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Bridal Style: Squad Goals

With an emphasis on individuality and fresh takes on coordination, experts weigh in on the top bridesmaid dress trends they’re seeing in 2021.
Sara Hubbard

A bride is only as happy as her bridesmaids – so keeping her best friends in tip-top style should be a priority at any wedding. Gone are the days of horrifying bridesmaids dresses, and instead we’re welcoming in a new era of mixing, matching and, most of all, making sure the bridal party looks and feels as good as the bride herself. Times are changing in the world of bridesmaids, and we’ve talked to experts on their forecasts for the next big trends in dresses, hair, makeup and more. If you’re at a loss for how to have a cohesive bridal party look while still letting your bridesmaids’ individuality shine through, take a scroll down to explore our tips!

Black is the new black
Traditional whites and pastels may be taking a backseat this season in favor of edgier and fresher dark hues. Contrasting the bride’s white number with ebony bridesmaids dresses can make for a visually stunning juxtaposition and communicate fashion-forward sensibilities. “Who said it was in poor taste for you to wear black to a wedding? Black is back and big, from accessories, dresses, stripped handles on bouquets, to black fur stoles and clutch bags,” says Deborah James of Bella Vita Events.

Play with pastels
If the idea of black at your wedding makes you shudder, pastels will always be an elegant choice.  What’s more, the floral hues can even help alleviate wedding-day stress and jitters. “There is a psychology to the type of emotions colors evoke,” says Dee Lee of Dee Lee Designs. “Spring and pastel go hand in hand. It is calming and creates a sense of sophistication.”

Shake up traditional notions of coordination
There was a time when having every bridesmaid wear the exact same dress was in vogue, but 2021 is not that time. Instead, fashion-forward brides are opting for complementary but not identical looks. Not only does this provide more visual depth to your bridal party’s look, but it also ensures your best friends will feel most like themselves (and not resent you later for forcing them into unsightly dresses). “Matchy–matchy is out, wear the color the bride requests, but in the style that best suits your body type and personality,” Dee says.

Have fun with patterns
Mixing and matching patterns gives your wedding a fresh feel. Think of patterns as a neutral and take it from there. The key to making sure your bridal party doesn’t look like one of your grandmother’s quilts is to provide a unifying theme. Give your bridesmaids some guidelines – florals, lace, a certain color palette – and watch as you, the bride, are relieved of the stress of having to pick out dresses that please everyone.

Tie in your floral design
If you don’t know where to start with deciding on a look for your bridesmaids, consider turning to your floral design. Coordinating bridal party looks with the flora and fauna of your celebration’s aesthetic can lend itself to a subtle sense of cohesion and unity. If your arbor and aisle are draped in blush-hued arrangements, try a similar palette for your bridesmaids dresses to bring it all together. And be sure to have their bouquets be in contrasting tones to provide some dimension.

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