Bridesmaid dress: What to do if you don’t like yours

The first time I was a bridesmaid I hated my dress. It was an olive green satin dress with a sweetheart neckline and a purple sash – a colour combination that suits exactly no one.

I should probably caveat this with the fact that it was the 2000s, my aunt’s wedding, and I was pre-pubescent so nothing fit properly. Yet, still to this day it’s a dress that haunts me.

As one of the first of my friend group to get married, I haven’t yet had the honour of being a bridesmaid as an adult, but I have had a hand in selecting the bridesmaids dresses for both of my weddings. (Yes, there were two, to the same guy. TLDR: We’re from different countries so we had two celebrations).

The first wedding saw two of my bridesmaids wear a rust Oasis midi dress with a floral print pattern and spaghetti straps. The other bridesmaid wore a dress in the same fabric but halter neck instead. For my second wedding, my bridesmaid wore a pinky-terracotta midi dress with a cowl neck from Shona Joy.

Picking out the dresses was a collaborative job. I would send them links to dresses I loved, or they would share links with me, and we came to a decision together. For me, it was so important that they loved their dress. Now two of them have reworn their dresses to other events which I’m so happy about.

Yet, some bridesmaids don’t always get to wear the dress they want. In fact, a recent study from Fizz Box found that 66% of bridesmaids have hated the colour of their dress, while 21% have been given a dress that didn’t fit them correctly.

“I’ve heard countless stories of bridesmaids not liking their dresses and nine times out of 10 it’s an uphill battle for the bride to even find a dress that suits all the bridesmaids altogether,” Jennifer Katherine Crooks, dressmaker and Founder of The Secret Fitting Room, says.

“We have also had countless bridesmaids in our studio who maybe forget the experience isn’t all about them. I remember one bridesmaid in particular who actually sent back their dress without the bride knowing and produced a different one at the fitting. This didn’t go down well.”

Rather than trading in your dress without telling the bride (because, yikes!) Lucy Menghini, founder of Six Stories recommends having a respectful and constructive conversation with the bride instead.

“Start by having an open conversation where you express your thoughts and concerns regarding the dress,” Menghini advises. “It’s crucial to approach the situation with understanding and compromise, aiming to find a solution that balances the bride’s vision with your comfort and personal style.”

Crooks suggests approaching the conversation gently so as not to upset the bride who may have had their vision laid out “for months, if not years”.

Before having the conversation, Crooks says it’s worth asking yourself what it is you don’t like about the dress.