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Tips for Mixing and Matching Bridesmaid Looks

Mixing and matching bridesmaids' dresses is the fun and on-trend way to dress your bridal party. In addition to opening the door for style and creativity, mixing and matching color, fabric, and style means each 'maid can express herself and feel confident wearing what works best for her. The key to keeping the look tied together? Follow some ground rules and have a plan ahead of time. These easy tips for bridesmaid dress mixing and matching will help you navigate a wide range of choices to create a look for your bridal party that's unique and photo-worthy.

Ground Rules

Count Your Colors. Before you get started, it's key to decide upon your colors. Choose one color only, one color in different shades, or several colors for your bridesmaid dresses. If you choose several colors, consistency is key. Stick with just a few different hues and make sure that they work well together by staying in the same color family. For example, choosing all bold-colored jewel-tone bridesmaid dresses can provide a regal, elegant look, while soft pastel bridesmaid dresses spark a feeling of springtime romance and enchantment. If you do decide to bravely mix and match across color families, make sure the darker shades bring out the best in the lighter shades (or accompanying patterns) for a complementary effect.

Tip: It's usually best to choose three colors at most for your bridal party. Adding colors after this point can make it difficult to keep the the bridal party styles cohesive. While it's OK to set aside this rule if you really want to get creative, be sure to follow the other basic guidelines to avoid general disorganization.

Keep Things in Common. Make sure that each dress has one thing in common to keep the look united. For example, the coordinating bridesmaid dresses might all have the same fabric type, color, length, or neckline. Ideally, it’s best to avoid more than two differences across the bridesmaid dresses. Keep in mind that when it comes time to select the flowers, matching bouquets can also help tie the look together.

Tip: The easiest way to mix and match without losing control? Choose the color and fabric first. Then, let your 'maids get expressive by choosing the style themselves. (If you want to keep the look more traditional, make sure all the bridesmaid dresses have the same hemline.)

Have a Plan: Mixing and Matching Solids, Patterns, Sequins & Beading

Are you in love with print bridesmaid dresses, but also entranced by the sparkle of sequin dresses? Follow the tips below to help you identify what you want for your bridal party and narrow down your choices from there. As tempting as it may be to get lost in a world of options, focus is what will keep your wedding party look from getting overwhelming.

Solids. The best way to select solid colors for bridesmaid dresses? First, start by picking one or two deep, rich hues from the same color family. (Keep in mind: at least one of the darker colors should look great on everyone). Then, select paler, complementary shades to soften the look. From there, you can pick who wears which color combination based on what shades suit each bridesmaid best. For instance, lighter colors might wow on paler complexions, but wash out medium skin tones, and bold colors truly pop against darker skin tones.

Tip: Add another layer of expression to solids by playing with ombre bridesmaid dresses. The key to pulling it off? Stay away from hues that are too similar; you don't want guests squinting at the dresses, trying to figure out if they are the same color! Instead, make sure the tones are a full shade apart.

Sequins and Beading. If you love the look of sequins and want more sparkle in the bridal party, experiment with a mix of all-sequin tops, beaded belts, or embellished accents across the bridesmaid dresses. Afraid of big bling sequins or heavy beading? For a more subtle approach, limit beading or sequins to an intricate pattern on the dresses for your bridesmaids, then vary the style or color. This look is especially lovely when paired with pastel hues, resulting in a Gatsby-esque style that's distinctly modern---and universally flattering.

Prints. Prints can bring fresh visual flair to your bridal party, as long as they aren't overused. Mix and match one style element in a pattern, such as a top or skirt, or limit the pattern to a belt. A fun way to link your girls' dresses? Select mismatched colors for the bridesmaids' gowns, then have the maid of honor wear a patterned dress that features all the shades worn by the rest of your bridal party.

Style Shortcuts

Here are some shortcuts to creating specific bridesmaid dress looks that are sure-winners:

Black & White. Sticking with these two basic shades allows you to play with different fabrics and textures fearlessly. A mix of black and white bridesmaid dresses provides a look that's sleek and modern, while a black and white patterned or print bridesmaid dress provides a trendy twist on classic colors. If you add sequins or beading, make sure there is some glimmer in all of your bridesmaid dresses (even if one dress is all-sequins).

BoHo Vibe. If you're seeking a laid-back look for your bridal party, play with hemlines and choose fabrics that are airy and flowing. A mix of short bridesmaid dresses, high-low dresses, and long gowns in billowing chiffon or soft lace radiates a chic bohemian aura. The best color palettes for this theme are pastels and neutrals, or fun florals. Limit glittery details or dark hues to keep the look natural and effortlessly beautiful.

Elegance & Glamour. The easiest way to jaw-dropping glamour is to choose floor-length bridesmaid dresses with refined fabrics, like satin, in matching jewel tones. For simply sophisticated styling, stay away from sequins or beading; instead, let your girls bring the sparkle with their choice of earrings and necklaces.