If you are a bride who has been envisioning your wedding day since you were little (you played dress up in princess gowns, made make-shift veils out of lace curtains and bouquets out of dandelions) you have probably been looking forward to trying on gowns ever since you said yes and set the date.  Visions of trying on beautiful gown after beautiful gown fill your dreams and you picture your friends and family oohing and aahing every time you emerge from the dressing room. That’s exactly how it will go, right?

Not always.

The many bridal boutique shows have shown us that trying on gowns is not always a smooth and fun experience (if you’ve ever wondered if the Say Yes To The Dress episodes were staged, because you can’t believe people would behave that way let me assure you, they are not!).  Different styles, opinions and personal visions for your wedding attire from your mother/sister/friends/soon-to-be in-laws are offered way too readily (and sometimes brutally), turning the experience from fun fairy tale to hurt feelings and empty hands.  But you still want to try on gowns, get opinions, and share this experience with loved ones, right? Here are a few tips on how to do this:

  •  Don’t take too many people.  While you may want to include everybody, limit those you invite.  Too many people generally equals too many opinions (it is rare for everybody to love the same cut, material, design and veil choice) and you will most likely become overwhelmed.  Keep your first trip to 2-3 people, preferably people who will let you know the truth about things but who also know how to deliver it in a kind manner.  Hit one or two shops and see what cuts you like (and don’t like!) and take into account the opinions of those you bring, but don’t let their voices drown out your own.  YOU are the one wearing the gown and who has to feel beautiful in it.
  • If you fall in love with a gown on this first trip and you are sure it is the one, get it!  Those who were not a part of this trip can be included in other things (you will have multiple fittings, and will also need to pick out shoes, jewelry, veil, etc.)
  • If you do not fall in love with a gown and will need other shopping days, be sure to take note of the things you did like; certain fabrics, certain cuts, designers and details (knowing if you like or do not like lace or rhinestones will be extremely helpful when looking at gowns in future trips!) and set another day.  Friends who behaved well on this first trip are invited again, those who did not, stay home.  It’s that simple. And if you need an excuse, tell them that you loved them coming with on this first trip, but now you need to include somebody else who was left out of this first excursion.
  • If you are really concerned about the flood of opinions you are going to get, make your first trip out a solo trip.  Find gowns that you love and would consider, and have your consultant note them.  This sounds funny but trust me, it’s not.  When I was a bridal consultant I LOVED it when brides came in alone.  I got to completely focus on them and what they wanted and felt beautiful in.  It also gave them time to tell me about the entourage they were planning on bringing in the next time, so we could strategize; I would be forewarned about any strong opinions walking in and create a plan to diffuse any tense situations that could arise.  If the bride was going to pretend she had not come in previously, I would completely go along with that and act like this was the first time we were meeting. It really made for a good experience for all involved.

As always, remember to enjoy your planning and the magic that this time is!  You’re getting MARRIED!!

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