Suggestions for coordinating wedding dresses in a two-bride wedding?
April 21, 2012 8:34 PM   Subscribe

My lady friend and I just got engaged. We are both ladies, and both want to wear dresses for the wedding. I'm interested in suggestions for how we can choose wedding dresses that complement each other and will look nice together.

We haven't chosen dresses yet and we both have a range of styles that we like, but most of what we like can generally be described as "simple and classic." And we both want to wear white, but neither of us has strong feelings about any particular shade of white.

I've been to two-bride weddings before, but in all of them one of the ladies wore something suit-like and the other wore a dress. If anyone has been to a two-bride wedding where both ladies wore dresses and can share thoughts about what worked and didn't work in those weddings, I'd be especially interested in that. Thanks!
posted by heisenberg to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (28 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Mazel tov! May your wedding, and your marriage, be all that both of you dream of.

I have been to two weddings where both brides wore white gowns. If I were doing that, I would try to convince my bride that we should have dresses made from the same fabric in very different styles, because slightly clashing whites don't photograph at all well together (which was the case in both of these weddings). Or fabrics in different shades of white that complemented each other, of course, but I think that's fairly challenging to find.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:50 PM on April 21, 2012 [15 favorites]

I thought it worked well when my friends both wore similar styles of dress, but with enough differences to make them obviously different. They were similar length and retro, with crinolines, but also with differences in colors/borders and tops. Their bridesmaids had similar length, but different styles up top, and it all tied together nicely.
posted by ldthomps at 8:53 PM on April 21, 2012

There are lots of lovely two-bride two-dress weddings in the LGBTQ category over at A Practical Wedding.

One of the things that seems clear to me in looking through the photos of these weddings is that it pretty much doesn't matter how well the dresses "match" so long as the brides are comfortable and happy in them. Varying style (traditional gown & sari) or shade (off-white & white) or fabric (lace & satin) can all work—the important thing is that both you and your bride feel good in what you're wearing.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:55 PM on April 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

My wife wore a dress and I wore a skirt and top - not white though, and we looked great. With white wedding dresses, the challenge will be not upstaging each other. I think you'll need to keep the dresses simple (as opposed to ornate) and of a similar level of formality, but not identical style. You could both do the same shade of white or not, just beware if you choose different whites that one doesn't look dingy next to the other.

posted by arcticwoman at 8:58 PM on April 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

For "traditional gown" in my previous comment, please substitute "party dress." I misremembered the photos from that post when I was looking for the link.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:09 PM on April 21, 2012

Two weddings come to mind, with different approaches:
One wedding had one bride in white dress, one in black dress, of similar styles. These were fairly simple, columny dresses - sleeveless or cap sleeve (can't remember), full length skirts but not poufy.

The other had one bride in off-white/ivory and one in light blue, of styles that suited their respective figures (very different figures in that case). They had them custom made from fabrics they chose. The fabrics were both heavier, wedding-dress-suitable fabrics, with full-length somewhat poufy skirts (i.e., some kind of underskirt additional fabric that helped it pouf a bit?). One had a smooth (satin?) finish and other had sort of lacy with beaded detailing on top. Different styles, but the fabrics and level of formality were similar.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:29 PM on April 21, 2012

This seems like a great scenario for engaging a dressmaker. You could each pick out patterns for dresses of similar formality and choose a common suite of fabrics to be used in different ways on the two dresses. E.g., one of you has a lace overskirt, and the other has the same lace as see-through sleeves.
posted by lakeroon at 9:53 PM on April 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

The wedding photographer for one of my friends' wedding shoots a lot of LGBT weddings and has several 2 dress weddings across her blog and portfolio. I agree with ocherdraco that mainly you need to feel great about what you're wearing. Congratulations!
posted by tangaroo at 10:00 PM on April 21, 2012

I think it comes down to a matter of preference really. Imho two 'poufy cinderella like' dresses don't work well together.
How about two distinctly different dresses: one short(er) dress for example or one that is fairly tight fitted with a sleek silhouette whereas the other one could be a long dress/ a bulkier type dress. I would play up the differences like sleeves, neck line, silhouette etc.
Yes, opt for matching fabrics (color, shininess, texture). Most people probably won't notice small details like that on your wedding day, but Sidhedevil makes a good point about the pictures!
In the end it is about you and what makes you feel good. Enjoy your big day!
posted by travelwithcats at 10:05 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

One of my best friends had a two-dress wedding. She is tall and sturdy, kind of a wandering cowgirl preacher-type; she wore a classy ivory silk dress sewn specifically for her. She and her bridesmaids carried red roses. Her wife is small, a dancer and a fashionista; she wore a white, poufy, Vera Wang knockoff she bought on the Internet sight unseen. She and her bridesmaids carried purple and orange flowers. Their dresses suited their personalities beautifully, and the match-with-mismatch thing worked really well for them. All the bridesmaids wore black dresses; the bridesmen wore tuxes.
posted by linettasky at 10:07 PM on April 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have not actually been to such a wedding, but having a few times discussed the as-yet-distant-possibility with various people, I had liked the suggestion I got from one friend: Both white dresses, but both with different accent colors, and then use those as the wedding colors. Granted, we'd be looking at something a little more casual, but I think it's an idea that could work with lots of different dresses.
posted by gracedissolved at 10:16 PM on April 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

I wore red. She wore lavender. But we each wore a cut that would flatter us, because one wants to feel beautiful on one's wedding day.
posted by vitabellosi at 10:47 PM on April 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

I wore an dress on my wedding day. My figure is very hard to fit and they custom fit your dress to your measurements for a crazy affordable price. It fit me perfectly. Now, they don't make anything super formal but they have a lot of dresses that would fit into a simple wedding and the make several different styles that match in color.
posted by Foam Pants at 12:11 AM on April 22, 2012

