress. Keep reading for the pros and cons, and tips and traditions of matching dresses to help you decide what suits your wedding style best.
The Tradition of Matching Bridesmaid Dresses
Bridesmaids wearing the same dress is a tradition that actually originated in Ancient Rome. It was believed that evil spirits could ruin a bride’s wedding day, so to prevent this, all of the bridesmaids wore dresses that matched the bride’s dress to confuse evil spirits by keeping the bride undistinguishable from the bridesmaids and effectively “hiding” her from evil spirits and potential jealous suitors. It wasn’t until Victorian times when Queen Victoria made the white wedding dress the standard bridal gown color while matching bridesmaids’ dresses has remained a tradition to this day.
The New Trend of Non-Matching Bridesmaid Dresses
Recently, modern brides have opted for using color schemes for their bridesmaid’s dresses which allows for them to choose a style of dress that best fits them. Not only does this allow for their own personality to show, but it suits each bridesmaid’s price point as well. Another trend that’s becoming more popular is for close male friends of the bride to be included in the bridal party. If a bride’s best friend happens to be male, there is no reason for him to be excluded from being in a supportive role for the bride and be in her bridal party.
Three Mix & Match Styles for Bridesmaid Dresses
There’s a lot of fun variety in having bridesmaids wear different dresses. Three fun way to do mix and matching include:
- Same dress, different colors (usually similar shades on a spectrum)
- Same color, different dresses (this allows for an interesting play of textures, patterns, skirt length, and style).
- Different dress styles and colors (create a stunning look of all different dresses and colors – sticking with tones and hues within the same color family, as well as different patterns. This style works great as long as there is still some cohesion amongst them all.
Pros & Cons of Matching or Non-Matching Dresses
Matching Dresses Pros: With all-matching dresses, there is a certain symmetry that many brides love, plus it makes for great photos. There is also an overall simplicity of solid colors that bring a cohesive and uncomplicated look to the bridal party. Finally, matching dresses is a classic tradition that many brides want to uphold as it’s how their mother and grandmother wed as well.
Matching Dresses Cons: Having all the bridesmaids wear matching dresses may come across more like uniforms where they will look more like a prop in your photo album just to make you look good. With different body types and styles, there may some bridesmaids who end up with hurt feelings because they are forced to wear an unflattering dress. Also, not every bridesmaid will be able to afford the cost of a dress as different people have different jobs and backgrounds. What is easily affordable to one woman may not be to another one.
Non-Matching Dresses Pros: Different dresses allow for individual bridesmaids to flatter their body types and express their personality, which, in turn, will make them feel great. A mix of different hem lengths, neck styles, and color hues can add an exciting and modern feel to the bridal party. Plus, allowing male friends to wear a suit in a shade similar to the rest of the bridal party makes it more inclusive, personal, and fun.
Non-Matching Dresses Cons: Some guests may be taken aback by the non-traditional feel of a wedding with non-matching dresses in a bridal party. Plus, pulling off the look of different colors, dresses, hues, and patterns is difficult and could end being a disjointed mish-mash of styles instead of a cohesive arrangement.
Tips for the Bride
If you choose to go with non-matching bridesmaid dresses, make sure you give your bridesmaids guidance regarding colors, hues, and style. Remain involved and perhaps have them shop from the same designer. Also, tie everything together by having your bridesmaids wear matching jewelry, shoes, florals, and other accessories.