Brides love our friendly,informative buying guide that makes shopping for bridesmaid dresses stress-free and fun. Terrific tips on styling, timeline, budget, color and fit.

Plan ahead

Getting to the chapel (or synagogue, park, hotel or city hall) with beautiful bridesmaids all in a row requires time and thought.

Start shopping six months before the wedding. Or even sooner! Go to department stores, bridal shops, boutiques and specialty stores. Go to bridal shows and fairs and fashion shows. 

Add a little extra time to allow for the bridesmaid, or maids, who always runs late. 

Don't Break the Bank

Bridesmaid dresses typically start at about $129 and go up $300 or more.
It's standard to charge an extra fee for plus-size bridesmaids dresses and special requests like extra length. .

Take the financial bite out of buying a bridesmaid dress by selecting a simple style or classic color that bridesmaids can wear after the wedding to another special occasion.

The time to bring up the budget is before you go shopping.  Delaying the sensitive discussions of price can create stress for the bride and the bridesmaids. And don't forget to include alterations when you are figuring out the costs of a bridesmaid's dress.

Settling on a budget also helps narrow down where you will shop.  Be sure the price range fits the budget of everyone in the bridal party. Then plan a girls' day out shopping being sure to include a stop for lunch. 

Be Body Conscious

Bridesmaids come in all shapes and sizes, including plus size and petite sizes. The dress of your dreams may look great in a photo or on a hanger, but remember, real women have to wear it down the aisle. And no one has a flawless figure - no matter what size dress she wears!

If your bridesmaids range in size then you need to pick a color and fabric and let them find the style that they feel fits and flatters their figure. No one dress is perfect for everybody.

If you going to match all the maids in the same dress, pick a style that flatters the maid that is the hardest to fit. It helps for you to keep in mind that the Princess and A-line silhouettes tend to flatter most figures. 

No matter what size your bridesmaid wears, remember to play to her assets and camouflage her figure flaws when shopping for a bridesmaid dress that fits and flatters.

Avoid selecting the bridesmaids dresses before the bride makes a final decision on her wedding gown. The styles need not match. But they should coordinate. You don't want maids wearing informal sun-dress style dresses when the bride comes down the aisle in formal gown with a cathedral train. 

Style and Hue Cue

It's best for Brides to take the cue for the style and color of your bridesmaids dresses from the hue you picked for your wedding gown.

Be sure to also consider the palette you selected for your ceremony and also the reception. Consider the time of year you'll tie the knot. Getting married in the Spring or Summer?  Softer colors in lighter shades works with those season.  Planning a Fall or Winter wedding?  Richer colors in darker

You are under no pressure to have all the bridesmaids wear the same color. Consider different shades of one color to mix things up - just a little. 

Feeling bold? Opt for a pretty floral print for your bridal party.

Size It Up

If possible, ask everyone in your bridal party to get measured by a professional. This can be a tailor, seamstress or an experienced sales person at a bridal salon or dress shop.  Be sure they get your bust, waist and hip measurements.

Give your maids warning that bridesmaids dresses tend to run on the small side. So don't be surprised if they need to go up a size - or two- larger than they normally wear in a dress. 

Order Time

If you're buying the maids' dresses off the rack, they don't all have to purchased at the same time.

But if you are ordering them from a store or online, order all the dresses at the same time. If you don't, you risk having the colors vary slightly because the fabric was dyed in different lots.

Need help getting your bridal party together. Ask your Maid of Honor to help you. She'll be delighted you did! 

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