Remember the movie "27 Dresses"? Much like Katherine Heigl, most of your bridesmaids will take the dress you wanted them to be able to wear again, stuff it into a closet and, well, never wear it again. And don't kid yourself just because it's black and simple - each girl probably would have chosen a different little black dress for herself.
It's thoughtful that you care about making your bridal party happy. And you may think that the best way to do that is to choose a dress or dresses that your bridesmaids "can wear again." Please read this article before doing just that. If you still think you should, then by all means...
3 Reasons Why They Won't Wear it Again
#1: It's Not Their Style
Have you ever gotten an amazing invitation to a ball or a gala? And did you think, "Gee, that bridesmaids dress I wore to Annie's wedding would be perfect. I'll wear that one." Probably not. And why? Certainly not because Annie doesn't have good taste in choosing dresses for her friends, but rather, because Annie is NOT her friend. Annie's friend would likely choose something else for this event because she has her own taste in clothing.
How may invitations do you receive to a ball or gala a year? 2 or 3? If you receive even 2, bravo! You are socially on the go and may even wear that dress to one of them. But if you're attending this many gown-necessary functions a year, you likely have a closet full of options already. And so will your friends.
#2: It's Clearly A Bridesmaid's Dress
Any dress that you think will fit 5 different women of different shapes and sizes will likely be a pretty generic style/cut. Your bridesmaids know this and accept it because it's your wedding and they've agreed to dress and assist as you request on your big day...and that's okay!
So you may say, "But I'm letting them each choose a different style, just the same color and fabric." Same concept here - you chose lavender instead of burnt orange because two of your bridesmaids have complexions that just wouldn't work with burnt orange. Still, you chose lavender for 5 different ladies. One color is unlikely to be the perfect fit for each of them.
#3: It's Ridiculous
I can't remember the last time I chose a dress for an event that was Taffeta or all one color Satin. I bet your bridesmaids can't either. And wouldn't. These dresses are meant to look crisp and rather simple. Most brides would be pretty unhappy if bridesmaids dresses were supposed to be so ornate and designer that the styles took away from the most beautifully dressed person there - you! Your girls can still look amazing in a dress that you choose and feel goes with the rest of the design of your wedding. Even if it would be ridiculous to wear that dress to any other event that they would ever attend.
I realize that this challenges everything brides are told about choosing dresses for their bridal party. But if you give this concept a chance, you may realize that there is only one true way to ensure that they will wear it again: give them at least 3 colors to choose from and let them pick ANY dress in ANY store. Yes, this is unrealistic for most weddings. So if you're not going to give the ladies in your wedding that broad range of options, don't waste your time worrying if they will wear it again.
It's your wedding, your colors, your taste and your decision. Don't cloud that with the stress that you need to be doing your friends a favor...they know the deal and signed up happily for it!