Non-matching bridesmaid dresses

Ramirez1-275
Photos by Brynne Owen Photography. See the full wedding here.
I am an Auckland, New Zealand OBB and am thinking of asking my three brideswomen to just pick a dress they like (maybe within a colour scheme…?) I don't think they have to be matching because they are all uniquely beautiful and hopefully will feel more comfortable in something that they have picked out themselves. Have you got any pics of non-matching brideswomens' dresses?

-Sabrina

This is actually a very popular choice among Offbeat Brides — encouraging bridesmaids to wear something that generally coordinates, but isn't matchy-matchy. I've heard stories of some bridesmaids being uncomfortable with the idea (I guess freedom can be overwhelming?), but giving your brides dress liberation can be a great way to make sure that your ladies enjoy maximum awesomeness on your wedding day.

As for pictures — damn right I've got some!

Click each photo for more info. They're all linked to their original sources.

Photo by Gwyneth Colleen Photography (via Gwyneth Colleen Photography)

(Via Dingmoonment)

(via Offbeat Bride pool on Flickr)

(via Tribesmaid Jenn68)

(via kvetch.indiebride)

(via Tales of a Female Husband)

Want more pictures? We've got a whole tag archive of non-matching bridesmaids!

  1. YESSSSS! I have been thinking of doing different dresses for my bridesmaids but could barely find any other examples… I LOVE these. Perfect timing! Thank you!

    2 agree
  2. I wanted my bridesmaids (my sister and my best friend) to have non-matchy dresses…left it completely up to them. They picked the exact same dress in the same color : ) I mean, it is a beautiful dress, but I thought it was kind of funny that they ended up matchy after all.

    3 agree
    • I tried with my maids also… they somehow picked the exact same David's Bridal dress…

      :(

      2 agree
  3. Everyone always seems to floored when I tell them that my bridesmaids just picked some blue dresses out of their closest and are gonna wear those.

    6 agree
  4. I love it! I'm planning on going this route with my maids.

    2 agree
  5. This is what I wanted! But my BM's wanted to match. O-kay!!!! At least we found something they both loved. All these girls look so lovely!

    2 agree
  6. Great idea. One of my favorite brides just told her 3 best friends "Pick out a slammin' dress and I'll pick up the tab." The bridesmaids were so happy and they made extra sure to help with every last detail thanks to the bride's thoughfulness.

    3 agree
  7. I did this for my girls. I just told them a general idea of what I wanted (black lace dresses, somewhere around knee to mid calf length) and let them pick whatever they wanted. They all looked amazing!! I did buy them all their jewelry, little gloves and made them hair doodads.. so they did have matching elements, but I certainly didn't want to tell them to wear the same thing. Plus I had two pregnant bridesmaids.. so I just wanted them to have some freedom! Also the other perk is that they can control what they spend. I know that at least two of my girls spent less than 30 bucks, so that made me happy! :)

    Here's a (horrible)pic: http://www.auroraskye.com/photos/meandgirls.jpg

    2 agree
    • That's not a horrible pic at all! Every gal looks amazing.

      5 agree
  8. My girls are all wearing black dresses in whatever style they want! I told them that my only two rules were that it be tea length and that it is something they will wear again. That way they can get something within their own budget and be comfortable since they are all different body types.

    3 agree
  9. when i thought i was having 2 BM, i told them to wear black because they both look good in it and would be able to wear it again, but now i'm down to 1 BM. i told her to wear whatever she wanted but she said that she liked my reasons for a black dress and is sticking with it.

    2 agree
  10. i love this look, but i feel like it would be really hard to pull off. do the bm's have to coordinate to make sure they aren't totally clashing? or do you just tell them all to "buy a mostly green dress"?

    2 agree
  11. Those pictures are excellent! I'm doing this with my two bridesmaids because I wanted them to feel very comfortable and maybe even to be able to wear the dresses again. My only requirement was that they be a generally dark brown color.

    For one of the bridesmaids, it worked perfectly. She's happy and she's planning on wearing her dress to her company Christmas party. Bridesmaid number two however has been a NIGHTMARE. She doesn't like brown, she keeps trying to force the other bridesmaid to match w/ her because she thinks it's "stupid " if they "look patchwork", she complains about wearing a dress and when I tell her she can wear a suit w/ skirt or pants she says she has to wear a dress. GAH!

    I guess I'm just warning that this is a wonderful idea but not a panacea. If one of them wants to be difficult, they will still be difficult, no matter how nice you are.

    2 agree
    • LOL! Yeah, I think some folks prefer a little more direction because then they can complain about what you "made" them do, instead of having to take the blame if they don't feel great in what they get. ;)

      We gave my girls a target color to aim for, but there will be a wide range from royal to teal to almost navy. The guys will have different blue patterned neckties and could wear either black suits or black tuxes with white shirts.

      3 agree
  12. i asked my best lady to wear a black dress of her choosing. she still wanted a bit of guidance though, so we went shopping together. she finally had it narrowed down to two great dresses, and asked me to choose which i liked. trying to remain un-bridezilla, i again asked her to choose. finally, she looked at me squarely and said, "pick a frickin' dress," and i did. so it was a collaborative effort!

