32 photos that show how bridesmaid dresses have changed over the years

Charles ‘Teenie’ Harris/Carnegie Museum of Art/Getty Images, Little Car Photography/Fortitude Press/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesBridesmaids in the 1940s compared to today.

Just as wedding dress styles have changed over the years, different bridesmaid gowns have gone in and out of vogue.

From ornate dresses with ruffles, collars, and puffy sleeves to sleek, pastel-coloured pieces, here are 32 photos that show how bridesmaid dresses have evolved.


1853

Chicago History Museum/Getty ImagesA bridesmaid dress and a flower girl dress on display at the Museum of Chicago.

Corsets that smoothed hips, narrowed waists, and enhanced bustlines were popular in the Victorian era.

Bridesmaid and flower girl dresses from 1853 on display at the Chicago History Museum were made of silk taffeta and lace and feature fringe on the sleeves and neckline.


1885

Topical Press Agency/Getty ImagesPrincess Beatrice and Prince Henry of Battenberg with their bridesmaids.

In 1885, Princess Beatrice (Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter) and Prince Henry of Battenberg posed with their bridesmaids, who were wearing short, ruffled dresses.


1893

Popperfoto/Getty ImagesBritish Royalty, 6th July 1893, A formal group photograph of the Wedding of King George V and Mary of Teck

King George V, then the Duke of York, married Mary of Teck in 1893. Their bridesmaids’ dresses featured puffy sleeves and long skirts.


1910

W. G. Phillips/Phillips/Getty ImagesBridesmaids in 1910.

At the Drexal wedding in 1910, bridesmaids resembled the bride themselves with veils, bouquets, and plain white dresses.


1917

Topical Press Agency/Getty ImagesBridesmaids at the wedding of Lord Edward Stanley and Sibyl Cadogan in 1917.

In the 1910s, tightly-constricted corset waistlines began fading out of style in favour of loose dresses.

Lord Edward Stanley, the Earl of Derby, and Sibyl Cadogan married in 1917. Their bridesmaids wore floaty tea-length dresses cinched at the waist.


1920

Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesPrincess Anita Lobkovitz lined up with her bridesmaids at her wedding to Prince Edward Joseph of Lobkovitz.

Princess Anita Lobkovitz’s bridesmaids in 1920 wore shorter dresses that were characteristic of flappers in the decade. The bride also wore a flapper-style headpiece.


1928

Walter Bellamy/London Express/Getty ImagesBridesmaids at the marriage of Piers Debenham and Angel Paget in 1928.

Matching bridesmaid hats were also in vogue at the wedding of Piers Debenham and Angel Paget in London in 1928.


1931

Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty ImagesA group of bridesmaids after the marriage of Terence Wheatley and Ena Cadbury-Brown in London in 1931.

During the Great Depression, bridal dresses became less formal due to monetary concerns, and bridesmaid dresses followed suit.

Bridesmaid dresses at the wedding of Terence Wheatley and Ena Cadbury-Brown were adorned with puffy flowers and scalloped edges.


1935

Sasha/Getty ImagesBridesmaids in London in 1935.

Collared dresses made a comeback in 1935 at Olive Primrose Haxton and Fitzroy Paget Upsall Phillips’ wedding.


1937

Imagno/Getty ImagesBridesmaids at the wedding of Claudia Betterton and Derek Allhusen in 1937.

Bridesmaids at the 1937 wedding of Olympic equestrian Derek Allhusen in London wore long, flowing gowns with collars and pins at the neck.


1938

Richards/Fox Photos/Getty ImagesBridesmaids leave Llanduff Cathedral after the wedding of Peggy Pugh and Dr. Cunnigham-Jones in 1938.

Puffy sleeves also returned in the 1930s.


1942

Charles ‘Teenie’ Harris/Carnegie Museum of Art/Getty ImagesBridesmaids for the Moore-Lavelle wedding in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1942.

Hats were a major trend in the 1940s, and matching headgear became a bridesmaid staple.


1946

Charles ‘Teenie’ Harris/Carnegie Museum of Art/Getty ImagesCleo Wesley and Virginia Moore Wesley’s wedding in 1946 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

By the mid-1940s, puffy sleeves had started to deflate in favour of cap sleeves.


1950

Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty ImagesAt the wedding of Charlene Tinsley and Charles W. Howell Jr. in 1950.

The 1950s ushered in new silhouettes such as strapless dresses with sheer capelets.


1952

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty ImagesBridesmaids in 1952.

