Destined for a Destination: Maid & Matron of Honor

Destination weddings will always be fun. They’re an opportunity to go somewhere new and warm to relax and celebrate your best friend or sister and her new husband. Especially in the midst of a New York City winter, we anxiously anticipate the coveted invite to each and every destination wedding.

While the scenery at the event will be unrivaled, finding the perfect dress for a destination wedding is not always the easiest task. Even when the ceremony is on the beach or outside in a garden, the bride still reserves the right to keep her bridal party and wedding guests in formal attire. As a maid of honor or matron of honor, you have to find a way to look your best at an outdoor, garden, or beach wedding. You want to be comfortable, but you have to dress accordingly with the bride’s dress code and the limitations of the outdoor venue in mind.

After the bride chooses her gown, it’s time for your dress! It’s best to start maid of honor and bridesmaid dress shopping at least 6 months out so that there is enough time for any fittings or alterations that need to be made. As the maid of honor or matron of honor, start out by asking the bride what she is thinking about in terms of color, fabric, length, and fit. Because it’s a destination wedding, nature’s elements will play more of a role in choosing the styles. If your bride needs some guidance, we’ve put together the following tips for choosing the perfect bridal party dresses for destination weddings:


One of the best parts of an outdoor wedding is how creative you can get with colors. Talk with your bride about her ideas. Some brides want all her leading ladies in the same color. Some want their maid of honor or matron of honor in a different, but complimentary color or a different shade of the same color than the rest of their bridesmaids. Some popular bridal party colors right now are mint, emerald, purple, blush, gray, nude, and navy, but you can be pretty daring with colors for outdoor weddings. We love the idea of aquamarine, turquoise, coral, fuchsia, lime, yellow, and orange. These colors are definitely unique, but suitable for an outdoor wedding.


One of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing a dress for a destination wedding is fabric. You want something that is lightweight and airy so you do not overheat, and you want to be comfortable enough to easily maneuver down the aisle of the outdoor or beachside ceremony. You definitely do not want a fabric that will cling to your body. Some of our favorite luxurious, lightweight summer fabrics are silk, organza, crepe, and chiffon. In fact, our blogger friend Zunera Serena recently chose an organza dress for a wedding in Aruba. We loved her look. While less formal, we also like lightweight linen and a variety of different cotton blends. Keep in mind that while materials like rayon are lightweight, they are manmade and thus do not breath as well as natural blends. For some extra romance, definitely look into dresses with lace overlays and breathable slips.


The next thing that you have to keep in mind when dress shopping is length. If the wedding is formal you probably will be looking for a gown, but if you will be walking down a sandy aisle or a garden path at the ceremony, find a hem that just barely skims the ground so that you do not end up with dirt or grass stains on your dress. If the wedding is more casual, you can opt for tea or knee length.


A shirt dress is never a bad idea for a warm wedding because it just barely skims your body and you won’t end up with sweat marks. We also love empire waist dresses with long flowing skirts and strapless and halter style bodices. Additionally, how romantic is the idea of a gown with lightweight ruffles fluttering in the breeze of a beachside wedding?


It will always be a good idea to avoid pumps and heels at an outdoor wedding. With endless options for designer sandals and flats these days, there is almost no reason to choose a pump or heel. If you feel like you need some height, choose a practical wedge or espadrille. Play around with embellishment, glitter, and beading on your shoes, but keep in mind that if the setting is super natural that excess embellishment may clash with the scenery. It can be possible to build a temporary hard walkway over sand, so if your bride is having a beachside ceremony and is dead set on wearing heels, suggest she look into that. As the maid of honor, you don’t have to make as large a statement as the bride, and you probably will be happier in the end to opt for stylish, comfortable footwear so you can celebrate and dance the night away.


It’s your job as the maid of honor or matron of honor to help make sure that everyone’s bridesmaid dress is what the bride wants. Check up on the rest of the leading ladies for style, color, fit, length, accessories, and hair and makeup plans.


We love the idea of using watercolors in outdoor wedding décor. Maybe suggest to the bride that the bridal party dresses have some watercolor accents in the print, or she include watercolor inspiration in the table settings!