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Bridesmaid Dress Shopping, Made Easier with Joielle

One of my favorite developments in modern weddings is the mismatched wedding party. As a larger-busted lady, I always appreciate being given the option to choose a dress that I know is going to look good on me (sigh, unfortunately it’s never strapless). But the thing is, the ease of the mismatched wedding party is sometimes misleading. Though certainly not always the case, for some reason that stumps everyone everywhere, often times giving folks the freedom to choose their own dresses can stress them out just as much as telling them what to wear in the first place. (Let’s chalk it up to our desire to please?) But today I’m delighted to let you know that longtime sponsor Joielle is here to make mismatched bridesmaid dress shopping really, really easy. And with dresses starting at just $128 in styles that are actually kind of beautiful, it’s a win all around. (Plus, for the next month, Joielle is offering free shipping on any orders over $50 when you use the code APWFREESHIP. Rad!)

Mixed Watters and Wtoo styles in Indigo and Navy Blue | Photography by Sarah Kate Photography

So where do you start? Joielle recommends choosing one or two constants for each dress (like color, fabric, length or designer) and then letting your bridesmaids choose from the options within that smaller group. That way the choices are less overwhelming, and nobody has to worry that their dress won’t “go” with the others (this is a real concern people in wedding parties have, I swear). Plus you get cohesion and everybody’s boobs will do what they are supposed to. Which is what success looks like to me. Here are a few ways past Joielle clients have made it work:

Same color, same designer, same fabric, different styles:

Mixed Alfred Sung Styles in Firecracker | Photography by Kristin Byrum Photography via Style Me Pretty

Same color, same designer, different fabrics, different styles:

Alfred Sung D496, Lela Rose LR147, Dessy Collection 2823 (discontinued), After Six 6575 (discontinued), Alfred Sung D472, After Six 6607 | Photography by White Rabbit Studios

Different colors, same designer, same fabrics, different styles (at an APW shoot!):

8th Avenue – Long, DC – Long, Union – Long , Newbury – Long, all by Joanna August | Photography by Emily Takes Photos (APW Sponsor)

Different colors, different designers, same fabrics, different styles:

After Six 6613 Midnight, After Six 6639 Platinum, Landa Designs M656 Sand, Landa Designs M656 Navy, Dessy 2831 Platinum | Photography by Beth Armsheimer Photography

The best part about Joielle is that they make it really easy for you to narrow down your options, with the ability to search by designer, color, fabric, and dress style. And since they carry styles from most of the big bridesmaid dress manufacturers, it’s really easy to find something that everyone will love. (I’m personally really digging this off-shoulder dress below. Want!)

Dessy Style 2844, Dessy Style 2832 | Photography by Lindsay Madden Photography

But if your bridesmaids are still having a hard time figuring out which dresses are the best for them, Joielle has offered up a few expert tips on choosing a dress that will be most flattering on your body: 

  • In terms of fabric, Chiffon is soft and forgiving. It hugs curves but also streamlines your silhouette and is flattering for all body types. It is versatile for a formal or casual affair and appropriate for all seasons.
  • If you have bridesmaids who are looking for a bit more modesty, the ladies at Joielle been seeing a lot more styles with sleeves lately (editor’s note: Halleflippinglujah). Two of their favorites are this Alfred Sung style and style 497 from Wtoo.
  • One shoulder dresses are surprisingly flattering on most body types. Dessy style 6611 is one of Joielle‘s best sellers for this very reason.
  • Ruching is amazing for both streamlining curves and creating curves on narrower silhouettes. How this magic works is beyond me, but I don’t question it because every time I put on something with ruching it’s like the gods themselves dressed me.
  • If you are pear-shaped, Joielle recommends empire waist styles. This Watters gown is one of my personal favorites.
  • For the larger-busted ladies (like myself) sweetheart necklines like this Dessy number are really flattering. V-neck and halter neck options also provide a lot of extra support and some can even be worn with a regular bra. Win! Plus, this dress from Dessy is just flat-out hot.

