Mix & Match Bridesmaid Dresses: To Be or Not To Be?

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alternative bridesmaid dressesModern bridesmaid fashion is all about the mix-and-match: from the variety of hemlines and the sparkly touches to the complementing floral ensembles. But if you’re on the fence about whether to stick to a classic one-tone look or add in a dash of variety, here are some pros and cons to consider before you take the stylistic plunge:

PRO: They’re perfect for the indecisive bride who loves everything.
Picking mix-and-match bridesmaid dresses is a “choose your own adventure” game for a bride who’s never met a dress she didn’t love. You can start off with one color swatch, expand to a tonal color palette, throw in some different necklines and a maxi dress, and more. If you’re an indecisive bride, it might be nice to run wild with a little sparkle there, and have both chiffon and charmeuse. Still, you can choose just how much variety you want—you don’t have to go the whole nine yards.

CON: It may open up a whole new world of stressful possibilities.
Suddenly, you can’t just pick a style, order five, and call it a day. The Google search for “lavender bridesmaid dresses” becomes “lilac,” “mauve,” “mulberry,” and any other shade of purple you can dream of.

Before you get overwhelmed, stop and consider your timeline. Do you have time to test-run different dresses until you find the perfect combination? There are endless possibilities, so if your heart’s not set, sticking to a single-color bridal party look will crank down your stress factor a few notches, and leave time for other planning priorities.

PRO: Your bridesmaids (who come in a range of body shapes and styles) will probably thank you.
To shatter a widely-held notion: sweetheart necklines don’t look flattering on all body types, and one of bridesmaids’ top fears are being forced into that dress they’ll never wear again. By opening up your range of possibilities with a few guided rules, your bridesmaids can weigh in and have freer reign to choose a dress that matches their style, fits your wedding aesthetic, and flatters their body type.

CON: Wedding photos will tell the truth about execution.
While the upside is getting to express some more personality flairs, the downside is that mix-and-match dresses that aren’t well executed tend to look a little messier in photos. Bridesmaid dress styles don’t venture too far into the “haute couture” category, but the combination will take a lot of tweaking to get right. By featuring so many different styles, the photo risks looking uncoordinated, with the bride fading into the background.

PRO: The trendy style will capture the moment of your wedding.
According to BRIDES’s annual American Wedding Study in 2014, only 38 percent of brides still dressed their bridesmaids in the same dress color and style, which is further proof that mixing is “in.” If you’re a trend-hunter who’s always seeking out the newest bucket bag in this year’s color, you might want a wedding that documents the exact time you got married in, no matter if it goes out of style in the future or not.

CON: Trends don’t last forever.
If scared you’re going to look back on your wedding the way we see bellbottoms now, play it safe with something timeless: a solid color ensemble will look polished, and leave little up to chance. Especially black-and-white

Get your bridesmaids to weigh in, and mock up some potential styles to see how they mix and match. No matter what you decide, make sure it’s something you all love (and will love to look back on)! Trends will come and go, but your bridesmaids will never forget how those dresses made them feel, standing by your side on your big day.

Alice Zhang is the spokesperson for Azazie, an online bridal boutique that specializes in a made-to-measure dress experience. At Azazie, dresses are designed in-house and wedding parties are provided with custom fitting for over 200 styles and 57 colors of bridesmaid dresses, wedding gowns, mother-of-the-bride dresses, as well as a wide selection of bridal accessories.

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