The Best Bridesmaid Dresses That Your Friends Will Actually Love Wearing

We've found 25 of the best gowns you can buy online.

bridesmaid dresses

by Natalie Hammond |
Updated on

If you want to lose friends and alienate people, ask them to be in your bridal party. This is what you've been programmed to think after years of watching romcoms where hideous outfits are inescapable (27 Dresses) and everyone seems on the verge of a nervous breakdown (Bachelorette). But it doesn't have to be like this when it comes to bridesmaid dresses.

In fact, choosing what your best friends are going to wear to accompany you down the aisle should be one of the fun parts of the wedding-planning process (much less stressful than, say, hiring a venue, booking a band, deciding on canapés or going head-to-head with your fiancé about whether cocktails should be included in the open bar). To help, we've put together a comprehensive guide to bridesmaid dresses, from minimal to maximal, midi to maxi.

Rachael Martin bridesmaids dresses
Rachael Martin's bridesmaids wearing Rixo ©Kat Mervyn

But before you start shopping, the first decision to make is whether you actually want your bridesmaids to coordinate. A lot of modern brides are choosing to let their maids pick their own dresses within a set colour scheme or even without any guidelines whatsoever, a hands-off approach that keeps everyone happy. A middle ground between exactly the same dress for everyone and mismatched dresses is to find a retailer who uses the same material to make a wealth of dress options like Rixo, which is exactly the approach that Rachael Martin, Grazia's Junior Beauty Editor, decided to take for her wedding last year.

'Ensuring each of my bridesmaids felt comfortable in their dresses was so important to me – that’s why I opted for Rixo,’ says Rachael. ‘I chose a mixture of pale, pastel colours in different designs – there was a halter-neck, a button down and a wrap dress, and I felt like their versatility flattered each of their unique body shapes perfectly. Bridesmaid dresses can be so expensive too – I had six, so it was a considerable investment. With this in mind, I really wanted to choose something my bridesmaids could wear again, whether it be at another wedding as a guest or even at a picnic with trainers in the summer. I felt like the Rixo dresses really achieved the dressy but effortless vibes I had envisioned for my wedding day’.

Other retailers to try include Reformation, Rewritten and Ghost, whose dresses run the gamut from jewel-toned to soft-power pastels. A note on colour schemes: for something dramatic - and decidedly unexpected - you could opt for black bridesmaid dresses, which would look particularly chic at a registry office wedding in the city. For a summer wedding, especially if it's abroad, the sky's the limit when it comes to bold shades like orchid pink and lime green (yes, really). Winter weddings, meanwhile, tend to suit darker hues with a hint of richness like burgundy, gold and navy. And if you're looking to save some money, while suiting the collected tastes of your assembled maids, you could even rent your bridesmaid dresses.

Keep scrolling to see the 26 best bridesmaid dresses you can buy online right now.

SHOP: The Best Bridesmaid Dresses

Maids To Measure, Eadie Satin Cowl Back Dress Blush PinkMaids To Measure

Maids To Measure's satin, cowl-back dress is the perfect choice for your bridal party. The flattering shape and subtle cap sleeves look super chic, while the open back allows your maids to dial up the drama ever so slightly.

If you're after something effortlessly chic for your bestie's upcoming wedding, look no further than the Nova Tie Back dress. Made using 100% deadstock materials, the deep neckline and open back is just what you need to dance the night away. OMNES has also just launched the most beautiful selection of minimalistic bridesmaid dresses.

Pretty Lavish, Keisha Chiffon Maxi Bridesmaid DressPretty Lavish

Looking for the perfect sage green dress, a very popular shade in the world of bridesmaid dresses? Pretty Lavish has a great selection of styles and colours that promise not to break the bank. This classic maxi dress is complete with a flattering cowl neck and pretty back detail.

Whistles has a famously good bridesmaids edit on its website, with a selection of classic styles that still feel modern. Available in sizes 4-20, this strapless maxi dress is no exception, with a traditional-with-a-twist silhouette that means it stops at the ankle. For shoe-mad bridesmaids, this has got to be the one.

It might sound like a cliché, but your bridesmaids will really want to wear this dress after the big day is done and dusted. Rixo's easy-to-wear yet elegant slip dress comes in seven different shades, but the sage green is a particularly good choice for spring. Available in sizes 6-20, this will almost certainly get an 'I do' from your bridesmaids.

ASOS Design, Bridesmaid Satin Midi Dress With Tie Back In Blush
Price: £88 (was £110)

www.asos.com

ASOS should be a first port of call for any bride who's looking for something affordable that doesn't compromise on 'fashion' details. Take this satin midi dress, which has a flared skirt that finishes at the ankle and a bow-tie back that will create the perfect 'ahhh' moment as your girlfriends walk up the aisle.

Needle & Thread's modus operandi is embellishment - and lots of it, which is perfect if your bridesmaids like a sequin (or several). This long-sleeved frock is ideal for a winter ceremony, with its sheer long sleeves, spangled bodice and frou-frou skirt.

For a black-tie themed wedding celebration, Self-Portrait's dress selection is hard to beat. Although it's famous for its cut-work floral detailing, this sequinned dress - finished with thousands of paillettes to create a shimmering teal surface - is the high-octane way to do bridesmaid dressing.

Part of the oh-so-sweet collaboration between J.Crew, America's high street hero, and Anna October, the womenswear brand founded in Ukraine, this side-split dress combines lingerie detailing with a sugary colour palette to make the perfect bridesmaid dress for fashion girlies.

