Shopping for wedding dresses is something every girl dreams about. It’s the toile, the lace, the standing on a literal pedestal in front of 20 full-length mirrors and, of course, the champagne. The process is truly magical – for the bride.
But when wedding dress shopping becomes a spectator sport, the process is also bout hustling to different shops in the snow, the high-pitched squeals of delight from the saleswomen and the oftentimes unwanted feedback from the peanut gallery of overeager cousins, aunts and bridesmaids.
See, when you’re a bridesmaid, one of the chief duties is to participate in the selection of the bride’s wedding dress. It really is super fun, but until she finds The One, the bride may try on just one dress or she may try on 200. It can be as daunting as finding the groom in the first place.
So when it comes time to hit the shops on the Mag Mile or flying to NYC to say yes to the dress at Kleinfeld’s, all bridesmaids coming along for the ride have to be prepared.
Here are some tips on how to master the art of wedding dress shopping supervision:
1. Remember that you’re not the bride. That’s right, your friend or sister is the bride, and not you. So her style is probably going to vary from your own. Keep that in mind before you open your mouth. In fact….
2. Wait for her reaction first. Before you say a word of yay or nay, unless she is about to make a truly undeniably huge mistake, keep your mouth shut until you know if she likes the dress or not. Especially with the first few dresses that come out. Listening will help you understand what she is looking for – and keep your own taste out of the picture.
3. Manage the room. Especially if you’re the Maid of Honor, you have cart blanche to tell the other bridesmaids to STFU if you have to. Or to politely say to the group, “I would love to hear what Mandy thinks about this option” and take it from there. The bride is likely trying to manage a lot of people – give her a hand if you need to.
4. Take pictures (even when it’s against the rules). Fine, maybe it’s unethical. But if your BFF is about to drop a gr$nd on a dress, she is going to want to have some photos for comparison purposes or to gaze at until the order comes in. A lot of show won’t allow photography, but since I am rebellious in the face of love, I pretend to text and snap a photo. Sorry I’m not sorry.
5. Don’t allow the bride to be bulldozed by the salespeople. The people at bridal salons mean the best – there is absolutely no doubt about that. But they are also trying to get in a smoke break before their next client – the sooner they get you to say yes, the sooner they can go do other things. So if your bride isn’t happy with the cut or the color or the beading and is trying to be polite, it’s perfectly acceptable to step in. Here’s how: “Mandy, I think I’m hearing that you don’t like it. Am I right?” Look right at the bride, ignore the sales people. Your friend nods and says, “I don’t like it.” That’s when you look at the sales person. Just stare, you don’t have to say a word. They will bring out another option.
6. Be prepared to gush really, really hard. If your bride finds the dress and it’s The One get ready to squeal, scream, celebrate and tear up. This is a huge moment! So no matter how many dresses you’ve seen, when the bride says she’s found it, go absolutely freaking nuts.
And ladies? Good luck out there.