Color Me Happy: Tips for Selecting Bridesmaid Dress Colors

Chelsea Castle
Stephanie Shockey's bridesmaids wore a blush Bill Levkoff gown from Wendy's Bridal.

This story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Columbus Weddings, published in June 2018.

It's every bridesmaid's nightmare—or one of them, at least: The bride selects a color that is unflattering. Local boutique owners have sound advice on selecting colors that work for the wedding palette and the bridesmaids' complexions to avoid such a scenario.

“When choosing bridesmaids' dresses, the bride should be considerate of her bridesmaids while still remaining true to her vision,” says White of Dublin owner Heather DiMasi. “If the bride knows a color she likes will not be flattering on most people, she should probably avoid choosing dresses in that color—her bridesmaids and her photographer will all be happy.” That hard-to-wear color can then be used in other ways: table linens, floral arrangements or stationery accents.

Times have changed, notes Teri Misener, buyer at Universe Bridal & Prom, and many brides are bucking traditions or unspoken rules about what colors their leading ladies can wear. More and more brides are working with their bridesmaids as a team to find colors and styles that make everybody happy.

“Brides are letting their bridesmaids pick different styles—that in itself is huge, because we never used to see that,” Misener says.

The elegantly mismatched trend—one dress in different colors or one color in different styles—is best achieved when you stay within the same type of fabric and same designer. This will keep your bridesmaids from looking too “circus-y,” as Misener puts it.

“You want them to look like part of the wedding and not like guests at the wedding,” she says.

Some colors, like black and navy blue, are safe options because they can be universally flattering. Others can be trickier to pull off, DiMasi notes.

“Pale blush is a color that has been trending for some time in weddings,” she says. “It is a beautiful hint of color that keeps palettes neutral, classy and timeless. These pale hues are beautiful on most darker-complexioned women. If you have bridesmaids in your wedding party who are fair, brides may want to consider leaning more toward a blush pink with a tad more color, as the paler tones tend to wash fairer complexions out.”

Brides can try different shades of the same hue—think periwinkle mixed with navy—or mix it up by having everyone weigh in with their color choices and going with popular opinion. But at the end of the day, Misener says, it's ultimately the bride's decision.

“In my opinion, it is and always will be up to the bride,” she explains. “It is her special day; you [as a bridesmaid] should be honored to be in this wedding and abide by her wishes. At the end of the day, a happy bride is a happy, happy situation.”