Getting ready to hit the wedding dress salon for the most special outfit you’ll ever buy? Joining a bride who’s ready to #SYTTD?!
Yay! It’s going to be the best day ever!
Many of you know that the idea of wedding planning therapy was born in a wedding dress salon amidst tears and sensitivity while picking out the dress of all dresses. Though it can be the most exciting (and expensive) outfit we’ll ever wear, that can often put a lot of pressure on a bride and lead to heightened emotions and sometimes hurt feelings, miscommunication, or a feeling like you’re not “doing it right.”
The silver lining is that, once you and your support crew understand this-- and a couple other tips-- you’ll be setting yourself up to Say Yes and feel your best. Feel free to forward this to your crew, before hitting the shops.
First off, what should your friends and family know?
#1: Hold your reactions!
Often times, the bride might be getting dressed in a room without a mirror. When she walks out in front of her friends and family, it might be the first time she, herself is getting a look at the dress. It’s important to let the bride take herself in and have her own reactions before the are colored with the ooh’s, ahh’s, or ew’s of her support crew. Let her have her moment in the mirror before you weigh in. Maybe even wait until she asks you to weigh in before weighing in! Remember that this may well be the first time she’s ever seeing herself as a bride. Even if it’s not the one, let her take it in for a moment!
And while we’re on the subject of “reactions,” let’s all take a moment to appreciate that reactions and communication can be both verbal and nonverbal! (I’m talking to you with the grimace, Mom!)
#2: Support the bride.
Physically: Do your best to keep the bride hydrated and nourished during a day of shopping. It can be a lot of attention, energy, and awkward small talk with your consultant. Bring snacks and schedule a real meal if you’re on a day-long mission. The meal should be actually nourishing, but not super heavy, and also not too much champagne or everyone will have on their drunk dress goggles.
Emotionally: Yes, picking out a special dress is supposed to be fun, but as we mentioned, it can be emotionally charged and energy-draining. A bride might lose sight of what she initially thought she wanted amidst all the tulle and trains (which is not necessarily a bad thing). If you see her feeling overwhelmed or struggling, check in with her. Ask her how she’s feeling and what she needs - a break? A cookie? A smile? A brutally honest opinion? Let her tell you and then jump into action!
#3: Take pictures!
The support team should take as many photos as possible! It will all be a white lacey blur at the end of the day. Create a shared album at the end so the bride can look back and see how the dresses photograph (while being mindful that most salons have some God-awful overhead lighting that is not what your wedding will look like).
Now, what should the bride keep in mind?
#4: Own your decisiveness
Believe it or not, bridal consultants actually like when a bride says no to a dress. It helps them narrow the search and not waste time trying on things that don’t work. Some brides might feel timid to assert themselves and say no decisively, but let this blog post serve as an official permission slip to assert yourself in the bridal salon, with an emphatic, “No! I do not like tulle/lace/strapless/etc…. On to the next one, please!”
#5: You can also Say No To The Dress
Or at least just sleep on it. In keeping with the assertiveness described above, sometimes we can get in our head that we have to make a decision on the day we first try on the dress. If that doesn’t feel right, say you need to sleep on it! Distance makes the heart grow fonder and also allows for perspective and clarity. Better to make your decision the next day, confidently, than on the spot and under pressure if you’re feeling that way.
#6: Bring your cheerleaders with you - no h8ers allowed.
But really. There is no reason to include anyone who is not going to bring their A-game to this day. Some brides need a brutally honest team member, some need to have only the warmest and fuzziest of humans. Some need a mixture. Some need a few people in between. Whatever (or whomever) you usually need for general support, that’s probably what and who you’ll need when you’re wedding dress shopping. So if you feel pressure to include someone that isn’t going to be the right kind of support for you, here are some scripts you may feel free to borrow:
“Ugh, this place is the worst, they’ll only let me bring 3 people. Will send you pictures though!!!”
“I just found out about this crazy sample sale so I didn’t have time to invite anyone!”
“Oh sorry, my mom and I always said we’d do this thing just the two of us. Will send you pictures though!”
“Oh no, the salon only had these dates/times for appointments. Will send you pictures though!”
And, if you are feeling bold: “Oh man, I’d love to have you there, but actually sometimes the things you say hurt my feelings and I really don’t want to deal with that on my special day…..… Will send you pictures though!”
Advice for everyone?
#7: Get a little excited for each one!
Even if something is not a keeper, remember that it’s not every day that you get to try on wedding dresses. So try find a little excitement for each one!
#8: Make memories
If you have the time and people around you, make a day of it! In whatever way you like to celebrate. Maybe it’s drinks after, maybe it’s a midday brunch. Maybe it’s pictures with a chalkboard sign or maybe it’s being a little nontraditional and bringing your fiance with you! When we take a moment to ground ourselves in the present and really make a memory, we become mindful and intentional about important moments in our lives, and this mindfulness can play a huge role in a healthy emotional state.
#9: Have fun!
All these steps to say: have fun! By whatever definition “fun” holds for you.
Any other wedding dress shopping advice? Share your do’s and don’t's in the comments!
Do these tips not jive with your family or wedding planning situation? Maybe you’d like to talk about it more. Schedule a free consultation with your wedding therapist today!