    5 agree
  13. Ya know, I tried to do this. And the girls rebelled and told me they didn't want to have to think about what dress they were wearing. They just wanted me to pick. One of them actually cried. Not exactly what I was going for!

    1 agrees
  14. Wow, thanks everyone for your comments and your pics (they are stunning!). Much appreciated :)

    1 agrees
  15. yay! these are great. i was even anti color scheme/coordination to start with, but i've been coming around to suggesting a color and letting my girls go for it. :-D

    1 agrees
  16. I also asked my sisters to choose whatever dress they liked and they were really resistant. I think they are going to end up in the same dress. But no matter what, they are going to look beautiful!

    2 agree
  17. Elena, I'm having the same problem with my sisters… two of them are trying to insist to the other two that they should all go to David's Bridal together so that they can get them all in exactly the same color, and possibly even style.

    1 agrees
  18. A friend of mine did this — she mailed color cards (like the kinds you get for paint colors) to everyone in the wedding party and told them to find a dress in the general color scheme… I thought that was super smart. And it worked out beautifully!

    7 agree
    • Ah! Thank you- colour cards – what a brilliant idea!! I have been worrying that my 4 non-matchy bridesmaids might end up looking just un-coordinated but colour cards will solve that. Cheers!

      2 agree
  19. I am so excited to see these dresses all work out, especially since my wedding is in 22 days and I am planning for the same thing. The wedding is a beach wedding and the theme is tropical, so I asked all my bridesmaids to pick out a knee length cocktail dress in any bright color of their choosing. It was actually harder for them then if I had just told them to get a color and a dress, but, at least I know they have a dress they wanted.

    1 agrees
  20. I am going to be a bridesmaid this November, and I desperately wish the bride let us pick our own dresses. It just seems cruel to expect a gal with DDDs to go strapless.

    7 agree
  21. My girls all wore different styles & different colours… adding my pics to that thread right now!

    1 agrees
  22. I'm getting married in November, and my two sisters are my bridal attendants. I didn't want them to have to buy a dress that would make them uncomfortable and that they would never wear again. One sister is wearing a gray silk suit she already had, the other found a pink dress on clearance for $15! Also, rather than make the groom and his attendants rent tuxes, they are all wearing gray suits and we found matching ties for them to wear to coordinate the wedding colors, as well as the same color ribbon to put on the bouquets and corsages (which we're doing DIY). I'll send photos after the wedding!

    1 agrees
  23. Amen to this– I think my favorite 4 words when being a bridesmaid are: "Choose your own dress". My sister had us all wear black dresses (even though a July country wedding). They looked great! And don't you want your best gals who stand up with you to feel beautiful, sexy and comfortable in what they are wearing? They should be enjoying themselves as well.

    Plus from an aesthetic point of view, different dresses are just more interesting to look at.

    1 agrees
  24. I told my ladies to wear whatever they want to wear… as long as they are comfortable and happy!

    1 agrees
  25. I think there are so many great ideas here! My fiance and I are gettin' hitched in either February or early March so we're under the gun. The paint chip idea with varying colors of the same family is brilliant – I'm totally using that. We're doing blues for our wedding color – any suggestions on flowers?

    1 agrees
    • Hydrangeas! They're my favorite — they can be either really fancy or casual. Maybe throw some white in there?

      1 agrees
  26. I told my two maids of honor to just pick out a vintage-styled red dress of any kind for themselves that they thought was hot tamale (and that they'd actually wear again), and we'll go from there. They are perfectly happy with the idea, as am I! It works out VERY well because they have different body types and different taste – so they can have what they feel and look the best in!

    1 agrees
  27. My sister had us do that for her wedding and it looked lovely. She just told us which colors to wear (each of us had a different color). Her color scheme was TX Wildflowers, so I think it worked out.

    5 agree
  28. I totally tried to go this route but like others my Bridesmaids all wanted the same dress. I gave in and said fine, at least my MOH is wearing a different dress!

    1 agrees
  29. Don't know if this has been suggested already, but a friend of mine just got married and did a different version of this. She had each of her bridesmaids in the dress STYLE they had agreed on (her attendants ranged in body type from waif-like to plus-size), but the color was the same for all of them. I liked the combo, it wasn't ridiculously cookie cutter identical, but not so out-there as to bother the rather traditional parentals. :)

    1 agrees
  30. This is awesome. Ever since the sex and the city movie, i've been looking for non matching bridesmaid dresses. If you can add even more pics, that would be great. I need ideas ideas ideas.

    1 agrees
  31. […] Remember, you are not the only one being puzzled if you want your bridesmaids to wear the same dress, same colour or just similar designs. Other times, check out the brides who decided that the bridesmaids don't really have to be matching. […]

    0 agree
  32. My mom is a dressmaker and is therefore making all our dresses, each BM chose her our pattern, own style entirely. but all 3 dresses are being made in the same fabric. their all uniquely the same. it looks great.

    1 agrees
  33. So cute. Super cute. I think we will only have two attendants (one each), and both will be women (our sisters). I am thinking of this route because the fru fru matchy thing isn't for me, or the shopping (bleck). Thanks for the inspiration!!

