Selecting Bridesmaid Dresses: Traditional or out of the Ordinary?
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Selecting Bridesmaid Dresses: Traditional or out of the Ordinary?

When it comes to designing your wedding, the most important factor to remember is - it's your wedding.  It's a day you're going to remember for years to come so you should make choices that reflect you.

There are an endless number of traditions when it comes to weddings, but traditions can be considered guidelines rather than strict rules.  If you want to have a more traditional wedding you may choose to select bridesmaid dressed that are uniform.  There may be plenty of reasons, however, you may decide not to go the traditional route and select dresses which have distinguishing details or dresses which are unique among themselves.

If you want to create a sense of a community of individuals among your wedding party you may want to carefully consider your bridesmaids before selecting dresses for them.  If you have two or three bridesmaids or especially if you have more than that, chances are these women will have very different body shapes, skin tones, and personalities.  These differing characteristics may translate to mean that one style and color of dress looks fabulous on one woman and terrible on the next.  Here are a few factors you may want to consider before buying dresses, especially if you decide to go for unique dresses.

Color/tone.  If your bridesmaids all have a similar body type you may decide to use the same dress for everyone but select varying shades or colors to flatter their individual skin tones.  For example, a pale shade of pink may look great against one skin tone and washed-out against the next.  In this case you may decide to use varying shades of pink for each dress.  If you are open to using varying colors rather than sticking to a strict color scheme you might choose to have different colors in the same dress style. You may have one friend who looks radiant in yellow and another who glows in peach so you may decide to choose the same dress in similar color tones (spring or autumn tones) but use varying colors to suit each individual.

Shape/style.  If your bridesmaids share similar skin tones or can wear similar colors but have differing body types you may decide to choose dresses that are the same color and fabric but opt for different dress styles.  One woman may look great in something off the shoulder, another in a mandarin collar.  One may look best in an a-line silhouette, another in an empire-waist.  Consider floor length, mid-calf etc.  Once you have a color selected you can experiment with different styles and see what fits each woman best, but by maintaining the same color and fabric you maintain an element of uniformity.

An element of tradition.  If you want to stay closer to tradition but still want to add a flair of individuality to the dresses you may consider buying the same dress and adding unique adornments or embellishments to them.  Adding colored ribbons, lace or decorative pins to shoulder straps, waist bands, bust lines or dress hems is a simple and inexpensive way to do this.  If you really want to get fancy you may decide to add unique embroidery or beadwork to each gown.

Non-traditional/unique.  If tradition holds no meaning for you and you value the individual above all else then go all out and celebrate the uniqueness of your bridesmaids by selecting dresses of varying colors, styles and fabric types.  There is no rule that says you can't create a rainbow colored gala at your own wedding.  Let your imagination be the limit and have fun creating your vision.

Most important - don't forget to enjoy yourself.  Your wedding is a celebration of an important moment in your life.  It is a gathering together of friends and family to celebrate love, so no matter what choices you make regarding your dress or your bridesmaids' remember to have fun and to celebrate the reason you're wearing dresses in the first place!

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