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Emily summer studios | 406.871.2199 | emilysummerstudios@gmail.com | Missoula, Montana

How to Nail Your Bridal Party's Attire

"What are the colors of your wedding?" "What do your bridesmaids dresses look like?" "What color ties are the groomsmen wearing?"

These are all questions your friends will likely ask you in the first couple months of being engaged, and if you're anything like 90% of clients, you probably don't have an answer for any of these questions. Sure, you might have an idea of a style you like for bridesmaid dresses, or a tie you saw on Instagram that would look good on your guys, but actually selecting and ordering attire for a dozen other people can be a daunting task. While the focus will be on the bride's wedding dress and how snazzy the groom looks, your bridal party's attire will be one of the largest contributing factors in pulling the whole look and theme of your wedding together.

While this might seem like a large responsibility, the tips below will help make your decision for both bridesmaids and groomsmen clothing easier.


1. Be sure to pick out your wedding gown first

You want to use the style of your wedding gown as a base to match all the bridesmaids dresses to. Some brides go gown shopping with an idea of what they want their bridesmaids dresses to look like before they purchase their own gown and then end up buying a gown completely different from what they originally envisioned, throwing off the look of the bridesmaids dresses as well.

2. Complimentary Necklines and Styles

In order to achieve a cohesive look, find dresses that have complimentary necklines and styles to your gown. If your gown is more form fitting, opt for full or flowy bridesmaids dresses with similar necklines to make your dress pop, while still looking uniform. If you have a fuller ball-gown style gown, try bridesmaids dresses that have a sleek sheath or A-line style.

3. Compliment Your Gals’ Skin and Body Type

You’ve asked your ladies to stand by your side on your big day, likely spending some good dough on you and your wedding day, you want them to feel and look great in the process. Be aware of how different skin tones and hair colors will look in certain colors. Often a simple spray tan can fix the issue of being washed out, but other factors such as hair color and body type are to be taken into consideration. If you’re going for a classic look, with all matching bridesmaids dresses, A-line styles are universally flattering, as well as V-necklines and are both always good options.

You could also opt to have mismatched styles for each of your gals, which, lucky for you, is also trendy. This way each woman can choose the style they know will suit and fit them the best. If you choose to go this route, be sure to give guidelines on the style, color and overall look you’re trying to achieve. Perhaps find 5 different styles you like and show them to your girls and allow them to pick their favorite from your hand-selected options. Lulu's is a great option for mix and match bridesmaids dresses as they carry many of the same styles in various colors and have really great prices. You can check out some options from the Lulus Bridal Shop here. Use code TAKE30 to take $30 off your order of $250 or more.

4. Find Out What They Would Like to Wear

Ultimately, you will make the final call when it comes to bridal party attire, but start by asking your girls what they would like to wear and feel comfortable in. This is especially helpful if you are torn on what type of style you want your ‘maids to wear. Remember, it’s still your decision in

the end, but your ladies’ input can help make that decision a little easier.

5. Be Considerate of the Price

By agreeing to be a part of your wedding day, your ‘maids are aware of the commitment and costs that come along with the duty. However, be considerate of the price tag you’re expecting your girls to pay, especially if they have to incur travel expenses to be a part of your day. On average, bridesmaids spend around $150 on dresses, up to $200 with alterations.

6. Find Inspiration

Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration and visuals for a look you are trying to achieve. This is also a great way to see photos of how different colors and styles look together. You can use Pinterest as a search engine to bring your vision to life or cut out images from bridal magazine and create a mood board to see how certain colors and styles work together.

7. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Give yourself and your ladies time to decide on a style and have plenty of time remaining for shipping and any alterations that might be necessary. Some styles might not be available in a certain size right away and you don’t want to run the risk of someone not getting their bridesmaid dress on time.

8. Give One of Your Gals Responsibility

You have so many other decisions that need to be made and planning to be done, appoint one of your ladies (perhaps your Maid of Honor) to be in charge of communicating with the other girls about the style of dresses they are to purchase and ensuring everyone has selected and purchased their dress on time.

9. Enjoy the Process!

This shouldn’t be a stressful experience and it’s ok to hand the reigns to a trustworthy friend. The goal is find something that suits your overall vision and fits your bridesmaids - it’s as simple as that!


1. Do the Groom or Groomsmen Pay?

While it can be common for the couple to cover the cost of groomsmen attire, since renting a suit is cheaper than purchasing a bridesmaid dress, it is still customary for the Groomsmen to pay for their own attire.

2. Echo the Groom’s Attire

When it comes to actually selecting the Groomsmen attire, you want the men to echo the groom’s attire, but not match it. The Groom should have some element that sets him apart from the group such as a vest added to complete a 3 piece suit, while the groomsmen have just a shirt and jacket. Or perhaps it’s a summer wedding and the groomsmen wear only a shirt and tie while the Groom adds on a jacket. You want the look to be cohesive with just one element added for the Groom.

3. Opt to Rent

Renting a suit or tuxedo is the easiest (and least expensive) route to go and you can ensure everyone matches and receives their suits at the same time.

4. Proper Measurements are Key

When renting a suit or tuxedo, proper measurements are a must. If you can, schedule a fitting where each groomsman gets professionally measured all at once from the entity the suits are coming from. If the men live in different places, ask them to go in to any men’s suit or department store to get properly measured and record their measurements. The last thing you want is someone to submit unprofessional measurements only to find out their suit doesn’t fit days before the wedding.

5. Appoint a Trustworthy Man to Be in Charge

Just like with the bridesmaids, a responsible man from the bridal party (Best Man) should be in charge of communicating with the other groomsmen about rentals, measurements, and ensure all rental items are gathered together at the end of the wedding day and ready for return. It is easy to misplace a tie, cummerbund or shoes, so make a list of everything that is included in the rental attire and check the items off as they are gathered.

Emily Summer

Emily Summer Studios