And you know Joielle is doing something right, because their clients? Love them. Holly (pictured above with the bridesmaids in silvery grey) said, “Joielle was perfect because I knew I wanted each of my bridesmaids to pick a dress they loved. We decided to stick with Dessy dresses in the charcoal/platinum family. Each looked absolutely fabulous, each was comfortable in what they were wearing, and each walked away with a dress that they loved. The ladies at Joielle were extremely helpful with any questions/concerns any of them had, they were kept up to date about the status of their order, and they received any follow up care they needed. I couldn’t have asked for anything better!”

So if you’ve been toying with the idea of just letting your bridesmaids choose their own dresses, but are worried that it’ll be more trouble for them than it’s worth, look no further than Joielle. There’s a good chance they could walk away with the elusive promise of a dress they’ll ::gasp:: actually wear again. And don’t forget, until April 5th, all orders over $50 are shipped for free when you use the code APWFREESHIP. So get shopping!

This photo (and top photo) by Beth Armsheimer Photography

Editor’s note: there are a lot of great dresses featured here that you won’t find on Joielle’s front page because they are part of an “additional styles” section. So if you see something you love, but can’t find it on Joielle’s front page, fret not. Just hit the link underneath each dress, and then click on the dropdown menu featured on that page and select the style number listed in this post, and it’ll pull up a reference photo for you. All of these “additional styles” are available for purchase through Joielle.

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  • Elle Marie

    I used Shop Joielle to coordinate dress orders for my bridesmaids and officiant – everything went really well, and the dresses were super-cute (and comfy!). Two of the three bridesmaids elected to get tailoring done locally after the dresses arrived, and said it was not very expensive or difficult to get done. The people at Shop Joielle were also very nice and communicated well with me about the ordering process, getting swatches, and processing the orders. One of my bridesmaids was also concerned about sizing and was able to talk with someone at Shop Joielle who talked her through measuring herself and ordering the best size for her body.

  • Rachel Wilkerson

    Yay, all the bridesmaids dresses I like are Alfred Sung and I’d love to buy from an APW sponsor! I also discovered some new colors I had previously overlooked through this post, so that’s even better!

  • Stalking Sarah

    I like their website and their products, but I wish that their site had better filter options (i.e., I want to find something cocktail length AND chiffon AND that comes in a red).

    Quite frankly, though, their return policy scares the bejesus out of me. I know I should be more comfortable doing online shopping, but I’m just not (unless I know the brand and sizing).

    • Katherine

      I completely agree about the returns policy. I see lots of dresses that I like (in this case I’m hoping to wear a bridesmaid dress as a wedding dress), but I don’t have a good sense of what dresses I’d love on me.

      Any suggestions?

  • Kara

    I used Joielle for my wedding & could not be happier. My ladies got black dupioni Alfred Sung dresses in various styles. All the ladies have worn the dresses since my October 2012 wedding. We went to local bridal shops to try on different styles of the dresses, the girls sized themselves, and then some went locally for alterations.

  • Emmy

    I actually bought my wedding dress from Joielle based on previous APW recommendations. I was able to order a sample, try it on at home, ship it back and buy my dress in my size. And their customer service is wonderful (handwritten thank you notes, what?). The dress hasn’t come yet, but the experience has been great so far and I can’t recommend them enough.

  • JenMcC

    Oh my goodness, how do you guys always know exactly what I need to read about right when I need to read it? I was just looking for something pretty much exactly like this. Yay!

  • Diane

    I just want to add an enthusiastic thumbs up for the Joielle ladies. I ordered midnight blue dupioni dresses with each of my friends choosing a style. The wedding is still six weeks away but the dresses arrived early and fit as advertised. On top of that, the prices were a good $20 less expensive than anywhere else I looked and they gave me an additional 10% since I ordered 4 dresses.

    Re the returns policy, that is standard for bridesmaid dresses. They are generally made to order. While you can try on dresses at some stores, there is no guarantee that sizing will be similar. On the upside, the Joielle website contains sizing guides for each dressmaker.

  • Riah

    Anyone know what style the vneck navy dresses on the far right and far left in the second picture are? I love them.

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