How To Make Wedding Dress Shopping Special For The Bride

Updated June 22, 2023

Your best friend is getting married, and you’re likely wondering how to make wedding dress shopping special for the bride.

After all, being the maid of honor is a great pleasure, but it’s also a great responsibility. Wedding dress shopping is a very special moment for many women.

However, there’s no need to worry about which wedding dress silhouette to choose – that’s your friend’s job. Instead, focus on creating the right atmosphere.

Picking the one and only dress may be stressful, and you should bring some magic into a series of stressful appointments. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be of practical help, too.

Don’t hesitate to share constructive opinions and take pictures if the salon and bride don’t mind it. You can also be of great help in planning, particularly choosing bridal salons and booking appointments.

Morning Glam-Up

The bride’s confidence and good mood are vital for the success of your wedding dress shopping. Consider booking your friend a hair and makeup stylist for the morning to ensure she feels beautiful on such a special day.

You may even attend a SPA with your wedding dress shopping gang to get in the right state of mind. Of course, you can also do this afterward to relax after a long day!

If professional hair and makeup stylists don’t fit your budget, offer your friend to do her makeup yourself.

Trying on exquisite dresses with a messy ponytail and bare face is rather hard, as she won’t be able to imagine the total look.

Company Matters

Company is highly important for the bride’s mood during wedding dress shopping. If the task of inviting everyone is yours, think about who your friend would and wouldn’t like to see carefully.

Remember that not everyone who’s invited to the bachelorette party or wedding will make a great wedding dress shopping companion.

The bride must feel confident with everyone present. For instance, she may have a great relationship with the groom’s mom overall, but if she feels even slightly shy in front of her, it’s best to invite someone else.

Furthermore, bridal salons don’t mind a few additional guests, but not the bride’s entire entourage. And that’s a good thing, as more opinions may only make the decision more difficult.

Optionally, you could invite a special guest the bride doesn’t meet often but would be happy to see on that day. This could be her cousin from another town or your mutual workaholic friend who never gets out of the office.

Lunch with Friends

Every woman knows that shopping can be tiresome, and wedding dress shopping is much, much worse. Everyone, and especially the bride, will be exhausted and hungry – perhaps, even before you manage to find that special dress.

Choosing the right dress when you’re all hungry is impossible, as none of you will be able to focus on the dresses. Even if the bride wants to keep a slim profile for the appointment, convince her to eat something.

A lunch with friends is a perfect way to restore your energy, improve your mood, and discuss the wedding dress styles your friend has already tried on.

Consider booking a place in advance to avoid the long restaurant search while you’re hungry and tired.

Since wedding dress shopping etiquette states that you shouldn’t bring too many people along, you can invite those who weren’t involved in the dress hunt on lunch.

Perhaps, the bride could even show them pictures of her top picks and ask opinions.

Going out for lunch is also a lifesaver when the bride just hates everything and isn’t in the right mood. Chances are, she’ll feel much more inspired after a good meal with a glass of champagne.

Learn Her Style

Brides often get lost when choosing a wedding dress. That’s no wonder – the wide array of beautiful styles can be overwhelming even for women who always know what they want.

Thankfully, our friends sometimes know us better than we know ourselves. At the very least, you could suggest her options she didn’t notice among dozens of other white dresses and express honest opinions.

Identifying your own style isn’t always simple. A friend can tell when the dress you’re trying on doesn’t match your personality, not solely your body type or complexion.

A sales assistant who sees you for the first time could never give such advice.

For instance, your friend may prefer a relaxed bohemian style in daily life and struggle to choose between a corseted ball gown and a flowy whimsical wedding dress.

Both options are beautiful, but the latter likely fits her daily style better.

Choose Salons Wisely

Time flies fast when you’re shopping for a wedding dress, so don’t spend it on bridal salons that aren’t worth it.

Ideally, create a plan beforehand – decide whether you want to shop in major chain stores or small boutiques and where exactly you’re heading.

In some towns, you may find entire streets dedicated to bridal salons. In other cases, you may have to drive around to attend the best stores. And if you’re looking for famous designer wedding dresses, you may have to visit New York.

Furthermore, different stores have different price ranges and styles. Find out the bride’s budget and preferences in advance and research offers of local bridal salons to determine which suits your demands the best.

Don’t be surprised if consultants in some stores don’t let you browse through all the gowns yourselves and instead request you to describe what you’re looking for to bring dresses matching your description.

That’s a relatively common practice. But if the bride isn’t sure what she’s looking for yet, avoid such places. You may call and ask the salon about it before attending it.

Lastly, remember that attending one salon that matches the bride’s budget and style is far more productive than visiting ten stores that don’t.

Make Appointments in Advance

Some bridal salons don’t require an appointment but make one anyway. That’s one of the unspoken wedding gown shopping rules, even if it isn’t explicitly stated on the salon’s website.

Unlike regular shopping, where you likely won’t need the consultant’s help often, bridal gown shopping requires the full attention of the salon staff.

Without them, the bride won’t even manage to find her size, let alone get in the dress.

If you show up to the salon unexpectedly, the bridal stylist may be busy helping another bride and not have time to give you the necessary attention.

Furthermore, staying in front of the mirror shoulder to shoulder with another bride may be just awkward.

Of course, if you’ve made an appointment, you must be respectful of your time slot and show up on time. The salon will likely have other brides booked for the day, too. If you know you may be late, inform the salon by phone.

Respect Her Budget & Privacy

Wedding dresses come in all styles and prices. Even if your chosen store’s average price tag fits the bride’s wedding dress budget, some gowns may significantly exceed it.

Remember about her limitations and don’t push overly expensive options (better don’t push anything at all).

Sometimes, brides don’t want to disclose their budget to bridal stylists. In this case, your job is to help softy decline options you know are too pricey for your friend without stating the actual reason.

Apart from the bride’s budget, you should respect her privacy – and make sure the bridal stylist respects it, too.

Wedding gowns can be difficult to get in, so the bride will likely need some help while she’s standing naked in the fitting room.

If your friend is a modest person, try to help her yourself whenever possible. And if the dress is way too intricate, at least ensure the bridal stylist closes the fitting room curtain.

Take Photographs Correctly

Taking pictures is helpful for multiple reasons. It gives the bride an idea of how she’ll look in her wedding pictures, allows her to compare the options at home if she hasn’t come to a final decision, and lets her ask the opinions of others.

However, before taking pictures, you should check the bridal salon photo policy. Some stores are against it because they may be concerned about competitors finding out their selection.

Or, if you’re shopping for designer wedding dresses, the salon may worry that other designers would imitate their styles. Furthermore, taking pictures may disrupt other brides present at the salon.

You should also learn how to choose a good angle for full-body pictures. Bad photos may affect the bride’s mood and make her self-concerned, while good pictures, on the opposite, will make her feel beautiful.

Give Advice

Share your feedback – if the bride wants you to be there with her, she will most likely appreciate it. There’s nothing more discouraging than trying on dress after dress and getting nothing more than a blank stare.

Be elaborate – tell what you like and don’t like about each style, as this can help your friend navigate and choose gowns that suit her better.

However, don’t be overly critical. There’s no need to call dresses ugly, as that’s a sensitive subject, and another bride present at the store may get upset.

Remember that tastes differ, and even your friend may not share your opinion.

Another point is to avoid arguing with the bridal stylist. Even if you don’t agree with them, they’re trying their best to find a suitable dress. Stay polite and trust their experience.

Image credit: Pixabay

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