Maid of Honor Dresses

Couture gown by Ivika Skoko
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Selecting possible dresses for a maid of honor is a process some brides find challenging. A few tips can reduce stress levels, such as how to find a flattering style and color. Other considerations include choosing dresses in keeping with the overall wedding theme and color scheme, especially formal vs informal styles.

Who Chooses the Dress?

Typically, the bride chooses the dress styles for the bridesmaids and the maid of honor. Since the maid of honor is usually someone very close to the bridesmaid, such as a close friend, sister, or other close relative, the bride may discuss her ideas for colors and styles of the dresses with the maid of honor. Helping to choose the dress can be one of the maid of honor's duties, but the maid of honor should discuss, give her opinions on, and help shop for dresses only if the bride is requesting her input.

Some brides also decide to choose a specific color for the dress, and allow the maid of honor to choose her own dress style in that color, or they may request that the maid of honor wear a slightly different but coordinating color compared to the other bridal party dresses.

Who Pays?

While the bride chooses the dress style, the maid of honor is responsible for the cost of her own dress, along with any alterations, shoes, accessories or wraps, and lingerie. By agreeing to hold the role of maid of honor, a woman also implicitly agrees to cover these costs. Sometimes the bride may gift jewelry to wear on the day of the wedding to the maid of honor and the bridesmaids. The maid of honor should always check with the bride, however, before donning any other jewelry or accessories.

Options in Maid of Honor Dresses

gown by Oscar de la Renta
A black and white short gown is stylish.

As traditional wedding norms continue to change and evolve, there is increased flexibility in all aspects of modern weddings, including maid of honor dresses. While the dress should fit the style, season, atmosphere, and theme (if applicable) of the wedding, there are an incredible array of choices when it comes to narrowing down the dress. Choices include:

  • Formal gowns
  • Semi-formal dresses
  • Long and short styles
  • Two piece dresses
  • Casual dresses
  • Designer and custom dresses
  • Off the rack dress styles

Brides may choose to have the maid of honor wear a dress that is the same what will be worn by the rest of the bridesmaids or choose a different dress for the maid of honor. For example, the maid of honor might wear:

  • A dress in a different style, but same color, as the bridesmaids.
  • A dress that is the same style but a different color than the bridesmaids.
  • A dress that is different in both color and style, but that still harmonizes with the wedding color and scheme.

Occasionally a bride may have more than one maid of honor, or a maid and a matron of honor. In these cases, she can choose to dress the maids/matrons of honor the same or give them each a distinct dress.

Considerations by the Bride

Choosing a dress for the maid of honor to wear can be difficult, but having a brief checklist can help brides determine the right style. While the bride should certainly consider her own desires for what the maid of honor's dress will be, keeping in mind other aspects can help her choose a dress that everyone is ultimately happy with. Aspects to consider might include:

  • The maid of honor's body shape: Taking into consideration the maid of honor's body shape, and any special sizing needs (such as plus-sized or petite), and choosing a flattering style will help her look and feel her best, and that ultimately makes the wedding day better all around.
  • The maid of honor's personality and style: If your maid of honor is an extremely conservative dresser, for example, wearing a racy red gown for your Las Vegas themed wedding might make her extremely uncomfortable. If a bride can accommodate her maid of honor's preferences without sacrificing the overall style of the wedding, it will make everyone happier.
  • Budget: Considerate brides will take into account the fact that the maid of honor may not be able to afford pricy designer gown. Looking at reasonable priced or discount dresses can yield many wonderful choices, and the maid of honor will appreciate the consideration.
  • Choosing a look that compliments, but doesn't compete with, the bridal gown: Even if the maid of honor's gown stands out as a bit different from the other bridesmaids, the dress should complement the overall wedding attire and should never compete with the bride's gown.

Stunning, stylish maid of honor dresses aren't difficult to find in today's market. A little thought to color, style, and the maid of honor herself can result in a dress that fits the wedding - and the maid of honor - perfectly.

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Maid of Honor Dresses