Wedding planning can sometimes seem like a never-ending process. Between color schemes, themes and floral designs, the length of your bridesmaid dresses may seem like a strange decision to be stuck on, but bridesmaid dress length is more important to the overall look, feel and flow of your wedding than you may initially think.
Different length bridesmaid dresses say different things about your ceremony and your wedding party, and cultivating the right aesthetic is crucial.
Types of Bridesmaid Dress Lengths
Let’s start with the basics. The types of bridesmaid dress lengths can be categorized into three primary categories:
Long Bridesmaid Dresses
Long bridesmaid dresses are dresses that fall below the ankle. While long dresses will fall below the ankle, it’s important to ensure that they are tailored and hemmed correctly to avoid dragging the dress fabric, getting caught in the dress while walking or inadvertently damaging the dress.
- Pros: Long dresses and gowns look stunning in photos and really give a wedding that formal, timeless and elegant vibe. Long dresses also work well for all seasons and they often hide shoes, so your bridesmaids have the option of wearing heels or flats since they will primarily remain unseen.
Cons: Long bridesmaid dresses are gorgeous, but they can also become cumbersome if the hem of the dress falls too low. With long dresses, bridesmaids run the risk of getting fabric caught in their shoes and tripping or ripping the dress.
Short Bridesmaid Dresses
Short bridesmaid dresses are dresses that fall to the knee. If you have a dress that falls above the knee, usually mid-thigh, then you’re working with a micro or mini dress.
- Pros: Short bridesmaid dresses work really well for shorter bridesmaids and can accentuate wedding party members’ legs and even create a longer appearance. These dresses are also easier to dance and move in and are less cumbersome and more comfortable for longer wedding receptions.
- Cons: They can sometimes be too short and can be challenging to sit in without revealing… too much. The last con is shoe-related. Since short bridesmaid dresses will show off your bridesmaids’ shoes, you will have to ensure that each person gets the same color and style which creates another layer of decision-making and negotiation.
Tea-Length Bridesmaid Dresses
Tea-length bridesmaid dresses fall right above the ankle. Tea-length options are a good middle ground between long and short bridesmaid dresses as they still give you the richness and elegance of a long gown but, as they stop right at the ankle, they also give the feeling of something shorter and showcase shoes and foot shape.
- Pros: Tea-length dresses offer the formality and elegance of long dresses with added convenience and flexibility. Since they come to the ankle, there’s no risk of tripping over the dress or dragging the dress fabric on the floor and risking damage. Tea-length dresses also photograph extremely well and work for short bridesmaids, tall bridesmaids and everyone in-between.
- Cons: As hard as we try, we can’t find many cons for a tea-length dress. The only thing we will mention is that like short bridesmaid dresses, tea-length styles will show shoes and any ankle jewelry so you will have to make sure that your bridesmaids are coordinated and conscious of this fact for photos.
How Long Should Bridesmaid Dresses Be?
Different length bridesmaid dresses create different wedding moods, energies and aesthetics. Like anything wedding-related, how long bridesmaid dresses should be is a decision that should be carefully considered and should take into account various event elements and aspects.
Your wedding season dictates most aspects of your event, and bridesmaid dress length is definitely included in that list. Colder wedding seasons (winter and fall) tend to call for long or tea-length bridesmaid dresses as bridalwear tends to include more fabric and length during colder months.
Warmer weather (spring and summer) often invites more diversity in bridesmaid dress length as outdoor ceremonies in hotter temperatures become more common and shorter, more playful looks are more appropriate and reflective of the season.
When it comes to bridesmaid dress length rules, dress codes are as close as we get to a hard and fast guide.
If you are planning a formal wedding, you will want to stick with long or tea-length bridesmaid dresses. Formal events are not the place for a shorter length as dresses that fall above the ankle are a no-go for this dress code. If you’re having a formal wedding, look for long, elegant cuts like maxi dresses and ball gowns.
Semi-formal dress codes are that middle-ground where you are veering towards formal, but things are a bit more relaxed. With a relaxing of the rules, you have more room to play with regarding bridesmaid dress length.
For semi-formal weddings, you can go with long bridesmaid dresses, tea-length bridesmaid dresses, or even dresses that fall slightly below mid-calf. While semi-formal is slightly more relaxed, these weddings are still not the place for mini, micro or short dresses.
Casual weddings are where short bridesmaid dresses can take their place in the spotlight. Now, when we say short, we still recommend sticking to dresses that fall no shorter than mid-thigh, falling to the knee is even better. Casual weddings allow for the incorporation of different length bridesmaid dresses, but you still want to maintain the air of importance and formality of your wedding and featuring micro or mini bridesmaid dresses could compromise that.
Outside of dress code, the location of your wedding ceremony and reception will impact the bridesmaid dress length that you choose. If your wedding will be outside in a field, on the beach, in a park or by the water, you’re going to want to stick to tea-length bridesmaid dresses or shorter so that you don’t risk ripping or dirtying the dress fabric.
If the ceremony and reception are indoors, you have room to incorporate different length bridesmaid dresses, but if you’re wedding reception venue is hardwood rather than carpet, make sure that you don’t go with bridesmaid dresses that drape onto the floor or you could end up with falling bridesmaids and ripped garments.
Your Wedding Party:
When picking anything bridesmaid-related, make sure that your choices match your wedding party’s styles, tastes, body types and preferences. When bridesmaids are uncomfortable in a dress, that discomfort shines through in pictures and on the day of the wedding.
While you have a choice of different length bridesmaid dresses, make sure that your nearest and dearest friends are consulted and involved in the decision-making process.
Fame and Partners: Bridesmaid Dresses for all Bridesmaids
At Fame and Partners, we know the importance of getting your bridesmaid dress length just right. That’s why our bridesmaid collection features all styles, lengths and cuts to ensure that you and your wedding party find exactly what you’re looking for.
As an added bonus, everything that we create is made-to-order and fully customizable which means that we design the dresses and you tell us the length, sleeve type and neckline that you want to truly make each garment your own.
Want to see how things will look before you make your final decision? We offer fabric swatch delivery to help you make your decision as accurate and error-free as possible. Wedding planning is hard, looking amazing on the big day doesn’t have to be. Let us show you what fashion could be.