A bride isn’t the only lady who wants to look and feel fabulous on the big day; the bridesmaids also relish the chance to dress-up in a once-in-a-lifetime gown and glide down the aisle like a superstar at the Oscars.
You might not want your maids to "pull a Pippa" (being upstaged in the same way the Duchess of Cambridge was by her sister, Pippa Middleton, is never ideal) but the more beautiful and stylish they look, the more elegance, flair and fashion you can add to your wedding day. There are so many gorgeous colours, cuts and bridesmaid trends to choose from that you are bound to find something to suit your taste, your wedding theme and your budget – as well as making the girls smile.
We've chosen five of our favourite bridesmaid options to give you some inspiration.
Nothing is quite as special as having a dress made just for you, and your bridesmaids will love the experience of having a truly unique gown to wear for the occasion – and in the future, whenever a suitably special occasion comes along.
If you’re worried that having bespoke bridesmaid dresses will be too expensive, take a look at Maids to Measure, where a new "Design Online" service goes live on Valentine’s Day 2012. Every Maids to Measure dress is priced £195, making it an affordable choice, and the online service is fast and easy to use offering a range of colours, styles and fabrics, along with a convenient measurement guide.
Lots of brides are leaving it later in life to tie the knot, which means that bridesmaids are getting a little older too. If your maids are in their late 20s, 30s or 40s, you might struggle to get them into matching, prom-style dresses – but never fear, there are plenty of other options available. Petticoats are a no-no, but longer, elegant maxi styles work perfectly if your bridesmaids are over 25 – and a trendy shade, like electric blue, will enhance the look.
Another one of our favourite bridesmaid tricks was employed by Carrie Bradshaw in the first Sex and the City movie, when Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha wore different dresses in black, blue and red, respectively. As these gorgeous Mori Lee dresses show, contrasting colour block is the perfect way to make your bridesmaids feel fabulously fashionable.
High street bridesmaids
You don’t have to shop for bridesmaid dresses in bridal shops; the high street is a great choice if your bridesmaids want to be fashion-forward, or if you have a tight budget to work with. Coast has a wide range of beautiful bridesmaid dresses, with styles including maxi and short, strapless dresses, along with gorgeous accessories, like faux fur shrugs and satin cover ups. Most of the stunning styles come in a range of colours, and expect to pay around £170 for a full-length dress.
Spring bridesmaids can be the most beautiful as seasonal colours complement your bridal gown perfectly and help to create a mood that is fresh, optimistic and idyllic. By choosing a classic spring colour you will really let the outside in; giving the girls bunches of daffodils, tulips or ranunculus will make your spring bridesmaids shine even brighter. We love Veromia's sensational, season-perfect styles in a fresh green shade or with a splash of sunny yellow; suitable for both older bridesmaids and your younger flowergirls. Keep hair and make-up simple, with rosy cheeks and lots of lip gloss, to keep the spring theme going, and accessorise fashionably with strappy sandals in a contrasting pastel colour.
Little girls are now more fashion savvy than ever before, so be prepared for your flower girl to have high expectations when it comes to her dress. Choosing matching dresses for your bridesmaids and flower girl can be a challenge if you want all ages to be happy, but with a few subtle differences in the neckline and length of the dress, this can look truly stunning.
True Bridesmaid's matching dresses provide the ideal example; sweet and feminine in pale pink, the black sash and embellishments on this style add a very fashionable edge to a beautiful dress that looks as good on a grown-up as it will on your extra-special little lady.