Your mom likes classic A-line cuts, your best friend votes for lace, and your little sister is texting in the corner. You’re wedding dress shopping and everyone has a say (well, almost everyone).
Finding the right wedding dress is an incredibly fun—but sometimes overwhelming—process. It’s important to feel special on your big day, so it’s only natural to seek out the opinions of those who matter most. It’s not always easy to decide who should join you while you shop and who’s better left at home. Here are some things to consider as you decide who to bring wedding dress shopping.
First things first: wedding dress shopping is about you. It’s important to only invite people who you’re close to, and who will support you no matter what dress you pick. Of course, the point of bringing your family and friends along for the experience is to hear them out. Respect their opinions, but don’t invite anyone who will bring you down, or make you feel bad about what you like. Weddings can be stressful as is, so it’s important to minimize potential conflict wherever possible.
You also want to consider personalities. Is your cousin notoriously outspoken and hard to get along with? Does your high school best friend have amazing taste in fashion? You want a good mix of opinions, but keep it to those with opinions that inherently support you. By that we mean, invite people who know you, your partner, your style, and your personality.
Avoid bringing people who push your buttons or easily upset you. Anyone who tends to speak just to be heard and doesn’t listen well is probably not a great pick. Think about the people in your life that will add to your shopping day, and make it more enjoyable—not less.
While there’s no magic number for how many people you should bring wedding dress shopping, it’s important to remember that some bridal stores have guest limits, so check before sending out invites. Plus, if you’re someone who gets overwhelmed by groups, consider limiting your invites to three or four people. Consider the mix of the group, too, and if they’ll get along with each other. Experiences are defined by the kind of people you bring, not how many.
Traditionally, the mother of the bride, sisters, and the closest friend (or friends) are involved in the dress hunt. Your future mother-in-law can be invited, too, if you’re tight with her and you want her to take part.
If your mom is part of your life, letting her watch you try on wedding dresses can be a really special experience. She has likely watched you grow up, and seeing you as a bride may make her emotional. Plus, she arguably knows you better than most people, so she can tell if a dress really reflects your personality. Likewise, sisters can be an invaluable sounding board, too. (They also know how to read your reactions and can act as mediators if things get a bit tense.)
While it’s nice to have cousins included in your wedding planning, bringing them dress shopping isn’t always necessary. Again, if you’re super tight with them and want their level-headed advice, invite them along. Otherwise, cousins can lead to aunts and second cousins, and well, that’s a lot. If your extended family really wants to be involved in your wedding dress shopping, designate someone to send them photos so they still feel included. You can also FaceTime them in your chosen dress so they still see it before the wedding.
Friends make shopping more enjoyable so having your besties watch you try on wedding dresses can make the day more fun. It’s also helpful to have people around your own age who appreciate current styles and trends.
If you’re a bit indecisive and have a friend who offers great advice, bring her along. Having someone help you make a decision and give objective feedback is important. On the flip side, if one of your friends is notoriously judgy and negative, she may be best at home. The important thing to remember is you’re inviting the friends who will help you make a decision and feel good about it.
Some brides may feel inclined to bring all the members of their wedding party, but too many cooks in the kitchen can mean too many varying opinions. You want people who know your style and personality so they can ground you and give you honest answers (in a nice way, of course). If one or two people from your wedding party fit the bill, ask them to join.
If you’re not sure who to bring or are afraid of offending someone by not inviting them, only ask your maid or man of honor. This person may turn out to be your sibling anyway, depending on your wedding party. You can also include others at different points of the process, like dress fittings, so they’re not completely left out.
Some people prefer shopping for clothes alone, and wedding dresses are no exception. Shopping alone offers you a judgment-free space to really think about how you feel in a dress, without any outside opinions. While it’s great to have others chime in, sometimes emotions run high, and you need a solo shopping trip to determine if something is right for you.
You can always do a preliminary shop alone, and then once you’ve narrowed it down to a few dresses, ask some family and friends to tag along.
While you love your family and friends, you’re the one wearing your wedding dress—not them. It’s important that you choose positive people to come wedding dress shopping with you who will make the experience more enjoyable. Listen to your gut, hear loved ones out, but in the end, go with a dress that you really love.