Alternative bridesmaid style ideas that go beyond the dress
by Karly Anderson

 Photo by  Blush by B

Photo by Blush by B

 Although a majority of brides choose to have the women in their bridal party wear dresses on the big day, some brides are choosing to get more creative with alternative bridesmaid style ideas. Especially during the warmer months, a dress can feel too heavy, formal or out-of-place depending on the location and/or theme of the wedding.

By foregoing a traditional dress and instead choosing an outfit that consists of, for example, a blouse and a skirt, you’re adding a unique touch to your wedding day and giving your bridesmaids and yourself more options to choose from – not to mention, the girls might actually be able to wear the outfit long after the wedding day has come and gone. You also open up the realm of possibilities as far as each individual girl’s body type – you can choose to mix and match outfits that flatter everybody and make your bridesmaids feel like a million bucks, and you also can introduce more of your wedding colors and palette into their ensembles.

If you are contemplating going down this route or already have chosen nontraditional and unique bridesmaid outfits, keep these “con” factors in mind. Just like anything – even if you were having all the girls wear a dress – you simply won’t please everybody. And, that’s okay! Do your best to accommodate your bridesmaids’ wants and needs, but at the end of the day, it’s your wedding and vision, so the girl’s need to be respectful and wear what you ask them to. Also, try to be mindful of cost – while paying for a dress up front can at times be expensive, separate pieces also can add up quickly.

Now, onto the fun part – inspiration!

TOP AND SKIRT SEPARATES

Because of the various styles of tops and skirts available, the options are pretty much endless if you choose to have your bridesmaids in separates. Here are just a few of my favorite ideas and looks.

1. Coordinating Outfits

If you still want to keep things rather traditional, opt to have your girls in all matching tops and skirts for a cohesive look.

 Photo by Christine Pobke via  Green Wedding Shoes

Photo by Christine Pobke via Green Wedding Shoes

2. Mix & Match

Would you rather allow your girls to pick their outfit based on your wedding palette and any guidelines you set forth? This can lead to a fun-looking bridal party – encourage your girls to mix and match who wears what and to coordinate what girls should wear a certain color, skirt style, etc.

 Photo by  Elisa Bricker

Photo by Elisa Bricker

 Photo by Mark Brooke Photography via  Wedding Chicks

Photo by Mark Brooke Photography via Wedding Chicks

 Photo by Ryan Ray via  Green Wedding Shoes

Photo by Ryan Ray via Green Wedding Shoes

3. Pattern & Texture

Don’t be afraid of pattern and texture – if done correctly, it can look chic and sophisticated. You rarely can go wrong with stripes, sequins or florals.

 Photo by A.J. Dunlap Photography via  Wedding Chicks

Photo by A.J. Dunlap Photography via Wedding Chicks

 Photo by Green Apple Photography via  Style Me Pretty

Photo by Green Apple Photography via Style Me Pretty

4. Maxi Skirts

Especially during the warmer months, maxi skirts are a favorite for any girl. They also are flattering on pretty much any body type and come in a variety of fabrics and colors.

 Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher via  Green Wedding Shoes

Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher via Green Wedding Shoes

5. Tulle Skirts

Let your bridal party members channel their inner Carrie Bradshaw by dressing them up in tulle skirts! This current fashion-forward trend will look stylish and whimsical in photos. Etsy and Shabby Apple are great resources for finding these skirts at affordable prices.

 Photo by Katie Kett Photography via  Style Me Pretty

Photo by Katie Kett Photography via Style Me Pretty

 Photo by Tutus Chic Originals via  Etsy

Photo by Tutus Chic Originals via Etsy

 Photo by Dawn Alexandra Photography via  Green Wedding Shoes

Photo by Dawn Alexandra Photography via Green Wedding Shoes

6. Crop Tops

Nothing screams summer more than a crop top, and when paired with the right bottom, they can lend an authentic bohemian vibe. Just a word of caution: if this is what you’re leaning toward, be sure to discuss it with all your bridesmaids first – not everybody is comfortable with baring their midsection.

 Photo by  Ok Bridal

Photo by Ok Bridal

 Photo by Levi Stolove Photography via  The Lane

Photo by Levi Stolove Photography via The Lane

 Photo by Desiree Marie Designs via  Etsy

Photo by Desiree Marie Designs via Etsy

 

ROMPERS & JUMPSUITS

It doesn’t get more comfortable or summery than a romper or jumpsuit. Opt for one-pieces in chiffon or light, billowy fabric to keep the outfits from looking too casual. Bold accessories and the right shoe pairings also are critical in keeping a romper or jumpsuit looking refined.

 Photo by Kelsey Combe Photography via  The Knot

Photo by Kelsey Combe Photography via The Knot

 Photo by Mandilynn Photography via  Green Wedding Shoes

Photo by Mandilynn Photography via Green Wedding Shoes

 Photo by Fiona Claire Photography via  Want That Wedding

Photo by Fiona Claire Photography via Want That Wedding

 

SHORTS

If you’re having a rather laid-back and casual wedding, why not consider allowing your bridesmaids to rock a pair of shorts? Shorts these days come in all different lengths, so it’s pretty easy to find a cut and length that will flatter everybody’s body type.

 Photo by Birds of a Feather Photo via  Kate Loves Photography

Photo by Birds of a Feather Photo via Kate Loves Photography

 

JACKETS & CARDIGANS

While bridesmaids typically pack a light jacket or cardigan to throw on over their ensemble later in the day as the temperatures cool, consider incorporating it into their all-day outfit! This is an opportunity to incorporate more colors from your wedding palette, and it’s also a practical option for brides that want to dress their bridal party more modestly.

 Photo by Jessica Lorren via  Southern Weddings

Photo by Jessica Lorren via Southern Weddings

 Photo by Black & Hue Photography via  Bridal Detective

Photo by Black & Hue Photography via Bridal Detective

What do you think, inspired yet? If you choose to dress your bridal party in separates or a nontraditional outfit, be sure to shop both in store and online – online retailers such as ModCloth, LuLu’s and Chicwish offer unique pieces at competitive price points.

What are your thoughts on nontraditional bridesmaid outfits? Are you a fan, or will you stick to dresses? Tell us in the comments below!

karlyandersonbio
karlyandersonbio

Karly Anderson is a born and raised Midwest girl currently residing outside Milwaukee, Wis. Her blog, Miss in the Midwest, chronicles her take on beauty, life and style in the Heartland. Catch up with Karly on InstagramFacebook and Twitter