Dresses with full skirts dominated the 1950s.

Bridesmaids at a London wedding in 1952 wore two-toned dresses with collars and striped tulle skirts.


1959

Images Of Our Lives/Getty ImagesBridesmaids attending to a bride’s veil in 1959.

Bridesmaids at a wedding in 1959 wore plain dresses with elbow sleeves and ribbons at the waist paired with white gloves.


1965

Popperfoto/Getty ImagesA portrait of a bride with her bridesmaids in 1965.

Shift bridesmaid dresses with short hemlines in the 1960s exemplified the decade’s mod style.


1966

Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty ImagesBridesmaids climbing stairs to the wedding ceremony of Lucy Johnson and Patrick J. Nugent in 1966.

When President Lyndon B. Johnson and first lady Lady Bird Johnson’s daughter Lucy got married in 1966, the bridesmaids wore bubble gum pink dresses and veils.


1974

Millard Smith/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesBridesmaids at the wedding of Eugenie M. Mitchell and Stephen Waters in 1974.

The 1970s gave us hippie chic – introducing bold patterns and colours.


1975

Photo by Peter Bischoff/Getty ImagesBridesmaids at the wedding of Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia and Countess Donata of Castell-RĂ¼denhausen in 1975.

Bright green bridesmaid dresses with ruffles and high necklines were chosen for Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia and Countess Donata of Castell-RĂ¼denhausen’s wedding in 1975.


1979

Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty ImagesBridesmaids at Cindy Bridges’ wedding in 1970 at Bel Air Hotel in Bel Air, California.

Towards the end of the 1970s and into the next decade, off-the-shoulder bridesmaid looks became popular.


1982

Damian Strohmeyer/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesBridesmaids in tennis shoes ready for a night of dancing in 1982.

The 1980s were a time of big dresses with design elements including voluminous sleeves, large ruffles, and poofy skirts.


1993

Kevin Horan/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty ImagesBridesmaids for Tanya Winters & Derrick Lindsay Jr. in 1993.

Candy-coloured bridesmaid dresses in vibrant colours made for memorable wedding photos in the 1990s.


2002

Antony Jones/Julian Parker/Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty ImagesCrown Prince Willem Alexander and Maxima Zorreguieta’s wedding in Amsterdam.

Deep jewel tones remained popular in the early 2000s, and full-length gowns came back in style.


2003

Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty ImagesYolissa and Sandile Koza’s wedding in 2003.

Bridesmaid dresses began to lighten up and offer simpler silhouettes.


2004

Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty ImagesLady Davina Windsor married Gary Lewis in 2004 at a chapel in Kensington Palace.

Some brides also began focusing less on uniformity, incorporating a mix of dress colours and styles into their bridal party.


2005

JANIE BARRETT/Fairfax Media via Getty ImagesBridesmaids at the wedding of Nicole Byrne and John Cubbin in 2005.

Strapless dresses gained popularity in the 2000s as more people held their weddings at places other than houses of worship. Matching dresses remained a classic look.


2008

Dave M. Benett/Getty ImagesBridesmaids attend the wedding of Leah Wood and Jack MacDonald in 2008 in London.

At Leah Wood and Jack MacDonald’s 2008 wedding in London, bridesmaids wore lilac gowns with spaghetti straps – a staple of the 2000s.


2011

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty ImagesPippa Middleton holds Kate Middleton’s dress at the royal wedding in 2011.

Pippa Middleton‘s sleek, tailored bridesmaid dress at Prince Harry and Kate Middleton’s wedding made her a style icon in 2011.Dressing bridesmaids in white became increasingly popular.


2013

Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty ImagesBridesmaids arrive for the wedding of Millie Mackintosh and Professor Green at Babington House on September 10, 2013 in Frome, England.

Millie Mackintosh and Professor Green’s bridesmaids wore plain pastel pink dresses. It seems that ornate dresses with ruffles, collars, and puffy sleeves are gone for the time being.


2016

Vivien Killilea/WireImage/Getty ImagesAlice Aoki and her bridesmaids in California in 2016.

Uniformity in a bridal party is also not compulsory anymore – in fact, mismatched bridesmaids dresses became more and more popular.


2018

Little Car Photography/Fortitude Press/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesNiamah Haddow and Michael Sidwell’s bridesmaids at their ‘Harry Potter’-themed wedding in 2018.

Different lengths, colours, and styles can be mixed together for an assortment of dresses that still photograph well together.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.