You’ve been chosen as one of the lucky ones to go wedding dress shopping with the bride. Your invitation from the bride shows that she considers you an important person in her life, and she values your opinion. You have the important task of assisting the bride in choosing one of, if not “the”, most important outfit of her life.
To help you fulfill your role as part of the bridal entourage I’ve made a list of things to consider while shopping to make the important day a success for everyone.
- Respect the bride’s budget
When looking at the selection of beautiful gowns in a bridal salon it’s very tempting to want the bride to try on any dress that you think is beautiful and that she’ll like. However, before you even enter the store, make sure you know what the bride’s budget is.
The number one rule when wedding dress shopping is for a bride to never try on a dress that is over her budget, unless she is willing to pay the extra money. Nothing sours the special experience of wedding dress shopping like falling in love with a dress you’ve tried on but can’t afford.
As you assist the bride in choosing dresses to try on, make sure they are within her budget. Even if you think you’ve found “the one” do not push the bride into trying it on unless she, or you, are willing to pay the bill for it.
- This is the bride’s day, not yours or anyone else’s
Wedding dress shopping is a time to focus on the bride; to make her feel special, and celebrate this milestone in her life.
It’s not the day to require the spot like to shine on you, for whatever reason. Even if you have important/big news to share with others, wait until an appropriate moment after you have gone shopping, or even another day.
This is also not the time to bring out the green-eyed monster of jealously. It can be difficult seeing someone close to you so happy and experiencing something you wish was happening to you. We’re human; we’ve all felt it.
However, this is not the time to vent about how your promising date turned out to be another frog instead of your own prince/ss charming, or how your own significant other is still dragging his/her feet regarding commitment.
You want to have a positive attitude since your priority for that day is to support the bride and share in her happiness.
- Don’t be a know-it-all
You’ve never missed an episode of Say Yes to the Dress, you know the names of the different dress silhouettes, and you can tell the difference between “white” and “off-white”…. you’re a wedding junkie and people know it.
But that doesn’t mean you know it all. Nothing turns people off more than someone who think she knows everything, and has to show it.
While there is nothing wrong with explaining terms, jargon, etc . to a confused bride or other members of the entourage, make sure it’s done in a friendly and not condescending manner. No one likes to feel stupid.
And remember, you may have a vast array of bridal knowledge, but the bridal consultant has more regarding wedding dress shopping, so be respectful of her suggestions and comments; she has been trained and has had the experience of dealing with a multitude of brides so she does know what she’s talking about.
- Respect the rules of the bridal salon
A bridal salon is a special type of retail store. The merchandise is worth hundreds, and thousands, of dollars, which the retailer has to pay for.
So when you are in the salon, be respectful of any rules the salon has established. They don’t establish these rules to annoy their customers. They are there to keep the salon in its best condition to provide brides with the best experience possible.
Some common rules are no food or beverages near the dresses. The salon wants to keep their stock in good conditions so brides can really see what a dress looks like. Trying on a once beautiful gown that is now has a large coffee stain in the middle of its skirt makes it hard to fall in love with a dress.
Many salons also request that footwear be removed after stepping into the salon. This not only helps keep the salon clean, but also protects brides from injuring their feet while trying dresses on since many brides do so without footwear on.
- Don’t mock the dresses
We all have different tastes; it’s what makes us unique and the world interesting.
When shopping for a wedding dress you are around other groups of people who are also shopping. You may find that ball gown with feathered skirt looks like a ripped open down pillow, while the next person might consider it a fun, fashion-forward piece of art. A designer did make the dress, so at least one person in the world likes that dress. So before you burst out laughing and make rude comments about a dress that could offend someone, stop and think if you’d want to hear a similar comment about a dress you loved.
- Don’t insult the bride
While wedding dress shopping should be an exciting and enjoyable experience, it can also be stressful, and bring up body-concerns that a bride has.
Not every dress is going to look great on every body. While a bride may like how a dress looks on the hanger, she may not like how it looks on her body. Her own mind is already pointing out how the dress isn’t figure flattering, then coming out of the change room and being told that she looks like an elephant in a tutu can really affect her self-esteem.
You don’t need to be rude or cruel when stating that a particular dress might not be the best choice for the bride. A more neutral comment such as “I don’t think it’s the most flattering dress” is a much kinder way to get the message across.
- It’s the bride’s dress, not yours
Yes, the bride asked you along to the appointment so she wants your opinion. However, the bride’s opinion is the most important opinion. It’s her dress, she’s the one that’s wearing it on her important day, not you. So while you might think the lace looks like your grandmother’s table cloth, to the bride it might look classic and elegant.
When a bride comes out in a dress, before you say anything about how you feel about it, find out what the bride thinks. Watch her body language, facial expression, and listen to the types of comments she makes. Ask the bride questions about the dress, don’t just start making comments; is the dress comfortable, what does she like about it, what does she not like about it, does she like a particular embellishment, etc.
If you both love a dress you don’t have to worry about giving your honest opinion. Go ahead and gush over all the aspects of the dress you like.
The challenge comes when you and the bride have differing opinions.
If you love a dress, but the bride doesn’t, don’t force the dress on her. Give your honest opinion of why you like the dress and why you think it’s a good option for her, and then stop. Don’t keep going on about it, or trying to convenience the bride that it’s her dress. No matter how perfect you felt it was, the bride didn’t feel it so it wasn’t her dress.
Perhaps the hardest situation occurs when a bride loves a dress, but you don’t. Before you start asking the bride if she’s been drinking, find out why the bride loves that particular dress. She might see something you don’t right away. If you still don’t like the dress, you don’t have to lie and say you love it. If there is something on the dress that you do like, say you like that particular aspect of the dress.
If the bride can tell that you don’t like the dress, no matter how hard you tried to keep your feelings to yourself, you can be honest and say it’s not your favourite dress in a polite manner. The important part is to remember, and communicate to the bride, that this is about her, not you; she needs to be the one that loves the dress, not you; and that you just want her to be happy, and if this dress makes her happy, then you like it for that reason alone.
Don’t try to talk the bride out of buying the dress she loves. If she truly loves the dress she won’t be able to stop thinking about it, she won’t be able to fully love any other dress, and it could even cause a strain in your relationship with the bride.
While an exciting time, wedding planning can also be a stressful time and emotions can run high.
It’s important to remember that your role is to support the bride, and to make dress shopping a positive, fun, exciting, and memorable experience.