The way your bridesmaids look on your wedding day is a big deal – not only is it the perfect opportunity to introduce and complement the theme of your reception, you also want your ladies to look and feel great as they stand by you on the big day!

If you’re looking for a gorgeous fashion-forward look for your best girls, then check out our top bridesmaid trends for 2014, as worn by real-life bridesmaids!

Punchy brights

Shelley and Richard‘s bridesmaids wore beautifully bright chiffon dresses in shocking pink – we love the way the gowns contrast with the amazing blue and green bouquets!

Popping brights are always big news for bridesmaids, and it’s no different in 2014 – just make sure that the hair, make-up and accessories are kept relatively classic to avoid colour overload! For example, Shelley’s girls wore traditional white pearls with their modern dresses. See more of our favourite bright bridesmaid dresses here!

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Elegant navy

Nichola wanted her girls to look sophisticated without choosing dresses that were too stiff or formal – and we think that she hit the jackpot with these full-length navy blue dresses from House of Fraser! The jewelled embellishments around the neck and waist are a modern touch, and the calla lily bouquets are the perfect match for these elegant gowns.

Navy is a great trend for bridesmaids as it suits most skintones and looks great in all seasons! We’d recommend pairing this classic colour with shades of cream and ivory – or, if you’re looking for a contemporary colour contrast, hot pink!

A touch of sparkle

More and more bridesmaid designers are starting to incorporate glitz and glamour into their designs in the form of sparkles or sequins – we say, the more the better! This isn’t a look that should be reserved for just black-tie formal celebrations, either – Wiz and Jeremy‘s bridesmaids wore sequinned Monsoon numbers to their casual garden ceremony, and we think they look fabulous! The sweet pea bouquets are a great way to tone down the look.

This is a summer version of sparkle, but we think that embellished bridesmaids dresses would look incredible at a winter wedding too – just accessorize with vintage furs and red lipstick for sophisticated shimmer!

Mismatched chic

Natalie nailed two trends in one with her gorgeous bridesmaid style – mismatched dresses and neutral shades! This stylish bride let her four bridesmaids choose their own dresses and shoes in co-ordinating shades of pink from Coast, Collectif, Urban Outfitters and Debenhams, and we think they look fab!

This trend is great news for bridesmaids for loads of reasons – firstly, giving your girls a chance to choose their own dresses means that they can opt for a style that they find most flattering, which means that no-one should feel uncomfortable in their gown. It also means that they can spend as much (or as little!) as they like, which avoids any financial drama that may come from forcing your bridesmaids to pay too much for a dress they don’t love. Finally, it looks fantastic – especially in chic shades like blush and nude!

Pink and purple

Charlotte wanted elegant, simple bridesmaid dresses at her pink and purple themed wedding, so she choose these stunners from Dessy to contrast with her colour block bouquets.

Shades of Cadbury purple have been a popular choice for bridesmaids for the last couple of years, but now modern brides are coupling them with bright pink tones for a fashion-forward look. Plus, now that Pantone have announced that radiant orchid is the official colour of 2014, pinks and purples are definitely the way to go!

Lovely lace

Lace isn’t just big news for wedding gowns this year – it’s also become an increasingly popular fabric for bridesmaid dresses! Budget-conscious bride Kelly found these beauties in Next for close friends Kat and Rachael and niece Katie, who all looked elegant in the nude lace style. Kelly’s mum then customised them by adding an ivory ribbon sash.

Lace is a great choice for brides who want a traditional English country wedding or have been inspired by vintage elements – why not choose lace dresses in different shades for a seriously on-trend look?

Metallic shimmer

Real bride Holly wanted pewter dresses to complement her Tiffany blue themed wedding, and luckily her bridesmaid discovered these amazing gowns on sale from Karen Millen reduced from £260 to just £60! We love the way these are styled – the girls’ Hollywood waves, sparkly hair accessories and dove grey pashminas are the perfect way to complement these show-stopping dresses.

As well as silver and gunmetal, we’re seeing more and more bridesmaids in shades of gold, copper and platinum – metallic tones are an easy way to make your day feel luxurious, especially if you carry these colours through to the reception tables. For more metallic wedding inspiration, check out our Pinterest board!

Pretty pastels

To match her pink and blue wedding theme, Laura’s adult bridemaids shimmered in pink prom-style dresses from Alfred Sung, while the little flowergirls’ dresses were handmade by Laura’s mum using seaside fabric by Poppy Children. We love the retro style of these dresses – the pale pink petticoats on the flowergirls are adorable!

Pastels are a great choice for summer and spring – plus, this is another trend that works really well when you choose mismatched dresses! Choose sugared almond shades of pistachio, lemon, lilac and coral to nail this look – just keep hair loose and romantic and accessories neutral.

Vintage florals

Retro-loving bride Aileen put her girls in these incredible floral dresses from Vivien of Holloway – we love the flattering 1950s-inspired shape and pretty floral design!

Patterns and prints are going to be seriously hot for bridesmaid dresses this year, with polka dots and florals coming out on top! These prints look stunning at vintage-inspired weddings, especially when you choose a classic shape like Aileen did. We’re looking forward to seeing a lot more of this style in 2014…

Which of these bridesmaid styles is your favourite? Why not discuss how to find the perfect dress for your ladies with other brides on the Wedding Ideas Forum? See you there!