1. Be a Good Friend
The quickest way to perturb your best friends? Invite them to be in your bridal party, then turn them into fashion victims. Don’t dress them in something hideous so you’ll look better in comparison, and don’t choose bridesmaid dresses that make your girls look heavy or totally unsexy.
2. Find the Right Feel
Take your time and decide how you want the bridesmaid dresses to complement your wedding gown. Find a style that evokes the same feel as your dress but isn’t too similar – you don’t want your bridesmaids looking like the bride.
3. One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Search for a style that flatters the different sizes and shapes of your bridesmaids. A-line skirts and empire waists tend to look good on all body types.
4. Mix It Up
Or consider choosing a color or fabric and then letting each bridesmaid pick a style that best suits her body type. Your petite bridesmaid and taller attendant may look totally different in the same dress and would surely appreciate the chance to pick their own style.
5. Color Them Beautiful
Choose colors that you like and think would look good on all of your friends (consider their complexions and hair colors). Brighter colors are generally more flattering with darker complexions, while pastel hues are a perfect pick for girls with fairer skin.
6. Fill Their Closets
Be kind — don’t ask your friends to purchase a bridesmaid dress they absolutely wouldn’t be caught dead wearing ever again. Think about what your bridesmaids could do with the dresses after the wedding (little black dresses and dark-colored slip dresses are both re-wearable options).
7. Covering the Cost
Remember to think about everyone’s present financial situation. If you fall in love with a dress that’s a bit over their budgets, consider covering the difference yourself.
8. Poll Your Pals
Ask your bridesmaids to go dress shopping with you, but don’t bring them all at once if you have more than four — it will be way too hard to formulate your own opinion.
9. Make a List
Put notes beside each name about what kind of dress you think would look good on her, how much you think is fair to ask her to pay for it and anything else you want to include.
Dark-colored dresses like navy, hunter green and black look great on almost everyone and can be worn to formal events after your wedding.
11. Comfort Level
If you’re considering strapless dresses or bridesmaid gowns that don’t accommodate bras, ask your bridal party if they would be comfortable in such a style before making a decision.
12. Get It Done
Don’t be a control freak and try to do everything on your own. Appoint your maid of honor or a highly responsible bridesmaid to be in charge of organizing gown purchases.