Your sweet friend or family member is getting married! Yay! What fun! She has asked you to accompany her to her most important shopping trip of her life…her bridal gown selection. Congrats! This means you are very important to her. It also means that she values your opinion, but guess what? With this decision, she REALLY REALLY just needs you to be there, be supportive, and help her feel good about herself. I don’t care if your friend is a size 2 or a size 22, she has some type of insecurities about something. She has some worry about not looking perfect on her special day. She has some fear about something not looking just right. I’ve seen this bridal gown selection process go badly so many times and 99% of the time, it’s because of her posse’s reactions and attitudes. Your job is to be there for her! Your job is not to select the gown, but to be there to add to her happiness when she finds the gown she loves! Please try to remember that above all else!
Here are some tips/advice to help make sure that your friend will get the most of her trying-on experience and to help you keep your friendship in tact.
1. First and foremost, this is HER day. Let her embrace her inner diva and let everything be about HER.
2. Let the consultants do their job. They have been trained to select gowns based on what the bride wants, what will look good on the bride, and they have been given the budget guidelines. You are not a wedding gown expert. Even though you might be able to select her dream dress, give the bride and the consultant the opportunity to do the selecting. Your job is to make the bride feel amazing and beautiful in the gown, once she has it on.
3. When your friend comes out in a gown, your response should always be (no matter how you feel), “How do you feel?” and/or “What do you think?” Once you get her reaction, then you will know how to respond. If (and ONLY if) she hates it or isn’t crazy about it, respond with things like:
“You’re just so beautiful, I don’t know that this gown is showing off your beauty”
“I can tell you don’t love it; you should keep looking.”
“Was this what you were thinking? Is there something you don’t love about it?”
4. No matter what, you are NOT ALLOWED to comment about anything regarding your friend’s body. Absolutely no comments like, “that is making your butt look big,” or “that isn’t sucking in your belly enough”. Trust me, I have heard these comments used in bridal salons and guess what? They are not productive. Your friend has just gone from feeling not so great about how she looks in that gown to feeling WORSE and it will be THAT much more difficult for her to find something she loves…or worse, she’ll select a gown simply because it’s covering a problem area, as opposed to finding a gown because she truly loves it.
5. If you love a dress and your friend doesn’t, don’t be too pushy or persuasive. Again, your job is not to force her into a buying a dress, but to be there to make her feel good about herself. If your friend ends up selecting a dress because of your reaction, she might not love the dress as much as she could.
6. If she tries on a dress and is acting undecided about it, some good things to say/ask might be:
“How is this dress making you feel?”
“Can you envision yourself walking down the aisle in this?”
“Do you feel amazing and beautiful in this dress?”
If her answers are not so great, then that’s a good indicator for her. Again, your job is not to critique her or the gowns; your job is to make her feel good about herself.
7. Once the bride comes out in a dress and she has that glow about her and/or is smiling from ear to ear and is just in love…then, WOO! Now’s the time to swoon and go nuts. Remember to ask first, “how do you feel?” and/or “what do you think?”, but once you know for sure she’s loving it, then go ahead and let her know you love it, too!
8. What if she picks a dress that you don’t love? What if she’s acting more in love with a dress that you didn’t like as well as a different dress? What if you think there could be another dress out there for her that would look better? GUESS WHAT?! It’s not about you or your opinion. If the bride is happy in a gown, then she will look beautiful. There is nothing more beautiful than a bride feeling great about herself and her body walking towards her groom on her wedding day. Trust us, THAT is all that matters.
Some of these tips might be tough, especially when you just want the very best for your friend and/or if you’re pretty opinionated, but try to keep your eyes on the prize. The end goal is that your friend leaves the experience with the gown of her dreams or with an idea in mind of what makes her feel good. If you follow these guidelines, your friend will be happy, feel good about herself, and remember that you were there for HER. 🙂