So this edition of Tuesday Tips was inspired by a recent conversation I had with my husband about his friend's upcoming wedding. The friend's fiancé is requiring her bridesmaids to purchase fairly expensive bridesmaid dresses and the various bridesmaids are full of complaints about it. That got me to thinking about all of the issues that accompany the bridesmaid dress selection and how it is so hard to please everyone. So I thought I would give my best tips to ease the angst of this process and hopefully keep the bride and all members of the bridal party happy (well, at least content).

How to Choose a Bridesmaid Dress That You'll Love and Keep Your Friends Happy

1. To each their own.

Keep stress out of your life and theirs by letting your bridesmaids chose their own dresses. To prevent your wedding party from looking like a random collection of wedding guests, I strongly suggest that you give them certain guidelines--length, color (a specific color or a color range), fabric type, etc. I love the picture below because it shows that each bridesmaid can have an individual style, but still looks coordinated. Still scared about letting your bridesmaids loose to choose their own wedding looks? Point them in the direction of Nordstrom, which has a great collection of formal dresses that is sure to suit almost everyone's taste and budget.

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New Seasons Photography

2. Choose a convertible.

I was a bridesmaid in a wedding where we all chose the same convertible dress in the same color and we each wore the top of the dress in a different configuration. The result turned out beautifully. We all loved the dresses and the bride was super pleased with the outcome. Check out the convertible dresses available at The Dessy Group for tons of inspiration.

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Leigh Miller Photography

3. Make a bee-line for the a-line.

If you don't trust your bridesmaids to choose their own dresses and you really want a uniform look so the convertible dress idea is not appealing to you, I encourage you to consider the body types of your bridesmaids. Bridesmaids (like everyone else) come in all shapes and sizes. And if you are insistent about picking out the dress they will wear in your wedding, do yourself and them a favor by choosing a style and cut that is flattering to everyone's body type. When in doubt, chose an a-line cut, as it is universally flattering.

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Jennifer Lindberg Weddings

4. Consider the cost.

If you require your bridesmaids to purchase their dresses, please be cognizant of the cost--especially, if you require them to wear a specific dress. Let's be honest, all of your bridesmaids may not share your sense of style. So when requiring your bridesmaid to purchase a specific dress, please consider the cost of the dress because it very well could be worn only once in her life. If you're clueless about where to start searching for affordable bridesmaid dresses, David's Bridal has a great collection of stylish bridesmaid dresses in a variety of colors under $100

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Feather & Twine Photography

5. Pony Up

I know this will be a controversial suggestion, but I am going to go ahead and say it anyway--offer to pay for the dress, especially if you're requiring your bridesmaids to wear a specific dress. Yes, I said it, pay for the dress! I know, this is clearly not a requirement, but your bridesmaids will LOVE you if you do. Let's face it, it can get expensive being a bridesmaid. Between the dress, shoes, hair, make-up and the bridal and/or bachelorette parties, it can all start to add up. So if you have the means, make all your bridesmaids happy and offer to pay for the dress. Again, check out David's Bridal's collection of bridesmaid dresses under $100 if you're looking for affordable stylish options--you can thank me later!

Luke & Cat Photography

6. What not to say.

As a rule of thumb, never excitedly tell your bridesmaids they can "totally" wear the dress again. Trust me, just don't do it.

Awake Photography

7. Black and white are no longer taboo.

Picking a neutral color such as white, ivory or black for your bridesmaids provides a great backdrop for almost any color palette. And if your bridesmaids like the cut and style, there is a greater possibility that they would be able to wear the dress again (even so, see Tip #6).

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Dana Fernandez Photography