Ah, this is one of my favorite wedding questions: where can I find bridesmaid dresses that aren’t bridesmaid dresses? This question came into our inbox from Sara who wants to know the scoop on planning out perfectly non-traditional bridesmaid dresses for her crew to wear.
There’s a funny thing about bridesmaid dresses: many people say you can wear them again, and while that is sometimes true, most of them still have that bridal party appearance that dissuades you from rocking it as a wedding guest dress. This is a true story for me: I donated many bridesmaid dresses I thought I would wear again, but truthfully, it just doesn’t usually happen that way.
So, what’s a bride to do when you want bridesmaids to wear the dresses again? You shop alternative bridesmaid dresses! That means the fun is about to begin. :)
Here’s what she writes:
“Hi Emmaline! I’m looking for non-bridesmaid dresses if that makes sense. I’m hoping my bridesmaids (4 in total) will want to actually wear their dresses again. Do you have any tips on what will work as bridesmaid dresses that aren’t bridesmaid dresses? Hope you can steer me in the right direction. Thank you!”
In this blog post, you’ll discover many bridesmaid dresses that aren’t bridesmaid dresses per se but will work just the same.
Non Bridesmaid Dresses
When you’re shopping for alternative dresses that bridesmaids will wear again, use these tips:
Shop for dress styles in solid colors
You don’t have to limit your selection to solid colors, but it looks better in photographs vs. a busy design or floral pattern.
You want your bridesmaids to still look like the bridal party, so make sure you choose a dress that makes them stand out in the spotlight — but is also flattering.
Pick a long-length OR short-length dress
Depending on the season, you’ll want to choose either a long-length dress for warmth in cooler months or a shorter hem for the hot, humid temps.
Choose the proper formality
Typically, formal weddings call for long-length dresses and short dresses (mini or midi) are best for cocktail dress codes. Maxi dresses with an informal flair are best for lowkey and casual receptions.
The only key here is you’ll want the dress to be fancy enough for a formal wedding; moreover, you want the dress to be casual enough for a laidback event.
Decide on color OR style
You can have fun with these dresses: choose the same dress for all bridesmaids, if you like, or mix it up! Choose one color and let bridesmaids choose any dress they like in that shade. On the other hand, you can choose the style and have a palette of shades and have bridesmaids each wear a different, complementing color.
Here’s an example:
It’s up to you! That’s one of the fun parts of choosing bridesmaid dresses that aren’t bridesmaid dresses. It’s a bit of a twist!
Where to Shop Non-Traditional Bridesmaid Dresses
The best place to shop for alternative styles is, in my opinion, Lulu’s. Don’t go to the regular dress section, but rather their “bridesmaid” section. It may be called a bridesmaid section but the dresses are appropriate for many occasions and are formal enough for a wedding.
Another section to check out is the “guest dress” area here. It has a lot of great options, particularly if you want a short mini-length or midi-length dress.
And since it’s not your typical “bridesmaid” store, you won’t be spending the same amount of money you would normally spend; the dresses won’t have that bridal party look in the same fashion, either.
If you choose one color from the collection, you’ll be able to mix and match other styles in that shade easily, too.
The prices are amazingly affordable, yet the quality is there!
I love shopping in this collection, particularly for wedding guest dresses. It’s my favorite! And the dresses won’t look like typical bridesmaid dresses. Win-win-win.
Here are some non-traditional dresses for your bridesmaids to wear based on popularity by real reviewers. You can see the reviews for yourself here.
1. + 2. Plunging V-Neck Maxi, $89
Oh, these maxi dresses are perfect! I love this royal blue color and the cut of this dress. I also adore it in magetna, shown below. Shop here.
3. Emerald Green Column Maxi Dress, $84
The perfect shade for winter weddings! Get it here.
4. Teal Green Floral Print Maxi, $89
A long length, strappy neckline, and pretty floral print make this a great non-traditional bridal party dress. Shop here.
5. Darted Bodice Navy Blue Dress, $99
This dress is amazing! It is made with a medium-weight knit and has tapered straps, a darted bodice, and a v-neck on the front and back. I love the flared mermaid hem. This is one of those bridesmaid dresses that will get plenty of wear again. Shop here.
6. One-Shoulder Maxi Dress, $78
A stylish dress with a maxi length, a beautiful one-shoulder neckline, and a flowy chiffon skirt. This dress is made for dancing! Get it here.
7. Wine Satin Mock Neck Maxi, $84
Ooh, I love this dress! A mock neck dress is so versatile!
8. Ruffle One-Shoulder Classic Black Gown, $89
Ooh-la-la! This little black dress will look elegant as bridesmaid dresses that aren’t bridesmaid dresses (technically). Get it here.
9. Tie-Strap Maxi Dress, $89
A cute square neck and tie-straps makes this a one-of-a-kind dress! Love it in both terracotta and mustard yellow, shown below.
10. Light Blue-Grey Maxi, $89
This off-the-shoulder dress is so elegant! Buy it here.
11. Hunter Green Halter Dress, $84
A stylish halter with lace inset that she’ll love to rock down the aisle — and again! Get it here.
12. Long-Sleeve Lace Maxi Dress in Burgundy, $89
Lovely, especially during these fall and winter months! Get it here.
13. Green Jumpsuit, $72
Who says bridesmaids have to wear dresses at all? Go with a jumpsuit for a fun twist! This green jumpsuit is just one of the many bridesmaid jumpsuits from which to choose. Buy here.
(P.S. See more jumpsuits here.)
14. Bright Magenta Satin Maxi, $79
Ah, a satin dress in a bright shade of magenta: a perfect twist on traditional bridesmaid dresses! Available here.
15. Hunter Green Cutout Midi, $69
Now THIS is a cute dress! I love the asymmetrical style, the one-shoulder neckline, and the chic cutout. A fun alternative to a traditional bridesmaid dress, for sure! Get it here.
16. Long Emerald Green Maxi, $85
What a gorgeous dress! I love the lace on the front and the back. Get it here.
17. Dusty Purple Velvet Maxi, $99
I love everything about this non bridesmaid bridesmaids dress: it has a v-neckline, a long maxi skirt, and a beautiful shade of velvet in a dusty purple color. Very classy! Get it here.
18. Plum Bodycon Midi, $52
Perfect alternative bridesmaid dress for a less formal wedding! I love the midi length. Shop here.
19. Forest Green Mermaid Maxi, $89
I love this dress! It’s shown in forest green but there are many other colors available to suit your color palette, too! See the options here.
20. Cowl Neck Velvet Maxi, $84
This unique marigold velvet dress is a perfect choice for a non-traditional bridesmaid dress! I love the simple yet elegant style. Buy here.
21. Swiss Tulle Dot Dress in Navy, $78
A pretty midi-length dress for a bridesmaid to wear! Buy here.
22. Classic Black Dress, $72
Finally: a bridesmaid dress they’ll get plenty of wear! A classic black dress never goes out of style and this length is perfect for many occasions. Buy here.
23. Midnight Blue Off-the-Shoulder Midi, $62
This dress goes with everything! Get it here.
24. Navy Blue One-Shoulder Midi, $72
This dress is effortlessly chic! Love it in navy blue as shown here. Shop now.
Now that you’ve seen some examples, what are your favorite non bridesmaid dress styles? Is there a favorite on the list? Tell me in the comment box below!