What are you celebrating? Two different people coming together. It sounds to me like a case for two different wedding dresses. Be yourselves, show off your individual uniqueness, and have a good time. Best wishes!
posted by Idcoytco at 3:21 AM on April 22, 2012

We wore dresses, one in cream silk satin and one in a variety of satin/lace cream panels. The variety in the second dress meant we didn't have to match the cream colours as exactly. The lengths and silhouettes of the two dresses were similar. We both also wore fur, as it was winter: as a shrug and as a cloak.
posted by quercus23 at 4:07 AM on April 22, 2012

One of my favorite things on earth is the Offbeat Bride's lesbian tag. These two here are adorable and amazing; for me, I think you can see the issues with dresses being too similar. These two did a pretty fabulous job with white dresses--as did these two! These two WENT ALL IN with VEILS. Them too! And THIS! Ahhhhh I can't stand it!!! (Remind me to look at ladies getting married every Sunday morning, it'll put me in a great mood all day.)

If I can say anything about putting together a gay wedding, it's that there are no rules anymore-- besides putting the planning in place to have a great time and then letting the chips fall where they may. (This is why about 1000 tourists have photos of my wedding, which took place in a very public location.) You absolutely have to do exactly what makes you feel great and then it all just happens. That's particularly true for the outfits: plan what makes you look fabulous and then, blammo!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 5:27 AM on April 22, 2012 [7 favorites]

If you really want them to go together, the same shade of white is key. Maybe look online at different designers bridal collections and buy individual dresses from the same designer. Dresses that call back to each other, like with similar beading or lace, while still being different.

Have a mutual friend who you both trust be there when you each buy the dresses (assuming you don't want to see each other's dresses before the big day) to make sure that the dresses aren't the exact same ones or would look okay together.
posted by GilvearSt at 5:33 AM on April 22, 2012

Totally agree about the shades of white. In the photos people shared here, I think one of the dresses always turns out looking dingy if they aren't in the same shade. Which you might not care about! But I would just check tons of photos to see what you two think looks good.

The dresses could be pretty different, but maybe you would have identical bouquets or something that would tie it together, or different dresses with the same color satin bow/belt/type thing to tie it together?

Regardless, I'd just make sure you both feel confortable in the dresses and you try them on together in front of lots of mirrors so you like how they look next to each other.

And, Congrats!!!
posted by manicure12 at 7:34 AM on April 22, 2012

Each go with your their own style. The beauty of it is that your personalities are already compatible :)
posted by Neekee at 7:35 AM on April 22, 2012

I would like to see you in an a frame dress and a more mermaid or straight cut dress. Perhaps you could coordinate sashes/belts?

Congrats! It will be lovely and you will both be gorgeous.
posted by ibakecake at 8:23 AM on April 22, 2012


I like the idea of going with the same shade of white, but having different accent colors that you could pick up in each other's flowers. However, that's just my thought, this wedding is about the two of you. Do what makes you feel happy and enjoy your day!
posted by blurker at 9:49 AM on April 22, 2012

I concur that the dresses should be either of exactly the same fabric or significantly different -- like pink and white, for the benefit of photos.
posted by freshwater at 10:30 AM on April 22, 2012

I think if you do two white tones, and mix those two in opposite ways it might be nice. Like if you had one white-white dress with antique-y looking eggshell lace trim, and one antique-y eggshell dress with white-white lace, even if they were totally different designs, they might look really nice together.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:11 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Immediately, I pictured you both wearing the same shade of white but each adding a splash of color to your attire (? A flower? Or some accessory? I'm a guy and clueless about these things) and then have each set of bridesmaids wear dresses in THAT color. It could make for some really stunning wedding photos. Ooh! You could even go over the top and request that guests wear that color too if possible. Neat! ...?

A zillion congrats to you both!
posted by 2oh1 at 1:10 PM on April 22, 2012

The two examples I've seen were one, both wore long dresses the same shade of white (but different styles), and they also both wore an accessory of the same color as the bridesmaids' dresses - one as a sash, and the other as a headband. I thought it worked fantastically.

The second example was one of them in gold, the other one in silver (each one had a color that complemented her skin tone). Again, similar lengths and level of formality. Again, gorgeous.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:51 PM on April 22, 2012

I too was thinking "same fabric"-- and then I looked at those Offbeat Bride photos RJ Reynolds linked , and there are many couples in differing shades of white and ivory fabrics, embroidered and plain, and they're rockin' it. So now I think contrasting whites might be cool.

There are so many different shades of white that suit all different skin tones. One of the coolest things I ever saw was a dress whose skirt was patchworked in large diamond-shaped panels of various white silk fabrics: there were silvery whites, off-white and golden and cream, some with embroidery, some without. (FWIW, costume making is a hobby of mine, so I'm a bit of a fabric geek.)

If you want to keep the dresses secret from each other, you might compare fabric swatches or close-up photos of the fabrics before the big day-- but the important thing is for each of you to be married in a dress that you love.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:55 AM on April 23, 2012

Response by poster: A belated but heartfelt THANK YOU for all of the wonderful thoughts and suggestions everyone shared. We ended up going with two dresses of the same color and material, from the same line. We're very happy with them, both on their own and together. Here is my lady friend's dress and here is mine.

Thank you!
posted by heisenberg at 10:40 AM on January 21, 2013

Those are lovely! Congratulations and felicitations once again.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:32 PM on January 22, 2013

« Older What advice to give to my fiance, who is in law...   |   I think I'd be a great dog person. Am I nuts? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.