Mismatched Bridesmaids Dresses: How to Pull Off the Look

Mismatching bridesmaid dresses can make for a fun look. Here’s a guide for how to achieve a cohesive look without perfectly matching. Read on.

By Maggy Lehmicke

Mismatched Bridesmaids Dresses
Photo by Sabrina Steele Photography

As more and more brides favor the idea of their bridesmaids wearing dresses in varying styles to create a cohesive look, over the traditional, impeccably coordinated wedding parties of the past, “mismatched” has become a buzzword. One of the simplest ways to nail the mismatched bridesmaids look is to pick one or two details (such as color or length) that are consistent throughout, ensuring that the bridesmaids’ dresses complement each other, while still creating a laid-back feel.

Possible details to consider are:

Length

 Mismatched Bridesmaids Dresses: How to Pull Off the Look Photo Credit // Unsplash

Do you want the dresses to vary in length, or would you rather they all hit mid-calf? Length is one of the easiest ways to achieve the mismatched bridesmaid look, but it also requires a little bit of management. For example, if the dresses are all the same color but different lengths, you don’t want five of your bridesmaids to pick full-length gowns and the sixth to pick a minidress. To master the varied length look, it’s best to have your maids select a length in advance, or send you dress options that you can then help narrow down. Though you may decide that you want your maid of honor to have a different length dress than the others (or something else to make her stand out), mismatched lengths look best when there’s a little bit of everything.

Style or Silhouette

Mixing up the dress styles has quickly become one of the most popular ways to adopt the mismatched bridesmaid dress trend look, as it offers a lot of flexibility and focuses more on the vision you’re trying to create, rather than a specific characteristic. If it’s really important to you that everything appears cohesive on your wedding day, maybe you ask your wedding party to keep the dress color and length the same, but mix up the neckline or bodice style. If you want to give them a little more freedom and take mismatched to the next level, maybe you decide on long-sleeved, bohemian numbers, but give them the freedom to choose the colors palette, prints, and dress lengths.

Color

Mixing up colors is trickier to tackle (particularly if you’re working with a strict color scheme), but can be absolutely stunning if done right. If you decide that you want your wedding party to rock silk midi dresses in varying shades hues, it’s best to provide them with a range of shades that they can work with. One of the easiest ways is to pick up some paint chips in the same color scheme, so that they can use them as reference when they’re shopping. Everyone has a different idea of what “teal” means, so things such as paint chips and mood boards give them a visual reference.

If you’re working with a little bit of a looser color scheme, you can give them more broad guidance. For example, if you’re planning a beach elopement, you might ask them to purchase dresses in colors that can only be found in the ocean. This could be anything from seafoam green to coral, but will still complement each other beautifully since they’re being pulled from their natural surroundings.

Fabric:

Whether you decide to mix up the fabrics or have everyone rock sequin gowns, fabric is an important (but often overlooked) aspect of the mismatched look. If you want to keep it simple and classy, maybe you decide on knee-length, navy gowns in different materials, such as silk and lace. Or, maybe fabric is the common link and you have your maids rock velvet maxi dresses in varying, moody hues for your winter celebration. Whether you pick something relaxed (such as cotton) or more luxe (such as velvet or satin), it can make a big impression on the overall look of your big wedding day.

Though the above are some of the more common ways to mix it up, your options don’t stop there. A few other possibilities include:

Prints

Print dresses (especially florals) are growing in popularity, and they give you a whole new opportunity to mix it up, while also incorporating some personality. For example, for an intimate garden ceremony, you can have your maids wear gowns with dainty florals in varying hues. You can even pick a matching print, if you want it to be more cohesive. Or, maybe you want them to rock mismatched, vintage prints in melon and terracotta shades for a festival-style wedding weekend.

Convertible Dresses

These are the ultimate choice for the bride who thinks that she loves mismatched looks, but is nervous about coordination (or isn’t ready to commit). By choosing a convertible dress that can easily be altered, the bridesmaids can pick a style that works for them and have it be effortlessly cohesive without necessarily “matching.” It also gives the whole group the opportunity to purchase their dress and play around with looks before the big day. Just be sure that you pick a convertible bridesmaid dress styles that work with everyone’s budget.

Zola - Mismatched Bridesmaids Dresses: How to Pull Off the Look Photo Credit // Unsplash

Free Rein:

Even just five years ago, this wouldn’t have even been a consideration, but weddings are quickly changing with the times. If you trust your bridesmaids’ tastes and simply want them to rock a dress that they love on your big day, then go ahead and give them all the freedom in the world. While some may appreciate this, others may ask for additional guidance, so don’t be afraid to give them more general directions. This could be anything from “dark colors look best at our venue” to “look for something beachy.”

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola