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If you’ve ever been a bridesmaid, you know that one of the most glaring wedding stereotypes — the atrocious bridesmaid dress — is sometimes true. 27 Dresses, anyone? While most brides aren’t villains from a romantic comedy actively choosing to make their bridesmaids look worse than they do, it’s hard to pick a dress that looks good on 10, or even four, different bodies. As you start to think about choosing bridesmaids dresses for your squad, there are a few guidelines you can follow to make the process pleasant for both you and them.

With all wedding planning, put yourself in your guests’ — or bridesmaids’ — shoes. What was the best bridesmaids dress-shopping situation you remember being a part of? Did you love how relaxed the bride was when it came to taking suggestions? Did you love that your friend paid for all of the bridesmaids’ dresses? (Because let’s be real, who’s going to complain about a free dress?) Even if you can’t foot the bill for all of your bridesmaids’ dresses, you can keep the following considerations in mind to make sure everyone is feeling comfortable and attractive in what you ask them to wear on your special day. Because a happy tribe means a happy bride!

1. Remember That All Bodies Are Different

In a dream world, we would all embrace our bodies and be comfortable sharing them with the world, but in reality, people just feel comfortable with different parts of their bodies. A strapless gown may sound beautiful to you, but like a nightmare to a your busty friend. Plus the cookie cutter, “everyone wears the exact same thing” bridesmaid dress trend is tired.

2. Let Your Friends Choose Their Own Attire

Pick a designer you love or even just a color palette, and let your friends go from there. If you’re nervous about how cohesive the look will be overall, ask them if they wouldn’t mind showing you what they are thinking before purchasing. Pink and blush are two very different colors...

3. Pick A Look They’ll Want To Wear Again

The look of having a bridal party in white, floor-length gowns is gorgeous, but when are your pals really going to wear that dress again? Not to future weddings, that’s for sure. Consider timeless colors like black and navy, as well as shorter lengths for maximize the life of the dresses you’re asking your squad to purchase. And if you really want that all-white look? Find a deal and buy the dresses yourself.

4. Don’t Pick A Dress With An Enormous Price Tag

Yes, there are some gorgeous dresses out there, but asking your friends to spend $350 on a dress they didn’t technically pick out, on top of the bachelorette party and wedding travel and accomodations is a lot. Be thoughtful.

5. Consider A Rental Dress Option

Rent The Runway is the perfect way to provide your bridesmaids with pre-approved options that won’t cost them an arm and a leg. Especially since, let’s be real, they’ll probably only be wearing this dress once.

6. Try To Reach A Consensus

The best way to avoid drama and make sure everyone’s happy? Have your crew vote on the dress. Of course, not everyone will agree (and someone will be stuck in a dress they hate) so try setting up a Google Form wherein they rank three or four dress options. Whichever scores the highest wins. Your squad will appreciate the gesture, even if the results aren’t exactly what they hoped for.

Written by: Kimmy Foskett