H&M, Silk Dress
Price: £139.99

www2.hm.com

Black might sound like an unusual colour for a bridal party dress code, but, then, it is universally chic, especially if you're having a city wedding. H&M's silk take has an almost athletic silhouette that will look very cool with dark sunglasses and plenty of diamanté.

Monsoon has a wealth of choice when it comes to bridesmaids dresses, whether your friends are minimalists or maximalists. This elegant halter-dress, with just a whisper of lace, is particularly worthy of note.

Yellow isn't a colour you see often on bridal websites, but this warm gold shade is particularly good. Ghost is also a very safe bet when it comes to bridesmaids dresses, with its signature fluid material a staple for nuptials far and wide.

Coast is another high street destination for reliable bridesmaids dresses. This blush number is perfect if your friends would prefer to cover their shoulders, while the bow-tied back is a subtle yet statement-making detail that will photograph beautifully.

Warehouse, Tassel Beaded Strappy Midi Dress
Price: £101.40 (was £169)

www.warehousefashion.com

This beaded frock certainly isn't for the faint of heart. But for something head-turning that is guaranteed to create waves at a hot-weather wedding, Warehouse's showgirl approach to bridesmaid dresses gets our vote.

Another great option for a black-tie wedding comes in the form of this dress by Atsu. Bows! Ruffles! The message, clearly, is the bolder, the better - and we couldn't agree more.

Asceno's resortwear is unparalleled, but it also makes slip dresses (in both silk and silk-velvet) that would most definitely pass muster on the bridal circuit.

Made using 100% recycled polyester, Omnes' emerald green dress ticks the sustainable box from multiple angles because, with an easy-to-wear silhouette and sunny shade, it can double as a date-night dress on special occasions.

With its ankle-sweeping length and corsage-embellished neckline, this would be the ultimate bridesmaid dress for upping the ante to a 10.

For a slinkily sexy bridesmaid dress, it's got to be Reformation. Its Senna dress, available in block colours as well as blooming floral prints, has a thigh-high split that would look fabulous at the height of summer.

For Millennials who remember fluttery ruffles from the first time round, this dress will either be perfectly nostalgic or a step too far down memory lane. Personally, I think its orchid pink shade and silk fluidity would make a surprisingly chic bridesmaid dress.

Kate Middleton is a big fan of Jenny Packham, often wearing the designer's gowns for more formal public occasions or red carpet premieres. This sequinned dress, with a plunging necklace and a sea-foam green shade, would make your bridesmaid a very happy woman indeed.

For summer nuptials, M&S has the dress equivalent of a sunny-side-up, with pretty lace details and an on-point square neckline.

You don't often see printed bridesmaid dresses, but there's a blooming nice crop over at Nobody's Child, the ultimate high street destination for dresses your friends will be desperate to wear to future weddings.

French Connection's halter-neck is a pleasingly '90s approach to a bridesmaids-appropriate dress, with an off-white shade and a minimal silhouette that could have come straight out of everyone's favourite style decade.

For girly girls, this velvet dress complete with a spray of flowers at the hem couldn't be more fitting.

Made using a fluid jacquard-printed fabric, Kitri's maxi dress is a demure choice that can be dressed up with sling-back heels or down with sandals.

Rewritten, Soho Wide-Leg Bridesmaid Jumpsuit
Price: £110 (was £150)

www.johnlewis.com

Rewritten is one of the most bankable labels for bridesmaid dresses that never miss, but what if your friends aren't partial to dresses? No matter, the brand also has this oh-so-elegant jumpsuit with flaring wide legs for a hint of drama.

Where are the best places to get bridesmaid dresses?

There are a plethora of brands worth bookmarking that specifically cater to bridesmaid dresses. Maids To Measure is one you've probably seen on Instagram; ditto NABBD, Not Another Boring Bridesmaids Dress, which, as you might expect given the promising name, has everything from slip dresses with spaghetti straps to strapless gowns that would definitely tick the black-tie box. Rewritten, which has a selection of dresses and jumpsuits on John Lewis, is also a safe bet, with satin maxi dresses that start from £85.

Other notable brands known for having brilliant bridesmaid offerings are Ghost, Reformation, Self-Portrait and the aforementioned Rixo, whose collection spans some of its best-selling shapes in pretty blossom prints, with a variety of pastel shades available. Ghost's silk dresses are great if you want your bridesmaids to wear the same colour but have the flexibility to choose their own shape, whether that's a traditional maxi dress with a cowl neck or something long-sleeved and slightly shorter.

And then there's the high street. Whistles has always made some of the best wedding dresses on the affordable end of the scale, and it also has some tempting options for bridesmaids. ASOS is another winner when it comes to a wide variety, while Monsoon, whose dresses start from £110, has multi-way dresses that can be tied into different designs if your bridesmaids want to customise their looks.

What Are The Best Bridesmaids Dresses For Curve Figures?

Brands with a wealth of plus-size bridesmaid dresses include ASOS, where you can filter its bridesmaid dresses by fit. Several high street brands have also made efforts to make their bridal selections as size-inclusive as possible (Monsoon goes up to UK 24; Needle & Thread goes up to UK 22; Whistles goes up to UK 20). Reformation's curve range of dresses, which goes from UK 18-28, has every kind of dress you could imagine wanting to wear to your friend's wedding, from red hot minis to tie-shouldered floral sundresses.

Natalie Hammond is Grazia’s Senior Fashion News Editor. She loves winter, hates summer and can often be found writing about the weather (and what on earth to wear).

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