Going wedding gown shopping with the bride is a duty commonly assigned to bridesmaids. If you have accepted the role of bridesmaid at a friend's wedding, you can expect to be asked to accompany her as she shops for the perfect dress for her big day.
To set yourself up for the best experience possible, you will want to keep in mind that this is more than just a regular shopping trip. The bride may be considering this the most important purchase of her life, and she may be anxious or nervous about making the right decision. Here are some tips for helping her select the right dress and making the shopping trip a positive one.
Don't offer an opinion unless you are asked.
When bridesmaids are invited wedding dress shopping, they are often there more for emotional support than for an opinion on the dress. The bride may not even realize that this is true, but it often is. Refrain from telling the bride which styles you think would best suit her unless she specifically asks for your input. When she does model a gown, wait for her to ask you what you think. If she doesn't ask, just smile.
Leave conflict at the door.
You may not get along with the other bridesmaids or some member of the bride's family, but this is definitely the time to repress those feelings and be a team player. Any conflict that arises between you and another member of the shopping group will only end up hurting the bride in the end.
Also police yourself from having a negative opinion about the dress just because someone you dislike picked it out.
Let the bride guide you.
The bride is the person wearing the dress, and she will have the final say in what she chooses. However, negative comments from people she loves are going to spoil her joy even if she finds her dream dress.
If the bride says she loves a dress, even if it's not what you would choose for her, be positive about it. You don't have to gush over it if you don't love it too, but keep your negative opinions to yourself unless she specifically asks for them. If she is feeling beautiful in a dress, don't be the one to rain on her parade.
Find a positive way to express negative opinions.
If you don't like a dress the bride is wearing, it's typically because it's not your preferred style or fabric. But sometimes you may not like a dress because it is truly inappropriate. If you genuinely believe that choosing a particular dress would be a terrible mistake that she is going to regret for the rest of her life, you should make her aware of that.
Use appropriate language to gently make her aware of your concerns. You might point out that the dress is not the style she had been talking about, or you might ask if she thinks a particular detail, like a huge bow, or feathers, is something she might regret seeing in her wedding pictures. Say something you like about the dress and then suggest that she try a different style with that characteristic.
Simply stating that you hate everything about a dress or, worse, that she looks terrible, is simply not helpful.
Avoid focusing on yourself.
If you enjoy shopping and fashion, you might be tempted to think about what in the store would look good on you. Even if you are also going to be a bride yourself soon, remember that this is her day to have the attention focused on her. Shopping for yourself during her appointment is stealing the spotlight, and it's not nice.
Be aware of the budget.
The bride should go into this appointment knowing how much money she can spend, and she should be taking alterations and extras into account as well. If the bride invites you to pick out dresses you think would look great on her, be respectful of her budget and only choose dresses that she can afford. Trying on an expensive dress just to see how it looks is a bad idea that can ruin a shopping trip.
Be on the bride's side.
You may find that another member of the wedding party or the bride's family is being negative during the appointment with rude comments or a dismissive attitude about everything. This is the time for you to take the bride's side and show her that you have her back. Stand up for her choices and tell her how beautiful she is. She will need that confidence to make her own decision.
Any event having to do with weddings can be tricky. As a bridesmaid, it is important that you know your role and stick to it. Helping the bride choose a gown is about aiding her in finding something that makes her feel amazing. It's not about telling her what you like or what you think looks good on her. Come to the appointment in a spirit of love and friendship, speak gently, and let the bride's well-being be your guide.