How to Make Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses Look Cohesive

Recently we have been seeing more and more people do mismatched bridesmaids dresses as opposed to the traditional matching dresses. These mismatched looks can range anywhere from loosely related (blue dresses) to almost identical (the same dress with different necklines. Mismatched bridesmaids dresses allow bridesmaid to pick dresses that better fit their personal style and body type, which can be nice since typically they are the ones purchasing the dresses. However, even though everyone is in a different dress, you still want to make sure your entire bridal party has a cohesive look in photos.

I like to consider 5 main elements for any bridesmaid dress: the color, the fabric, the length, the neckline, and the silhouette. Typically in order to have a bridal party that looks cohesive you should have at least 2 to 3 things that are consistent across all the outfits. This can be any combination of the elements listed above. I've created a couple examples of bridesmaid dress collections below to show you how this can work.

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Sage Green Bridesmaids Dresses: These dresses all come from the same store (Show Me Your Mumu) from their bridesmaid dress line. This combination, with the exact same color and fabric, but with different necklines is one of the easiest ways to give your bridal party a little more flexibility with their dress choices, but also create a cohesive look for the bridal party. Most stores that sell bridesmaid dresses specifically will have these sorts of options.

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Mismatched Terracotta: For this selection of bridesmaid dresses the unifying factor between all the dresses is the color. Since the color has such a huge impact and we were able to get such a close match between all the dresses, we were able to get away with more diversity in the other elements of the dresses. However, there is a subtler unifying element with the silhouette of the dresses. All of the dresses (and the jumpsuit) have an A line fit. We also kept the sleeve length similar.

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Blue and Green Jumpsuits: This is my favorite collection of bridesmaid “dresses” in this post. I knew I wanted to play with the idea of jumpsuits and I loved working with a wider range of tones. We kept the tones of the jumpsuits in deeper blues and greens, which still allowed for diversity, but still created something visually cohesive. The jumpsuits themselves are all cut very similarly with full length, wide legs and no sleeves. Although the fabrics aren’t identical, we did avoid fabrics like satin or lace that would create a drastically different texture.

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Lace Off-the-Shoulder: This selection of dresses has the most diversity in color. We didn't place any limitations on color and instead focused on having the same silhouette and fabric. All of these are lace, off the shoulder, and hit just past the knees, which create a harmonious look between all the various colors and other differences between the dresses.

Here are some tips to consider to help your bridesmaid pick their dresses:

1. If you are doing exact matching color send out a color swatch. A paint chip from the store will work, but a swatch of fabric is even better. Whichever you decide to go with, try to give your party something tangible that they can bring with them to stores to shop. A digital copy of the color can work in a pinch, but because of variations in screen colors, things may be slightly distorted.

2. I would recommend asking for photos of girl’s dresses before they purchase. I think sometimes these can be great to share in a group message, so other people can see what else people are getting. Approval of dresses will help you to clarify and prevent mishaps with girls matching or standing out too dramatically.

3. You should have a due date when dresses must be purchased before. Typically with traditional bridesmaids dress you’ll do a group order which allows you to have a little more control of when your girls get their dresses. I would suggest, even if you have everyone purchasing their own dress that you still have a latest purchasing date (at least 2 full months before your wedding). This date will allow you to check in and put some pressure on the procrastinator of your crew as you near the wedding day.

4. It's a good idea to send suggestions and inspiration images. Even though you may a clear picture of what you imagine all the dresses to look like, your bridesmaids don’t live inside your head and may not completely understand what look you are going for. I would suggest sending images of dresses that look like what your imagining or even send some links to a couple dresses that fit your specifications.

5. Make sure everyone has a digital copy of all your notes. I would also recommend that you send an email with all the specifics for your bridesmaids to reference throughout their shopping process. It’s important that they have something they can come back to again and again. Below I’ve includes an examples email of what you might send out to your girls. It might seem a little neurotic and over the top, but in the words of Brene Brown, “Clear is kind!” Your bridesmaids can’t meet your expectations if they don’t know what they are.

Sample email to bridesmaids:

Hey all!

I’m so excited to have you guys in my wedding in October! I can’t imagine the day without you and I’m so grateful that you want to celebrate with John and I. Instead of selecting one bridesmaid dress for everyone to wear, I would like everyone to select a jumpsuit in a blue or green tone. You can get your jumpsuit from anywhere you’d like, but I do have some requests:

1. We are looking at deeper shades of blues and green, so avoid sky blue or lime green.

2. You can get whatever fabric you want, but please try to avoid lace and anything too shiny (like satin). Also please make sure your jumpsuit is one solid color with no patterns.

3. We’d like all the jumpsuits to be long, so at least ankle length and a wider cut leg.

4. Please no long sleeves or sleeveless.

Here are a couple jumpsuits that I love for an idea of what I’m looking for:

When you’re shopping for your jumpsuit please send a picture of any jumpsuits you are considering purchasing to the bridesmaids group chat, so we can make sure we don’t have any duplicates. Please have your jumpsuits purchased by August 1st , so you have time to make adjustments as necessary.

Love you all! Let me know if you have any questions.