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How To Jazz Up Bridesmaid Dresses


Recently, I was perusing Facebook with a friend of mine, looking at photos from an old classmate’s wedding. The wedding was one of those affairs with an outrageous number of guests, and a correspondingly large number of bridal attendants. “Look,” my friend said, pointing at one of the posed, formal shots. “It’s an army of bridesmaids!” It was an uncharitable comment, but I have to admit that — lined up in a row, all wearing the exact same dress — they did look like they were mustering in uniform.

Today, more and more brides are trying to break up the matchy-matchy look of identical bridesmaids. Most choose a color, or a color family, and allow their attendants to choose different dresses within that solid color scheme. Those with a little bit of nerve, however, are finding ways to work a print, or several, into the mix. Brides can use prints subtly, singling out a special attendant, like a maid of honor, while adding a bit of pizzazz into those bridal-party photos. Or they can go all-out and dress their maids in a few mix-and-match, coordinating prints.

Prints also convey personality. “There is an innately sweet and feminine look about delicate printed florals that can work in so many ways,” says Ali Barone, owner and creative director of Ali Barone Events (www.nyweddingmaven.com). “Depending on the accessories and styling, they can easily work for a wedding that is a little bit funky, a little bit country, and a whole lot of vintage!”

“The bride might have an outgoing, unconventional personality, and these types of printed dresses are a part of her everyday style that she wants to incorporate into her day,” adds Dawn M. Foy, president and CEO of Chique Events (www.chiqueny.com). If you’re having a country-style wedding, for example, Foy suggests pairing a printed dress with a great pair of cowboy boots.

Barone has one caveat for a bride choosing a printed dress or dresses: “The girls’ bouquets need to be simple. Pulling one color from the pattern and using it as the color palette for the bridesmaids’ bouquets will prevent the overall look from being too busy.”

donna morgan rhea dress

Donna Morgan Rhea dress in orchid, $189; available at www.donna-morgan.com

eshakti trapunto stitch trim check dress

eShakti Trapunto stitch trim check dress in yellow, $80; available at www.eshakti.com

Amsale Chiffon

Amsale Chiffon GA101C in orchid, call for pricing; find more information at www.amsale.com

Jenny Yoo Gigi dress

Jenny Yoo Gigi dress in paprika, $177; available at www.shop.nordstrom.com   

WHITE by Vera Wang

WHITE by Vera Wang VW360144 dress in cassis/gold, $168; available at www.davidsbridal.com