It’s a well-known cliché popularized by movies like “27 Dresses” – bridesmaid dresses are ugly and unflattering.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are eight do’s and don’ts for choosing the best dresses for your best gals.

DO keep everyone’s budgets in mind

Weddings are expensive, even for the bridesmaids. According to The Knot, the average bridesmaid dress costs $142. So, while talking about money can be uncomfortable, it’s a crucial conversation if you expect each bridesmaid to pay for her own gown.

“Be considerate of your bridesmaids’ financial situations, and have an open and honest conversation about your expectations as well as theirs. Remember, you’re friends for a reason!” says Amanda Guagliardo, marketing manager for Azazie, an online bridal shop.

DO consider formality

Your bridesmaids’ dresses should match the style of your event. “Want something black tie and elegant? Opt for floor length gowns in darker colors, like black, navy and cabernet. Going for something more casual? Think brighter colors, lighter fabrics and short lengths,” advises Guagliardo.

DON’T assume one style fits all

Everyone’s tastes and bodies are different, so take the time to consult your bridesmaids before choosing a gown. Or, better yet, embrace the mix and match trend by letting your friends choose their own complementary dresses.

“One of the most common mistakes we see brides make is thinking that one style will flatter everyone,” says Guagliardo. Embrace what makes your friends special and unique and allow them to choose a style they feel most comfortable in.”

DO read the reviews

Most of us have never shopped for bridesmaids’ dresses before. So, do your research to find a store that will make the experience as easy as possible.

“Wedding planning is stressful enough – find a reputable company that will guide you through any questions you have and make sure your special day is perfect,” recommends Guagliardo.

DON’T be afraid to shop online

Buying something as important as a bridesmaid dress sight unseen can feel a little sketchy. Luckily, today you don’t have to sacrifice boutique quality products for the convenience of online.

“At Azazie, we offer try-on samples in any size so you can gather your bridesmaids and host a try-on party in the comfort of your own home,” says Guagliardo. “No time limit, no salesperson there to pressure you into a style they think you should like.”

It’s also a great option for bridal parties with members who live all across the country.

©CTW Features