Mix & match bridesmaid dresses aren’t just a wedding trend to get that perfect bridal party photo. It goes beyond popular wedding fashion. The truth is, allowing your bridesmaids to wear different dresses might be the best gift you can give them.

Real Talk: your bridesmaids probably don’t want to wear matching dresses. Whether it be differing tastes & styles, skin tones, age, height, body shape or even discrepancies in each bridesmaid’s budget, your girls are just probably not on the same page fashion-wise.

That’s not to shame any bride that wants a matching bridal party. Some of you girls have amazing bride tribes that are cool enough, laid-back enough or maybe traditional enough that they’re game for the matchy-matchy gown look. And hey, we feature more matching bridal parties on Bridal Musings than not!

But if I’m real, I mean really real, I’d be pretty annoyed if my best gal pal made me wear the exact same gown as one of her bombshell model girlfriends. Does that sound vain? I don’t care. Fashion is so much about feeling good about yourself and that can be hard when you’re comparing yourself to the girl on your left…and the girl on your right.

So, here’s my pitch:

If these ladies, your bridesmaids, are the most important women in your life…

If you love them dearly, each for exactly who you are…

Why not ask them what they want to wear? “Do you all want to wear the same gown or mix and match?” There’s no reason you can’t coordinate colors, fabric type or even find one of those fabulous collections where there are different necklines & styles of the same gown.

Best tips for mix & match bridesmaid dresses:

We have loads of inspiration and tips here on creating the best mix & match bridal party look, but we’ll lay out the best tips below…

Avoid sticking to just one hue. Unless you opt for something like white, gold or black, don’t ask all your girls to pick up a dress in a single designated color. Chances are if you ask for five green dresses, one will stand out as the wrong hue. Many brands offer lots of styles in the same tone, so opt for one of them, and let your girls make their choice.

You can still offer your help & opinions. You might be tempted to give your girls free rein, but your bridesmaids will appreciate some direction. Make a Pinterest board of colors and textures you like, or show them the rest of your wedding inspiration, so they have an idea of the look and feel you’re going for. “A black dress” can be anything from an office staple to a gothic gown, so pointers are always helpful.

Connect your friends. Mix and match can be really handy if you’re not all available for a group shopping trip. Say you have six bridesmaids spread across the country so you’ve asked your girls to get dresses in either blush, mauve or taupe. So far, so easy! Just be sure to put them in touch with one another, to make sure your hues are evenly spread across the bunch.

Sparkle or lace. Don’t be afraid to introduce patterns, sequins, ruffles or lace for a really fashion-forward take on the trend.

Try choosing one fabric type vs color palette. Another way to mix & match is to tell your bridal party to all choose silk dresses or another cohesive textile (say, cotton, organza, chiffon, etc) in their own choice of dress style & color. It’s a great secret to having a very diverse-looking collection of outfits in different colors that somehow flawlessly go together.

Shop within a collection. Have you noticed when designers release new collections everything seems to go together? The pantsuits, the dresses, the jumpsuits and outfits? Ask your girls to pick out whatever outfits they love from one designer’s collection. For example, Zimmermann’s latest lookbook. Everyone will mix and match seamlessly, just as the designer intended.

Photo by Abby Jiu

Select some swatches. Make things easy for yourself and opt to get your dresses from a readily mix and matchable collection. (We’ve covered a number of such designers in our best places to buy bridesmaid dresses guide). They might already have examples of dresses that go well together, and you can order swatches to be sure.

Toss out the rule book. There are so many articles on rules for constructing a palette of mix and match dresses, like sticking to a maximum of three colors, avoiding more than two differences in a dress, and keeping the same hemlines. But the truth is, there are no rules.

Photo by Alex Tome

Find our favorite bridesmaid dress designers & shops here and get inspired on our Bridesmaids Pinterest board.