Bridesmaid Attire That Doesn’t Look Too Bridesmaid-y

Of all the many challenging tasks I’ve had while planning my wedding, selecting bridesmaid attire has been one of the most challenging. My hope was to find attire that covered all these bases:

  • Allowed for some personalization but still looked cohesive.
  • Matched my (hard-to-match) color palette — in particular, I was trying to find a color similar to jade. In retrospect, choosing an unusual wedding color palette was maybe not the wisest decision.
  • Was budget-friendly.
  • Could be worn again.
  • Allowed bridesmaids to have sleeves if they preferred them.
  • Was a skirt. (Early on I decided I preferred skirts over dresses.)
  • Wasn’t too short. (I have some tall, modest types in my wedding party, which I totally get, as I’m not a fan of short skirts myself.)
  • Didn’t feel overly dressy for my cocktail casual wedding but still denoted the girls as special and not just one of the crowd. (I started to refer to what I was looking for as a “party skirt,” though that doesn’t seem to be a real term.)
  • Was an item I found attractive. (I found some that fit all my criteria, except I personally thought they were ugly and wouldn’t wish them upon my worst enemy, much less my close friends. Granted, I have strong feelings about this sort of thing.)

The result? This item does not exist.

Instead, I ended with: a knee-length tulle skirt that’s a darker version of one of my colors. It looks “special occasion-y” without being overly formal, but because of the tulle, it’s not the easiest thing to wear again. However, it was so budget-friendly that I was able to buy the skirts for my bridesmaids and relieve myself of the guilt had they purchased them and never wore them again. The ladies can wear an ivory top of their choice with it.

Still, kind of complicated, right? (I realize this is mostly my own doing.) For the record, I briefly considered letting the bridesmaids all choose their own dress — but with five ladies in the party and an unusual color palette, I thought that plan could easily go awry.

In honor of my tortured bridesmaid attire hunt, I’ve put together a slideshow of five unbridesmaids-y bridesmaid looks to help others on a similar path. Let us know the direction you’re going in for your bridesmaid attire in the poll below — and please give us the details on the attire in the comments!

What will your bridesmaids wear at your wedding?

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Photos courtesy Shabby Apple, Whitney Deal, Anna Campbell, Modcloth and Ruche

Find more bridesmaid inspiration on our Pinterest board, and start your hunt for bridesmaid dresses here.

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  1. I have all my girls in cocktail length aqua color dresses of there choice. They seem to be having a bit of a hard time, hopefully they will each find one soon!!

  2. I hear you, Tasha — my bridesmaids are on the hunt for a ivory top, which didn’t seem to be a big deal when I requested it, but turns out, there aren’t a lot of good options on the market. Tell your ladies to check out Nordstrom, they have some aqua dresses, like this: — though that one may be too casual for some weddings.

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