A question that we don't hear often enough here at Proms Pageants and Pretty Things at the Brides House is how many people do you recommend I bring with me to my appointment. Your bridal gown shopping experience while it should be enjoyable, can also be overwhelming on it's own. There is no perfect number but there are some very important things to keep in mind when picking who you want to share this experience with.
When you become engaged everyone seems so excited and everyone wants to be a part of the planning experience, or so it seems. Sometimes however, it may be they just don’t want to be left out of the planning, which is a completely different motivation. Sometimes they just get wrapped up in the “experience” and forget the bride and her needs. For example bringing food and beverages. When you have limited time to work with your consultant you don’t want your time taken up with the party, a toast to finding you dress is fine but we often see so much time lost celebrating that it is taking away from the bride and her time to feel special and find her perfect gown.
Each family has it's own dynamics. Step families (be it mothers, fathers or sisters), 1/2 siblings, childless aunts, rich Grandma , the list goes on and on. Each one has their own reasons for wanting to be there and each has their own input into the process, and each wants their opinion heard. There is usually someone in the crowd that has watched every episode of "Say Yes to the Dress" and wants to impress you with their wedding gown knowledge, which often times is incorrect. So how do you avoid standing on the podium with all eyes on you without listening to the bickering, snide comments about how big your butt looks in that dress, reminders of who will be paying for it (but dear, it’s really up to you) and well meaning, reality show gathered, expertise about what you really should be wearing? Planning.
Before you start inviting everyone to attend think about why you want them there. The smaller the group, the fewer the opinions and the more chance you will end up in the gown that you love the most and not the one the crowd pushed on you. A smaller, more intimate group will help you enjoy the experience more and be less confusing. Bring the parent that you are closest to that you think will support your decisions the best. Bring your best friend who won't be pushy with her own opinion and listen to yours. If you haven't had a competitive relationship with your sister your whole life let her come along if you would like (if it’s been a competitive relationship this day will be no different so keep that in mind). Bring the calming supportive people in your life, you will be surprised the difference it will make.
But what about everyone else? They can still be included, just not in your initial decision. If you are down to your favorite 2 or 3 gowns but can't decide, bring the whole group back and let them help you narrow it down, but only from your top picks, stand your ground on that, don't give in and try on other gowns for them. Or if you have picked your favorite invite everyone back to see the gown you picked and let them help you pick out the veil or belt that goes best with it (you may want to narrow down these choices in advance as well). That way everyone will feel like they have had input into your wedding day without it being an overly stressful day.
We have seen it all at The Brides House. We have had brides come in on their own after a big day with family to shop on their own, without all of the opinions. We have had brides or other family members leave the private bridal suite crying because it was such a stressful situation. And more often then not, the bride doesn't find her gown with a larger group or has to come back another day with just her smaller core group anyways because they just couldn't keep on with shopping any longer. There are plenty of other planning pieces to your wedding day that others can be included in. Please make this experience for and about you, the bride. The only one that should be the center of attention in a very positive, happy, and health way on a day that you have likely been looking forward to your whole life.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!