There are people you bring with you because you value their opinion and there are people you bring with you because you love them and then there are those you bring because you feel obliged to.
With many years of watching brides with their parties work through the process of selecting their gown we see some clear ways of getting the most out of your experience. We have put together some ideas to share with you – so you don’t have to learn by experience.
It is great to have a bridesmaid or friend who is going to investigate bridal salons for you, but don't forget that you need to have a personal relationship with your salon.
We want to talk to you before you come in about your ideas and thoughts on your gown. Brides often tell us this quick chat is such a key part of helping to crystalise their thoughts on starting the gown process. So make that helpful person an investigator but not a gate keeper than means you miss out!
That time with you before the appointment allows us to already have an idea of the direction that you want to head in for your gown. Or if you are completely open allows us to have a plan to work you through the different options.
When you come to the salon it is important to bring all the information that you have gathered about your wedding. It could be a link to your pinterest board or physical magazine pages. The other thing you will likely be bringing with you is the people you have chosen to make this decision.
We recommend you only bring two or three people and they only be there because you value their opinion. If one of your bridesmaids wants to come but you know that her views on your gown aren't important to you, then don't invite her. Huffington Post's etiquette advice from #mannersmonday advices to say "I want the dress to be a surprise, so i've decided to go just with my mum and maid of honour".
Have a chat to everyone you are bringing about your gown ideas and also why you have chosen that particular salon you are going to. Tell them about the gown that has caught your eye or the fact that all your friends have recommended them, or that they have great online reviews.
The role of the consultant and your entourage is to work together to help you, the bride, choose the gown that you feel is the one. So make sure everyone knows you want to listen to the consultant and she what she has to offer.
What to say, how to say it and avoid those bridal horrow stories
Tips to remember
If the bride invited you then it is likely you mean something special to her. This is a great chance to enhance your relationship and become closer. What an honour!
It's about the bride. Everyone is supposed to be here to support her and choose her dress. The bride invited you to give your opinion about her choice, not to make the choice for her.
Our biggest piece of advice is to let the bride give her opinion before you give yours. She can then give you clues as to how she is feeling.
You can get your message across if you think she can do better without crushing her in the process.
Read your bride. If she is looking excited about a gown but you think it isn't great, find out what she likes about it. Then take those favourite bits to help improve on the gown and find the best outcome for the bride.
A mother who made a comment every time her daughter came out how much slimmer she was when she got married and how she would have looked better om the dresses.
An older sister who said everything looked awful ont he bride. Talked her out of a stand out gown to something far more demure. Then when they got to the point of purchase and mum was paying it all came out. She started berating the mother that she never got to spend that much on her gown 15 years earlier.
A bride who loved a gown with pont des sprit (dot tulle), bought two friends along when she was going to commit to the gown. They had had some wines with lunch and decided to laugh at it and say it looked like net curtains. Result - Bride in tears and realising she can't wear the gown of her dreams.
A bridesmaid who had had so much to drink the night before that she fell asleep on the couch and then threw up in the corner!