Christmas is the most popular time for people to propose, and summer, naturally, the most popular time to have a wedding.
Which, by logic, would make this the most likely time for one of your newly-engaged BFFs to ask you to be her bridesmaid.
It can be a moment of mixed emotions.
Sure, the overriding one is of elation and honour, but if we are truly honest, the nightmares soon set in. Will you have to wear mint green? Will it be strapless? Will ten of you be forced into a one-size-fits-all dress?
And yet, thanks to a flurry of chic, fashion-forward bridesmaid dress brands, there's no reason you can't feel like yourself - even your coolest self - on your friend's special day.
Plus you might actually want to wear it again, post-wedding. Hurrah! Here are eight of the best brands for bridesmaids dresses:
Since it launched in 2017, London label Harmur has made waves in the eveningwear space with its slinky silky backless tops and dresses. Now, the mother-daughters trio has turned its attention to weddingwear, with the launch of its debut bridal party collection. Featuring some of their most loved designs like the Classic paired with the Maxi Wrap Skirt, as well as new designs like the Angel Sleeve Dress and Drape Back Top, the 12-piece collection comes in four colours: rose, silver, shell and sage. If backless and silky is your bride tribe style, this is the brand for you.
Prices from £155. Orders can be made online and pieces take a minimum of two weeks to complete. harmur.co.uk
Looking for sustainably-crafted bridalwear that’s designed to be worn again? London label Nola, launched by best friends in 2021, produces its simple, elegant dresses in small runs in a central London atelier. There are eight dress styles available in eight colourways, plus co-ordinating hair accessories made from remnant dress cuttings. Each dress is made from sustainable viscose, along with a bamboo and viscose mix for the linings. Zips are made from recycled plastics and labels are produced in Pembrokeshire from recycled polyester. Ideal for a planet-friendly bridal party.
Prices from £120.- £290 nolalondon.com
Following on the launch of their debut bridal and bridesmaid collection in 2021, Rixo’s 2022 bridal collection comprises seven dresses in five shapes: The Evie, Abi, Gio, Flavia and Effie (the latter two come in two colours). Featuring the brand’s signature hand-painted prints: ‘Blush Poppies’, ‘Polka Dot’, and ‘Daisy’ the dresses come with a variety of different necklines and sleeve styles, from halternecks and sweetheart necklines to puff and butterfly sleeves.
Sister, by Halfpenny London
Kate Halfpenny launched her bridal brand Halfpenny London from her living room in 2005 and has since gone on to design wedding dresses for everyone from Emilia Fox to Millie Mackintosh and Vogue Williams. Now, the London designer has added to her success with the launch of Sister, an affordable bridesmaid collection designed to cater to all shapes and sizes.
Prices for dresses and separates range from £95 to £295. halfpennylondon.com
The Own Studio
London-based designers and best friends Jess Kaye and Rosie Williams founded The OWN Studio to bring a contemporary aesthetic to wedding wear. Handmade at its London atelier, the label delivers understated silk dresses in a range of silhouettes, from wrap dresses to halternecks to bias cut slip dresses and skirts. Every piece is designed to enter a woman’s real-life wardrobe and be worn again and are made-to-order, ensuring minimal wastage during production. Fabric offcuts are used to create matching scrunchies as well as other accessories such as flower girl sashes, pocket squares and hair ribbons.
Prices: £120 - £270, theownstudio.com
Stylist Vanessa Cocchiaro launched an elegant, contemporary bridesmaid dress brand called Les Heroines in 2017, before renaming her label eponymously in 2019. In addition to bridesmaid-ready statement jumpsuits, fluid dresses and modern separates, the brand has also branched into chic, understated bridal and eventwear. All her pieces are named after influential women such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks, Simone de Beauvoir and Maya Angelou.
Prices for dresses and separates range from £140 up to £420. vanessacocchiaro.com
Got a girl gang that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes? Planning a wedding aesthetic with a tight colour scheme? Look no further than Rewritten. Launched by friends Katie Arnott and Frances Cookson in 2016, the brand offers a tight and minimal edit of dress styles all designed and handmade in London. Seven styles come in nine crepe colours, and two bestselling styles come in seven satin colours. So your girls can all don an exactly matching hue, but find a shape and cut to suit their figure – everyone’s a winner.
Dresses range from £135 - £220. wearewritten.com
Needle & Thread
For designs that are ultra-feminine yet totally on-the-money, British brand Needle & Thread has you covered. Not one for minimalists, these dresses are big on embellishment and big on impact, and the covered-up styles will suit most body types. Although not explicitly a bridesmaid dress brand, several of their styles feel very aisle-appropriate - the cap-sleeved Andromeda dress for example oozes glam winter wedding.
Prices start at £165. needleandthread.com
LA-based brand Reformation, which officially launched wedding dresses in spring 2017, has become a go-to for millennial bridesmaids looking for something affordable, on-trend and understated. The dresses comes in a variety of necklines and hem lengths and are generally lightweight, flowy and just-the-right-side-of-hippie. Perfect for the 'gram.
Prices start at £218. thereformation.com
Grace Loves Lace
Australian bridal brand Grace Loves Lace is perfect for those seeking some glamorous - and affordable - bohemian vibes. Each piece is handmade in their studio in Australia using French lace and silk. Maxi dresses and midi slips, bardot tops, silk trousers and dipped hem skirts all come in an array of flattering pastel colours, slinky silver and olive tones.
Founded by Megan Ziems in 2010, the brand also makes wedding dresses - in fact one of Ziems' creations was the most pinned wedding dress of 2017, with 2.5 million pins on Pinterest.
Prices start at £330. graceloveslace.com
If a Regencycore aesthetic is the dish of The Big Day then look no further than Notting Hill-based label Sister Jane’s first foray into bridal and bridesmaid dresses which drops for SS22. Alongside the six puff-sleeve, ruffle-tastic bridal styles come two ultra-feminine pale pink bridesmaid dresses, one maxi and one mini – both big on feminine frills. The Amily maxi dress is a take on the brand’s best-selling Handwritten Jacquard Maxi Dress, this time in blush pink with a dramatic front-slit, while the Lillia mini oozes prom night cutesiness with a sweetheart neckline and puffball skirt. Not one for the tomboys.
Prices start at £155. sisterjane.com