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Bridesmaids’ Dresses, Part 5: 2000 to 2010

AHA! We finally made it to this century! While brides still select the color scheme, let’s see how much freedom brides give their bridesmaids to wear what they want within that color scheme. Read on to find out more style trends!

We started in 625 B.C. During the Roman Empire, bridesmaids were part of the set of 10 witnesses required to make a marriage legal. In the early years of the empire, bridesmaids wore togas; starting in 300 B.C., they wore the stola, a long dress. 

The role of bridesmaids changed from protecting the bride from kidnappers and evil spirits to the best friends of the bride who helped her celebrate her wedding. Now that we are finally in this century, here is what you ought to know about the Aughts, the first decade of the 21st. century 

Ancient Roman woman statue
bridemaids in different color dresses

2000: Multiple Colors at One Wedding? Yes, Please!

 Realizing that their bridesmaids might have different preferences, brides started letting bridesmaids select different shades of the designated color. The most popular colors were blue, deep purple, mint, scarlet, and pink.

Often, the maid (or matron) of honor was allowed to wear a completely distinct color from the bridesmaids.

While the slender silhouettes of the 1990’s remained, heavy fabrics were ditched in favor of flowing, light weight fabrics like chiffon and satin. For 2000, the dresses were often full-length, Empire waist gowns with beaded busts. Elbow length gloves were added for elegance.

2001: Muted Patterns

TV often influences fashion.

Case in point: On Friends, when Rachel and Phoebe wore slender bridesmaids dresses with soft, muted patterns, designers jumped on board and made this a trend!

In the photo to the right, there are muted patterns on the dresses. 

bridesmaids' dresses peach
bridesmaid in pink dress

2002: Strapping into a New Trend

Strapless dresses trended in the early aughts…and the trend has remained!

2003: Get Your Beady Eyes on This Trend! 

Beading on the dress and an Empire waist trended.

2004: Let the Maid of Honor Stand Out!

To give prominence to the Maid (or Matron) of Honor, she was allowed to be in a distinct color and a different style dress: The MOH might be in lilac while the bridesmaids were in mint.

2005: Halter Tops

While there were a few halter top dresses in the 1990s, this style came roaring back in 2005. Unlike the velvets of the previous years, these dresses were designed in light weight, flowy chiffon and often had pleats in the front.

2006: Bridesmaids Get More Choice!

While the brides continued to select the color or colors, the bridesmaids were often empowered to select the style of dress in that chosen color.

As we wee in this photo, the women have been allowed to select a style of dress in the color which flatters them.

It’s progress!


bridemaids in different color dresses

2008: Thank you, Carrie Bradshaw!

In the movie, Sex in the City, the bride, Carrie, allowed her three bridesmaids to wear dresses in three assorted colors, styles, and cuts.

This developed into two trends. No longer did a bridesmaid have to tolerate a dress that didn’t suit her. Instead, brides hoped their entourage would look and feel beautiful in a dress she selected. While the bride might select the color, then the bridesmaids selected dresses in that color family in dresses of distinctive styles and lengths.

The other trend was allowing each bridal party member to select any dress. This often meant that were in distinct colors and distinctive styles. Having mismatched dresses created a beauty of its own.

bride and her bridesmaids in shades of pink

In Part 6, let’s find out what style trends debuted in the most recent set of years!


Images courtesy of Getty, and

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