A mis­match made in wed­ding-day heaven

More brides leav­ing matchy-matchy bri­dal par­ties be­hind

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - LIFE - LEANNE ITALIE

NEW YORK — Ali­son Kelly felt she had enough on her plate deal­ing with her own wed­ding gown and all the de­tails of her moun­tain get­away nup­tials with­out mi­cro­manag­ing how her bri­dal party would dress.

So in­stead, she asked her maid of hon­our — her sis­ter — and the rest of her bri­dal party to choose nat­u­ral tones to hon­our the in­for­mal Colorado lo­ca­tion that she and her hus­band had picked for their late sum­mer nup­tials, and to wear styles that made them feel good.

“I’m sur­rounded by women who make their own de­ci­sions and are strong and in­de­pen­dent. There’s no way I could tell any of them what to wear,” Kelly said with a laugh.

She was thrilled with the re­sults — a soft mix of rose blush, light red, ivory and taupe that proved the per­fect com­ple­ment to her own white gown. The brides­maids wore match­ing rings of flow­ers on their heads. The groom’s party was also not matchy-matchy. He wore light grey, his best man was in black and the other grooms­men were in darker grey. Iden­ti­cal bou­ton­nieres tied their looks to­gether.

While brides have been giv­ing their stand-up loved ones greater free­dom from the con­straints of more tra­di­tional — of­ten hideous — match­ing con­fec­tions, they now seem to be tak­ing the mis­match brides­maid trend a step fur­ther. Match­ing colours in dif­fer­ent sil­hou­ettes or iden­ti­cal dye lots for dif­fer­ent styles of dresses have given way to com­pletely dif­fer­ent cuts, tex­tures and colours.

“They did so well,” Kelly said. “They kept show­ing me the pic­tures of what they were think­ing ... I trusted them, and it ended up be­ing much bet­ter than I imag­ined.”

The trend is well rep­re­sented on the re­tail side. David’s Bri­dal, with more than 330 stores lo­cated in Canada, the U.S., Mex­ico and the U.K., has an on­line sec­tion of mis­matched brides­maids op­tions with ad­vice on how to make the con­cept work, from us­ing the same colour in dif­fer­ent styles to choos­ing wildly dif­fer­ent fab­rics, lengths, sil­hou­ettes, colours, prints and em­bel­lish­ments.

One sug­ges­tion from the com­pany: Select dif­fer­ent shades of the same colour, but in­clude light, medium and dark shades to al­low for an om­bre gra­da­tion. For large wed­ding par­ties, mix in some pale neu­trals that will off­set the over­all pal­ette.

Shel­ley Brown, fash­ion and beauty ed­i­tor for The Knot, said the idea of mis­matched brides­maids dresses is pick­ing up speed as more brides look for ways to per­son­al­ize their wed­dings.

Com­plete free­dom of choice can go wrong, so Brown sug­gests that brides pro­vide some broad guide­lines. If it’s a su­per-for­mal wed­ding, for in­stance, a short dress likely wouldn’t work, Brown said. Nor would a more in­for­mal fab­ric like jersey, she added. Some brides who want to of­fer choice in colour with­out los­ing con­trol al­to­gether may want to of­fer paint chips as a guide.

“One of my favourite ways to in­ter­pret this trend is to pick a re­ally sub­tle, neu­tral colour like blush or nude or even a very soft pewter and then let your girls choose what em­bel­lish­ments or sil­hou­ettes they like,” Brown said. “They could do rose gold se­quins if they want to, maybe some­one else has a lace dress and some­one has some kind of separates hap­pen­ing. That way your girls get to show some of their per­son­al­i­ties.”

Syd­ney Broad­head of Nashville, Tenn., who got mar­ried in May 2016, said she went way out of the box when it came to her brides­maids’ dresses.

“I had sev­eral brides­maids of vary­ing sizes, dif­fer­ent body types, and I wanted dresses that were go­ing to make them feel more com­fort­able,” she said.

She wanted ro­man­tic tones but the over­all vibe was eclec­tic. “I had one girl in gold and an­other in pink. One was in me­tallics. My sis­ter was in red. One had a beaded top. It came to­gether very or­gan­i­cally,” Broad­head said.

She set few guide­lines on styles and fab­rics but made it clear she pre­ferred longer dresses. She an­chored the bri­dal party by putting grooms­men in the same suit with match­ing red ties and bou­ton­nieres to help ground the mis­match on the other side of the aisle.

“The tra­di­tional every­body match­ing idea felt a lit­tle un­in­ven­tive,” Broad­head said. “I was fine with try­ing some­thing new.”


Ali­son Reed, cen­tre, of Colorado Springs, Colo., stands with her bri­dal party in Vail, Colo. Reed chose to al­low her bridese­maids lee­way in the colours and styles of dresses they wore. Ex­perts say mis­matched brides­maids dresses are a grow­ing trend as more brides per­son­al­ize their wed­dings.

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