Though the concept of mismatched bridesmaid dresses isn’t a new “thing” it has gained popularity over the past few years. It’s one of those rare trends that’s both frugal and fun. As fun as this trend may be, it can also be one of those things where trying to be laid back actually ends up making more work for yourself (the bride). However, it can work!
Today I’ve partnered up with Rent the Runway, an online a fashion company that is giving people access to remarkable luxury experiences by building exclusive relationships with many of the world’s premier designers, ensuring they have the most beautiful, in-demand items for every season and occasion.
Before heading down this road, my first piece of advice is to figure out your main objective in selecting a mismatched wedding party. It’s easy to fall for the misconception that telling people what to wear is an inconvenience. Believe me when I say, mismatched outfits can be just as much work for the ladies and gents involved as with more traditional choices. So be very honest about your motivations.
Answering the following questions will help you figure out how much involvement you want, and how much you care about the outcome of your bridal party:
- Do you just want to avoid another wedding planning project to manage?
- Do you have a specific vision you’re trying to achieve?
- Are you concerned with making sure everyone is truly wearing something they love?
- Will you care if things don’t turn out the way you imagined them?
If you have a specific vision in mind, don’t just tell everyone to pick out a dress they love. Give direction. Quite a bit of direction. Knowing your crowd will help you know if you need. Case in point, if you know some of your bridal party only get dressed up for weddings and funerals, it may be less stressful for them and you if you give suggestions.
Now that you know the why of your mismatched wedding party desires, time to move to what. Starting with picking your color palette. You have the option to keep things fairly broad with a color family (pops of pink and purple), go with a general color (various shades of purple), or narrow it down to a specific shade (lilac). The trick is just to give your trusty shoppers an idea of where to start. Rent the Runway has nearly 65,000 items t choose from to help customers find the right dresses and accessories to coordinate the perfect mismatched look. Lastly, figure out how much cohesion you want. and select any unifying elements you wish. Pick any or all of the following: color, length, material, pattern. Here are a few ideas to make it work.
SAME COLOR FAMILY, SIMILAR STYLES
This type of mismatching style is recommended for the bride that likes the idea of a cohesive wedding party, but doesn’t want to have to micromanage everyone’s selections. In a perfect world, everyone will be able to choose an outfit they’re more likely to wear again. Not everyone interprets color the same way. For instance, my friend when she got married told her bridal party to select blush. Nearly every bridesmaid called her 123475 times EACH inquiring if something was the shade of blush she wanted. She nearly went mad! Another example is “green”can mean kelly green, lime green, or hunter green. All of these are technically green, if you catch my drift. So if you want everyone’s outfits to look cohesive, choose a single shade and then stick with it. My favorite suggestion is to set up a Pinterest board with your color choices along with a few dress examples, send your team fabric swatches with your colors. I promise it’ll make it easier for everyone to shop.
Send each bridesmaid a multi-color paint swatch that you can get at your local hardware store and assign each person one of the shades. Those colors are meant to look good together.
If you want everyone to show up in a similar style, give direction on length and material type. You don’t have to be as specific with your materials as chiffon or silk but generals like “long and flowy“ or “short and structured“ or “nothing shiny“ will go a long way.
SAME COLOR FAMILY, DIFFERENT STYLES
This mismatch style is recommended for brides less concerned with how the wedding party is going to look together in photos than with making sure they’re going to get something they’ll definitely wear again. Or your the bride lucky enough to have really stylish friends and you want to let their individual tastes shine.
If you’re goal is to increase your chances of everyone being able to wear their outfit again, you can stick with one color or color family and let everyone dictate their own style to fit their body type and personality. This is particularly good if your wedding party is made up lots of different body types, or very different personal styles, and you want to honor that. To avoid unintentionally matching, this setup tends to be easiest if your color is a neutral like black, grey, cream, gold, etc. To have some sort of cohesion within your wedding party, let your party know what level of formality to choose from before everyone goes shopping. You don’t want anyone feeling like they missed the memo on the dress code. Luckily, Rent the Runway is a convenient place for you and your gal pals to save your favorite styles so you can easily see that everyone is in the same boat.
DIFFERENT COLORS, DIFFERENT STYLES AND PATTERNS
This mismatched style is recommended for brides that have a very clear vision of how your wedding party should look. Your a bride that does not mind giving directions or being more involved in the attire selection process so everyone is on the same page.
You can easily add more variety to these two concepts various styles and patterns, by doing more than one color or adding print options. The key to keeping things cohesive is making sure there are some points of similarity. For example, you can do all cocktail-length floral dresses or a mixture of solids and prints within the same color family. Try all floor length dresses in a combination of mint, pink, and peach. Remember to assign each person their own color. This kind of mismatching is a tad more advanced than the others listed, make sure to be realistic about your expectations. If you have a clear vision in mind, it is possible to make the dress shopping process a collective experience the same way you would with a more traditional dress selection.
Ultimately, you know your people best, just remember that most wedding parties would prefer some sort of direction to get it right than worrying they’re going to disappoint you. Enjoy this moment of feeling in control without actually having to be “The Boss Bridezilla.”
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