Wedding dress shopping should be a fun and exciting experience for every bride, but it can also often be a very overwhelming one. On top of all the dresses there are to choose from and the pressure a bride can feel to find something that’s absolutely perfect, many brides tend to add to their own stress by bringing too many people to their dress appointments.

If you’ve ever seen an episode of the TV series ‘Say Yes to the Dress’, you’ll know exactly what we’re
talking about.

If you haven’t, we’ll set the scene for you:

A beautiful bride-to-be – let’s call her Becky – is in the middle of her first dress appointment. With her, she’s brought along her mum, her  grandmother, her godmother, her auntie Carol, her 5-year old niece (who is known for having a lot of opinions), her best friend, her other friend who’s a wedding blogger, and her fiancée’s mum and sister.

Her consultant has just put her in a dress she absolutely loves. She can’t get over how perfect it is and can’t wait to show it to her eagerly waiting family and friends. She walks out for her big reveal and… everyone hates it. Suddenly she’s met with a chorus of “It’s just not you!” and “It doesn’t flatter your bum!” Her glow vanishes as she proceeds to try on dresses her entourage have picked for her, but none of them measure up. She leaves her appointment empty-handed.

Becky’s mistake wasn’t falling in love with the wrong dress, though. It was bringing too many people to her appointment.

Don’t be like Becky. Here’s why:

You don’t really need anyone else’s opinion

Every woman is her own worst critic; this is a fact that has been known for quite some time. So chances are that when you see yourself in a wedding dress for the first time (once you get over the initial “I’m a bride!” excitement), you’ll start analysing every lump and bump and every possible way in which the dress you’re wearing could be seen as unflattering. You don’t need a large group of people to do that for you, no matter how much you love and trust all of them. The most important person to impress with your wedding dress is yourself. You’re the one who will have to wear it for a full day and be photographed in it how many hundreds of times. You’re the one who will have to look back on those photos for the rest of your life. You’re the one who will be passing this dress down to your daughter or granddaughter for her wedding.

If you love it and you feel beautiful in it, that’s all that matters.

The second your entourage walks into a bridal shop, they will all suddenly be convinced they’re bridal fashion experts

It happens every time, no matter how few people you bring along. Just because your mum has watched a bit of ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ and your cousin has been reading a load of bridal blogs does not mean that they’re suddenly qualified bridal wear consultants. But there will be no telling them this on the day.

The more people you bring along with you, the more wannabe fashion experts you’ll have on your hands, all positive that they know exactly what will suit your body type.

In reality, these shopping buddies usually end up projecting what they want in a wedding dress onto you , and don’t really care about what you look good in.

It’s a subconscious reaction and they probably can’t help it, so it’s nothing to get mad about. But you can make your experience a whole lot easier by only having to deal with one or two burgeoning Fashion Police panellists as opposed to a whole couch-full. You can trust your consultant.

Your bridal consultant will know every single dress in the boutique like the back of her hand. Within the first 30 seconds of meeting you at the start of your appointment, she’s probably already thought of at least five dresses she knows you’ll look good in. Of course she’s going to start the appointment by letting you choose some gowns on your own to try on, but if she suggests something else that you
didn’t initially look at, just try it. Chances are it’ll do amazing things for you.

Her expertise will also  seriously come in handy if the people you bring along start driving you mental. Bridal consultants are pretty much paid to be (cautiously and gently) honest. On top of giving her expert opinion, she’ll be able to suggest alternative dresses or potential alterations that can keep everyone happy. ​Fewer people in the peanut gallery means fewer opinions to filter through.

Wedding dress shopping is not a team sport and just because you have a lot of friends who all say they want to be there for you when you pick out your dress, does not mean you have to include them all. Think of it this way: the more people you bring, the more opinions you’re going to have to juggle and will feel obliged to take into consideration. Narrow your ‘who to bring’ list down to two people (three at the most) whose opinions you value and the ones you’re confident will be honest with you and supportive of you.

And here’s a top tip for you: unless your mother is paying for your dress and/or is someone whose opinion you really think will be helpful, you don’t have to bring her! At the end of the day, she will be happy for you and think you look beautiful no matter what you choose, so if you think she’s only going to add extra stress to your appointment, gently ask her to stay at home.

There are other ways to include people in your wedding dress journey

Being at the dress-buying appointment itself is not the be-all-and-end-all of being included in the whole process of finding your wedding dress for your friends and family. If there are people who are dying to be included in some element of finding your dress or to whom you want to extend some sort of courtesy, invite them along to a fitting or accessories appointment instead.

These appointments are far more relaxed as you will have already chosen your dress, and don’t leave room for people chiming in with their opinions. They do, however, give some of your nearest and dearest the chance to preview the dress before the big day and to feel like they’ve been involved in a special way.

You might also consider inviting certain people along to help you choose smaller elements of your bridal look such as your shoes and jewellery. Again, this will allow people to feel like they’re being let in on something special without giving them the opportunity to potentially sabotage your chances of having an enjoyable wedding dress appointment.

We know it’s a lot to think about and that the thought of even trying to find your dream dress can be a daunting one, but your wedding dress journey can and should be fun and exciting! Making sure you limit how many people you bring to your appointments will go a long way towards making this a reality and will ensure the process stays as stress-free as possible.

Ready to go dress shopping? Check out The Wedding Secret for a directory of bridal boutiques in your area!