Bridesmaid Dresses

How Bridesmaid Dresses Reveal More than Just a Little Leg

Our bridesmaid dresses, groom outfit, and décor color palette was inspired by my mother. She picked out her dress very early, in an unexpected color, but I really loved it once I saw it in person. Our wedding was in a bright, sunny location filled with saturated pastels, therefore I was put off by a dark sapphire blue. At first I thought, “How do I work with this?” I heard Bridezilla stomping in the distance and then realized I hadn’t picked out anything else for our wedding other than my own dress.

Bridesmaid dresses inspired by my mom

“Limitations Breed Creativity” is a mantra I often share with my team members at work. When there are as many choices as there are stars in the sky, we become overwhelmed, therefore keeping this mantra handy can help narrow one’s line of sight. Planning this wedding was a prime example – I didn’t know it but I was longing for creative restrictions left and right!

Key West Travel PosterWhat else could I do with this lovely dark, saturated blue? From our tour around Key West (when looking at venues) we learned that North East shipbuilders built much of the architecture in Old Town. They were transplants adding the flavors of gingerbread and cape-like styles to a very tropical island. In turn, there was something wonderful about how this new blue brought in a bit of New England flair. Let’s see how this fits in with the other dresses at hand.

What they don’t tell you about choosing bridesmaid color palettes is that you’re also choosing the colors of your entire wedding simultaneously. Everything usually has to work together to create a cohesive theme from dresses to pocket squares to table décor.


This went from a small fashion task to a spider web stretched across four different types of media and two different kinds of venues. The graphic designer in me was thrilled and utterly exhausted.

Okay, so I’ve got one color down… I need an accent color for things like bouquets, a neutral to help guide the groomsmen outfits, and a third smaller pop of color to balance things out before this begins to look like a two-tone brochure from the 70s…

Trying to be so damn original at every turn, I put my art school pride aside and decided if I find a color palette I like, and it’s already been done before, so be it.

Thank you Pinterest, for being a wealth of wedding color palette-ry. I found a few grids of navy, coral, and gold that just kept me coming back for more. Carla, my Matron of Honor, was great in this moment. “Well honey, if you keep going back to that color set, that may be the one.” She was right, and even if we hated it tomorrow, I was tired of obsessing over it. Let’s do this Navy/Coral thing!

wedding palette

My bridesmaids are the epitome of diversity, in culture, shape, and height. We’ve got a tall, leggy blond, a vivacious Italian, and a tiny but mighty Malaysian in the house! As with everyone that was invited to be apart of our big day, I really wanted to ensure these three amazing women could find a style, fit, and fabric that fit each of them. I passed the torch of further online research to my MoH and said, “Same color and fabric, but different styles so everyone can find something that fits. Cocktail length for sure – please don’t overheat at our wedding! I want you all to be as comfortable as possible.”

Because the girls were located in three different towns across two different states, they divided up tasks from afar. After teasing out what retailers matched everyone’s taste, Carla ordered fabric swatches to review their color and finish because Navy Blue can be filled with black magic sorcery. Sometimes it leans more cobalt and sometimes it’s so dark that it’s nearly two drops of “k” away from being 100% black. If that was the case, we may as well get black dresses. This seemed crazy for a casual, tropical wedding in 87 degree heat.

Bridesmaid Dresses swatches

More blue please!

After we conference called about the best swatches and fabric, Jenn volunteered to order the first few styles to see how the winning swatch looked as a full dress, but also to see how the fabric and construction felt (sometimes these things are made so poorly the worry becomes “will this fall apart when I’m doing the Cuban Shuffle later on the dance floor?”). Jenn popped over our house to give a little fashion show; we chose the best style for her and both approved of the color. Whew!

The remaining bridesmaids ordered styles that fit them best and began accessorizing. Carla, the MoH, took the lead on finding shoes for everyone, and all were ready to roll with a couple months to spare. Additionally, we now had a consistent theme for the entire wedding – couture, decor, and beyond. YAY!

bridesmaid dresses & groom
My Tommy Bahama groom and fabulous bridesmaids in blue & coral :)

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