Even if you’re not getting married, going to be in a wedding, or even attending a wedding, you know that bridesmaid dresses are the one thing everyone loves to hate.
And for good reason.
First of all, they are expensive. Honestly, a rayon-poly blend should never cost that much.
Secondly, no matter how flattering they are, seeing four or more other women in the same dress makes me hate my life.
Lastly, the chances of anyone wearing it again are roughly the same as you running for president.
I read somewhere that over sixty percent of arguments bridesmaids have with brides are about their dresses. It’s probably closer to 99 percent, but who actually keeps track of that sort of thing?
From the camo, the zebra, and the pink puff sleeves, I’m here to take you on a journey through the worst of the worst bridesmaid dresses.
I can’t decide whether I want to laugh or cry. Both are perfectly acceptable.
It’s clear to see through this photographic evidence why these time-honored taffeta traditions are such a sore spot. It’s hard to put on a smile when you’re about to be paraded in front of hundreds of people looking like a hot tulle mess.
Luckily, we have also compiled the best-dressed awards including shoes, hairstyles, jewelry and makeup that everyone can be happy and confident in.
Yes, it’s possible and they aren’t that hard to find.
Ahem – If you’re an upcoming bridesmaid, you might want to just share this article with your bride right now. You can thank me later.
Whether you want to be petty and manipulative and put your least favorite cousin that you HAD to include in your party in an ugly dress or you want all your besties to just be quiet AND look great for your wedding photos, I got your back.
If it doesn’t look like a Halloween costume or fit like a deflated balloon, it probably has the striking resemblance to a hand-me-down prom dress. Crazy colors or patterns draw attention to the bridal party while “traditional” is code for “looks like a tube sock.”
What to do when bridesmaids don’t like their dresses
Someone hates the color, someone can’t do strapless, and everyone feels fat.
But if you’re stuck on with a specific look you absolutely must have or all your wedding dreams will be destroyed, you’re in a tough spot.
On the one hand, you could compromise your perfect vision, or you could possibly be strangled by a bunch of pissed off women on your wedding day.
Start by finding out what the specific problem is, and no she can’t just say, “I just like really kinda hate it.” She has to give you a valid reason.
If it’s the color: Too damn bad.
I mean, kindly explain that you want a unified look and hopefully she can deal with it for a day. (Seriously though, sage green looks good on no one.)
If it’s the shape or fit: Get that shit tailored ladies. It’s not hard to raise the neckline, alter a waistline, add a sleeve, or buy a freaking wrap to make her feel more comfortable.
If it’s the cost: The cost for a decent bridesmaid getup should be under $150. If you spend more than that, you’re insane and your bridesmaids are definitely talking shit about it.
Keep the costs under control, it’s not super difficult to find a cheaper less-ugly dress somewhere else.
As an alternative, instead of picking dresses, just pick a color.
Head to your local hardware store and find a paint sample that is the exact color you’d like the bridesmaids to wear, ship the paint sample and ask them to show up in something of that color.
Let them pick and choose their own style and wear something they love. No stress on you, no pressure for them. That’s what we call a win-win.
Worst Shoes for Bridesmaids
It’s a wedding, not a strip club. Skip the 4-inch heels.
And unless you’re running a marathon after the wedding, running shoes are out, too.
While it’s “super cute’ to have something that represents you, if you force me to wear converse or cowboy boots, I can guarantee I’m not coming to the wedding.
The phrase “walk a mile in her shoes” exists for a reason. Don’t force your maids to wear shoes that are uncomfortable.
And most brides say “Oh, and you can wear the dress again!”
The shoes on the other hand (or foot in this case, har har har) really can be versatile enough to wear more than once. Better yet, let them wear shoes they already have. Your guests will probably not even notice the shoes unless everyone is walking down the aisle wincing in pain.
Ugly Hairstyles for Bridesmaids
Technically, bridesmaids should be able to stay quiet about the hairstyle if they hate it. But honestly, be kind.
Don’t make everyone look like Shirley Temple or Dolly Parton circa 1986.
And tiaras? No. You’re not a princess just because you have a pretty dress.
Even if your bridesmaids look beautiful every other day of the week, your wedding day is not just another Tuesday, and shouldn’t be treated like one.
Go for loose waves, a gorgeous and effortless look that stays all day long without a lot of fuss. You can also do an updo that is out of your face, but not slicked back too tight. Get something loose and sophisticated with no Aqua Net required.
Find professional hair and makeup stylists to help the bridesmaids with their look. If you (or they) can’t afford the professional help, enlist those who you trust with a curling rod to help those who haven’t taken their ponytail out in a year.
Worst Makeup for Bridal Party
Bad decision-making skills for wedding hair and makeup live on forever in wedding picture infamy. The last thing you want is one bridesmaid to look like Taylor Momsen while another looks like she stepped off the set of Little House on the Prairie.
Professional makeup is the best way to make your girls look like their ready for a wedding, not an 80s rock concert.
Even if your bridesmaid(s) love all things Kat Von D and have every Naked palette ever made, professional makeup on your wedding day helps everyone look unified. Traditionally, the cost of bridesmaid hair and makeup is split between the bridesmaids, but if that cost is too much to ask, and you can’t cover the cost yourself, find an aunt or cousin or someone you trust to help out.
It’s worth it, in the long run, to make sure everyone is looking their very best contoured self.
Beware of the Hold Out
Every wedding seems to have a “Hold Out” – the one bridesmaid who “doesn’t need help” with her hair and makeup. She has the glitter eyeshadow and caterpillar eyebrow techniques down pat and doesn’t want to tone it down. Or she’s never actually used mascara and brushes on her face give her the creeps.
Either way, make sure the Hold Out is forced strongly encouraged to use the same hair and makeup style as the others. Sometimes she might refuse the help because of the cost. In which case, it’s in your best interest to cover it for her.
You want to do everything to can to make sure this day isn’t about her and her peacock eyeshadow (That’s a thing. I’ve seen it).
Bad Jewelry for Bridesmaids
Guests might not notice their shoes, and different hairstyle may not be a big deal, but wedding jewelry is bound to be noticed.
You don’t want one walking down the aisle stacked up like she just finished playing Pretty Pretty Princess with a 5-year-old while another one is sporting her Velcro Timex sport watch and a Fitbit.
The best way to solve the bridesmaid jewelry dilemma is to make it a present (no one can say no to jewelry in a pretty box, right?)
Find a necklace/earring combo that you love and give it to them a few days before the wedding as a gift. Consider the neckline and color of the dresses and pick something that is simple and beautiful that everyone can enjoy.
The bridesmaids should be the supporting cast, not the joke of the party. It’s your big day, but we know you want your ladies to look and feel their best and do everything you can to help them feel as special as you know they are.
At the end of the day, they love you and want to make you happy, but they want to look good doing it. There will be single groomsman there, right?
Avoid any of these classic bad options that we hated then and continue to love to hate years later.