    1 agrees
  34. i'm not engaged but always on here just checking it all out, trying to get ideas for if i ever get married since I want a healthy traditional/offbeat hybrid wedding.

    ANYWAY… i've always thought about non-matchy matchy bridesmaid dresses and have always thought i'd outfit everyone in american apparel (BEFORE it became a trend beast) becuz its sweatshop free… anyway my point is, they have a lot of styles in the same color so u can pick a color and have different styles or vice versa, and they have new dresses with little tips on "how to wear it" so that people can style the same dress in many ways. and american apparel dresses are affordable and comfortable, can definitely be worn again… which i think is good for bridesmaids, i always feel bad seeing hideous dresses these poor ladies had to PAY for and cant wear again

    1 agrees
  35. My bridesmaids/maid of honor all wore indian Lehenga Choli, it was impossible to find ones that matched, as they were all unique. We had a color theme, and I took each one shopping until we found one that they liked, that I liked, and went somewhat with the color theme. We put the flower girl in simple gold which matched pretty well. It looked absolutely gorgeous! The dresses were red, yellow, orange/burgundy. I know a lot of my girls would have rather worn blue or black, and while I tried to make them happy, they did have to compromise on the color.

    http://weddings.bellapictures.com/gallery/do/wed/

    1 agrees
  36. WOOP WOOP you have made my day, finally ive seen what my vision is going to look like and i can have happy bridesmaids which then in turn makes a happy bride.
    you page is awesome, thankyou for cheering me up,
    Hx

    1 agrees
  37. I'm choosing the style of my bridesmaids' dresses, but they are each choosing whichever kind of colorful, crazy pattern they want…so the look of the wedding will be some sort of eclectic surprise!

    0 agree
  38. I basically told my bridesmaids that as long as its black and they are can dance and be comfortable in it I'm happy.

    0 agree
  39. Oh NOEZ! The pastel ballerina tulle ladies' pic doesn't appear to be linked! :( It's so not my style, but somehow I LOVE THOSE DRESSES!!! (And want to see more.) :D

    0 agree
  40. Thanks a lot for the tips! From my experience, I think most bridesmaids still want to be within the wedding color theme. The last time my sister had a wedding, she told her bridesmaid to pick whatever dress they want and would be comfortable with, and she'd pay for it. But then, the bridesmaids actually asked her the color of the wedding scheme. It ended up that all the bridesmaids wearing blue color but all of them were wearing different style.

    I think that wearing whatever dress that we like but within the color scheme is much better than randomly pick our own color. Just because, it makes me feel that I'm actually the bridesmaids who knows the bride well ~

    0 agree
  41. I originally wanted to go the non-matching route, but after considering whether or not the fabric, etc. would blend with my dress (it's not a "typical" shade) I decided to go with the same color and fabric type, but let my bridesmaids pick from about 5 different styles/lengths of dresses. All of them were fine with it. Since it's a very universally flattering shade, I knew they'd appreciate it and wear it at a later date as well. BTW- dresses were from J Crew in shade "dusty shale"…:P

    1 agrees
  42. I think this is a great idea. The girls can pick a dress that fits their body style and that they are comfortable in. And who knows they may actually get to wear it again sometime.

    0 agree
  43. im wondering if this (different dress or different color dresses) works better if there are more than 2 bridesmaids. i am leaning towards either of these options even though i have a feeling my two friends will probably choose to match. the eclectic look might be better with three plus maids….but i think seem to be the only person truly 'offbeat' planning the wedding : )

    0 agree
  44. Well, I keep on studying the sites where I could start planning for my wedding. For I have not yet decided who would be my wedding planner but I guess I will myself plan my wedding.. which is not so big deal in itself.

    0 agree
  45. Great pictures, im doing this too. My bridesmaids are all different shapes, sizes and have different colouring. So they all have just above knee, kinda jewel toned (royal blue, rich burgundy and fushia pink) dresses and they all look gorgeous and unique. They are worried about not looking like bridesmaids so im making them all matching tiaras! All our groomsmen are having different coloured bow ties too (red orange and green) so that they are like a rainbow :-)
    They are all happy they have a bit of input.
    Getting a hard time from relatives about 'colour scheme' though, get over it guys, rainbow is gonna look awesome!

    0 agree
  46. I love this. I have six bridesmaids ranging from 22-40 years old and the thought of picking one dress for all of them was horrible to me. They live in three different states as well. I'm giving them little silk flower petals and ribbon cuttings of the five shades of blue for them choose from and letting them pick whatever style they like. I will be making them all hair clips with little charms sewn in that represent something that they like (skulls, dragonfly, monkey) so they will each have their own flair. Same for the MOG and MOB. It has really worked out well so far. No complaints from anyone.

    0 agree
  47. I'm totally offbeat, then! :D All my "bridesmaids" are just all the girls who attend my wedding- I hate when people feel left out! All my bridesmaids could be dressing up steam punk/vintage/video game-y or in a dress or pants or skirt or shorts.. it'll be a complete surprise to me the day of the wedding :D

    0 agree

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