The Pros and Cons of Having Your Girls in Matching Gowns

The perks and drawbacks of selecting matching dresses for your 'maids.

The concept of your wedding aesthetic will likely arise quite often during the planning process. Planners, venue coordinators, even caterers will be curious as to the “look” of your big day, trying to blend every element expertly in order to achieve your desired motif.

Traditionally, this practice has also included the wedding attire of the bridal party. When selecting gowns for their bridesmaids, brides have been known to consult their girls, choose one dress, and have each 'maid buy it – or pay for the gowns themselves – to represent their wedding party status at the event. However, recently, more brides have elected to eschew this concept and work with each bridesmaid to pick different, but coordinating, gowns.

Which option is right for you? We’ve jotted down the perks and pitfalls of each to help you decide!

Pros

-  Bridal party symmetry. This is perhaps the number one reason that brides choose matching outfits for their gals. Each bridesmaid wearing the same dress lends itself to a certain symmetry for the day that many women crave. Additionally, the price for each dress is about as equal as you can get – minus the nuances of the alterations – which can equalize the group.

-  An overall simplified look. For minimalistic brides – or those who like solid tones and unbusy décor – having each girl in the same dress looks and feels cohesive and uncomplicated. Varying gowns can draw eyes every which way, but simple, matching ensembles focus attention on faces rather than outfits.

-  Upheld tradition for a classic affair. Many women seek to stay somewhat traditional on their big day: perhaps they’ve even imagined what their girls’ dresses would look like from an early age. Some may be unwilling to let go of a dream they’ve had since childhood – they uphold the notion that matching dresses accent an elegant, classic wedding perfectly.

Cons

-  Mixed preferences. Style and body type will undoubtedly come into play while searching for bridesmaid dresses. Since your ladies aren’t all one person, one body, or one mind, they’ll likely have preferences one way or the other, and those preferences might not always match up. You may be setting yourself up for some disagreements amongst your bridal party.

-  The tendency to be used as “props.” Matching dresses can signify unity, but they can also signify uniforms. If you know that your girls have different tastes, and yet you still insist they wear the same gown, you’re simply using your closest friends as props for your photo album. Causing a close friend to be miserable for the evening is reason enough to consider letting everyone choose their own ensemble.

-  One price, different budgets. Though purchasing the same gown makes everyone equal as far as the price point, that may not be a positive thing. As stated, your ‘maids are different people with different jobs and backgrounds: what one woman may be able to afford easily, another may not. If you’re not paying for the dresses yourself, this could spark some hurt and uncomfortable feelings, so it’s important to ask for everyone’s general budget privately.

For more wedding tips and ideas, discover the “pros” and “cons” of having a bridal party, hosting an unplugged ceremony, and throwing destination nuptials. 

Opening photo by KingenSmith

Authored by: Megan Simpson