More and more brides are opting for a mismatched bridesmaid look, but it's a tough style to pull off if it's not executed correctly. Here, a few bridal fashion experts share their top tips for creating a mix-and-match bridal party that still looks cohesive.
Set some guidelines
"An effortless looking mix-and-match bridal party takes some behind the scenes planning," says BHLDN Senior Stylist Caroline Dilsheimer. Before getting your girls involved, she suggests doing some solo research in order to narrow down your list of favorites. The process will be less overwhelming if you can focus on a smaller set of options. Once your bridesmaids join in on the fun, just remember that no two ladies are built the same. "Select silhouettes and colors that will flatter each of your bridesmaids," advises Dilsheimer. Being able to cater to your bridesmaids' body types is one pro of selecting a mismatched theme.
Start with your favorite print
If you're considering printed bridesmaid dresses, know that this trend is a fabulous way to incorporate color, texture, and visual interest into your bridal party. "A printed dress can act as an anchor for a multicolor palette," says Dilsheimer. She recommends starting with your favorite print and building "a color story that draws from its unique tones." Whether you're a fan of florals or crazy about polka dots, beginning your search with a pattern you know you love will set you up for success.
Keep your wedding dress in mind
While it's always important to keep your own wedding attire in mind when choosing your bridesmaid dresses, it is even more essential when you add patterns into the mix. There are certain prints that best suit specific wedding dress styles. "Modern gowns with sleek lines call for geometric prints," explains Dilsheimer. "Bohemian gowns with beading and lace details are elevated by floral patterns." Consider watercolor florals, such as BHLDN's Alana and Inesse dresses—two of Dilsheimer's favorites from their current collection. "Both styles are offered in a range of prints that act as the perfect anchor for a mix and match bridal party," she says.
Consider the season
Depending on your color scheme, prints can go well with any season, says Yael Aflalo, founder of the eco-friendly Reformation. "Darker colors and muted tones tend to be better for fall or winter, while bright, playful pastel colors are better for spring and summer." Julieta and Romanica, Reformation's most popular styles, are "the perfect blend of sophisticated, sexy, and feminine," says Aflalo. "Also, their flowy hemlines allow for some uninhibited QT [quality time] with the dance floor."
Dilsheimer emphasizes floral prints as a seasonless option that works year round. "We love softer colors like blush and sage for spring and summer affairs," she says. "Richer tones like black cherry and navy are best suited to fall and winter weddings."
Choose a common element
Don't be afraid to incorporate different hem lengths. As Aflalo says, "You can absolutely mix and match! Today's bride is unconventional and doesn't follow a certain set of rules." Plus, allowing your bridesmaids to choose their length preference will score you major brownie points. Just keep in mind that you want to tie all the dresses together with a common element, so that your overall look is cohesive. "A consistent color story or common detail (think V-necklines or hints of lace) will do the trick," says Dilsheimer.
Let the dresses do the talking
Because printed dresses make such a statement, it's important to choose understated jewelry and footwear. "Keep your accessories and shoes simple and let the dress do all the talking," says Aflalo. Minimal distractions will ensure that the dresses get the attention they deserve!
Pulling off the printed bridesmaid trend can be tricky, but if you follow these guidelines, the end result will look effortless. Just remember Aflalo's golden rule: "Do unto your bridesmaids as you would want done unto you."