(Photo by Shannon DeCelle Photography)
Lindsey went with all the dresses in the same color and length but let the girls choose the style they liked best. You can see there are halter tops, strapless, and strapped tops all in this group. This look can only be pulled off when you choose dresses all from one line from one designer, because going with too many different variables will come of as mismatched and awkward. But here in this picture the overall look is still cohesive because all of the fabric is the same and the skirts all match.
As an added note, Lindsey also pulled in the secondary color of her wedding – the Tiffany blue – in her junior bridesmaid (see the blue sash?) and her flower girl. Too cute!!
(Photo by Hillary Harvey)
Christie planned a fall wedding and decided to go with four different colors and three different styles of dress for her bridesmaids. Keeping with a fall theme she chose the shades of red, tan, brown, and orange that best suited her elegant and simple affair. Going with a combination of styles AND different colors has the potential to go terribly wrong, but as you can see from this picture they all match quite nicely. This is due to the sheen in the fabric, the length in their skirts, and the fact that they are all wearing the same shoes. Keeping these elements the same in each girl allowed the whole group to match quite well.
So I guess the morale of the story, if there is one, is that there really is no right or wrong way to select your bridesmaid dresses as long as you keep a few rules in mind. If you choose to go with different styles or colors just make sure you maintain some commonal elements to tie the girls together. Skirt length is the biggest element to keep the same (since this is what you will see first when you look across your group) so try to keep all the girls with the same length dresses. After that look to keep them the matching with identical jewelry, shoes, sashes, hair styles, etc so they can be recognized by guests as a part of your bridal party and look similar to each other in pictures.
Have fun with it and make sure your girls are going to have fun with what they wear, too. You can stay with all one style and color like Kim did, you can go with the same color but different styles like Lindsay, same color but completely different dresses like Nancy, or one designer in different styles and colors like Christie. The choice is yours! Enjoy!