We’ve all shuddered at those photographs of bridesmaids having to wear dresses that really don’t suit them. And sometimes we wonder if the friendship between them and the bride really survived the wedding day.
Thank goodness times have moved on and brides now are more sensitive to the fact that their 25-year-old maid of honour won’t want to be dressed in pale pink frills when that’s not her style.
By letting your bridesmaid wear a dress that really suits her, you’re going to have a friend for life and much better wedding photographs because your girls will be happy and smiling.
As well as styles, you need to think about the colours that will suit your girls and how you can tie them into your wedding theme.
Creating an atmosphere
Colour is really important on your wedding day because it sets a mood in much the same way as the music you choose.
An individual who is wearing the right colours for them will feel more energised, look their best and be more confident in their appearance.
What colours suit which complexions?
The trick is to know which colours flatter and which to avoid, which isn’t always easy.
To start off, envisage colours as warm or cool. A warm colour will have an underlying tone of yellow. Think of sunny days in summer and autumn and the shades of orange, brown, khaki green, deep reds, caramel and gold.
Your personal colouring will be either warm or cool. You’re more likely to suit warm coloured tones if you have brown, hazel, pale green or pale blue eyes with chestnut, dark blonde, dark brown or red hair. Your skin tone is likely to be ivory coloured or golden brown, and you could either have freckles or tan easily.
Spring coloured celebrities include Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow and Heidi Klum whose colouring would suit fuchsia, purple, emerald green, clear red and pastel pinks.
By contrast Emily Blunt and Zoe Deschanel could be described as having cool summer complexions, which would suit rose, raspberry, aqua and pale pink beige shades.
Of course, your bridesmaids may have a cooler complexion and be more ‘winter’ coloured (which doesn’t mean you have to get married in winter by the way!). If they are winter toned, their natural hair colour is likely to be black, dark brown, medium brown, silver grey, ash blonde or white – with a black, olive, fair or pink complexion. If their skin is pale, they need to take care in the sun.
If this describes some of your bridesmaids then you’ll need to be looking at shades of purple, reds, blues and black, any colours that have a blue-ish tone. Celebs who are winter coloured include Halle Berry, Jennifer Garner, Liv Tyler and Angelina Jolie.
We always say that brides should keep an open mind when wedding dress shopping, as they won’t really know what suits them until they’ve tried on a few gowns. The same applies to bridesmaids too, particularly when it comes to colours.
Go to a specialist shop and get your girls to try on a few frocks in a variety of shades. For example, your ash blonde friend who swears she’ll never wear red could look dazzling in a scarlet number. Or your girlfriend who’s sworn off pastels could find that a powder blue brings out her complexion in a whole new way.
You should also remember the time of year in which you’re marrying, a pale lemon yellow would look out of place in the middle of winter, even though it might suit your bridesmaid, and a rich orange and gold would be too heavy in summer.
Remember that your skin tones change as the years pass so a colour that suits somebody in their late teens may not be quite so flattering when they are in their late twenties or early thirties. It might also be a good time for your bridesmaids to rethink their make-up in that case. You could go all together to have a makeover done or a consultation with a specialist like Bobbi Brown, MAC or Benefit. Maybe that could be your bridesmaid gift if your budget stretches to it.
Forget matchy matchy
Don’t get too hung up on exactly matching your bridesmaid dress colours to suit your wedding theme either. If you’re having a blue and silver theme for example, you could put your maids in different shades of blue, which complement their features and add silver footwear.
Or say for example you’ve got a tartan theme, then pick out the different colours in the tartan for each of your maids.
Try to think laterally with colours. Have a look at our Pinterest boards, these have masses of wedding inspiration and, of course, you can always talk to your fellow brides-to-be on the Wedding Ideas Forum and see which colours they’ve chosen for their best girls.